Friday, November 12, 2010

Master of my domain

I've had a lot of web domains in my short time as a web designer. Either because I didn't know what my business name should be or I just thought it would be a funny one to add to the repertoire. Most have long ago expired, but now I've added another one to the mix.

I haven't done much with it and I'm not entirely sure what I will do with it, but the possibilities are endless doncha know. It was the result of a wicked 10th anniversary sale with the host I use and allows me enough bells and whistles to start experimenting with Wordpress.

In other news...

My Pixel Dust site has a slideshow...finally. It still needs some fine tuning, but voila.

A custom + handmade jewelry designer asked me to do a logo for her and requested that I somehow incorporate the cherry blossom illustration I did for the wedding invitation project. Since it was only a school project and not for a client I happily agreed. This is the version she chose. I will be making some simple hang tags for her pieces as well as business cards and doing her website + photography.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Watch out Donald Draper!

Yesterday, before frantically running into a meeting, I shot off an email to someone that had posted an ad looking for a girl like me + a bit of advertising savvy. The ad had humor, for which I am Queen, and was far from the average ordinary snoozefest one typically finds when looking for a job. I was intrigued. I couldn't resist. I didn't have time. What the hell, we'll be quick and to the point and we will forgo the traditional professional jargon most cover letters are drowning in (and for which I've gotten no replies). "Good afternoon, I would love a chance to talk about how awesome I am..." and so it began. It was short, sassy (I know, shocking), and to the point. I had a response within the hour.

The email was long(ish) as it explained the potential position and was actually quite interesting. It was the very beginning, though, that had me gobsmacked (a word I personally feel more people should incorporate into their day-to-day conversations). He basically explained that he usually doesn't give recent grads a shot in hell (albeit much more eloquently put), but that there was something about me and the bits of work he saw that made him wonder if I might be something special. I emailed back complimenting his obvious good taste and agreed to meet for coffee. We exchanged a few more emails and during this bout of witty repartee he informed me that I don't write like a designer...I write like a creative director and he was intrigued. He said that he would meet me at my "oh-so-hip coop studio" at a time of my choosing. At my what? Hmmm, it seems that someone was doing research on me while I was doing research on them. Well played, Sir. Well played.

Today we met. It was...fabulous. This might sound strange considering I'm not actually getting the job, but it really was great. You see, I didn't expect to get the job. I don't have the advertising experience it would take for this super crazy action packed 10 weeks. What I did get was so much more valuable. I got someone in the industry, that doesn't know me, telling me I'm talented. I love all of you friends, family and instructors that have suggested it, but this is different. And while I do believe I'm pretty darn good at this stuff, this seems to be the sort of validation I'd been craving.

A lot was said in that hour(ish) long meeting. We exchanged histories that seemed oddly parallel and talked of what I wanted in this crazy industry. He told me that I should go back to school for advertising. He said there are a lot of great designers that can't write copy and a lot of great copywriters that can't design, but that it's rare to find someone good at both. He said I could go a really long way...that I could be an Art Director. Say what? He told me that he didn't think he'd use me for this particular job just because of the intensity of it all, but that he would certainly be sending work my way. He complimented me...a lot. He gave me advice. He gave me things to think about. I thought it might be inappropriate to hug him so I opted for an exchanging of business cards and a handshake.

Hmmm...go back to school for advertising you say...

Taken Under Consideration

Around the time of graduation I submitted my Lexi rebranding project to Brand New Classroom on Under Consideration's website. A classmate had done the same thing and I wanted to give it a shot myself. It's a scary thing. First you have to get them to say it's ok and that they like your stuff enough to show the masses. Then you submit everything you have on it from sketches to photos of the end result. Then you wait.

Finally your turn arrives and you end up vulnerable and exposed as your baby sits out there in cyber space to be critiqued by anyone feeling the urge. They also grade it. I didn't know mine was up yet until I got an email from someone telling me that they don't usually do this, but...they wanted to take the time to tell me how much they enjoyed my work. Really? You like me? You really like me?

I jumped online to take a look and began to read the comments. It takes thick skin to survive in this industry. Not everyone is going to love your work. Heck, you might even be considered mediocre. But there will be some that love your work. People that giggle at something you've done or are actually moved by a piece. There will be people that see something of yours and just have to show someone else, who will show someone else, who will contact you and want you do do work for them. Those are the moments that make this crazy career worth it. Combine that with the satisfaction and the rush of simply doing something you love and you can easily tell the nine people that gave you an F on Brand New Classroom to BEEP the BEEP BEEP.

Here's my overall grade...

And here is a link to my entry.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Call off the bloodhounds

I know I've been missing, but not without good cause. I have been eyebrow deep in all things portfolio (as well as other school related whatchamacallits). I just finished putting together my portfolio. Tomorrow is the last look critique in class and then I have one more week until the portfolio show on campus. I'm not going to give everything away, but...she's pretty gorgeous. These are two of the photos featured within her pages.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Snappy new digs

I've always been pretty resourceful when finding places to do my work. The beauty of being a designer is that most of the time it doesn't really matter where I am or what my circumstances are just so long as I have my laptop. Just give me a power outlet and I'm happy...toss in WiFi and I'm downright ecstatic.

One place I can no longer effectively function is my bedroom. When I moved a couple years ago and lost space for a home office, my bedroom became my studio. As I've acquired more and more things (books, magazines, art supplies, light table, new printer) it's gotten to the point where it was either find a backup plan or start sleeping on the couch.

I was introduced to TENpod a couple months ago and have been enamored ever since. They are a creative services coop comprised of independently owned and operated businesses. They are architects and writers, engineers and designers, photographers and craftspeople. They have two locations and as of last week, I am a member of The Burnside Rocket location. They provide a workspace for each of us (sans a chair) and we share other office goodness like a conference room, kitchen, layout tables, and copier/fax/scanner/printer/robot. I'm told there are opportunities to collaborate on projects which I'm super stoked about (note to self: must network).

I have come to really enjoy the collaborative atmosphere that school has provided. Being in an environment where everyone "gets it" is amazing. Having that second set of eyes is invaluable. I'm still slowly moving in, but when I'm settled I will take a few photos and show you the snappy new digs. Now, let's have a meeting and test out that conference room!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New design terminology

I'm working on a couple t-shirt designs to add to my portfolio and decided to create designs inspired by my love of words and dictionaries. I'm feeling like I need a third, but haven't come up with the word yet.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Make it Sparkle

After my twelve hour day on campus yesterday, and heading home at 9pm, I stopped at Whole Foods Market. As I was walking through, I was enamored (as usual) by all the great packaging. I came upon Steaz Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Tea. The packaging appealed to my inner minimalist. White and clean with a lovely patterned flower. I wanted it. I wanted it bad. One problem. I hate sparkling water. There, I said it. I do, however, love green tea. So, there I stood, at a crossroads.

You might be able to resist it, but I? Cannot. Lovely packaging coupled with promises of zero calorie goodness is more than this girl can handle. Sustainably sourced, fair trade organic green tea? Sweetened with the leaves from the stevia plant? What choice did I have?

As if that's not enough, when you pop the top on the little gem you realize it comes with a side of wisdom on every cap. Today, apparently, "I am energy" (or so the cap says). I felt a little spunkier just having been told so. Why, yes, I am the girl that buys things just because they come in pretty packaging. I am a design(erd).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Quite a few years ago I started playing around on Cafepress. I made a few simple shirts and oddly, they've been selling. They were mostly typographic in nature and I didn't do anything particularly special to them, but people liked them nonetheless. Now that I have some education under my belt I was going to go back in and fix those that are there and make some new ones. Funny thing happened today, though.

Today someone was talking to me about getting a Bondiband to hold my hair back when working out. They showed me a picture of theirs knowing I'd been using a particular phrase as a title for my writing for years now.

I did not make this version. Oddly familiar, though, isn't it? At what point does copyright infringement happen? I can't stake claim on the saying. Maybe I said it first, maybe I didn't. Regardless, it's not some trademarked phrase. The font is ever so slightly different, but layout is the same. Is using the same style of font, layout and saying some odd coincidence? Based on the other designs I've seen on Bondibands website, it looks like they use all sorts of different artwork that I doubt they have any rights to use so, my guess would be they, too, peruse Cafepress and were quite fond of my very simple design. I just hope they were at least kind enough to buy one of my shirts before copying it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I, too, am Portland

See that sassy chick in the upper left box? That's me. I am a Portland, uh...PRTLND, designer.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring (no) Break!

My workload looks a bit different the last few days. I took about a day and a half off for all things vegetative and then, despite not having any looming deadlines, started to feel guilty. I'm still trying to relax, but it looks more like someone cramming for a business class these days. I've been reading. A lot. I had planned to read books during this hiatus, but not business/design related books. You know...novels? The kind that don't involve learning anything? I started Eat, Pray, Love and Pride and Prejudice about a year ago and have only managed a few chapters before more "important" projects took over. Though I did manage to knock out about 9 magazines from the neglected stack, the other things I'm reading are shown here. I've also been catching up on design related blogs. I am, officially, a design nerd (and I kind of like it).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rome was not built in a day

and neither was my website. I've been working on it as my final project for my XHTML class. I just posted it on the class ftp site. It's not quite what I want for Pixel Dust, but it's close so I launched it anyway. The portfolio will be reworked when I have more time so that my pieces open up on the same page and the connect page will be changed. I haven't entirely decided what will be featured on the et cetera page. I had to make a form for the sake of the class, but removed it for my site. I'm just glad to have something up.

Featured on the home page is a library check out card that I used in the design of my promo piece. As a bit of a "shout out" to some of the design instructors I had at PCC, I put them as people who have already checked me out. The last listing is "YOU" with a date stamp of "Long Over Due." Dare I's about time!

Typographical mix and match

For those that are never quite sure which font goes with which. Here are four techniques from H&FJ's Newsletter.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Memoirs of a cut paper geisha

I never quite got around to showing my cut paper illustration. Voila. Cut paper involves a bunch of stacked elements. You raise them up with foam mounting squares or similar things that scrapbookers use. The geisha is stacked on the bamboo fence, which is stacked higher than that tree, which is stacked higher than the rest of the background...I think you see where I'm going here. Yes, I cut out the cherry blossoms and folded the petals to make them 3D.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mind your business...system

Lexi's business system is complete. The photo doesn't quite capture the essence in its entirety, but I could just lick the business card it's so delicious. I knew my simple design wouldn't become luxurious until I found just the right paper.

The letterhead is printed on 80 lb. text, Ice Gold, Curious Metallics paper. This gives it a nice sheen that isn't too overwhelming. The logo rests in a light purple box that bleeds off the top (seen more clearly on the business card) and creates a nice alignment for the body of a letter. The business card (slurp), has the same paper for the front, but I mounted it onto a silver cardstock from the same line of paper creating a nice thick duplexed business card. I opted for a nice, subdued, dull grey envelope to tone down all the glitterati waiting inside. This makes opening the letter more like an experience; a nice discovery inside.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yappy Hour just got a little sassier

As you can see, Yappy Hour took a turn once I got some sleep. I just couldn't handle all that purple and it was so...somber. I was keeping everything the color of the logo and I didn't like it. Yappy Hour is fun and frolic. Anything involving alcohol and dogs requires a little more spunk.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yappy Hour

Lexi puts on a monthly event at Jupiter Hotel to raise money for the Oregon Humane Society. As one of my three collateral pieces for my fictional project, I'm doing a poster for the event (rough draft).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Collateral Damage

Good news! As long as I do absolutely nothing music related on my laptop...I might be able to get my projects done. I will cast out that demon when the term is over. In other news: I've still been plugging away on the business system and collateral pieces for Lexi. Above is the business card as it stands now (the paper will make the final statement of luxury...white on front and silver on the back).
For collateral I am redesigning Lexi's website. This is the potential home page (rough draft). I will likely also feature the layout of the Events page to show the similarity between site pages. I have to design 2 more collateral pieces and will probably do a poster for an event and...we shall see. Did I mention that I have a week do do all of these pieces as well as things for other classes? Should be fun.

Turning up the heat.

I have been working hard on projects and my laptop is having a fit. I'm feeling stabby and trying to back things up before something serious happens and I lose all my work. Only a week(ish) left to this term. Not good. While trying not to panic as it slowly transferred over the music I bought last week (priorities and such) I stumbled upon this interesting addition to your next home decor project on Baekdal. Heat sensitive Wallpaper. Love. Going to go throw my less than a year old laptop from a window now.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The identity of a dog boutique

Though there may be a font change on part of the logo, I've moved on to other aspects of their new (albeit fictional) identity. Here is my first crack at the letterhead, envelope and the front and back of the business card.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My first scratchboard illustration

Nine hours, an Xacto knife, and possibly a few expletives later and we have a fairly successful first attempt at a scratchboard illustration. It was such an interesting process and I will definitely be taking a few more stabs (pun recognized) at this technique later. Right now other projects are calling.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scratching an itch

with an Xacto knife. It's called scratchboard and it's the next illustration technique we are delving into in Illustration for Graphic Designers. I have never done this technique (well, there was that one time, but I was 8 and it didn't involve drawing with sharp blades). It's a little bit intimidating. You have to reverse your way of thinking and focus on pulling out the highlights instead of the shadows that I focused on in the stipple illustration.

The source photo above is by local photographer Alicia Dickerson of Four-Legged Photo. She was kind enough to give me permission to use her work for the project and of the few I picked, this is the one that my instructor favored. Below is about four hours worth of work.

To freelance, or not to freelance

That is most certainly the question for me and most of my friends lately. Graduation is right around the corner for us and that leaves us with a lot of what if's and should i's. Continue on and get a 4 year degree? Start or continue our own business? Work for someone else? Scrap it all and travel Europe? Though Europe sounds delightful I found this food for thought for us to consider.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lexi a logo

This is the latest on the Lexi logo. I'm still playing with the colors and aspects of the L. We are naturally inclined to think of something as being more expensive or high end if it is black so I am using a 90% tint of black. I'm currently sticking with a shade of purple similar to what the logo currently uses for the other text.


As mentioned, I had to design two greeting cards with the stipple illustration that I did. This is the front of one of them. We could only use black and one other color.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Circle gets the square

Or dots, rather. Lots and lots of tiny dots. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I was going to be doing a stipple illustration and posted the source photo I'd be using. After 16 hours of work, here is how it turned out. This weekend I will be turning it into two variations of a greeting card.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Logo revamp...take two

I wasn't happy with my first attempt at the logo revamp. It's important for me to incorporate luxury into this logo. I want it to look like spoiled puppies reign supreme at this place because, well, they do. I've managed to keep it playful with the puppy that's tugging on the last letter and the font change for "Lexi" says luxury instead of trendy. I can't say I'm done, but I can say there's progress.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Undercover logo revamp

I decided to redo the logo for Lexidog Boutique & Social Club. They don't know I'm doing it. It's a class project. I'm actually redoing their logo, business system, and some other collateral pieces. We've done logos for fake campanies and for ourselves, but this is the first time we're doing it for a business that already exists. It's to teach us to research our client and write a logo brief long before the designing begins. Now that those steps are done we are working on our logo. I'm shooting for playful and trendy with this one.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Seeing dots

I am working on an illustration that is strictly stipple. Stipple is a technique where you strategically place thousands of dots (or mayhaps millions) in varying density to achieve the necessary values that you're looking for. I selected the above photo by local photographer, Craig Mitchelldyer, and he gave me permission to use it for this project. I have agreed to send him a copy of the final illustration so, the pressure is on! I really want this to turn out great and give him something amazing as a thank you. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I have been enraptured by design for as long as I can remember. Drawn to all things creatively pretty (and even some not so pretty) since childhood, you could say I wanted to be a Graphic Designer well before I knew what a Graphic Designer was. When I was 17 an art teacher put two and two together for me and it equaled so much more than four. I now knew what I wanted to be even if I didn't quite know how I would get there.

Often times we head down a path in life that we believe we are stuck on. It doesn't have to be a negative path, but it's one we know deep down is not right for the life we hope to live. Sometimes it takes a small push from a friend and a giant leap of faith to stop us in our tracks and choose our new path. After 15 years in Admin and dabbling in design on the side, I chose a new path and finally went to school to garner the knowledge that I needed to start living my dream. Two years (and a lot of sacrifices) later I am truly living a design inspired life.

So thank you for joining me on this journey. Thank you for the support, the love, the confidence, the referrals, the business...and especially for the kick in the pants when I needed it. Pixel Dust was put on hold for the most intense parts of school, but we are back and better than ever. The site is not finished. The learning is not finished. I don't believe that either ever will be. I, however, am ready. Ready to start the next chapter in a very exciting life.