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.

 

Curiosities

Last week I shared a pattern from my latest mini-collection, Curiosities Vol. 1. I'm happy to share that the whole collection is now available on Spoonflower in all 4 colorways!

This collection was inspired by natural curiosities. And if you didn't guess from the name of the collection, I'm hoping to add more patterns over time - next up, the ocean!

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

Happy Galentine's Day!

Galentine's Day is coming up soon. Not sure what Galentine's Day is? Check out this explanation of this made-up-turned-truly-beloved holiday where ladies celebrate ladies.

To help you celebrate your lady friends, I created some old-school-style classroom Valentine cards you can pass out to the women in your life. The cards feature some pretty cool ladies like Mae Jemison, RBG, and Rosie the Riveter.

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Download these cards (which are designed to be printed double-sided), cut them apart, and share them this February 13th.

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Fat Quarter Tea Towels

This week's Handmade Holiday gift idea is a fat-quarter friendly tea towel project.

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Supplies needed: fat quarter of medium- to heavy-weight fabric (see note below regarding fabric selection), ~5" of ribbon or twill tape (scraps will work fine!), thread, scissors, sewing machine, iron, pressing board, a couple of straight pins or Clover clips

Cost: up to ~$15.00 (price will vary greatly based on your fabric choice)

Time: 15-20 minutes, plus the time you spend shopping for fabric, which could be considerable

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A note about fabric selection

For a beautiful, long-lasting tea towel, you will want a fabric with a heavier hand than quilting cotton. I would recommend linen, twill, or canvas. For my tea towels, I'm using Linen Cotton Canvas from Spoonflower. I'm not just pimping Spoonflower because I have designs for sale there...there are a few reasons this works well. First, the Linen Cotton Canvas is a durable choice for tea towels. Second, while a standard fat quarter of fabric is about 18" x 22", fat quarters of this fabric are 18" x 27", which is a great size for a tea towel. Third, Spoonflower introduced a feature earlier this year where you can Fill-a-Yard of fabric with multiple designs, so one yard of fabric can yield 4 different tea towels! This saves you money, and allows you to make unique towels for everyone on your list.

Now to dive in!

If your fabric has any selvedge, trim that away before pressing.

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You'll press 1/2" on all 4 sides, and then fold that over and press again to enclose the raw edges.

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Cut a piece of twill tape (or ribbon) to about 5" long, Tuck this under the pressed edges in one of the top corners, running diagonally across the corner as shown below.

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In order to keep the twill tape from shifting during sewing, you'll want to secure it with a couple of pins or Clover clips.

Since the stitching will be very visible on the front of the towel, I like to sew from the front. Do whatever floats your boat, though! You'll stitch at the 1/2" mark around all 4 sides, pivoting at the corners.

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And that's it! You've made a beautiful tea towel that adds personality to any kitchen.

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If you're interested in purchasing the design shown in the example photos, you can find it here in my Spoonflower shop. If you'd like to learn how to design a tea towel calendar of your own, check out my calendar design class on Skillshare.

Let's Play House!

The wait is finally over! I'm delighted to share that my first line of fabric for Robert Kaufman - Let's Play House -  is now available in stores and online.

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I'll be visiting Silk Road Textiles in the Cincinnati area on 9/12 to share my fabrics and have some fun giveaways, and I will be hosting a workshop for the Let's Play House Pillow on 10/14 at Sew to Speak in Columbus. if you're local to Ohio or will be passing through, I'd love to see you!

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Kismet Trinket Boxes

This weekend, I sewed up some Kismet Trinket Boxes by Sara Lawson of Sew Sweetness. I'd been wanting to give these a try for some time - I had so much fun making her Crimson & Clover train case pattern, and this set of itty bitty cases was just too cute to pass up.

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I made the large and small versions of the square case using some of my upcoming fabric, Let's Play House.

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This fat quarter-friendly project was easier than I expected. I had to take my time on the small curves, but the boxes came together pretty quickly, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.  

 

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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!