Ashley Bush | Brands by Design

Tell us your story: when, why and how did your business get started?

I have a Bachelor's of Fine Arts concentrating in graphic design & for the past 4 years have been working as a professional in that industry. I did layout design at a couple magazines before settling into a web design position at a big consulting firm. I've enjoyed all the design roles I've been blessed to have and have learned a tremendous amount, but I started to get burnt out a bit. In a last ditch effort to spark some creativity and rekindle my love of art, I stepped back from the computer and went back to the basics - pen and paper. Inspired by some beautiful instagram accounts I went out to learn calligraphy, and while it was love at first site it took my hand a long while to catch up to my imagination's desires. I feel as though I'm just starting to scratch the surface of my personal lettering style and it has captivated me.


Tell us about your business today.

I've been in my calligraphy business for about a year, calligraphing envelopes and place cards for weddings, taking custom orders for quotes/songs/bible verses/etc., designing return address stamps, and I've recently started selling prints.  My husband and I are venturing together to combine my business with his love of wood-working through selling hand-made wooden calligraphy nib holders - that's currently in the works. That business is tied a little bit with my design work as well, which I've been doing for 4 years - designing logos, infographics, icons, websites, invitations, etc. I'm currently working through combining my graphic design knowledge with my calligraphy, watercolor, handmade business and I'm really excited about the potential.


What’s at the core of your brand? What are your core qualities, mission, vision and values?

A passion for art, beauty and inspiration through words. My mission is to take something meaningful to you (names, vows, songs, Bible verses, quotes) and make it something beautiful and tangible for you to look at every day, something you can touch and share with people around you - an attempt to bring out the beauty behind the words in a visual way.


How do you embody your brand in your business every day?

I'm constantly on the lookout for things of beauty, and stopping to take it in. Sometimes it's just staring at my baby boy, or pausing to watch the sunrise. That feeling carries through to the art I create - and I hold myself to a standard of creating at least one thing a day. Somedays it's crazy and my one thing is "Mama loves you" written in crayon on the back of an envelope, but I give myself the freedom to let my need to create not look a specific way. And then when I'm contacted by a customer I can connect with the passion they have for their words and hopefully translate that in unique and creative ways.


How do you communicate your brand visually? Tell us about your logos, imagery, colors, typography, etc.

This is my number one priority, of course! My brand style is timeless, classic but modern and creative. My logo is an elegant calligraphed version of my name - something that won't change as trends come and go. I keep my typography and colors very simple, clean and subdued so that the images of my work take center stage. I want the work I create for people to be the main focus, not myself or my logo or website.


Tell us about the process of crafting your brand.

The biggest thought process behind my brand was keeping it true to something that won't change with the times and trends - so I decided to use my actual name versus creating a name that I might outgrow, and a classic modern copperplate script logo without a mark or iconography to go with it.


How do you expect your brand to grow and evolve? How do you stay true to your original core?

I think because of the way that I've chosen to brand myself it leaves me with the freedom to be flexible, and grow and evolve into whatever the future holds, and wherever my passions lead me. But, I feel I will always stay true to my desire to find and create beauty for others - whatever avenue that takes.


What are the biggest challenges you’re facing in your business and as a brand?

The business side of my business! Being an artist through & through I tend to struggle with the marketing side. I feel I don't have a strong voice, and I struggle with 'putting myself out there.' Being an introvert as well, networking is not something that comes naturally to me. This year I've challenged myself to comment daily on other people's work to encourage and get to know them, as well as reach out to other creatives to collaborate and learn from - no matter how awkward and intrusive it feels.


What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a young entrepreneur?

I was given really simple advice and I took it and ran with it - just do it. Seriously, don't wait 'til things are 'perfect.' If you want to create something, do it, start now. Another one I like is - fake it 'til you make it.

You can find Ashley at her website or on Instagram