About Normal Not Found

Stop spending hours in trial-and-error trying to get the design to look right. You have better things to do!

It all started with saving a local, annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) tradition.

It’s a long story (you can scroll down to read the extended version).

The short version is the Municipal Liaison's (ML) pinback button maker was broken. Without it the traditional button for the Midway Madness event would be missing.

Midway Madness and other events are the glue that hold my local NaNoWriMo region together. The designs on the materials provided ensure variety, grow and maintain attendance at events, and increase fundraising.

The buttons in particular help attendees celebrate how many words they wrote during the writing event. Without this button, tens of thousands of words would be left behind in laptops - their birthdays missed. Something had to be done!

I banded together with the ML and we created a button to celebrate the birth of those words!

I've gone on to help other geeky businesses and organizations have their customers come back again and again by:  celebrating their own traditions, supporting a STEM camp for girls, and more! (details below!)

Here’s What I’ve Been Up to Recently

Let’s get on with the longer story!

But first, here are a few of the best posts at normalnotfound.com:

The First Thing You Need to Know Before Buying a Pinback Button Kit

Is It Illegal to Sell Fanart?

How to Ship Pinback Buttons

How to Make a Pinback Button

30 Days Without Social Media: How It Went

Pinback Button Equipment Guide

Normal Not Found Rebrand Case Study

NaNoWriMoTown Collaboration: NaNoWriMo 2014 Case Study

Making a Pinback Button: Brainstorming the Concept

Making a Pinback Button: How to Sketch a Design

A Tale of All the Things

Getting here has been a long story. I started with a needing a hobby after I started my first full-time job. Up until then, school had filled all my free time. I needed something to do again. A friend of mine was running a business where she was selling pinback buttons at local anime conventions. I knew I could make buttons! I've been drawing my entire life!

Things did not go well that year. I was missing something vital in my strategy. I was focusing on whatever I wanted to make instead of what the market wanted. Even though my original work was enjoyed online, they were not as appreciated at conventions.
Despite conventions not working out, I've worked with some pretty amazing geeky businesses and organizations:

Geeky Collaborations

International Geek Girl Pen Pals Club 20014 Camp Collaboration - Troop Hobbitses

Celebrate Science & Support Girls in STEM with Craftypodes

NaNoWriMo Detroit Region 2014 Midway Madness Collaboration

The Day Job Shuffle and a Rebrand

There were other challenges though. The same year I started my business, my day job ended. It was an art and design school and they were letting people go in preparation for the closing. In four years, I've lost and gained a day job four times. This has provided significant challenges for my business.

During that constant shuffle of jobs, I also changed my business strategy. I used to work with everyone and anyone that wanted to come to me for custom buttons. I was also spreading my product offering too thin by offering pinback buttons and perler bead art.

The Rebrand of Normal Not Found

I rebranded and changed my focus to only work with geeky businesses and organizations. I changed my product offering as well. I make pinback buttons so that geeky businesses and organizations can grow and strengthen their communities.

Even though I felt like I was starting over. I needed to get my head back in the game. I did this by making content. I completed VEDA to have over 30 videos on YouTube. I have blog posts to go along with them so you have a transcript to read with the video.

Blog and Video Content Took Off

With this new found passion and direction, I started posting on my blog once a week. I also started publishing a video on my YouTube channel once a week.

I showed behind-the scenes peeks at my morning routine, how I prep my week and how I make pinback buttons. I got into detail and share the design phase, printing, cutting and punching process of button making.

This content gives you a peek into my world for you to see more about my work and my life. I made new content for a couple months and then pivoted to something that would serve you better: teaching design and self-initiated projects.

Teaching the Craft and How to Use Them

I started going to conventions again as a teacher instead of a vendor. I taught how to make pinback buttons. I saw the faces of attendees light up when they made pinback button creations with their own hands. They had something that was theirs that they could take home and wear and treasure.

Self-Initiated Pinback Button Projects

Self-initiated projects strengthen and hone my skills

Here are pinback button case studies:
I'm inspired by the amazing geeky businesses and organizations I see around me. The timeless parts of the geeky community (the love of games, comics, books, art, science, fantasy, etc) are celebrated when we join forces! I take this inspiration to practice my skills at all times. I'm sharpening my skills every second I get. This ensure top quality work from me so that your customers come back!

The Pivot - From Pinback Button Products to Marketing Design Service

The more I talked with wondrous geeky businesses about using products for marketing, the more I realized I was holding both of us back by only focusing on making pinback buttons. This lead to my pivot from the pinback button product industry to marketing design.

With marketing design, I can better help your business and organization with the design you need - that's custom to your needs! Pinback buttons aren't the best marketing tool for everyone. (Read more about the pivot here.)

Here is Where You Come In

Marketing design is a tool to help you reach further than you can on your own and to fill holes in your marketing and outreach.

Without it, you're unable to focus on what really needs doing:  
  • Write that chapter that needs to be written
  • Finish that art piece for your next show
  • Catch up on inventory!
I want to hear from you! 

What's your biggest struggle when it comes to marketing design - design for your marketing materials? Email me at toni@normalnotfound.com!