esperluette creative

Autumn Blues | A Chat with Chad Zinda of Metropolist

Autumn Blues got you down? Here’s what to do:

Layout for Sales Success Postcard, Autumn 2019

Layout for Sales Success Postcard, Autumn 2019

Chad Zinda is one of the owners of Metroplist Group in the Seattle area, and he was kind enough to chat with me about what his real estate brokers lean towards during what the rest of real estate considers “downtime.” “The last 90 days of the year we take as a personal challenge - and it works.” With nearly $6.5 million in sales since October 1st, he’s not wrong! His team is rocking this last quarter.

I asked Chad if I could share our conversation and what he would suggest for design work during this downtime. “Remind your potential clients that buyers are looking during the holiday season. So many people would love to be in their new home before the holidays. Take advantage of it!” says Chad.

Ready to show off your sales this year?

Even a Handyman Needs an Remodel: Roof to Cellar Contractors, LLC

Steven Strain - or as he’s affectionately known by all his clients, My Hero, The Handyman - hung out a shingle in 2013 and has been doing all the handyman things from changing a lightbulb to adding on to homes and refurbishing apartments. Over the last two years, he’s gotten so much work that he’s taken on employees and has multiple teams out making handyman magic for his clientele.

It was time for an upgrade.

We wanted a brand that would translate to apparel, website, online marketing and, of course, the vans and signage. It needed to be clean, but solid and be a brand that his team would be happy to have on their t-shirts and workwear. It only took three rounds and we hit the right tone for his business! We rocked out an awesome website and Steven is thrilled! And, I have another amazing human in my toolbox that I can recommend for real estate audits!

So, if you’re in need of a handyman to do a walk through with you on the home that’s ready to go to market and just needs some love, I highly recommend Steven Strain and Roof to Cellar Contractors, LLC!

NEW TO MARKET | Westwind at Woodmont Beach

Finailized Email Campaign | Westwind at Woodmont Beach. Des Moines Washington

Finailized Email Campaign | Westwind at Woodmont Beach. Des Moines Washington

Summertime and the livin’ is easy…and getting easier!

Had a last minute client who needed a website build and an email campaign to showcase her new listing! Waterfront is my personal favorite because the sunsets are just stunning! The Westwind at Woodmont Beach is curated to take in every single sunset.

Stunning vistas, gorgeous finishes and sand between your toes anytime you want. This was a last minute listing and we rushed to get it on the market, but we made it with grace and a sense of style. Big shout out to Lori DeVore, the real estate broker and listing agent, who put all the pieces together for me and gave me the space to design something gorgeous!

UNIQUE PROPERTIES | Farmhouse Gardens, Mount Vernon

Finished Brochure for Farmhouse Gardens in Mount Vernon, Washington |  Sold at $1,550,000

Finished Brochure for Farmhouse Gardens in Mount Vernon, Washington | Sold at $1,550,000

This property is easily one of my favorites, mostly because I have a gardeners’ heart and you can find me in my garden more often than not and this property totally tugs on my heartstrings.

As with so many things, it all starts with a picture.

To begin, my client sent me a myriad of pictures to review and choose from. I settled in with pen-and-ink (just kidding, I type - what year is it?) to write about this stunning property, leading clients down the garden path and into their new home. I took the stunning photography and created beautiful writing, styled a logomark and created a unique look and feel for the property.

Inside, the brochure tells the story of the home in words and photos and then invites the potential buyer to imagine themselves in the home. Farmhouse Gardens was an absolute treat to be involved with.

As a graphic designer, it’s my job to make your property look good; to find the story, the heartbeat of the property and then to showcase that heart to potential buyers.
— Jesse Gibbs
Custom Email Campaign

Custom Email Campaign


The Ampersand Logomark | Why "&" Matters

Why the Ampersand?

Photo courtesy of Max Anderson

Photo courtesy of Max Anderson

According to Wikipedia (and why would the internet lie to a person?)

"The ampersand can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. and the Old Roman cursive, in which the letters E and T occasionally were written together to form a ligature. During the following development of the Latin script that led up to the Carolingian minuscule (9th century) the use of ligatures in general diminished. The et-ligature, however, continued to be used and gradually became more stylized and less revealing of its origin..."

...yeah, this is kind of where I stopped reading. Sorry, but I was tired. Essentially what it says is that the ampersand was created because of the inability to take the time to write out the E and the T as their own letters, so they were smooshed together and no one ever thought to change it back. So, laziness, in its own way, created an exceptionally beautiful graphic that I am madly in love with.

I also chose it as my logo mark because in the real estate industry there's always one more thing we can do to rock someone's entire we start with branding. AND then we build a website featuring the home, with interior and exterior highlights...AND then we create a marketing campaign through emails, blogs and event....& it goes on. So many wonderfully creative ways to get heard in a media heavy world. AND we've only just begun.

Special Release | For Homes on the Market 40+ Days

Property Branding | Tied with a Bow

Life happens. Listings lag. Clients fall out and change their minds. Finances can get in the way of a clients' big dreams. Luckily, your listing can always get a fresh start.

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Believe it or not we might - might - be easing into a buyers market during the busy season in real estate. According to Redfin, Seattle's overall housing inventory has doubled since May 2018. Meanwhile, home values have dropped by 4.5% since last year, according to Zillow, and they're projecting the fall to continue into the next year. This is creating a slow moving perfect storm for home buyers who’ve been considering a move.

All this means that real estate brokers are seeing more days on the market, and a slower home selling season. A quick review of the NWMLS shows more than a hundred homes in the area that have been on the market for more than a month.

Enter the Designer.

Special Release | 7.9.19

For Homes on the Market 40+ Days

So, here’s our special Sunshine Plan for homes that have been on the market for more than the 40+ days since spring began, homes that are ready for a little bit of love and a fresh perspective, all wrapped up…

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…& tied with a bow.

Happy Solstice: Listing Presentations

Esperluette Creative Listing Presentations 2019.jpg

The summer solstice always makes me pause and reorient myself, my life and my business.

Today I’ve been organizing some of my files and oogling my listing presentations over the last few years, and I’m enjoying how different they each are and how unique to each client. So many cool designs, so much good content and good heavens, my clients have the prettiest properties!

If you’ve been working in real estate for more than two minutes, you know that a listing presentation is one of the most influential pieces that you can showcase to your clients. It’s your resume, an example of your marketing prowess and a first impression all in one.

A listing presentation should be smart, savvy and expertly designed. You want to make a great first impression and then leave a little something behind for them to remember you by. It should be something that your potential seller can pick up later, something that they’ll want to read through again, something that intrigues them.

Most importantly, you want to show your potential seller that not only do you come with the backing of your brokerage, but with years of experience, excellent reviews, and a marketing plan that’s second to none! There’s no better way to rock that first impression!

Ready for a listing presentation that reflects all that you are as a realtor?

LOOK BOOK: Spring has Sprung

A Collection of Stunning Backyards & Outdoor Living Spaces

As the busy season starts to wind up there’s a rush to showcase gorgeous new listings, and since it’s my favorite time of year, and my favorite projects are always the ones that highlight pretty new properties. And if I get to showcase beautiful backyards while I dream of getting my own hammock out of storage, so much the better!

PHOTOGRAPHY | Sheri Putzke

They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day…”

-Paul Simon


There’s something magical that happens when you take someone’s photo, when that person sees - for just a moment - the way that you see them. Not only is Sheri Putzke of Windermere a complete treat to work with in real life, she’s amazing to take photos of. Stunning in her own right, with a sense of style that shows across everything she touches, Sheri’s smile starts in her eyes and she played to the camera flawlessly. And we can talk about pearls and pink? I was swooning before I even turned on my camera.

Logo Design

There’s something magical about logo design. I don’t do it as often as I’d like, and it’s easily one of the most challenging projects that I take on. It’s like creating a version of someone’s heart while driving clients to grow their business and oh, yeah - it should look cool. Piece of cake.

My job is to make you look good. But it’s also my job to understand your business and your clientele well enough to fill in the blanks where the heart of your idea bumps up against the needs of your business.

All of that being said, it’s quite rare that my favorite logos make the cut, and I wanted to share some of my personal favorites with you. Please remember, these are just my drafts, but they were too much fun to leave behind.

Final Logo, Approved

Final Logo, Approved

Marilisa Vergottini of Marketplace Sotheby’s International Realty needed a logo that was glamorous and classy and she wanted something with a Mediterranean flair. Luckily, my toolbox includes the lovely and talented Sarah Alston who is an incredible designer; she worked tirelessly to create a series of drafts for her to review and we were able to create a balanced and classic logo for her new brand.

Final Logo, Approved

Nancy Klinck is a Seattle broker with Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, and I had the privilege of designing her logo, branding and website along with multiple properties websites as well. She needed a logo that was elegant and classy, without being pretentious. The end result feels wonderfully “My Girl Friday” but with a certain Cary Grant-esque stability about it.

Final Logo, Approved.

Final Logo, Approved.

Okay, don’t judge me…I love the door in the logomark. I just love it so much I squeed outloud when I designed it. But, just because I think it’s fabulous doesn’t mean that my client will love it. Nine times out of ten, the one that I absolutely love gets set aside for a better connection to a logo that speaks to the clients’ heart.

RE/MAX Northwest

RE/MAX Northwest

Work Hard. Be Nice.

RE/MAX Northwest is the largest RE/MAX in Washington State and they are still growing. They needed a website that was dynamic and engaging, but also useful. So, it needed to be pretty, but they also needed to be able to showcase properties, build out a Market Report and blogs, and showcase their current and new brokers.

Custom Design_Map of Seattle and Eastside for REMAX Northwest NEW OFFICES.jpg

It started with their tagline: Work Hard. Be Nice. We wanted to capture the kindness and values of the people that work there, embrace the largeness of the company and welcoming to potential brokers. Wordsmithing is always important; the owners had done an incredible job of putting these values into words, which made my job much easier, and helped me understand what they needed to showcase. We made recommendations on the direction for the site, but they gave our team a lot of freedom to be creative.

Each of the ten locations is highlighted individually, with custom coded IDX feeds for each location, highlighted properties and beautiful images. Custom map design, market report design and tons of research went into this project, and the clients were thrilled with how it turned out!

Pantone's Color of the Year | Living Coral

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral

According to Pantone: “Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.”

All I can think when I see this is color is my best friends dumb little antique chair that she painted this wonderful, shocking color that matches nothing in her home so it sits on the porch.

My best friend’s husband Sam pictured on the chair, his true love, Luna on his lap and guard dog, Xollin.

My best friend’s husband Sam pictured on the chair, his true love, Luna on his lap and guard dog, Xollin.

It’s wonderful, bright, cheery and ridiculous. Pair it with blues and it feels like a beach house. Pair it with grays and it becomes elegant.

esperluette creative pantone living color room.jpg

Pantone’s goal was to create an authentic color that is both sociable and spirited that symbolizes our innate need for optimism and playful expression. Mission accomplished.


And speaking of coral…

Dr. David Vaughan is a marine biologist who works specifically with coral reefs. Due to an actual “oops” in science, he found out that while the coral reefs are still in danger, he could speed up the growth of the reefs by - get this - breaking them. Just a “happy little accident,” as Bob Ross likes to say. But this happy accident is going to change, and possibly save, our oceans.

BlinkNow | Holiday Giving

This year I am hoping to raise $500 to send to help the Kopila Valley women and children and I need your help! Every little bit counts, and every penny helps!

From the very beginning of their story, they built this community together. Every red brick, every hot breakfast, and every amazing breakthrough – all made possible by dedicated people like us. There are many ways to get involved, create something, and build a brighter future for the children and women of Kopila Valley.

There are so many needs in this world, and this young woman gave everything she had and then she gave more. And with gratefulness. There’s no chance that in this life I will be able to be this brave, but I am honored to help her in every way that I can.

Dreaming of Kitchens

I love kitchens; I’m not completely useless in a kitchen, but outside of the best toast and coffee that you’ve ever had it’s not really my forte. Meanwhile, the man that I love is constantly in the kitchen trying new things. Smells of slow roasting garlic, fresh spices and simmering something on the stove that makes me drool.

Needless to say, I’m much happier on the other side of the dining bar with a drink and a good story while he cooks. But I still love a good kitchen. Here are a few of my favorites from this year.

I had a client who did a big half day clam bake with nearly 30 brokers. They laughed and ate and talked and took photos and posted it on their social media. The house sold within 2 weeks. It’s a great way to showcase a home and property, especially as the season slows down.
— Deep Thots with Jesse Gibbs

Listed by Olga Dyckman, Windermere | 737 Olive Way #2705, Seattle

Condo kitchen are always a challenge, but Olive 8 certainly does them well. Pedini cabinetry, neutral colors, inset lighting and soft finishes play with the open spaces and the floor-to-ceiling windows. This kitchen makes me dream of dabbling in fine cuisine, puttering over buttery sauces and warm breads while soft holiday music plays in the background.

Pending by Marilisa Vergottini, Marketplace Sotheby’s | 24280 NE 26th Court, Sammamish

I love the modern lines, the subway tiles and the use of both light and space in this kitchen; I just envision lots of laughter, tiny conversations going on throughout the room, Holiday music blaring and someone yelling not to let the dog out.

SOLD by Scott Whittlesey, Marketplace Sotheby’s | 4020 94th Avenue NE Yarrow Point WA

There’s something magical about including the outdoors as part of your kitchen; not only does it add an entirely new space to the inclusion, but it also brings nature into your home. My husband enjoys cigars and we both enjoy the outdoors, so to be able to finish dinner and head to the patio to curl up next to the fire for a hot toddy and a cigar? Smashing.

Listed by Jamie Michaud, Realogics Sotheby’s | 28 Forest Glen Lane, Lakewood

The granite countertops are the most delicious shade of sunshine and the glass subway tiles mirror the color and bring warmth to the entire kitchen. I love the french window cupboards with glassware and lighting; the shape of the kitchen could easily become cramped, but the skylights, curated lighting and use of different textures creates an open and welcoming space.