So Wrapped Up

It is awful that I have the capability as a graphic designer to create my own stationary yet i still choose the easy option of nipping to Tesco and picking up a cheap roll of wrapping paper. Whilst Christmas was looming late in 2016, I made myself a promise, no purchasing of bulk produced goods the year. NONE.

Like a little elf I got to work quickly on a repeating pattern that featured the common Christmas paraphernalia; presents, crackers, gingerbread men… you know the ones. I stuck to what I’m good at, simple freehand Illustrator sketches with a clean look and a hint of playfulness. Colour-wise, there’s so much you can do for Christmas nowadays, no need to don the traditional bright green and red. I was stuck between gold and black luxury and a muted palette of bright sweetness, in the end using one for cards and the other for paper. I also changed up the scale to suit the size and added a little note to the cards.

The printing gods at printed.com came up with some really nice goods, a heavier-than-normal stock of wrapping paper with a shine finish and print precision on the gorgeous laid greetings cards. They were even kind enough to feature my work on their blog HERE.

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Hi, I live here.

A while ago I made the scary but exciting decision to up sticks and move 350miles away from family and friends to the alluring shores of the south west cost. Two weeks in and I’ll fairly certain I’m going to love it here. Nothing can replace family and friends you’ve known since school, but the sights and sounds of Cornwall have a soothing effect that instantly make you feel at home. I feel blessed to be living two minutes from the sea with miles and miles of coastline to be explored, the therapeutic sound of the ocean and quiet country paths for thinking time. My mind is buzzing with the potential for new creative projects inspired by life surrounded by rugged nature which I can’t wait to get started on.

Bee Close Ups

My friends were kind enough to give me a nice nickname – B. Not after Beyonce (unfortunately) but because I’m normally pretty busy and smaller than the average 12 year old (at 5’0″). Plus, its simple, my surname begins with B. I’m secretly chuffed that this nickname caught on, I do like bees. They aren’t an insect you need to swat away (take note wasps!) they just get on with what they’re doing, hopping from flower to flower. And they do make great models, the time they take to suck up the nectar gives you a good chance at a decent shot and luckily this little guy was hungry…

I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the detail (shot on a Canon SLR) but would love a lens that gave me even more detail on those flimsy wings. I particularly love the shot that is a little blurred giving the pollen on the bee the illusion of glowing fairy dust – no photoshop needed!

Cheers!

I’ve been part of the rapidly expanding cheerleading world for the past 8 years, performing in various teams and running a program of my own for a number of years which I sadly had to give up last year due to work commitments. As a sport, I love it. It really is a sport that pretty much anyone can do as long as you have the enthusiasm. And please note I do passionately refer to it as a SPORT, there was no standing on the sidelines here. Cheerleading these days is very much about training hard, sweating, getting the odd elbow to the face and going all out when it comes to competing with other teams.

It was natural that the two biggest interests in my life would collide – design and cheer. In my previous employment I designed Cheerleading kit, and it did very well, one of the best companies in the country in fact. It lead to lots of different projects about cheer, one of them being a collaboration I did with the UK Cheerleading Magazine.

The ‘Worlds’ Edition of the magazine is the equivalent of the Vogue September Issue. The big one. And I was kindly asked by the editor to illustrate a piece on what to pack for the teams going to the World Championships. I’ve used this style of illustration many a time consisting of pen tool drawing in Illustrator, taking in to Photoshop to add colour and a little shading then doing some arrangements of InDesign. As you can see from the below the client wasn’t happy with the first arrangement all shooting out of the bag but loved the second. It was loud and bright and CHEERFUL and that’s what made it to print…

Feeling Fruitful

Fruity prints have been everywhere of late and wanted to do my own spin on it. I love the fruits that actually taste so much better in summer when the sun is shining and you’re lounging in the garden with a good book (and preferably a mojito.) I used slightly watered-down gouache paints to create my fruits, scanned them in and neatened in Photoshop, then used Illustrator to create the repeat.

I rescaled the actual pattern on each to give all three a fresh feel, using a modern summer palette. (I LOVE the blue one, I’d have a dress made in this print given the chance!)

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I’m On The Photoshop Express

I recently got a the new iPhoneSE (hurray one that actually works finally!) and was so excited to get snap happy on my recent trip to the south coast. I’ve previously tried carrying a SLR around with me but honestly, its a hassle. They’re heavy and there’s lots of putting away and getting back out and keeping protected from the (imminent) rain. This was so convenient to pull out at a seconds notice. I also downloaded the Photoshop Express and Photoshop Fix Apps (full version is free for Adobe cloud members) and was pretty impressed with its capabilities. Here’s what I created with essentially free camera and software…

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On A Flower Trip

I am so lucky that my mother is such an avid gardener. In summer her garden is full to bursting with amazing flowers which I have taken full advantage of this year by photographing the ones that I thought would work nicely in my wedding designs.

Harriet came to me with a tight deadline and just a loose brief of what she wanted – Mauve, Lavender and Grey with an accent of navy, something floral and pretty. The rest was up to me, which i LOVE! These colours were a beautiful match, lending a rustic and romantic feel to the design.

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I used Photoshop to cut out a few different flowers, filter them to give a painted effect and recoloured so they all blended through the same tones, in-keeping with the colour scheme. I then arranged and layered them over one another to create a backdrop for the text.

I chose a beautiful, classic typeface for the happy couple’s names and to pick out some titles. This paired well with a serif for a clean but elegant finish.

And I think the bride liked them too…

“Omg I am IN LOVE!!!! They are exactly what I wanted… Well more!!! Thank you so much they are so perfect, I must send you a picture of the bridesmaid dresses because you won’t believe how perfect they match them!!!”

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OUTLINING PATTERNS

It was quite a time consuming task using just the Illustrator pen tool to draw the flower image. Considering investing in a wacom tablet to encourage myself to create more work like this as I do really like the outcome. Quite a popular style at the moment due to the sudden fame of ‘adult colouring books’, (which I have tried and gained zero stress relief from!)

I turned my flower drawing in to a set of three patterns in varying shades.

Hand Lettering Progression

When I was younger I was obsessed with hand lettering. I’d use it for everything; science books, birthday cards, shopping lists. As I progressed on to university and eventually, an actual grown up career, I became more interested in finding just the right font instead. As with anything, when you don’t practise skills, things get a bit rusty.
There’s been a big comeback of late in the hand lettering game, I think Pinterest and Instagram ‘daily slogans’ are mainly to thank for this. I’ve seen it around a lot anyway and wanted to have a go again.
Things aren’t quite up to scratch. I don’t have the patience (or time let’s be honest!) that I did as a teenager. Hopefully with some more practise I’ll get back in the swing. I’ve decided my ‘thing’ is definitely picking my favourite quotes. In need of some different sized sharpies i think in order to get a more elegant look. But overall feel like the actual lettering shapes are getting much better.

 

ORIGINAL HAND DRAWING THEN PHOTOGRAPHED AND ADJUSTED IN PHOTOSHOP

 

IMAGE TRACE ON ILLUSTRATOR

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FINAL PIECE

 

A Festive Occasion

The delightful Holly came to me with the task of creating wedding stationary for the marriage of her and her partner John. The two had enjoyed many a festival over the time they had known each other and they wanted to emulate this casual party feel throughout their big day. The evening setting was the beautiful Rivington Hall Barn, featuring high arced ceilings with huge saxon beams and decorated with hundreds of fairy lights. The surrounding area stretches as far as you can see with pretty fields and woodland, which on a balmy summers night would only add to the festival feel.

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Photo Credit : http://www.rivingtonhallbarn.co.uk

MOOD BOARD

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THE PROCESS

The colour scheme was to be a paired back palette of blues, purples and pinks, leaning more towards the tones that you’d find in a field, not that on a promo poster. Pantone 240C (pink), Pantone 2656C (purple) and Pantone Process Blue C (blue). These bright colours worked well with black and white accents.

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Graphically they wanted something fairly simple without to many elements. The background was striped to just two tones of blue in a simple sun ray formation. To soften the look I added some elegant swirl vectors and dainty white hummingbirds, a nod to the whimsical magic intended of the day. The predominant typeface used was ‘Bebas Neue’ which for the main title was finely stroked and a drop shadow applied. Secondly I used ‘Rosewood’, a western style serif font, often bringing a retro American desert scene to mind. Lastly I also incorporated a script font called ‘Yellowtail’ keeping this in a small point size, it worked well to add a touch of fun to the design.

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THE RESULT

For guests I produced day and evening  invitations and an information card detailing the local hotels and messages such as suggested gifting. For the day itself I was also asked to create a seating plan (A2 board), table names (A5 place cards) and some A6 name tags that could be  connected to lanyards for the VIP guests.

 

Wedding Stationary

Wedding Stationary

Wedding Stationary

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