Kim Timothy

Owner & Creative Director, Boutique By Design

How did you get your start as a graphic designer?

After completing my degree in Visual Communications at Alberta College of Art & Design, I began my career in the corporate design industry. I found myself climbing the corporate ladder fast and hard – stopping only for caffeine.  My clientele included Telus, West Jet, Shell Canada, McDonald’s Restaurant (Canada internal), Fording Coal, Petcetera, Forzani Sport Group, and the University of Calgary to name a few.

What made you decide to “fly the coop” and start your own design firm?

I loved every aspect of my job in corporate design, and soon found myself in the role of Art Director at 28. I was incredibly proud, but burnt out and craving change. Motherhood became my new focus. I had my first child at 30 and my second two years later. I deliberately put my career on the backburner, but the need for creativity never left. When my kids entered elementary school and I had more time, I found myself back in the design industry. This time I was helping work-at-home parents, like me at the time, to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Seven years later Boutique By Design is still going strong. I am so grateful to be where I am, doing exactly what I love.

What are the biggest mistakes you see small businesses making when it comes to their visual branding?

The number one mistake is not having a plan. To succeed with branding you must understand how to implement and use all your branding tools & elements in relation to one another. Without a plan, failure will result. It’s only a matter of time.  The second biggest mistake is inconsistency. Branding relies on a strong, memorable and consistent image and message. A strategy will provide this, but consistent execution will bring the success a business is seeking.

What role does graphic and web design play in creating a great brand story?

Visual branding is critical for any business. How your target market perceives your business – especially your online presence – WILL make or break it. I have seen the results when a solid brand strategy – consistently represented through your logo, website, and other marketing materials –  is implemented. A sound brand only strengthens when supported by symbiotic services (copy writing, photography, marketing, social media, etc). Success is inevitable when this combination is at work.

What makes you happiest when working with your clients?

Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a small business grow. I love being part of that evolution. The design process is my passion, but I also focus heavily on brand education as well. Those “light bulb” moments, when a client understands and implements the brand plan/tip with success, are incredible.

What are your words to live by?

“The best way to predict your future is to create it.”

What does life outside “the Nest” look like for you?

I love being active – at the gym, dance studio, hiking, camping, etc. Family and friends also play a huge role in my life.  I love surrounding myself with compassionate, perceptive people who embrace life and love to laugh (this is starting to sound like a dating profile!). Other passions include the arts, ballet, and symphony. I love a good movie, time spent with friends and being with my children – the most incredible people I know!