I am in love with Aileen Cheng’s graphic design style, she is really talented and pays extra close attention to all of the little details. She’s done some great work for clients like Max Wanger and Birds of a Feather, and the patterns she makes are truly amazing to look at! She is also the sweetest, I look forward to meeting her one day!
What inspired you to become a designer? Since I was little my dad had always told me to do what I love. When I was five, I enlisted my sister’s help and together we created a giant mural on the walls of my parents’ bedroom using crayons and markers (which they weren’t very happy about!) so my mom helped channel my energy by exposing me to every type of creative activity she could get me into. I’ve always been doing something creative, whether it was painting or ceramics or Chinese calligraphy.I also remember being conscious of typography even before I knew what it was. As a kid I was drawn to the aesthetics of typewritten letters for some reason, so I got my hands on a typewriter and I made my own labels for organizing things in my room.
I also made tons of posters for school events, always drawing different fonts for the headlines. Later on my dad discovered there were colleges where you could graduate and get a job doing something creative, so I ended up in design school! You can imagine my excitement when I took my first actual typography class!
What do you do to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person? For me it’s super important to keep doing things outside my comfort zone to push myself to get better and learn new skills. I started out as a brand and packaging designer. I hadn’t done much web design before, but as more clients started to need websites, I got into it and now it’s a huge part of what I do.
My husband Kevin - he’s a graphic designer also, currently working as an art director at Apple. We bounce ideas off of each other a lot and he’s always so supportive of everything I do. It’s inspiring on another level when the person you live with shares the same perspective, ideals and passion. Design influences so much of our life together, it’s crazy. When I make an impulse purchase on something just because I like the packaging, it’s nice to know that the person next to me doesn’t think I’m completely bonkers. / photo by Sarah Yates of Birds of a Feather, taken at on our wedding day
Travel – I grew up in Taipei where I went to an International school and was lucky to have traveled around in that part of the world when I was younger, and then elsewhere when I got older. Having been exposed to so many different cultures definitely inspires my work and gives me a different perspective on things. And I love to travel, the type where you get lost in a city like Paris, Taipei or Tokyo and end up finding interesting little bookstores filled with random things. I always find something that inspires me. / the beautiful island I grew up on, photo by me
Graphic Masters – I love looking through work by graphic masters of the past, like Josef Müller-Brockmann and Josef Albers. It’s inspiring to see their explorations in composition, typography and color back when graphic design was still being defined. / poster by Josef Albers for the 1972 Munich Olympics. Source
Outside inspiration – I like finding inspiration outside of what I do, in fashion, film, photography, architecture, etc. I particularly love looking at window displays. I’ve seen some really awesome ones. I can’t remember where I saw this one shown in the photo, but I love the colors they used. / window display detail, photo by me
Making things – I love getting away from my computer and the internet to make things with my hands. It always inspires me to do better work. I like cooking, not so much in a follow-the-recipe kind of way, but in a more fluid way. It doesn’t always taste the best, but it’s definitely more fun! I used to work at a design studio where they had a glass workshop. It was tons of fun to make stuff with different textures and materials. Right now I want to get back into ceramics! / pizza made from scratch, photo by my husband
Morning! I don’t usually share any of my work in progress before it’s finished, but Gina and I thought it would be fun to take you through our branding process as things unfold. I always enjoy looking through Dribbble to see behind the scenes of designers’ projects – it gives me a glimpse into how they work and also how they land at their final product. After all, a lot of the time, by the time you get to the final design it shouldn’t be much of a surprise; you can see how things develop and the progression of thinking throughout the project.
Gina is a really talented interior designer that wants a brand identity to reflect her personality and help take her business to the next level. You can see here when we started with her mood board and personality traits here. After Gina answered several questions that gave me a great idea of her style and goals for her business, we were able to dive in and start designing!
These are the 4 options I presented to her, all in black and white so she could really focus on the design and not get distracted by color. I wanted all of the logos to reflect a refined, modern look with attention to detail. Whenever I design I like to give a range of styles so the client can figure out exactly what she likes AND doesn’t like. We’re moving forward with the first and the third option and next it’s time to add color! I’ll be sure to share the final logo once it’s complete.
Anastasia Marie is a super talented stationery and graphic designer based in Vancouver, Washington. I’ve always been a huge fan of her work; she pays extra close attention to the details which show through in all of her beautiful designs. I have fallen in love with her Gift Wrap series over on her blog, you HAVE to check it out!
What inspired you to become a graphic designer? I took a graphic design class back in high school, fell in love, ditched my plan of becoming a nurse, and things flowed from there. It was one of those moments when a small hobby that you had suddenly made sense as a life-long job instead. I had done little craft projects here and there growing up, so when I started putting together my first official class project, I just knew that I had to be a designer.
What do you do to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person? This is harder to do than I actually thought. I sometimes think I’m my own worst critic and I often get in the way of myself. Over the years, I’ve learned how to tackle that and I get better at it daily. I try to surround myself with pretty things in the studio, whether it be a page ripped out of a magazine, a pretty photograph, past projects of mine, a good roll of washi tape, work from other designers that I admire, etc. This pushes me to try new artistic techniques. I also try to routinely meet up with good pals who encourage me and give me feedback on how I’m doing. This means sucking it in if you hear something you don’t necessarily like and making steps to improve. If my creativity feels stuck, instead of sulking like I did in the early days, I now take breaks that sometimes last up to several days in order to revamp. I used to think this was a waste of time, but I find it’s the exact opposite. During this time I play around with things I’ve never done before, like find a new fun way to print something or try a new technique in Photoshop. I come back a better designer and the projects that I got stuck on now get a fresh look.
What are you inspired by on a daily basis?
God. He created beauty in the first place and it’s hard to look at pretty things and not thank Him for being so creative.
Sunshine. You might consider this a strange choice, but it’s a big mood booster for me. I love waking up in the morning, walking into my studio and seeing the sunshine fill up the space. It definitely gets me all motivated to work.
Paper. I’m in love with all things paper. I’m the type of person who buys it just because it’s pretty. Then it sits in my studio collecting dust for the most part. So whether it’s an actual sheet of paper, a roll of washi tape, an envelope, a mini journal, a printed book or magazine — just looking at it makes me giddy.
Craft Items. I guess it’s only fair to add little things like paint, bakers twine, painted clothespins, fun paperclips, mini pencils, etc. next to my obsession to paper. I’m equally just as obsessed with these types of things. It’s crazy how just by filling up my studio with these items, I find myself putting together creative projects I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
Meet Ups. Whether I’m meeting up with another local creative gal, spending time with good friends, or snuggling with my hubby (he’s a big inspiration), people are such a big source of inspiration for me. Whether we’re just catching up over a cup of coffee, making future plans, or analyzing our lives, it’s always a good time. I love studying other people’s lifestyles, characters, styles, etc. It makes my world just a bit bigger and my imagination follows suit.
This mood board was a fun new challenge since it was a break away from brighter colors and reflects more of a modern industrial look. The client really prides herself on paying extra close attention to detail while also being able to express herself in an artistic way. We will definitely make sure that feeling comes through in her final brand look. The juxtaposition of structured, detailed typography with a hint of ‘glam’ is what we’re going for!
The key brand personality and design traits we came up with were modern, detail oriented, functional, chic, industrial & genuine.
I’m so excited to bring the Inspired By series back! I’ve changed it up a little – now instead of showing pictures of work I’ve asked everyone to share pictures of 5 things that inspire them. I’ve had such a blast looking through everyone’s photos so far, I can’t wait to share them all with you!
We’re kicking things off with Julie Edwards! I first came across her work when I saw these business cards and absolutely fell in love. She has great style and such a sweet personality – enjoy!
What inspired you to become a designer? I suppose my first introduction to graphic design would go back to my high school days when I worked part-time for Sam’s Club in their marketing department. At that time, the department was working on a promotional event that included several activity stations for kids and my job was to create the signs for each station as well as the flyer for the event. I had so much fun creating everything that I remember thinking if I could just do this for the rest of my life and get paid for it, I would be one happy lady!
What do you do to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person? This is something I think about a lot. When your job is to be creative all the time, it is easy to feel burnt out or uninspired. So, I constantly explore other creative outlets outside of my day-to-day work activities. Simply putting myself in a different frame of mind or interacting with other individuals inspires new ideas and thoughts. For example, I am currently taking a photography class on studio lighting where I just learned that I really love styling the set. Now I’m totally inspired to explore that avenue! I also think collaborations are really important and am always on the lookout for people to collaborate with (anyone, anyone?). Not only do collaborations help spark new ideas, but they also keep me accountable and motivated. I also try to take breaks often, attend events like Creative Mornings, travel, spend time with friends and family, and try to have as many new experiences as possible.
What are you inspired by on a daily basis?
Music that makes me dance. Throughout the day, I can be found shamelessly shaking my booty in my living room to songs like, Hit the Floor or to the Latin tunes on my newest record, “The Original Sound of Cumbia.” Taking breaks to dance around gives me mental clarity from the task at hand and a boost of energy for challenging projects. Plus, it just makes me happy.
After the Jump podcasts by Grace Bonny of designspongeonline.com. I just discovered these podcasts and am so incredibly impressed and inspired by Grace. She does an incredible job interviewing top names in the creative industry such as Julia Rothman. The insight into the lives of other creatives and their design practices alongside Grace’s honest discussions about her own vulnerabilities is incredibly inspiring. I walk away with at least one new idea after listening to each episode.
Nail polish! The other day my friend brought over all her bottles of nail polish. She had a ton of colors, which ranged in neutrals, pastels, and fluorescents and it made me realize I’ve been ignoring some great colors. I usually tend to stay within a certain color palette so this was a reminder to cut loose and stray from my norm!
Travel. This past summer I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Istanbul and Paris where I was met with visual overload! Old world streets in both cities introduced new textures (and smells) while palaces like Versaille and Topkapi continue to inspire new designs and patterns. Putting myself in a new environment is yet another way I refresh my mind and the photos of these experiences are always great resources to go to when I’m stumped for ideas!
My support system, Greg (my husband) and Wyatt (my dog). Without these guys, I wouldn’t have a shoulder to cry on, encouraging words, furry cuddles and exercise, or the motivation to do what I do.