January 31, 2011

Inspire Me: The Giving Keys

Hey! Wow, it was sure a long week without the internet. Kind of refreshing though, not going to lie. I did some designing, some crocheting, some roadtripping, some insane amounts of doing nothing. I am currently trying to rid myself of the worst backache I've had in my life. 

I will start by telling you that tonight I watched probably the best episode of Chuck everrrrr. And now I have to wait until next Monday for what the creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak say is supposed to be the best episode yet... a new one. Had my episode numbers mixed up. Just kidding, it was the epic episode they were talking about. 

I would like to share something with you I found last week that I absolutely adore. Remember the singer/songwriter I posted about awhile back, Caitlin Crosby? Well, I discovered one of her amazing projects called THE GIVING KEYS

Basically, they are keys custom engraved with a word of your choice. It is a Pay It Forward project. She met a homeless couple on Hollywood Boulevard and hired them to do the engraving for her as part of paying it forward. The idea is to wear this necklace/bracelet and if you meet, talk, or encounter somebody who you feel is in need of whatever your key represents you are supposed to pass it along to them. All the proceeds from this go to charity.

I think I'm going to get one and have "inspire" engraved. It is my favorite word. I think it is incredibly powerful and that word drives my life.

This as inspired me to consider when I get my shop up and running to donate all or a part of my profits to charity or a non-profit. I have always wanted to do something good and unselfish. I think this could be a good way to start. 

I went to one of my favorite places ever this past Saturday, good ol' Bemidji. I got to hang out with Marlon, a dear friend of mine for the day. (I'm sure you are familiar with him by now, he's mentioned in many of my posts.) It was excellent. I hadn't seen him for months. We did our usual Perkin's adventure loaded with design jargon and life updates. 

We attempted some hats in the afternoon. Didn't get too far. The stitches were difficult to get in between sniffles and sneezes. In my horrible attempted to document this experience, I caught him in mid-sniffle. I gave up after that. 

He mentioned he wanted me to do some sort of tutorial for crocheting. I may have to do that...

We hashed out some of his portfolio stuff and some stuff for the new H.o.S. branding campaign he is starting. We are both super pumped for it and got some good ideas a-flowin'. We also started some planning about our future company and, man, is that going to be frickin' bomb. There are so many great ideas we have. Only have seven more years to go until that gets underway! It's great when you have a business partner who has the same idea brainwaves as you. 

Alright, well enough chatter from me. I'm off to catch up on my blog reading, website browsing, and idea gathering. Maybe some crocheting before bed. I've started mittens and I'm going to finish them this time. 

Tomorrow I will tell you about this fantastic book I bought while on my little adventure...Oh, the suspense...


January 26, 2011

Temporary Hiatus

Hey All,

Internet issues, currently working from the Blackberry. It doesn't do the best for blogging. I'm not sure when I will be back...hopefully soon though! Got to figure some stuff out. Man, do I miss the interwebs already. I want to check out all of my daily reads and I haven't been able to watch Monday's episode of Chuck yet...Ugh, until next time. Maybe I will hit up the library or something tomorrow...


January 25, 2011

Keep On Learning: Stuff Mom Never Told You

Here's my second How Stuff Works podcast feature. This time it is from Stuff Mom Never Told You. Molly and Cristen cover a wide variety of topics that mostly have to do with gender issues.

I have a friend who was an Assistant Resident Hall Director with my our senior year of college. We worked for the same Hall Director. I've known him since we started college but it was a good time for us to get to know one other better. He his a social work/psychology major working on his Master's Degree in Gender Studies (I think...) Anyways, last year we had so many great conversations that had to do with gender studies and it got me really interested in the topic. We had a phone chat this weekend and it was really fun to be able to have a good discussion with him again. His main passion is mens studies and working with males and their masculinity.

When I found this channel on How Stuff Works I was immediately intrigued and of course had to tell him about them. Here are some of the ones I found most interesting so far:

A couple of my favorites so far are "Are Disney Princesses Good Roll Models?", "What's with Racy Halloween Costumes?", and "Barbie's Secret Past." Mostly because of the issues they discuss with how things like that effect the minds of young girls and how certain things influence their lives as they get older.

I get torn between the two sides. On one hand believing that they really do have a huge effect on girls and how they see themselves at such a young age to how they feel they should look and act as they get older. On the other hand, sometimes it seems that parents get a little too hysterical about things like that. I've come to think that it is a bit both.

With the Disney Princess one, they talk about how some people believe that the message is that the only thing important in life is being beautiful and finding the love of your life. Once you do, you're life is complete. Those are one of the things I think people start to think too much about.

On the other hand, during the Barbie podcast they start talking and comparing Barbie (who really has an interesting past in starting out as a sex doll in Germany...and Ken is actually her brother. I know....scary) to the Bratz Dolls. I personally think that the Bratz Dolls are disturbing and should have more clothes put on them...

There are so many things that affect and drive our lives now days. The media can be so overwhelming. I was thinking while I was listening to "Is My Brain Making Me Buy Things I Don't Need" how kind of ironic it was that I was listening to it. They were discussing some of the psychology behind it. It's so strange listening to that being a graphic designer while fully understanding the psychology behind an advertisement. I find it funny to think it is people in my profession influencing people to purchase things. My brain doesn't know what to do when I enter a store sometimes. Usually the human in me says, "I want!" and the designer in me says, "Really? You should know better."

I could go on and on about this topic...But I won't.


January 24, 2011

Chocolatey Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

So this is what I've made my Pa for his Birthday Treat, which will hopefully stay intact and not arrive to him as crumbs.

Oh so simple and oh so addicting. 

As we speak I am currently chatting with my good friend Marlon from A Day in the Life. He will be redoing Handmade on Sunday's branding and blog for his college senior project. I'm super pumped for this. I'm soooo excited to be able to work with him again. We spent my whole senior year of college working together on our projects, we had pretty much every class together. It was one of those design relationships where we were usually on the same page and weren't afraid to be honest with each other. I miss that. 

But anyways, so I thought this would be a good chance for us to reconnect and work again together (well..kind of). I'm meeting up with him on Saturday and cannot wait to brainstorm and be all design nerdy again. I'm also kind of scared because I have never been a client before. In design, I have a hard time stepping back when it comes to a project close to me. In a way though, I'm interested to see the designer-client relationship from eyes other than being the designer. I'm hoping this will help me one day in the real world when I've got a client on the other side of the table. 

So eventually there will be some changes to this blog...Probably not for awhile though. But when this is all finished, my design will be moving to a different blog or website. I want to keep my design and H.O.S. stuff separate from each other. However, that probably won't go into affect until after the H.O.S. branding is complete and I can get something running for KM Photo & Design. 


January 23, 2011

Whale of a Hat

This weekends little project was this pretty blue hat with a whale! I also started a bag at the end of the week but ran out of yarn...Need to go pick some more up!

This week was really chill. I enjoy my chill weekends. I got in design mode on Friday and yesterday and finalized the logo for my branding project. I posted that earlier today (here). Yesterday was also my Pa's birthday. So today I baked him some goodies to mail to him. I think I will post my recipe tomorrow.

It was a movie/music weekend. A new music fave I found yesterday, a band called Smoosh. They are three sisters from Seattle.

This video is another Seattle band called Head Like a Kite and the song is called "Diamond Paint." It features the lead singer from Smoosh, Asya. 
via YouTube.

I wish there was another day to this weekend. I just want to sit around and do nothing but be crafty for a little bit longer...Tuesday will be my three month, end of my introductory period at work. It has gone by decently fast and at the same time it feels like forever...

This week's To Do List: 
-Stationery for Flower Girl Clothing Boutique
-Finish Bag
-Yoooooga (since I slacked last week...)

Hope you had a good weekend! 


Design Journey: Logo Process

For the past few days I've been working away on my little branding project for Flower Girl Clothing Boutique. I have figured out the company colors, fonts, and finalized the logo. This process is one of my favorite parts in branding. I get a little crazy during this and fill my screen with fonts or colors, depending on which I am working with at the time. After reflecting on this, I realized I work in three phases during this part of the process. I would like to give you a taste of this organized chaos.

Phase One: Colors and Fonts

Oh my, the color choices! 

The colors started by finding inspiration from palettes I like at Colour Lovers and breaking down the colors in them. So the first row are the original palettes I found. Then I look at which colors could possibly work with each other across the board. It's a large mix and match game, sometimes tweaking colors to see what works best. I, then, narrow it down to two palettes from there that I think conveyed the look and feel of the company. 

Fonts! Fonts! Fonts!

I go through fonts from the web and ones that I already have in my library and pick out the ones that match with the feel I am going for. From there I pick and chose the ones that I think will work with the illustration best. It is a similar process as the colors. They get narrowed down to two fonts.  

Phase Two: Integration 

Integrating the color choices and font.

And this is where everything starts to come together. The flower I illustrated from one of my sketches. I put the illustration up against both fonts to chose which font worked the best. I started to work with both color palettes to see which one worked best with the type and illustration. 

This process is usually a couple of days worth of work. I pick out the fonts and colors and narrow them down. I give myself a night's worth of sleep and come back to it with fresh eyes. This is a good way for me to see if my choices were the right ones. I found that staring at the same thing for too long, my brain starts to get too attached to certain fonts or colors. Then after I decide if the choices were right I start in on Phase Two.

Phase Three: Final Logo 

Logo is on top. Color palette in the four flowers. 

Once everything gets decided the logo comes together as a whole pretty quickly. I tweaked the script font a bit so it flowed together better along with my illustration. I wanted to have some contrast in the logo so the illustration is cleaner and crisper than the script font. Then the illustration's look and feel are mirrored in the sans serif font. 
Between the two color palettes I went with the pink and yellow. I felt it had more of a fun and girly look than just using a simply monochromatic purple. This also could lead to more options of use for application uses. 
The flower will be used as a secondary element throughout the branding. I think it has some good options for texture and visual pieces.

There you have it! The final logo for Flower Girl Clothing Boutique. 

Usually throughout this process I would have looked for critiques and feedback. So I'm actually going to open this up for some constructive feedback. I would love to hear what you think. Leave me a comment. Do you think the fonts work together? Was there one you think could have worked better? How about the colors? Is the logo balanced nicely? 


January 21, 2011

Inspire Me: Urban Explorers

Earlier this week, I listened to a podcast about urban explorers. I really want to do something of that know. If you don't know what urban exploring is, basically it is finding old abandoned places and exploring. However, it is illegal as it's trespassing...But I like to explore.

I came across some GORGEOUS photography tonight that just happened to be reflective of urban exploring. It is by Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre.

This first bunch is called "The Ruins of Detroit."

These next ones are my favorite. They are of theaters. 

This is some of the most intriguing photography I have seen in quite awhile. I love history and I love places that have history. The theaters remind me of seeing "Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway in NYC my senior of high school. I used to be in musicals in high school. There's just something about seeing a play/musical on stage than sitting in front of the television.

I want to explore old places like this and just be able to stand there and imagine what was going on in that places years and years ago. Plus the thrill of being in an old abandoned places, the slightly scared feeling of either being caught or it being haunted. (I probably wouldn't sleep very well that night...)

I'm finding expressing my thoughts and feelings about this very difficult from my excitement about these photos! Check out the podcast about urban explorers from Stuff You Should Know at How Stuff Works. I think Chuck and Josh's enthusiasm for this will reflect my enthusiasm.

I've got my color palettes and fonts for Flower Girl Clothing Boutique narrowed down to two a piece. I also have been working on some sketches of the business set and product tags. Hopefully later this weekend I will get those posted. Then it's onto assembling the logo!


January 19, 2011

Inspire Me: Graphic Design

This morning, I found a couple of wonderful collections of graphic design work. I was a bit irritated because of course I would find them 10 minutes before I had to leave for work. At work, I can't really do my internet perusing...This was some very inspiring stuff.

First up is some fantastic work from Julia's Poppies.

What a pretty calendar.

I will be doing some Save the Dates for two friends who are getting married in July. This is some great inspiration. I love the use of colors and paper stock.

You will have to check out the rest of her work. I admire her use of illustrations and colors. 

Next up is some design work from a graduate student of School of Visual Arts, Leen Sadder. For her class "Can Design Touch Someone's Heart?" she did some conceptual stuff taking inspiration from Mary Poppins. 

I'm in love with this umbrella. 

This whole project makes me miss college so much. 

Last up is some wonderful work from Sussner Design in Minneapolis (great design community in Mpls) for Invision Eyewear.

Great use of typography and illustrated icons.
Work like this makes me sooo enthused to work at a design firm one day (hopefully soon) and even more excited to own a design firm one day in the future. 

Those are my little features for the day. I am off to work on some of the font stuff and color palettes for my own little branding project. I've started to help Marlon with his personal branding tonight, we were working on colors and will pick back up on that when he returns from skating. Hopefully Skype won't be such a pain in the butt this time. 

Glad the week is almost over with! I need a good vacation from my life. 


Design Journey: Sketches

Yesterday and today during my breaks at work I was doing some sketching for my branding I mentioned earlier this week, Flower Girl Clothing Boutique. I'm going to make this a blog feature and will be displaying my process. I haven't ever really done anything where I've mapped out my progress through a project step by step in this fashion. I mean, during classes we had to do sketches and critiques along the way, but things at that time were very hectic and I am a very spastic designer. Most of the time, I had my idea, went straight to the computer, and dived right in. With this, I really want to have a good idea on paper before I just jump right in.

So Sunday (I think...) I posted my Inspiration Palette and here are some of the sketches I came up with.

Logo sketches with some ideation notes. 

Starting to think about how the colors and illustration of the visual component will look. 

The quality of the scans aren't the best, my sketch book kept sliding off my scanner so I had to hold it. I think though you can get an idea of what I got going on. Hope you can interpret my handwriting. 

I usually prefer to do logos in type. Typography and fonts seem to be my forte in logo-making and in the design process. However, I do need to work on my Illustrator skills so I'm going to have a nice image as a secondary image for this logo. 

Most of the time, I try to do something a little outside the box, something a bit different. But with my target market, being young girls up to the age of 7 or 8 and their mothers, I think that this logo needs to speak to it's audience in the most simple way possible. I want to use colors and images that girls can recognize and will relate to. The best way to do this was to use an image that directly related to the name of the company, the flower. It is a girly and fun object youngsters can easily identify. 

I'm debating to have the logo simply be spelled out or if I want to do a ligature logo as well. That will be something I will be considering when I think of how this logo will be applied to specific products and pieces. It might also be something I consider when I start my font search. 

Speaking of fonts, the next step I will be taking on this journey will be one of my favorite parts in ideation: Colors and Fonts! 


January 18, 2011

Keep On Learning: Stuff You Should Know

I've been listening to a lot of podcasts at work. I enjoy learning about everything and thought this would be a good way to find out some interesting facts. I found some excellent podcasts on iTunes all from How Stuff Works. They have a bunch of different channels. But the one I will be sharing with you is called Stuff You Should Know. The two guys that are featured on the podcast are Chuck and Josh. I find them highly entertaining and hilarious. They've discussed some excellent and interesting stuff. I have made a list of a few of my favorites I would like to share with you.

(I know, as if I couldn't make a more generic looking banner...)
This is just a small handful of the podcasts that are available from Stuff You Should Know.
You can find the podcasts here.

I will probably have feature a different channel from How Stuff Works for the next 4 or 5 weeks. If there are any podcasts you like, I would like to hear about them! 


January 17, 2011

Monday Blues & The Week's To Do List

What a Monday. One of those that automatically says, "Hey you. You're going to have a really long week. Have fun." First I woke up and simply didn't want to get out of bed. Then started my car, let it warm up. I went back out my usual 15 minutes later and it was chirping like a huge 5 foot cricket was hiding in it. A belt broke. I also underestimated how much ice was stuck to my windshield and broke a wiper. (<- Not as big of a deal...But still.) So, to start off the week, I dumped $200 into my car. Good thing I'm getting a bit better at saving my money. At least I didn't have to drain my savings account completely. The optimist in me comes out.

Today, however, CHUCK returns to TV after their winter hiatus. So excited to be able to watch it tomorrow. I don't have cable so I catch it on Tuesday. Got to love Hulu. Chuck is my absolute favorite. It's my "semi-mindless, escape from the world" show. I found the first two seasons on Black Friday for $15 a piece. (A steal in my eyes!) My dad got me the 3rd season for Christmas. Amaaaazing. So now I can watch with whenever I please. The music in the show is great also. Whoever does the music production for the show has good taste. Hopefully Fringe will be back on again soon too. Fringe is the show that makes me think a bit more. But the topic that surrounds the show is fascinating. Now I just have to get back into Mad Men and I will be on track with my favorite shows again.

Going wayyyyy back with a Season 1 Promo 
via YouTube

I've also started putting together an Inspiration Palette for the fictional branding I wrote about last week. It is going to be for a clothing boutique called Flower Girl. During my blog browsing, I've come across many cute things for girls: clothes, shoes, toys, accessories. I thought it would be a nice little challenge for me to create something girly and cute. I usually don't do cute and girly...It's not really me. Working on reaching out of that comfort zone.

This Week's To Do List: 
1. Sketches for Flower Girl Clothing Boutique
2. Crochet Mittens
3. "Olive You" 

I've also got a few ideas for some thought provoking blog posts. I was listening to a couple of podcasts today from How Stuff Works. Mostly I was immersed in the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcasts. There was some interesting stuff about gender roles and how the media effects the youth. But I will come back to all of that later. 

And now I'm off to work on those mittens. 


January 16, 2011

Foods: TexMex Chili

An idea sprung into my head the other day at work. I was craving Qdoba and where I live, the closest is over an hour away. I thought of a way to get some of that goodness in a bowl. Tonight, I put my idea it into action. This recipe is for a TexMex Chili with Cilantro Lime Rice.

For my chili, I used Weber Smokey Mesquite Seasoning and Lime Garlic salsa. Using the seasoning and the salsa means that your spices are already there and you don't need to try and decide which ones to use (there's so many of them!) For an extra kick, I would maybe use a hot salsa, or add in some Frank's Red Hot Sauce (thank you UBMS for introducing me to that.)

Hopefully this remains good so I can get a few more meals out of it. It made a huuuuuuuge skillet full. Found a new favorite beverage today, Clear American Raspberry Apple flavored water. Amaaaazing.

A hint of a crochet project I'm working on: "Olive You!" Hopefully I can finish that up later this week. I also have an idea for a fictional branding I really hope to start this week also. It will be something different from what I've done in the past. I'm looking forward to doing something somewhat outside my box of clean, san serif design.


January 14, 2011

To Infinity & Beyond: Saturn

Outerspace! What a crazy place and I feel so philosophical thinking about it. It's insane to consider that the universe goes on and on...and on...and on...I can't wrap my head around it in the least. I've always been fascinated with astronomy. I was listening to a couple of podcasts today about Saturn, Saturn's rings, and it's moon Titan. Saturn happens to be one of the planets that intrigues me most.

Image found here.

Saturn is the sixth planet in our solar and second largest to Jupiter. It was named after the Greek God Cronus who was the father of Titan. (Greek mythology!) This planet is made up of all gas and is about 9x larger than Earth. Saturn has some of the most noticeable rings of all the planets. Interestingly enough, in the podcast I was listening to was talking about how it is thought that Earth once had rings too. This particular planet however has 9 rings that are made up of ice, rock debris, and dust. I didn't know this, but Saturn also has 62 moons! One of the, Titan, is the 2nd largest moon in the solar system, just behind Jupiter's Ganymede. It is also larger than the planet Mercury. Titan is also one of the only planets in the whole solar system to have it's own atmosphere. From what I've read and understood, besides the thought of Saturn having a rocky core, it is mostly made up of helium and hydrogen. 

Image found here.

Image found here.

Image found here.

That's all I got for you today! Michelle is here! Yay!!!!! 


January 13, 2011

Inspire Me: Penguins @ Etsy

Penguins. Anybody that knows me knows that penguins are my favorite animal. I have my own little collection of penguins going. One year, at college, we had a Build a Bear thing, or rather it was Stuff an Animal and my residents got me one of that last penguins they had! So I thought I would do a bit of digging around on Etsy tonight to see what I could find of my favorite cute animal.

Cutest cake topper. I want this at my wedding (that may not ever happen at the rate I'm going, haha.)
Found here.

Phil the Plaid Penguin. Wannnnnt. 
Found here.

Isn't he cute?
Found here.

I'm going to figure out how to make this lil guy. 
Found here

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil. 
Found here.

Penguins can to fly! 
Found here.

Pretty ring. 
Found here

I love Etsy. Its kind of a place where you have to hunt around for things. There are so many handcrafted things I want. And it's such a good place to go to for inspiration. 

Hopefully next week I can get back to posting some things I've made. I just have to start making things!


Foods: Margherita Pizza

I've been wanting to try a different kind of pizza other than the standard, "I'm in a cardboard box" pizza with the typical ingredients. I've been eyeing the Margherita Pizza for some time now. But I was always kind of scared because I'm not a huge tomato fan and it just seemed like something I wouldn't enjoy. Tonight, however, I pushed all fears aside and made it. Oh man, and I wasn't disappointed in the least. It was so good. The classic recipe calls for basil instead of spinach, but spinach was what I had in my fridge so I just used that instead. It had a wonderful garlic bread sort of flavor with the salty-ness from the cheese and a sweet from the tomato. Definitely try this out if you're looking for a change up from the same old pizza you always get. Plus, it's super quick and easy!

Tomorrow we have a snack day at work, I think I'm going to attempt some homemade vanilla pudding. Saw the recipe on Smitten Kitchen and I feel I must try it. I guess my co-workers get to be my guinea pigs. 

And I must clean my pit of an apartment because MICHELLE IS VISITING THIS WEEKEND! One of my good friends from college is making the snowy trek from across the state tomorrow for a visit. I'm so excited. I haven't seen her since September. It will be great to hang out with her again. It will be a weekend full of cream cheese wontons, taco dip, and...

I must thank my good friend Marlon over at A Day in the Life for making me watch this movie.

I'm not sure if I will do any posts this weekend or not. If I don't, see you Monday and have a good weekend! 


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