Finding inspiration in Greensboro

We love Greensboro -- we often find ourselves stopping mid-step to snap a picture downtown or telling our friends about an upcoming event... and it’s all because Greensboro is a genuinely interesting place. With all of the history, parks, libraries, and murals in Greensboro it’s hard not to find something that will spark your creativity. We’ve picked out four places in the ’Boro that should be your first stop if you’re in need of a creative jolt. From murals and greenery to downtown shops, we’ve got it covered!

Elsewhere: A living museum set in a former thrift store, Elsewhere was just highlighted for having one of the world’s most unusual artist residencies. According to their website, “When you go Elsewhere, you enter the middle of an ongoing experiment of people, places, and things. We are constantly building, playing, trying, changing, inventing, and exploring new environments. Our artists, scholars, and creatives in-residence are excavating the past to design new futures. When you come to Elsewhere, you become part of this evolution.” This is a great place to go if you’re having a creative block. The giant array of artwork, artists, and creative energy is sure to spark a new idea.

Spring Garden Mural: These bright colors and unique patterns give Spring Garden a pop of color! But what really inspires us is the idea behind the mural -- members of the Greensboro Mural Project chatted with pedestrians in front of the wall to learn what issues mattered most to them. The Greensboro Mural Project is an arts organization that engages the people of GSO in the creative process of making a mural in their community. Their mission is to “make Greensboro a more colorful city.” Their work is scattered across Greensboro -- check out one of their pieces on Lindsay St., Friendly Ave, at the Interactive Resource Center, or Backpack Beginnings. Perfect if you need a little color in your life!

The Center City Park: A lot of times taking a break from your home or office can cause inspiration to strike! This park in downtown Greensboro is one the best places to go for fresh air. It’s lively, calming, and thanks to Action Greensboro something is almost always going on. With all of the events, food trucks, music, arts, and people around downtown is a great place to refresh.

The Forge:  A ‘makerspace’ (think coworking for craftsmen + craftswomen) located in Downtown Greensboro, The Forge just recently relocated to a new building more than twice the size of its old space. They strive to provide the community with inexpensive access to a workshop area and a collaborative space, with separate areas for advanced software development, digital design, textiles, woodworking, and more. Perfect for tinkers and innovators alike, this space provides access to advanced equipment and high-end technology that would be hard for an individual to afford. Tours are available, so stop in and get inspired by the innovation!

Inspiration can come from anywhere… especially in Greensboro! Where did we miss? What is your favorite place to find foodie, design or innovation inspiration in Greensboro? Let us know in the comments!

A Year of Hue & Tone

On April 1, 2015, Hue & Tone Creative opened its doors. In a literal sense, we opened one door – to our office on the Revolution Mill campus in Greensboro, NC. Figuratively, it’s been a year of many more doors opening and closing for this business. New clients and partners have made their mark. Processes have been refined. In a personal and professional sense, it’s been a year of learning what works and what doesn’t. 

You only get one first year in business – and I want to celebrate all the successes and challenges that entails. So, with that in mind, here’s an overview of the last 365 days! 


Where We’ve Been

Getting the keys to our office!

Getting the keys to our office!

Hue & Tone got its start in early 2015 as the new, relocated home of Hannah Pomphrey Graphic Design. I’ve been a freelance graphic designer since I was about 19, and was coming off a 9-5 stint in marketing. I realized, though, that it was time to start up a bona fide business in my then-new home of Greensboro. Here’s how I described my freelance journey a year ago:

It wasn’t until my first client gave me a $100 “tip” that I realized I had just found my new side hustle. I set out with my VistaPrint business cards in hand to find myself some new clients. I cold-called and did pro-bono work for local nonprofits until I found enough momentum to begin working almost solely on referrals.

Recently, I took a break from freelancing full-time to try out a 9-5. I packed up my mismatched furniture and my massive shoe collection and relocated to Greensboro, NC with the intention of settling into my much more ‘normal’ 9-5 job.

Turns out this 9-5 thing isn’t for everyone. Even the parts of freelancing that I thought weren’t for me – the irregular income, quirky clients, and doing my own taxes – were some of the things I missed the most. While some might call irregular paychecks and lulls in work terrifying, it now seems like some much-needed work/life spice.   

A year in, I’d still describe it the same way. Owning your own business isn’t easy – it’s not even in the same universe as easy. But the ability to work for myself – to shape the business objectives of my organization, while still getting my hands messy with design – is rewarding and worthwhile in a way I have a tough time explaining. Given the decision to make again, I’d make the same one.


Growth as a Company

As I said above, Hue & Tone’s first year in business has been a year of refinement and learning what works. I’ve had the opportunity to work with fabulous clients, new and old, and have worked to improve processes both on the client side and internally.

On average, Hue & Tone typically works with 10 to 20 clients at a time, and the scope of work taken on varies by client. I’ve done print design, web design, videos, social media, and consulting for large corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, and individuals. Some clients seek assistance on a per-project basis, while others hire Hue & Tone on a monthly basis for ongoing projects.

Internally, I’ve worked toward greater cohesion and focus for Hue & Tone as a business. That’s meant asking tough questions about the type of work I do and the clients I seek out. (For example: do I primarily work with local clients, or web-based businesses?) It’s also meant diversifying our portfolio so multiple skills and competencies are being exercised through our current body of work. It’s never my goal to do only social media projects or only video projects or only (fill in the blank here). When possible, I love working with clients across a wide variety of their creative needs – simultaneously working on design, video, and social, for instance. There’s a lot of interplay between different types of creative and having a hand in multiple pieces of the puzzle can add some coherence and visual consistency.

Finally, the growth of the past year has meant I needed to continue defining and re-defining the way Hue & Tone itself is marketed. You may have noticed some changes on our website, and here on the blog as well. I’d love to hear your feedback as I continue to learn what works.


A Few Stand Out Projects

With year one in the books, I’d love to share a few favorites and highlights of the year. Every project was an opportunity to learn and grow, and I’m grateful for each one. Here are a few that stood out…

Comprehensive Branding for CSDHH | Website and branding for CSDHH, a nonprofit that provides communication services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Notable for the opportunity to start from scratch and a desire, on the part of the client, to avoid the obvious. 

Revolution Mill Social Media | Design and daily management of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for Revolution Mill. From social graphics to #RevMillGSO, a chance to engage with a broad range of stakeholders (from future leaseholders to the community at large) about the live-work-create environment of Revolution Mill.

Pitch Video for Brown Investment Properties | An opportunity to create something rich, visually appealing, and (no pun intended) creative, while serving a strategic (and serious) purpose.


Favorite Blog Posts

Throughout the year, this blog has been a reliable place to share the ups and downs of Hue & Tone’s first year in business. Increasingly, it’s also become a place to share design inspiration and a few hints of the colors, textures, and patterns that fuel my imagination each day. Here are a few favorite posts from the year…


One of my favorite aspects of being a local business owner is the opportunity to interact with the community. Here are a few of my favorite Greensboro events!

Coffee & Conversation | A Greensboro Chamber event with for networking and learning about a new, focused topic each time.

IdeaNetwork | Organized by Cochran Creative Group, IdeaNetwork is an opportunity to come together, hear a speaker, then participate in a group discussion on the ideas raised.

Craft Freedom | An initiative to change the North Carolina law that restricts the growth of breweries by placing a cap on the amount of beer they can self-distribute, and a chance to support small businesses’ rights.


Thank You!

When all is said and done, the past year has been a big one – a wild one – a just-plain-irreplaceable one. It’s involved a lot of hard work, both of the creative variety and the messy, hauling-furniture-into-offices variety. None of it would have been possible without the support and partnership of many, so a few thank-yous are in order!

To Hue & Tone’s clients, thank you for your partnership, and for allowing Hue & Tone to help tell your story. It’s an honor every time!

To the community of Greensboro-based designers I’ve met, your advice has been invaluable.

To Sirtuah, and to my family, thank you for your patience and support through the crazy journey of the last year.

To the Greensboro community as a whole, thank you for welcoming me, welcoming Hue & Tone as a business and being a wonderful place to call home.

With all that said…that’s a wrap on Hue & Tone’s first year. It hasn’t been perfect, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Here’s to year two!

Friday Links: Greensboro Favorites

For a twist on our usual Friday Links we’ve compiled a list of our favorite Greensboro things! We’ve been in Greensboro a little over a year, and while we still have a mile long list of things to try out, we definitely have some favorites -- here’s a quick list of everything we’ve been loving!

Favorite Spot: Our office at Revolution Mill!
Haven’t seen our space yet? Drop in and see us! You’ll get why we love hanging out in our office.

Favorite Restaurant: Boba House
We recommend the springs rolls and Hawaiian stir fry,  but everything we’ve sampled at this healthy and compassionate eatery has been vegan heaven.

Favorite Brewery: Red Oak 
We might be a little bias because they’re a client, but you can’t beat the clean, unfiltered taste of a Red Oak beer!

Favorite Coffee: Green Bean
A GSO staple, the Green Bean regularly makes lists “best coffee shops” and “must go to” lists. We love them for their amazing baked goods, vegan cream cheese, and close proximity to the office!  

Favorite Local Non-profit: CSDHH
There’s so many great local non-profits to pick from, but after working with CSDHH, we were blown away by their commitment to empower and inspire change for the deaf community.

What did we miss? Where do we need to try? Leave us a comment and let us know!

( Love Greensboro? Drop us a line and we’ll send you some I <3 GSO stickers! )


What We're Working On: Lead Your City & co//ab anniversary

What We're Working On: Lead Your City & co//ab anniversary -- Hue & Tone Creative

One of my favorite parts of being a business owner is the opportunity to get involved in the community. Today, I want to share two upcoming community events I've gotten to take part in.

First is the Lead Your City Summit hosted by SynerG, an organization for Greensboro's young professionals. A little more information on the event, directly from the organizers: 

Join the synerG Young Professionals for Lead Your City – a summit that will bring together Community Leaders & Activists to help young professionals GROW their leadership skills, BUILD on their ideas, SERVE the community and CONNECT their network.

Hue & Tone donated a custom-designed resume for one attendee! I'm excited to work with the winner and create a resume that helps them reach their goals. 

The second event is the one-year anniversary of co//ab, a flexible coworking space in Greensboro. Again, here's a little more about the event directly from the folks at co//ab:

co//ab will have its one-year anniversary this November and we want YOU to help us celebrate. Join us on November 16th at 5:30pm (immediately following the monthly Idea Slam @ 4pm) for a night of food, drinks, and ping pong. Sign up to challenge local "celebrities" in a ping pong tournament you won't want to miss! 

For co//ab, I designed event collateral that uses bright, clean colors and imagery to get the spirit of the event across (see the image above for an example).

If you're in Greensboro, come out to these two events! You can register for the Lead Your City Summit here, and the co//ab anniversary here.