Aug 04 2017

Portland Business Spotlight: Janet Price, Makeup Artist

Janet Price is a Portland-based professional makeup artist with over 13 years experience in film and television, as well as print, stage, and theatre makeup design.

Janet Price grew up in Los Angeles during the reign of Mouseketeers and The Gong Show. As a kid, she felt surrounded by the entertainment industry — it was normal for people she knew to go in for auditions, and shows that she saw on TV were being produced right down the road. Her involvement in the industry felt natural. It wasn’t strange to think she’d  grow up to be a Mouseketeer, because that’s what LA kids did.

Artist applying makeup on a woman's face.
Janet Price at work. Photo credit: Gary Norman,

In 1984, Janet moved to Oregon with her family and got involved with high school drama productions. Fascinated by the parentally-forbidden art of makeup, she studied library books to teach herself how to work with theatrical makeup while secretly painting her face at school and making sure to arrive home before her dad did to wash off the evidence of her artistic rule-breaking.

While Janet chose not to pursue makeup artistry as a career, she continued to expand her knowledge about new products and techniques as a hobby she couldn’t shake off.

Some years later, Janet was flipping through a Northwest School of Film class catalog and found a 3-month intensive Makeup for Film + TV class and was excited to get formal education. The class instructor, Christina, began to casually mentor Janet after the class ended, no doubt seeing Janet’s talent for the work and her affinity for the industry. Christina was preparing to retire, so she gifted Janet makeup and tools that she wouldn’t need once she retired. Christina recommended Janet for her first job as an assistant makeup artist, on a Paramount Universal film that was shooting in Portland. It took just the one recommendation from a veteran artist, and Janet’s work as a makeup artist  took off from there, booking jobs of all sizes in film, TV, theater, and studio settings.

Janet Price Logotype by Upswept Creative, 2016.
Janet Price Logotype by Upswept Creative, 2016.

We worked with Janet in 2016 to create a new logotype, business card, and brochure website, which resides at She hoped to modernize her brand, and make her work easier to find. Now, when professionals in the film industry are planning Portland-based productions, they can easily find Janet’s work and contact her through her new website. That means less of her time spent looking for work, and more of her time spent doing the work.

What is your passion? Whether it’s a side-hustle or your main gig, we’d love to help make your brand shine and spread the word about how awesome you are. Whether you want to revise your website, change your branding, build a strategy for marketing more effectively, or you’re not sure where to start, get in touch with us to schedule your FREE consultation, and we’ll use our extensive online experience to help you get clear on your next steps.

May 11 2017

DWP: Good Design Solves Problems

On April 28th, Upswept Creative hosted a panel discussion at HQ as part of Design Week Portland. What started as a fun idea tossed to the group in one of our team meetings very quickly evolved into a fully realized, (and totally booked!) event. Creative Director and Benevolent Overlord Sarah had been thinking a lot about design, and what makes good design really work. So we assembled a diverse set of design professionals for our panel and happy hour, to help us explore the topic, “Good Design Solves Problems.

Our hope was to represent perspectives on design from multiple design disciplines, so  panel consisted of Design Scientist and Innovative Strategist Stef Koehler, Architectural Designer Callie Coles, Apparel Designer and Founder of Hubris Apparel Rita Hudson-Evalt, and Upswept Creative’s very own Sarah Giffrow, who specializes in website design and branding.



Design Week Portland panel
Our wonderful panel, from right to left: Stef Koehler, Rita Hudson-Evalt, Callies Coles, Sarah Griffrow, and the moderator, Josselyn Haldeman.

The panel dove right in, addressing the question at hand. How does good design solve problems? Kohler spoke on her practice of making the problem bigger, “see all the parts,” she said. “Look at it as a system. Don’t make it simple, complexify it.”

A major piece of creating beautiful, problem-solving design is finding out exactly what a client’s problems are–and that can often be tricky. The panel agreed that most clients don’t have the language to communicate exactly what they want, and that means it’s a designer’s job to pull it out of them. “The client may not know what the problem is. Get ahead of the problem…Make the dress that lets them feel like themselves,” said Hudson-Evalt.

Sarah chimed in with an approach all of the panelists could agree with: communicate with your client. “Have a conversation. Engage with the client to pull answers out.”

As an architectural designer, Coles described how she will go into a space to observe how people use it. When do people start looking confused? Where do they look for direction? “[There is] no substitute for observing what people do real space,” said Coles.

“[Create a] balance between ‘brand’ and what the user actually wants to get to. First impressions- big photos, catchy phrases- can get in the way of finding the pie or buying the shoes. What is the interaction the end-user wants?” said Giffrow.

Design Week Portland nametags
Professional name tags. So fancy!

This touched on a major theme of the evening, empathy. To get inside the end user’s head, a designer has to be empathetic to that experience. Hudson-Evalt suggested, “Talk to people constantly, what they need from the dress/what they want. Realizing themselves in the mirror.”


Team Upswept Creative had such a blast putting on the event, and we hope everybody who came out enjoyed themselves, too. Thank you to all of the panelists, Design Week Portland, and our lovely audience for braving the heat to make it out to our little event.

Apr 02 2015

When April Fool’s Jokes Become Smart Branding

Business branding may seem like an odd stage for pranks, but I can’t help appreciating the creativity that April Fool’s Day seems to bring out in some parts of the internet–especially now that businesses are taking part in clever ways. Instead of being a terror-inducing and mean-spirited occasion, it can become a neat project for the business and a smart move for their brand to have some harmless fun with an April Fool’s Day joke.

Because we love Portland businesses here at Upswept, I’m taking a look at a few local, independent businesses who had a bit of extra fun with their April Fool’s Day.

Ground Kontrol “Artisanal Artcade”

This April Fool’s Day homepage shows what Ground Kontrol might be like if it got a makeover from the staff of Portlandia.

Portland’s own “barcade” Ground Kontrol, normally offers you pints after 5pm, plenty of classic arcade games to keep you entertained, and a dramatic interior with gaming-inspired details. You’ll see sleek seating and tables with lighting elements inside, Pac-Man tiling in the bathroom, and a general atmosphere that makes you wonder if you’ve stumbled onto the set of TRON.

On April Fool’s Day, however, Ground Kontrol unveiled a parody version of their web site with a sharp change in direction: “Ground Kontrol Artisanal Artcade” traded contrast-y, retro-modern design for wood grain textures and old-timey type, and their homepage copy boasted a fancy new menu and craft cocktail menu, and a “de-modeled” interior that rolled back their futuristic look to its original, 1900s-era architecture.

Why it works for their brand: Ground Kontrol is one of the places that makes Portland unique, but much of what the world thinks of when they think of Portland is the opposite of what Ground Kontrol offers: people in flannel shirts, riding fixies, eating an artisanal vegan/gluten-free lunch from a food cart you probably haven’t heard of. 😉 Any good parody is born from a love of the thing being parodied, though, so this ends up being a clever way for GK to say, “no, really, Portland, we like being here.”

Fort George Looks to Purchase Anheuser-Busch InBev

I couldn’t help but giggle when we saw this April Fool’s Day press release from local beer crafters at Fort George Brewery. When Anheuser-Busch InBev recently purchased Elysian, another local brewery, there were plenty of alarmed and horrified reactions. With that in our recent collective memory, Fort George’s April Fool’s Day announcement that they were looking purchase InBev made an amusingly perfect response to the buyout of Elysian. The announcement shared quotable lines about their proposed buyout, such as, “‘Bud Light Lime-A-Rita would definitely fill a niche Fort George does not serve,’ explains Jack Harris, co-owner and brew master at Fort George.”

Why it works for their brand: I’ve sampled many a Fort George brew in the past, and uniquely-delicious beers like their Hellcat Trippel prove their far-from-macro approach to brewing. With this fake announcement, Fort George gets to poke some fun at big corporate beers, and remind us that they’re happy being a smaller brewery, and committed to creating beers the best way they know how.

Powell’s Discovers an Exciting New Author

A look at Blue, Minnesota--a made-up book release from Powell's Books.
A look at Blue, Minnesota–a made-up book release from Powell’s Books.

The folks at the world’s largest bookstore definitely planned ahead for this April Fool’s Day: if you were following Powell’s Books on social media yesterday, you saw multiple postings creating buzz and excitement surrounding a new book called Blue, Minnesota: reportedly the first novel ever written by an exciting new author, Todd Furlong.

The team at Powell’s gradually unveiled the joke throughout the day, sharing photos of their staff enjoying the book, and even a Q&A with the author. As the day went on, things got weirder–the author photo featured a suit-and-bowtied body with a cat’s head, and pages of the book were revealed as being nothing but a series of meows. Finally, in the late-afternoon, the Powell’s Facebook page announced, “BREAKING: We’ve been catfished. Todd Furlong’s new novel Blue, Minnesota is in fact just a series of meows transcribed by his overzealous owner.”

Why it works for their brand: Powell’s had a chance to play with the online buzz machine, by generating excitement about something goofy, silly, and 100% made-up. It’s a cute reminder of how easily we can get swept up in the “hottest” new Thing Of The Moment, but underneath that, Powell’s is also reminding us: they’re excited about books, and they want you to be excited about them, too. Even when they’re written by cats. 😉

If you parked near Sizzle Pie, you may have gotten a parking ticket with a surprise inside: it's a couple for a free slice of pizza!
These parking tickets held a surprise inside: a coupon for a free slice at Sizzle Pie!

Sizzle Pie: Parking Tickets with a Surprise

Portland purveyors of pizza deliciousness Sizzle Pie did a great job of taking a shocking prank and turning it into a happy ending. Little yellow envelopes that look nearly identical to the ones the City of Portland uses for parking citations appeared on cars parked near Sizzle Pie locations.

Upon closer inspection, however, there are telltale signs that this is no ordinary parking ticket–like the, “Pizza Alert System Headquarters” address on the front. Pranked victims then pull out the citation, and see a slip of paper formatted like a City of Portland parking citation… but it’s actually a coupon for a free slice of pizza!

Why it works for their brand: This might be my favorite prank of the day: it’s good exposure that will stick in the memories of locals, and it works because what looks to be bad luck turns out to be a good gift. Sizzle Pie won’t shy away from a bit of mischief, but really, they just want Portlanders to enjoy delicious pizza. The down side? We seriously hope those who were hit by this prank took the time to look at the ticket, rather than throwing it away in anger and missing out on the payoff.

Mar 27 2014

Your Brand is Something to Lean Against

Branding is an important part of running your own business, but it’s hard to do when you’re first starting out. Your vision might not be 100% in-place, but don’t let yourself believe that you’re “not big enough” to build an effective brand! There are plenty of reasons to start putting the pieces of your brand together sooner, rather than later.

portland-rebranding-agency_branding-lean-againstI had the privilege of sitting in on a talk by prominent designer Frank Chimero not long ago, and he briefly touched on the challenge of designing when you have no constraints, and how designing for particular platforms–such as tablet e-readers, in his case–can actually be helpful, because the constraints of those platforms can give you, “something to lean against.” It helps give you direction, when you otherwise might not have one.

Your brand can be a lot like that, too. Branding is more than just design: it’s also how you talk about your business, how you communicate what’s unique about and important to you, and how you make sure that your potential client hears it and remembers it. It’s everything from color and style to the words you choose, and when you use them.

Have you ever been asked about your work, and felt completely unsure of what to say about it? “Oh, I make bags, all kinds of bags, shoulder bags and also little clutch bags… oh, and I make them all with recycled materials, because I really believe in upcycling and making the most of all materials! And I’m at some shops around town, but I also have an Etsy store, and…”

If you don’t have your brand outlined in your head, you might come out of it feeling scattered, and realize you haven’t even told them the name of your company, so they can actually find and buy your work!

This is a time when having constraints can really help you, rather than hurt you. When you have too many options, it can be paralyzing, because there are so many directions to go in. Something as essential as a color choice on a flyer, or a 30-second elevator speech, can feel like stumbling through the dark blindfolded, when you have no constraints and nothing to frame your thinking with.

By starting to outline your brand, you can identify the key issues that are important to you, and important to your client, and give yourself that Something To Lean Against. Even when you’re out of sorts, you’ll have those key points to fall back on, so you can share your work with someone effectively, even in hectic moments where you don’t feel 100% prepared for it.

If you haven’t put much thought into your brand yet, now is the time to start! Then, whether you’re planning for your future, or spontaneously sharing what you do in the present, you’ll be able to rest a little easier–you’ll have something to lean against.

Portland branding design – Portland web design – Upswept Creative

Feb 19 2014

Branding design for the WedBrilliant web site

Logo design variations for the WedBrilliant brand.

Branding for the wedding industry isn’t exactly new territory for us at Upswept. In my earlier days as a photographer, I photographed quite a few weddings, so I got a taste of the industry, worked some vendor events, encountered more than a few wedding brands and pinboards, and learned just how much planning, energy, and sentiment goes into making a wedding happen.

It’s that intensity, emotion, and detail of wedding planning that sparked the idea for WedBrilliant! Founder and CEO Melissa Wilmot chose Upswept to bring her vision to life, and it was an honor to take her concept from the rough sketches in her mind to a fully-functioning brand and web site.

Designing a Logo

Melissa had done her homework, looking through a lot of different sources of wedding inspiration to find the styles that spoke to her–something we recommend all of our clients do. We wanted to create a brand that appealed to women, but didn’t necessarily exclude men, either, so popping shades of pink were right out!

Business card design for Wedbrilliant.
Business card design for Wedbrilliant.

We ended up with a soft green and a deep navy blue as our primary colors, and dreamed up an elegant oval-shaped badge design, along with a circular version of the logo that would work great as a social media profile photo, or in other contexts where square dimensions would be a better fit.

Once we did that, we designed business cards to match, with a rounded corner cut and an uncoated card stock, to let the paper’s natural texture come through. Keeping the design simple and elegant was the name of the game!

Developing the Web Site: Not Your Average WordPress Theme!

WedBrilliant has a lot of special functionality at work behind the scenes, which meant that we had to build it! Melissa hoped to make WedBrilliant into a unique way for engaged couples to interact with wedding vendors, so we created custom displays for user profiles, a searchable directory of Vendors, the ability for couples to request and receive bids from vendors in their area, and plenty of other features you won’t find in a standard WordPress install.

Design for the WedBrilliant homepage
Design for the WedBrilliant homepage

Before we started development, however, we knew we needed to nail down the design aesthetic for the site. So, we dialed in a stellar homepage with callouts to important parts of the site, that showed off inspiring wedding photos from San Francisco wedding photographer Meghan Faith, so we could get couples excited to plan a beautiful wedding like the ones shown in the photos! We also chose typefaces that would bring some style and elegance to the site, without going crazy-over-the-top with script fonts and curlicues.

After the design was locked in, it was a long several weeks of development, testing, and styling the web site to make it look good, function well, and make it easy for both couples and wedding vendors to find the information they wanted, and get involved in the WedBrilliant community.

We just opened the site to vendor registrations earlier this month, and the community is starting to grow already, with wedding vendors signing on from across the country, and wedding couples starting to find out about it, too! We’re so excited and happy to have built Melissa’s vision for WedBrilliant from start to finish, and I’ve enjoyed watching the site grow and get interaction from real users.

Both Melissa and I are already starting to look ahead to the future, so I’m sure we’ll be making the site even bigger and better before long!

Portland branding design – Portland web design – Upswept Creative

Dec 31 2013

Looking back at 2013! Upswept Creative’s Year in Review

It’s been a memorable year in a lot of ways! It feels like it’d be near-impossible to mention all of it, but we’ve had some fun, made a lot of pretty, and made some memories.

In with the New in Old Town

Window displayWe opened 2013 settling into our new space on NW Couch St. in Portland’s Old Town, and it was quite a change from our old space in Southeast. It’s cozier than before, but the added character, new amenities, and awesome street-level location (complete with a sweet window display area!) more than made up for it!

That also made the perfect opening for Petra to come on board! She hopped right into keeping the studio gears turning, and brought some extra magic to the mix with her styling prowess. She’s the wizard behind our window displays, and she started bringing her panache with floral and visual styling to our photoshoots, over the course of the year.

And speaking of team additions, in the Fall we also added our first intern, Malee! She joined us and flexed her muscles doing some graphic design pieces, and honing her skills for designing and building web sites from the ground up in WordPress.


Workshops! (?!)

I have to admit, workshops weren’t the first thing that sprang to my mind when I thought about things I’d be doing. Public speaking isn’t exactly a thing that comes naturally to me! But, 2013 had me pushing myself on that front–first with the help of Shelby Rice Style in our co-led online class + photo session, Branding Your Style. We loved working together and we’re looking forward to offering the workshop again in 2014!

After that, I found the inspiration to launch my first solo workshop through Upswept: Make The Camera Love You, which is all about being your best, most authentic self in photos. It was really fun and valuable time spent–enough so that we’re offering an expanded version of the workshop in January 2014! We’re adding live mini-photo-sessions to the workshop, so you can practice what you’ve learned and get some individual attention. You can get more information and register for our January 30th session.

I also had the pleasure of presenting at the Siren Nation Festival with a workshop I called Getting To The Heart Of Your Brand. I did that presentation coming off of a nasty flu, but we had an amazing group of ladies who shared great discussions, and gave me a lot of inspiration to take forward. You might be seeing this one again in the future…!

Upswept Creative + Design Week Portland Open House

Rebranding: even tougher when it’s your own brand.

After adding onto the team, and realizing that, hey, maybe this whole, “run a design and photography studio in Portland,” idea could be bigger than just me, the notion of re-branding started gnawing at my thoughts.

The name had already been rattling around in the back of my brain for months, so in the fall, I finally decided to do the work and make it a reality. It was much more agonizing to make branding decisions about my own brand! Our minds, hearts, and emotions can get so tangled up in our own work that everything seems critical and dire. So, when I say that I know how our clients feel, I’m really not kidding, especially now.

Upswept Creative became official in October, and the new name seems to fit like a glove so far. Best of all, we got to unveil our new name as part of Design Week Portland! We hosted an open house gathering together some awesome new collaborators, and chatted with a lot of awesome new people. And, we’re fairly certain that ours was the only Design Week Portland Open House with a pair of live steampunk heroines on-site. 😉

The White Queen - styled by Bonnie Thor

A Couple of Goodbyes

We did have to say goodbye to a couple of people, towards the end of the year. Malee’s internship was for Fall Term, so after her 10 weeks were up, we bid her a fond farewell. But, who knows? You might be see her hand on some of our future projects–some goodbyes don’t last forever. 😉

December also saw our last photoshoot with Bonnie Thor Style, before she moves to California. I had the good fortune to meet her at a summer BBQ over a year ago, and she’s brought endless thought, creativity, and style into all of our sessions. When Bonnie asked about the possibility of squeezing in one last photoshoot, turning a one-look beauty shot into a three-look fashion session was the least I could do!

It’s rare to find someone whom you respect and have fun working with, and who you enjoy as a person, too. I’m so, so grateful that we got to make so much pretty together! We’ll miss you, Bonnie!

Looking ahead at 2014

What’s coming up in the new year? As I already mentioned, January 30th is our expanded Make The Camera Love You Workshop, and we’ll have more offerings in the coming weeks. We’ll have more pro tips and pretty photos coming at you on the blog, too!

We have a few potential changes to make around the shop, and some exciting consultations already on the calendar, so there’s plenty to look forward to. If you’re looking to refresh your brand, we’d be so excited to help you! Get in touch with us, and let’s start talking about making you look awesome.

THANK YOU for being a part of our adventure!

<3, Sarah

Dec 19 2013

Why looking your best in photos has nothing to do with good looks

We all have feelings about having our photo taken: the camera might be your friend, or maybe it feels like a mortal enemy.  How does looking at a photo make you feel? Do you smile at the memory of the time when it was taken? Or do you cringe and start mentally noting every flaw you can find?

If you’re not happy with how you look in photos, you might be surpised to learn: it has nothing to do with your genes, and everything to do with your mindset.

How you think influences how you look.

You’re more than likely going through ups and downs from day to day, and when you look in the mirror, you might even be able to see those ups and downs. You might see happiness, or a glow, or tired eyes, or tension in your own face. How we’re feeling and thinking can affect how we look in noticeable ways.

When you’re in front of a camera, do you tense up? Do you force a smile that looks fake? Do you think about how much you don’t want to have your picture taken? If you’re thinking negative thoughts, chances are they’re going to show in your photo. You might look stressed, or slouch more than usual, or look stiff and unnatural, when what you really want is to look relaxed, confident, and 100% yourself.

How can you make things better? Be nice to yourself! When you’re out and about someone takes out their camera, turn off your critical mindset, and let go of the negative. Instead of forcing yourself to “try and look happy,” look for your relaxed mental space and just enjoy the moment you’re in.

Similarly, just overthinking how you’re posing for a photo can make it look more stiff. You have beauty that’s begging to shine forward, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to relax into it. Don’t treat your appearance in photos as a puzzle to be solved: it’s just an opportunity to be yourself and feel good doing it.


Get help with an awesome Portland photography workshop!

We’re presenting Make The Camera Love You, a workshop that’s all about teaching you how to be your best, most authentic self in front of the camera. You’ll get great strategies to help you look and feel more awesome in photos, and then you’ll get to try them out! We’ll do a mini-shoot during the workshop with each of you, and you’ll get a copy of your best photo to keep!

Space is limited, so register now and start Looking Awesome in the new year! You can also make your registration into an awesome gift for someone you like: sign up by December 22nd, and we can hook you up with a holiday card and certificate to give to a friend or family.


Here’s what you’ll get:

  • admission to our live workshop
  • individualized guidance during the session
  • your own mini-shoot during the workshop
  • a fully-edited digital copy of your best shot, e-mailed to you after the workshop

Nov 18 2013

Does Your Brand Design Make You Feel Something?

More than anything, your brand should create a feeling. Whether it’s a sense of whimsy or lightness, bold confidence, trust and wisdom, your brand should make you, and your audience, feel something. That feeling is what makes your audience want what you have to offer.

Portland logo design for branding
Which of these simple logos is more likely to make you think of high-quality, couture-type handbags?

When you’re rebranding or building a new brand, make sure the feeling you’re creating is the feeling you want your audience to have! If the feeling you’re creating doesn’t line up with what you’re offering, your audience likely won’t “get” it, and they’ll move on to something else.

For instance: if you want your brand to be very high-end, then you won’t want to use goofy handwriting fonts or cartoony artwork in your branding–that won’t create the rich, expensive, super-luxe feeling that your ideal clients are looking for. You need to create the feeling that connects with what you’re offering, AND with who you’re offering it to.

This does not mean that you should hide yourself.

If you’re a Giver or a Guide, you basically ARE the brand! People are choosing to work with you because they like the unique way that you do things. Let the client see that you are doing something you’re passionate about–they’ll see that you can put that passion to work for them, and you’ll earn their trust.

For Makers, it’s a little different–when you’re creating a product, the brand can be more about the product than about you. You might be great at making a product for moms, even though you don’t have children of your own, so your personal self isn’t quite as important to that brand.

Still, you can gain from letting parts of you shine through in your brand. Have you ever felt that extra bit of joy when you learn that the musician or actor you’ve had a crush on is also a totally wonderful human being in real life? The same principle works for your business: a client will buy a product they need, but they’ll LOVE buying it if it also supports someone that they like and can relate to!

It may take a lot of time and thought for you to drill down to the feeling you actually want to create. Still, no matter what your message ends up being: be memorable, trustworthy, and genuine. Create a feeling that comes from a genuine place, and the rest will fall together.

Portland branding design – Upswept Creative