Why I refreshed my brand identity...and why you should consider it, too.

One of my first patterns for Spoonflower,  Market Fresh

One of my first patterns for Spoonflower, Market Fresh

One year ago today, I began working for myself full-time as a designer. I had spent a couple years designing as a side hustle, and obviously hoped to one day spend my time solely focused on my business, but I began small. Microscopic, really.

I had been sewing for a number of years, and I was head-over-heels in love with modern fabric. I loved the vibrant colors and playful patterns, and I couldn’t buy enough of it. (Truthfully, I bought far too much of it, as I’m sure my husband will attest, but you know what I mean.) When I discovered that there are people whose job it is to design that fabric? I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I started by designing 9 patterns and selling them through Spoonflower in 2014.

I kept creating patterns and built up a body of work (I’m up to 264 patterns...and counting) that I felt I could market to fabric companies, so I created a logo and some marketing materials for myself and gave it a go.

My first logo.

My first logo.

I got rejected. A lot. Always nicely, but it was still disheartening. But I kept at it...and got really good at writing cover letters.

Fast forward to this time last year. I found myself with a line of fabric through Robert Kaufman, patterns licensed on accessories and apparel, a healthy group of students taking my Skillshare classes, and not enough time and energy to devote to my design work AND my day job. So with the support of my family, I went all-in on the design career and quit my day job.

This turned out to be a great decision for me. I now have clients the world over, and the services I provide vary greatly. As I’ve watched my business grow, it became clear to me that my brand identity no longer reflected what my business had become.

Don’t get me wrong - I still love my first logo. It embodied who I was and what I was doing - I was an illustrator who drew patterns with pencil and paper, who was known for her hand-drawn style. And while I still create patterns and do a lot of illustration work by hand, I also provide design services that are more polished and technical. I knew I needed a brand identity that reflected that and inspired confidence in my new clients.

The style sheet for my new brand identity.

The style sheet for my new brand identity.


My new brand identity still has a bit of my hand in it - my name and monogram are hand-lettered, and two of the supporting patterns were done by hand. But the overall feel of the logo is more modern, more sophisticated, and more approachable.

My updated website.

My updated website.

The same is true for my website. I rolled out a new version that shows a wider body of work, but still gives pattern work the love it deserves. My about page went from a quirky paragraph about a side hustler to a strong showcase of my professional services, including testimonials from my clients.

As a business owner, you want nothing more than to see your business grow. But as your business grows, you need to be sure that your image grows with it. If it’s been a while since you evaluated your brand identity, now is the time. And if you would like some help with that from someone who has not only provided that service for clients but has also recently experienced it themselves, let me know!




Pattern Design: Create a Cohesive Pattern Collection

I've been busy designing something I've never designed before - a kitchen. Our dishwasher died, which of course led to getting all new cabinets, counter tops, and appliances. I'll be doing demo this weekend and (hopefully) get the bulk of the install work done next week, while my teen "helpers" are on spring break. Spoken like a true kitchen reno novice, I'm sure. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I'm sharing some of my tested design skills in my newest Skillshare class - Pattern Design: Create a Cohesive Pattern Collection.

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Join me as I take you through the creation of a cohesive pattern collection. In this class, you will learn how to create a moodboard as well as the different types of patterns that make up a collection. You'll also learn how to create spot graphics within the theme of your collection.

This class is designed for those who want to take their pattern design skills to the next level and add a marketable collection to their portfolio. Students should have a working knowledge of pattern creating in Illustrator or Photoshop. If you're just getting started in pattern design, be sure to check out my introductory pattern design classes for Illustrator and Photoshop.

 

Take it or leaf it

It's the last day of February and I'm fairly certain that we'll be having snow again soon. But right now it's 60 degrees and the tulips have started sprouting so I'm in a spring mood. And a change in the seasons means it's time to change my wallpaper. Today I'm sharing this leafy patterned wallpaper to help you get in the springtime mood, too. This design is from a mini-collection I've been working on as part of my upcoming Skillshare class about creating a cohesive pattern collection. Stay tuned for more details and, in the meantime, download this wallpaper for all of your devices!

Spring Desktop Wallpaper

Dreaming of a Hawaiian Vacation

We're going hiking in the Utah desert this July (yes...we know it will be hot), but that hasn't stopped me from daydreaming about one of the two remaining states we need to visit before we can say we've hit all 50.

Every week in June, Spoonflower is hosting a contest with Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki to find patterns that embody island life at the property. Here are the designs I submitted for each week's theme.

Rainbow Tower

 

Mid Century Modern Hawaiian Village

 

Blue Hawaii

 

Friday Night Fireworks

Post Haste

I've finally wrapped up my snail-mail themed collection, Post Haste!

This collection makes me want to send, receive, sort, and deliver mail. I had so much fun designing all of the elements.

I've done these patterns up in two color ways - the classic shown above, and a more lively, modern scheme shown below.

Next up? I think these are crying out to become coloring pages. Stay tuned!

A love letter to snail mail

I'm working on a new collection of patterns and spot graphics inspired by old-fashioned mail.

After all, who doesn't love receiving a beautifully hand-addressed letter that we're sure doesn't contain a bill?

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And stamps...stamps are a source of never-ending inspiration and delight! I've loved digging through photos of old stamps from all over the world - such beautiful, whimsical artwork at such a tiny scale!

I'm having so much fun with this one, and can't wait to share the final product with you!

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My Skillshare class is now live!

I'm excited to share with you that my Skillshare class, Lettering with Motifs: Using Graphics as Type, is now live! I've thought about doing this for a while, and in the month of March I planned, rehearsed, recorded, and edited this class, and I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Check out this intro video, then head on over to Skillshare to enroll, and get a free month using this link!

 

 

Learning new skills, sharing old ones

This month, I am publishing my first class on Skillshare. I've been threatening to do this for a while, but couldn't quite work up the nerve. I couldn't decide what to teach, unsure that I had anything new to offer. Over the years, I've taken many classes that have helped me grow and become more skilled in my design processes, and I just didn't know if I had anything to add to the mix. After repeated hounding from the Skillshare team, I decided it was time.

My class is Lettering with Motifs: Using Graphics as Type to Create a Themed Postcard. I'll be sharing my process for creating high-impact, beautiful lettering from icons and motifs. Using existing letters as a template, students will arrange motifs drawn by hand or digitally into lettering for a postcard.

Lessons will cover:

  • Best practices for research and brainstorming
  • Digitizing your hand drawn artwork (scanning, cleaning up, and vectorizing your motifs)
  • Adding color to and recoloring your artwork
  • Arranging motifs to create letterforms that are readable and beautiful

These are all skills I have. The skills I'm now trying to master include screen capture, video and sound editing, and not sounding like a doofus. Here's my super-professional setup:

And yes...I AM filming at my kitchen table, because the lighting at my desk is...well, not good. Not good at all. If I stay on track and hit all my milestones, the class should be launched for April. I'll keep you posted!

 

Happy Hour Tea Towel Calendar

Every year, I design a tea towel calendar as one of my Christmas gifts. My friends and family have come to expect them, and I look forward to coming up with a new theme each year. I knew that we were going to need lots of cocktails in 2017, so I featured 12 of my favorite grown-up beverages.

I sketched each of the drinks in pencil, and included simple recipes. I knew that the recipes would be too much text for the tea towel, but who knows what else I might do with these illustrations?

I inked my drawings and pulled them into Illustrator for finishing.

After I finalized the layout, I uploaded my design to Spoonflower for printing. The calendar is sized to fit on a single fat quarter of Linen Cotton Canvas, and a simple hem around the edge is all that's needed to make a towel that will liven up any kitchen or bar!

If you'd like your own Happy Hour tea towel calendar, you can purchase this design in my Spoonflower shop!

Honesty is the best policy

It's been a long time since I posted - too long. Life has been busy on all fronts - something I'm sure everyone can relate to. The day job is chaotic, design projects are plenty, and back-to-school is always an overwhelming time of year. Mix in a few emotional life events and you've got a recipe for not doing a great job at all of the things. I decided to give myself some grace when it came to blogging and focus on getting some other s*#$ done. I've been working on some exciting stuff that I look forward to sharing with you soon. In the meantime, here's proof that I haven't been idle this summer - just busy.

Summer is for Sno-Cones!

...and bomb pops, and twin Popsicles, and push pops, and now I'm just making myself hungry!

Last month, a friend and I were talking about tasty treats for summer time and decided we needed some fabric featuring our favorite cool desserts for summer. I came home and set about sketching, and before you know it we had our wish!

Ice Ice Baby is now available on Spoonflower, and was also the inspiration for July's coloring page!

New Month, New Fabric, New Coloring Page!

The garden is in full bloom at Casa Hersey - tulips, begonias, spinach, kale - it runs the gamut! I can't take any credit for the lovely and delicious things growing in our yard...I have a brown thumb when it comes to plants, so I stick to drawing flowers that can't die and leave the gardening to my green-thumbed, botanically-gifted husband.

Speaking of flowers I've drawn, my latest collection of patterns - Acadia -  is now available on Spoonflower.

Acadia Quilt

This collection was inspired by our visit to Acadia National Park and our wide-spread exploration of Maine a couple of summers ago.

Acadia Pattern Collection

As frequent visitors to the western United States, it was quite a change to spend time along the northeastern coast. The flora and fauna are so different from what we're used to, either at home or traveling. In this collection, I've tried to capture some of the unique beauty found in the Acadia region.

The artwork from this collection is featured in this month's coloring page. I hope you enjoy it!

April Showers Coloring Page

April has arrived, and with it some less-than-ideal weather. You expect to get rain in April, but I personally could do without hail, snow, and crazy winds. In the hopes that it calms down and just turns to showers, this month's coloring page features a variety of umbrellas suitable for April weather.

These umbrellas are also featured on fabric, wall paper, and gift wrap in my Spoonflower store.
 

A St. Patrick's Day greeting from me to you!

The holiday of my people is tomorrow...and by my people, I don't mean drunken frat boys - I mean the Irish. I'm about as Irish as St. Patty's day...some distant relatives, red hair and freckles, and a certificate testifying to the fact I've kissed the Blarney stone (a thing I'm led to believe Irish people don't do...they favor committing a different act on the stone).

My family celebrated early this year with a green family dinner. My mother likes to make green foods and dye some foods that aren't green (yum?) for St. Patrick's day, and this year's menu included lime Jell-o, pesto pasta, green butter, and mint popcorn (you read that correctly).

In honor of tomorrow's holiday, I made this printable card for you to share. Éire go Brách!

If I'd been a boy...

...my parents would've named me Valentine. An old family name. For a dude. Seriously. I'm pretty sure I hit the chromosomal lottery and dodged a real bullet there.

That said, I have a soft spot for Valentine's Day. Sure, it's a little sappy and mushy and obnoxious when you're single. But I fondly remember when I was a little girl (thankfully!) handing out tiny cards to everyone in my class at school. I would spend hours decorating my Valentine's Day mail box, anticipating the cards I would receive. I loved the colorful little messages, love-struck cartoon characters, and candy hearts. As I grew older, I developed an appreciation for vintage Valentine's cards with their corny puns, slightly-forced rhymes, and beautiful illustrations. Here are some favorites from my collection.

In anticipation of Valentine's Day this year, I designed free printable valentines for you!

Don't worry - I haven't forgotten about this month's coloring page...I did get a little carried away with the valentine, but I still have a brand new free printable coloring page for you, too!


Now we're cooking!

Waiting is difficult. As a seasoned adult, I should be better at it by now - but I'm not. The time it takes to go from sketch to digital design goes by in a blink compared to waiting for strike offs to arrive and a collection to actually become available. By the time I have fabric in hand, I've usually moved on to the next collection. My recent wedding and honeymoon kept me (rightfully) distracted while I waited, but I'm pleased today to share that my latest collection, What's Cooking?, is now available on Spoonflower!


What's Cooking?

I'm excited to share a preview of my latest pattern collection with you. The name of my collection is What's Cooking?, and it was inspired by the hustle and bustle of Grandma's kitchen as she prepared Sunday dinners.

I also used elements of my patterns to create a tea towel calendar.

I had so much fun with this project! I knew I wanted to develop a collection around kitchenware. I'm not much of a cook, but I love kitchen gadgets and have many fond memories of helping my grandmother as she cooked and baked for the family.

Here are my mood boards.

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I sketched in pencil and then traced my drawings in Illustrator.

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Now I'm working on additional colorways for the collection, and look forward to sharing the whole line with you soon.

Nature's Sketchbook

I recently shared my Seeds Gone Wild pattern. I used that pattern as a springboard for a collection of 6 patterns.

I sketched in pencil, and then traced some of my drawings in Illustrator using my Wacom tablet and inked some of them using a lightbox and pen.

Here are close ups of the individual patterns.

I'm now awaiting the arrival of strike-offs, and the collection will soon be available in 4 colorways in my Spoonflower shop!