Today I want to introduce you to one of my favorite people and the creative mastermind behind Linden Legal Strategies’ logo and branding – Stephanie O’Dell and Dejlige Creative (say “dye-lee”). Stephanie launched Dejlige in 2014 and hasn’t looked back.
A Virginia native, Stephanie is a graduate of VCUarts Graphic Design (’09) and honed her design skills through professional practice in the Richmond area. Dejlige Creative offers a wide range of art and design services, including brand identity, website design, custom stationery, calligraphy, and chalk art. Stephanie takes her inspiration from Scandinavian design—the combination of form + function that creates delight in the everyday. She is a design educator , and completed the VCU Master of Art Education program in 2016. She teaches all ages, from kindergarteners to grown-ups, in local venues like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Studio Two Three, and public schools. When away from her desk, Stephanie can be found in the vegetable garden or in the forest.
Describe what you do?
Dejlige Creative provides a wide range of creative services, including branding, website design, event stationery, art and design workshops, and private tutoring.
How long have you been doing it?
I’ve been making art my entire life! Professionally, I’ve worked in the biz for about ten years.
Describe your typical clients?
My typical graphic design clients are open to thinking outside-the-box for branding, logo, or website design, and are looking for a visual voice that describes the passion they have for their work. Every project begins with a conversation, and we work closely together to build a strong brand that will live and grow as their company grows. A typical workshop or tutoring client is eager to build their creative skill set through guided instruction, in order to feel empowered by developing creative work for themselves. Dejlige Creative is driven by the “teach a (wo)man to fish” mentality.
What do you love most about your job?
I love working closely with clients to help them achieve their creative goals, whether through graphic design work or learning experiences.
What are three questions clients should ask before hiring you or someone in your industry and why?
- How do you approach your work? Designers and educators are all very different; connect with someone who can align themselves with your goals rather than focusing on their own.
- May I see your portfolio? Designers and educators should be able to easily supply visual evidence of their work. Creative work should show that the artist is able to change styles and create unique work with each individual client, rather than producing cookie-cutter work.
- How much? While this is not always an easy question to ask, a designer should be able to provide an estimate of their time and description of the services they’ll provide for you. This will create a solid foundation in which project goals and expectations are clear for everyone involved.
What is the biggest challenge you face right now? How are you addressing it?
My biggest challenge as a business right now is spending time on my own company in addition to spending time on my client’s companies. As my company grows, I’m learning to understand when it’s time to get help—with legal advice, business strategy, social media, and accounting. When I focus on the creative work I’m passionate about, I know my company is moving in the right direction, and I can rely on other talented professionals for the other needs of running a business.
What are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about encouraging others to think about art and design in new ways. Our world is full of creative influences, and everyone can be creative in their own way.
What’s your favorite thing about RVA?
Sometimes I refer to RVA as the “goldilocks” town—not too big, not too small, not too this or that. I find RVA to be a wonderfully comfortable place to live and work, with urban areas next to stunning scenery, top-notch restaurants, and world-class museums and galleries.
Best place to have coffee or meet a client and why?
For my business, I regularly meet with clients at Cafe Caturra. A relaxed atmosphere like this can be the perfect place to talk about art and design—a glass of wine or a morning latte doesn’t hurt.
One office supply or biz tool you can’t live without and why?
While I regularly rely on technology like my Mac Book Pro, iPad, and iPhone, my business wouldn’t exist without the humble pencil. I always start design projects by sketching ideas, and constantly make paper to-do lists to keep myself organized.
What else would you like to share about yourself, your business or life in general?
My business is essentially two branches—design, and education. While many creatives in my position focus on one or the other, or consider one a “day job” and one a “side hustle,” I truly believe that for me, each branch strengthens the other. As I design, I think of aspects of the process that would be beneficial to students, and as I teach, my own design skills are honed and refined. I’m very happy and lucky to call myself a designer + educator.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. Always consult appropriate legal counsel for specific questions related to your business. Some states may consider this attorney advertising.
Linden Legal Strategies PLLC is a Richmond, Virginia-based law firm focusing on small business law and development. To learn more about how Linden Legal Strategies can help you start, grow and protect your business, or to schedule an initial consultation, contact Stinson.