Learning to Colour

How it all Bee-gan

In the late 1990s, I came across a piece of software called Photoshop. It seemed fun to play with, and as a visual person who had long struggled to create decent visuals with traditional media (paper, pencils, paints, etc), Photoshop opened a door to creativity that I did not know existed.

I admit I was clueless.

I had no idea what Photoshop was for, and even less idea how to use it and to top it all, there were no YouTube tutorials back then! 

So I played.

I made my first logo on Photoshop. It was a small tortoise holding a clapper board. I scanned in a hand-drawn image and corrected everything pixel-by-pixel.

Other designers will know, this is not the most productive or effective way to create a logo!

More than 20-years later, a lot has changed. I have created more logos than I can remember, including many mascots and characters for businesses and storybooks alike. I have also run multiple businesses (mostly in education and training) and developed a range of business stationery and learning resources.

Through it all, I developed a passion for branding. I consumed everything I could get my hands on, and I continued to hone my craft.

My personal loves were colours and fonts. I lost hours playing with colour combinations and font pairings but had no idea the knowledge and skills I was acquiring would ever be useful to others. 

Nowadays, I use a range of industry-standard software to develop branded graphics that attract the right customers into a business. And I get to play with colours and fonts all day!

Oh, and yes, I still use Photoshop, but now I use it as it is intended – for photos! 🤣

Colette looks at the camera while pointing at Bee

Why Mascots?

In Japan and other parts of Asia, mascots and Yuru-Kyara (ゆるーキャラ)can be found everywhere. Banks, government offices, hospitals, big corporations and small businesses. They are fun, usually simple characters that play a large role in brand identity and customer loyalty. Companies still have logos to provide gravitas to their brand, but the mascots are an extremely effective way to talk directly to customers.

When mascots were first introduced, nobody expected them to have the impact they did. So, the success of the mascot, due in large part to their cute (or kawaii) traits, was a huge surprise.
Customers identified with the mascots in a way they had never connected with brand alone. There was a kinship, a relationship. And from this grew loyalty.

In the world of ESL and EAL, communication is key. Competition is harsh. You can have the most wonderful program and the most effective teachers, but if people don’t know (or don’t remember) who you are, you place yourself at a serious disadvantage to lesser capable teachers and businesses.

So, what is the answer? Without a huge marketing budget, or without the time to create multi-faceted marketing campaigns, how can you get yourself out there and not just be seen, but remembered?

But, how do I use them?

Great question! Each mascot comes in two file types: JPEG and PNG.

The JPEG file can be used as it is. The image is on a solid white background.

The PNG file is the one you can be creative with. The background is transparent, so you can add your mascot to any image or item!

In fact, this can be a great extra earner that builds community and customer loyalty in one go. Pop your mascot on key rings, tote bags, t-shirts, stationery, and more.

If you use CANVA, Pic Monkey, Snappa, Over, or any range of free and paid apps and services, you simply upload your file, position it where you want, add text, and BOOM you have up-branded your content!

Or, if you don’t want to deal with all that faffing, you can ask me to create your banners, flyers, and ad materials for you. Mascot owners automatically receive a 10% discount on selected design services that include the use of the mascot!

Flat Lay showing t-shirt, tote bag, notebook, and mug with a mascot on.
An owl points to a list of alternative design services

A Range of Design Services

Bee Kids offers a range of design services that include branding consultations, logo design, resource development, and more. 

What’s the deal with Banner Design?

Did you know, you have HUGE advertising space available for FREE?
If you have a social media account on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or elsewhere there is a large space which you can fill with anything.

Many people add a photo and allow the platforms to auto-crop it, but if you are running any kind of business then this space is your shop window.

Did I mention, it’s FREE?

And, if you also have a Facebook page, group, or event then you have even more places to tell people what you do and how you can help them.

One of the cheapest and easiest ways to use this space is to head over to Canva and use one of the thousands of templates. Here you can add your own images and brand colours with very little effort.

The difficulty comes when you upload it. You may have a stunning image but, since these sites are viewed on multiple devices, images are cropped accordingly.

This cropping can result in “unprofessional” looking images with key information being omitted.

There are a few ways to overcome this:

  • Learn about “safe zones” and include essential information within them
  • Grab a template overlay that highlights the safe zones
  • Keep re-editing until you get it right (time-consuming, but a learning experience)
  • Use minimal text and striking images that tell people what you do
  • Do a McDonalds, and use a “brand pattern”
  • Take the pressure off, save yourself some time, and pay someone to get it right

Ideally, you want all your “shop windows” to complement each other. This means, they won’t necessarily all look the same, but everyone will know which shop they are looking at no matter what is on display.

Banner designs start from £67 per platform

If you are interested in getting a brand pattern, or have any other enquiries, contact me here.



The Mission

Bee Kids - Logo

A great education isn’t limited to traditional establishments, corporations, or institutions.

A great education is found in the space between the educator and the learner.

It is a dialogue. An exploration. A relationship.

But, how do you express a relationship that is yet to begin? When does that dialogue open? And, how can you encourage people to explore with you, if they don’t know where you are going?

I have long been an advocate for childhood and creativity. They are the foundation upon which I build concepts; they are the inspiration behind everything I do.

Business promotion does not have to be serious. Education does not need to follow the mould. If anything, educators need to follow the child.

Imaginative, unconstrained, expressive, simple and fun.

And, if there is one thing children know how to do, it is to grab attention and keep it!

This is what I strive for in my designs. To grab attention. Generate curiosity. Open a dialogue. Build relationships. Start a journey. And share a story.

But, most importantly, I seek to create space, inspire joy, and add splashes of colour and playfulness to our world.

Colette looks toward the camera while pointing at Bee

Learn More About Colette

Colette Stevenson founded Bee Kids in 2010. Since then both she and her “project” have been on a journey. To learn more, visit this blog post.