So I recently discovered a fellow designer and blogger, Lizzy B, when I saw her mexican inspired stationery and fell in love. The girl is a pattern genius, and not only that, she puts together these awesome image inspired colour palettes that I can’t seem to get enough of. The first one is now my desktop image, and I will be definitely looking to her for colour inspiration from now on. You can check her out at Lizzy B Loves, but in the meantime here are some of my faves that she’s put together.
Hello darlings, mo here. Thought I’d take a time out in the middle of the week to bring you a few of my favourite things. For some reason my brain just doesn’t want to work after a certain point in the day, so what better way to spend the afternoon than by looking at some sweet inspiration?
As most of you know, CHRISTMAS is coming. Yes i said it. The C-word, and while I do enjoy the festive season (mostly for it’s spirits – no not spirit… spirits with an s… of the alcoholic variety there folks), I am in agreeance (and oh-so thankful), that there are people rioting for the absence of christmas music until at least december first. If everything held off until the day of I’d be okay with that too but anyone in retail will know that that day will never come.
So, since we’re on the topic of christmas, I have recently discovered that holy s*** it’s november and I need to start thinking about what to do for C-cards. Last year we went postcard style, but this year has been all about kraft paper and I just can’t stop thinking about it, so if you’re one of the lucky ones on my list (AND IF I HAVE YOUR ADDRESS – which if I don’t by the way email it to me), expect some recycled goodness coming your way. Here are some of the things inspiring me so far, and don’t ask me how I plan on working these into a C-card, just wait and see!
I absolutely love Rob Ryan’s illustrations and I love paper, therefore, I want his book. Read more about it over on Brain Pickings.
Hello friends. For those of you who remember me after this long hiatus and many lack luster attempts at posting which only resulted in failure, I am back, and I’m going to start by stating the obvious.
WHERE DID THE SUMMER GO?!
I feel like I went to sleep one night and woke up the next day in November, or Movember for all the moustache sporting good-cause-supporting afficionados.
I know it’s been a long time, but I am feeling very inspired lately, which in turn brings a renewed sense of excitement to share every little detail of my life with you (almost). Perhaps it’s the change of weather which in turn can spark change in our own lives, or maybe it’s the excitement of almost being Friday, who knows, either way, inspired is good. But I wanted to share a couple of key things that happened this summer, since I apparently took an unexpected vacation from my blog while working on far too many things at once. oh, so that’s where the summer went.. to work!? Oh yeah.
So here’s what happened when I wasn’t working, and NO THIS IS NOT MY BABY! Keep scrolling…
In June I made time to go back to Ontario for a long overdue visit with family and also to meet my adorable niece Lilith (above). I will post more pics soon, a little late yes but my sister’s been bugging me for them since I left, and I’ve been doing what I’m good at. Procrastinating. Sorry sis.
We managed to get in lots of hiking this summer which is something we didn’t do far enough of last year. Two of my favourites, and I mean drop-dead-I-would-go-live-in-the-woods-for-this-despite-the-grizzly-bears gorgeous, were the Kokanee Glacier in Nelson, BC where you have to wrap chicken wire around your car at the base for fear of porcupines, yes, porcupines, gnawing the rubber off your tires and leaving you totally you-know-what, and the Spineback trail at Island Lake Lodge in Fernie where we got ENGAGED! You can read more of that story HERE, I’m still on cloud nine when I think about it.
Okay so when I said I had lots to share thats mostly it. Mark’s mum came to visit and we went on many adventures, one being the trip to Nelson followed by Montana then home, and other than that there were lots of new projects which I will be sharing with you in the near future. Okay so not as exciting as I bigged it up to be, but awesome none the less. Stay tuned for more posts soon, for reals this time!
Wow. I can’t believe it was almost a month ago since my last post. I knew I had been busy but I didn’t realize a whole month had passed! And with May right around the corner it’s time to get back into my regular routine of blogging and living life.
Believe it or not, it takes work to create a post, and it doesn’t help that I’m incredibly nit-picky when it comes to all the minor details and I like to proof read everything at least eight times. This last month I have been finishing up some big projects with urgent deadlines, and I just wasn’t able to get to the blog. But now that they’re finished I am back to a balanced schedule and my free time has returned. Woooohoooo!
So now that everything is back to normal, I wanted to share the finished result of the vinyl wall decal I designed for Weddingstar. There were some final changes and rearranging to the finished design, and ever since we sent it off I have been anxiously waiting to see it in application. So when we received the images this week I was pretty excited. Here is what the finished product looks like and the final artwork:
I have been inspired by so many things lately and I can’t wait to share them with you next week. But in the meantime, enjoy the weekend! I’ll be spending mine relaxing and organizing cupboards – I know you’re jealous! What will you be doing?
1 / Colorblocked Fedora – Forever 21, 2 / Jersey Dress by Orly Shani, 3 / BCBG Max Azria clutch, 4 / Fluro Wrist Bracelet, 5 / Patent Belt, 6 / 4 Evz platforms by Jeffrey Campbell
INSPIRED BY: Bright colours that used to be considered a huge fashion faux pas when paired together (but not anymore!), and the bring back of florals.
There are a lot of designers that struggle with their own identity, myself included. We develop brands for other businesses all the time, so you would think that branding your own would be easy. Well, it’s not. It’s far more difficult and, in fact, it’s something that may take years to develop.
I used to spend far too much time trying to design a logo for myself only to hate it two weeks later, when I would decide to go in an entirely new direction. What I’ve now learned is that the reason I was failing repeatedly at branding my own business, was because I had no idea of what exactly it was I wanted to achieve. And if I take a look at the brands I’ve developed and why they seemed ‘easier’, it’s because each and every client came to me with a clear and precise business plan already prepared and thought out.
These days, everyone and their uncle call themselves a graphic designer, which makes it extremely difficult to separate yourself from the crowd. And while it’s good practice to dabble in different areas of design, eventually you need to find your niche if you want to be successful. Now, I’m not saying to give up working on projects that don’t fit into whatever your niche may be, because it comes as a great asset to those who can work with different styles/themes, and work across different mediums. But, you do want to fine tune your business goals and focus on the areas where you really want to excel, and in turn this will help define who you are as a brand.
What really helped me in discovering my brand, came first and foremost from my inspiration sources – blogs I followed, articles I read, designers I admire, and of course my own personal style and taste. One day last year when I was asked the question, where do I want to be in five years?, is when it hit me and everything became crystal clear – I finally knew where I wanted to be (from a business standpoint, not physically), and how I was going to get there. Hallelujah! Now, if you haven’t heard of the five year plan, basically it’s a planning tool where you take some time to think about where you want to be in five years, and you develop a step by step plan (complete with goals and milestones) of how you’re going to get there. And until last year, I’ve honestly never had a chance to really sit down and think about my own five year plan. I tried asking myself this question time and time again, but I never could settle on a definite answer.
So to sum things up, if you’re anything like me and are struggling with your own identity, a good place to start before determining your long term goals is by asking yourself the following questions:
1 / Where do my strengths lie?
2 / What is it about design that I love the most?, and
3 / If I could wake up and work on any project, what would it be and who would it be for?
If you start with those basic questions and really give yourself honest answers, then you will have a solid starting point in fine tuning who you want to be as a brand, and where you want to go as a business.
It’s funny how you can get so frustrated one year, and then the next everything becomes crystal clear when you realize that THIS is what I want to do for the rest of my life and THIS is the direction I want to head in.
Have you ever had a similar struggle? I’d love to hear more about how you got to where you are today.
My Roaming Gnome comes with me wherever I go.
- If you are looking for vintage or retro fonts for a design, Bluefaqs offers up some nice ones right here.
- This article had me giggling to myself all day – 10 Iconic Fonts and Why You Should Never Use Them.
- I found this one day and it made me so happy – If you like the Travelocity advertising as much as I do then you’ll enjoy The Roaming Gnome.
- I am in love with Color Theory right now. The combination of classical piano with some eighties style beats just gets my heart revving every time I hear it, not to mention the type treatment on his latest album.
- Jonathan from Illuminated Mind has some great advice for those times when you’ve fallen out of love with your work.
- Next time I buy a bottle of wine I’m going to look for the Neil Ashmead GTS Shiraz, which was made as a tribute to auto (and wine) enthusiast Neil Ashmead.
- An in depth and inspiring interview with British Type Designer Jonathan Barnbrook.
Last week I touched briefly on some of the activities we embarked on while we were in Fiji. This week I will expand on our River Rafting adventure, because it turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience.
Before the trip started, this was one of the things we had already set our minds on doing. It was an all day trip that would take us to parts of Fiji we wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to see. The trip started early in the morning when we met up at the River Rafting offices just outside our hotel. While enjoying a hot cup of coffee we signed the waiver, were then given our wet bags and off we went!
It took us about two hours to get to the starting point of the river, but the drive, as bumpy as it was, was gorgeous. As soon as we turned off the main road, we ventured into the rainforest for another hour, driving up some pretty steep switchbacks that I’m not sure any other bus could handle. We stopped at one of the high points on the road for a quick break and some banana cake, which is where we were divided into our rafting groups and assigned a guide. We were lucky enough to be in a group with some new friends of ours who we had just met that morning at our hotel, so it was just the four of us and our guide – which made the day just so much better! Here are some of the pictures from the trip to the river:
This is where we stopped for our break and banana cake.
Once we got to the starting point, we geared up and set off on the twenty minute, extremely steep and muddy, hike to the mouth of the river where our guides and boats were waiting. After a quick lesson on what to do when you fall in, because apparently it was guaranteed, we were on our way. At this point I didn’t even care about the rapids, I was so excited to be surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen:
The time we spent on the river was about 5 and a half hours with a lunch stop in between. We didn’t really know what to expect in the way of ‘white water’, but we knew nothing could be as bad as the class 4 rapids we battled in Ottawa a few years ago. As we got going down the river through steep cliffs and rainforest we hit a few sets of rapids here and there, but nothing too challenging, which made for one of the calmer adventures of our trip!
After lunch we continued down the river, and as we were getting closer to the main town, we started rafting through some of the local villages. At this point there weren’t really any more rapids, so we spent the final few hours on the river just taking in the real life that surrounded us. There were kids playing and waving, people relaxing, cows grazing and it was just inspiring. Every person you passed would wave and smile, and you really got a sense that we were surrounded by genuinely happy people. Unfortunately some of the pictures came out a bit blurry, but I’ve posted them anyways in hopes that you can get a sense of what it was like:
If you look closely you can see the cameraman in the kayak – this goes to show how full and lush the forest was surrounding us.
She wanted to go swimming too like her brother (above).
If you meet someone from Fiji and they say they’re no good at volleyball – don’t be fooled. We made that mistake and lost miserably almost every day we played.
Local transport to and from the main town.
All the local kids were showing off by seeing how far they could jump into the river. They were having so much fun that we were tempted to jump out too!
In the end, our entire trip to Fiji turned out to be a really cultural experience. When we planned the trip last October, we were hoping for a hot, sunny, tropical getaway. Well, we didn’t have too much of that, until the day we left of course! But we left with friends we didn’t have before and people to visit when we return to Fiji. Because of that and the experiences we shared, the trip turned out better than we could have ever expected.
It’s true, I buy things because the packaging is beautiful. Being an advertising and marketing major, you’d think I would know better. The thing is that I know perfectly well I am being sucked into the brilliant ad campaigns and smooth and stylish packaging, and I have absolutely no problem with it. I love collecting things for my own gallery of inspiration, so sometimes I will buy things solely for this reason.
Your packaging is the most crucial part of your product because it is the piece that comes face to face with your customer, and in that brief moment that you get their attention while they’re scouring the shelves looking for what they want or need, your packaging is responsible for whether or not they buy your product. The bottom line is:
Your packaging needs to sell your product.
Now, depending on what your product is, this can be a tricky task. Simply going to the store to pick up a bottle of wine for example, can be extremely difficult. For me, at least. When it’s my turn to go to the store, my friends know that I will come back with a selection of wines simply because I love the labels. And if they turn out to be good then I will buy them again. So that being said, we can revise our previous statement:
Your packaging needs to make the initial sale, and then the quality of your product is what will bring the repeat customers.
When you’re industry is saturated with hundreds, if not thousands, of similar products, it makes it extremely difficult to break through the noise and be seen by your customer. This is where your packaging needs to serve it’s core purpose – to sell your product – so that your customer picks up your product as opposed to your competitors’ that could be sitting right next door.
Which brings up another thing to take into consideration – where and how will your product be displayed in retail locations? Unfortunately, you can’t really control this, but it’s another reason why your packaging needs to pack a punch and get noticed.
Now, there are many elements that need to be included on your packaging. The basic and most necessary ones are your Product Identity, Net Quantity, Product Description (optional and usually depends on the product), UPC Code (or Barcode), and Second Language Translation, which applies mostly for us Canucks up here in Canada. Not only do you have to incorporate all of these elements into your design, but you need to do it in a way that the brand messaging of the company is prominent and in line with their branding guidelines, while creating something unique and different that will stand out from the crowd.
There are so many reasons why your packaging needs to be well thought out and you can find much more information on Wikipedia, and there’s a really good article here on brandchannel about Packaging your Brand’s Personality, but the one thing I really want to emphasize is that the one crucial part to creating effective and attractive packaging material is to DO YOUR RESEARCH.
This is hand’s down the most important step to take before you even start designing. What I like to do first, is draw up some preliminary sketches and get my initial concepts on paper before I start my research, because once you start looking at what’s out there you might get side tracked and your initial idea may morph into something else without you even realizing it. Once you’re done that, go out and research similar products. Go direct to the retail stores (if you can) and ask yourself the following questions:
1 / How are the products being displayed?
2 / What part of the packaging do you see first?
3 / How high/low are the shelves and how will that affect the visibility/readibility of the packaging?
4 / What trends do you see happening in the designs?
5 / What is the competition doing?
As long as you take the time to do some proper research and ask yourself the right questions, taking into consideration the wide range of product display techniques, you will have the basic information you need in order to start designing effective packaging material that will sell the product. Here are some examples from my own inspiration gallery:
On Friday afternoon my good friend Rita and I decided it was time for a bit of spontaneous fun. So, we gathered up some random props, grabbed the camera and drove. Rita had found this location the day before while out on one of her runs, and it just so happened to be the perfect place for owls, sea turtles and gnomes. Who knew?
When you work inside at a desk all day it’s sometimes fun to get out and do something different, and possibly a little crazy, and with all this springtime weather we’ve been having it was the perfect day for an adventure. In order to keep the creative juices flowing I find it helpful when I get away from the computer screen and become creative in other ways. Whether it’s working with a different medium like painting or making a collage, or driving to random places and hiking through the woods in three inch wedges while carrying a stuffed sea turtle that’s twice the size of you, it’s always a good time and I find it extremely refreshing for the soul.
So, we packed up the sea turtle I won at Canada’s Wonderland, a retro owl piggy bank, and my Travelocity gnome which I’ve been obsessed with since 2004 when “The Roaming Gnome” was first introduced in their advertising campaigns, and we drove around Medicine Hat looking for photo-ops. Here’s what we found:
You won’t find Rice Crispies in FIji, instead you will find Rice Bubbles.
While I was hoping to share our Fijian adventures in sequence, it turns out that we cannot upload the video of our diving, which should come next, so I am jumping ahead for now while I prepare my home made video of our video- classy.
After we checked in to our resort, we had a quick lunch and went straight to the dive shop where we had arranged all of our diving for the trip. The problem though, was that because we were supposed to be there two days earlier we had missed a lot of it, and in order for me to do the shark dive, I had to finish my certification. The only problem now was that the shark dive we booked was for that Saturday and I wouldn’t be finished my certification until Sunday. Luckily for us though, someone cancelled the following week so we were able to go, but more about that later.
For the most part, our mornings were bright and sunny with a bit of rain in the afternoons. After we finished our final dive, we spent a few days relaxing at the resort because thanks to all the rain, every trip that we were supposed to go on was cancelled. Every day, even if it was nice out. This was because the whole time we were there the weather kept calling for cyclones, and even if it was nice weather on land the seas were still really rough. So, we didn’t get to do the jet ski safari or any of the other trips to the islands that we had our hearts set on. But that’s okay, because we ended up having an incredible trip and it was all worth it in the end.
In a way, the weather was a blessing because we experienced some of the most amazing things and met some of the most amazing people, which may not have happened if everything had worked out.
So in the week that followed our diving we relaxed, went zip lining, river rafting and snorkeling, we ate some good food, and played beach volleyball everyday rain or shine with the staff. We were also extremely lucky and were invited to a local village one night to play guitar and drink their local drink, Kava, which pretty much tastes like muddy water. Here are some of the pictures:
A taste of the amazing scenery we had while we were zipping through the rainforest.
Our zip lining group.
Looking good in our helmets.
Practicing my monkey skills.
OUR RAINY SNORKELING TRIP TO YANUCA ISLAND
Please be prepared this video may make you dizzy. This is nothing compared to what we saw on our dives and we couldn’t get to the best snorkeling spots because of the weather, but we still got to see a bit of aquatic life and we had an amazing surfing resort all to ourselves.
This was the first time we found our tropical blue water. Apparently if you want to see this colour water everywhere you go in Fiji then you have to come in our summertime.
After a rainy grey day it finally got sunny and beautiful! Since we had finished snorkeling and were done getting bitten by sea lice, we spent the rest of the afternoon kayaking around the bay getting sunburnt.
The boat that got us to Yanuca island. We tried to get here before but it was disastrous. See below.
NOT OUR PROUDEST MOMENT
One day we got fed up with not being able to go anywhere. The weather seemed fine from the shore and all we wanted to do was get to the other island and go exploring. So, against everyone’s warnings we rented our own boat and hired a local guy to take us there. Boy was that a mistake. The boat was small and not exactly equipped for those kind of waves. No life jackets, no seatbelts. Only us with our white knuckles gripping on to the bottom of the unattached piece of plywood we were sitting on, while battling waves that were five times the height of the boat. Not fun. The good news is that we made it there. The bad news was that we had to go back again! This video doesn’t do it justice at all, but we thought we were in White Squall.
The aforementioned boat.
Relaxing for a bit before making the even rougher trip home.
This was one of the small coral islands we passed numerous times and were never able to get there because of the wavy weather.
JAM NIGHT AT THE LOCAL VILLAGE
During our stay at the resort, Mark made friends with the band that played every happy hour. They were incredibly talented and actually invited us into one of their homes to play guitar and just hang out. This is what traveling is about for us – being presented with opportunities to dive into the culture that surrounds us, taking them and soaking up every single moment. So many people go on vacation and never leave the resort. I don’t consider that traveling at all, so we were extremely excited to experience this and we took our friends who we met at the resort, James and Whitney, with us.
Making and passing around the Kava.
Jamming with the band.
Every time I start one of these posts about our trip I feel like I could go on forever. I still have a lot more stories to share about our diving and river rafting adventures so be sure to check back soon!