Family Greetings in Retro Travel Postcard Style

Cards, Design, Illustration, New Piece, Print

Day Care Project final web

I worked on a project recently that was a lot of fun. A mother whose child attends a small daycare center wanted to pull together a unique thank you gift for the class’s teachers. She found a board she really liked on Etsy, and thought it would be fun to have pictures of the families to pin onto it. We got to talking and the idea expanded to be not just family photos, but vintage inspired travel postcard themed cards with a greeting of their choice on it. Each family had a fun story or background that we could highlight, so I whipped up a textured template (working with a limited palette that went well with the board she’d found) and I made a bunch of fun graphics to include on each family’s card. I also aged the photos a bit to make them fit in with the retro style a bit more.

Day Care Photos Lutz

Father came from Hawaii, and they love to surf!

They love to be outdoors, especially their garden.

They love to be outdoors, especially their garden.

Mom is from Trinidad and Father is from Norway, so they can never decide between skiing and surfing.

Mom is from Trinidad and Father is from Norway, so they can never decide between skiing and surfing.

Parents are from Taiwan and New Jersey - their love met in the middle. Can't forget the dog!

Parents are from Taiwan and New Jersey – their love met in the middle. They love biking and hiking, too.

All their love, from Switzerland.

All their love, from Switzerland.

We have a rivalry on our hands! Also, can't forget the dog.

We have a rivalry on our hands! Also, can’t forget the dog.

Both parents are basically professional dancers, both ballroom and swing.

Both parents are basically professional dancers, both ballroom and swing.

Can't forget the Frozen fans. (image blurred by family's request).

Can’t forget the Frozen fans. (image blurred by family’s request).

A very fun, personalized gift for the teachers. They loved it so much they plan on keeping it in the classroom even after the current class has moved on.

It was a lot of fun coming up with graphics for each family and having it work with the theme. I liked the color palette a lot, too. Would be fun to make more graphics like this.

Oh, here’s the backside, where the family’s wrote their personalized messages. Complete with custom stamp and post office marker.

Print

Launch & Iterate Tech Talk

Cards, Design, Illustration, Packaging, Presentation, Print

I was invited to Google last week for a really cool Tech Talk presented by the creators of the game Launch & Iterate, that I took part in the graphic design for. It was a really great presentation that gave a detailed explanation of the process of creating the game, from the first email exchange where the notion of making a game was first introduced (a good 2+ years ago now) to where they are now with a final product and lots of positive feedback, with all the lessons learned along the way and the things that went right that they’re most proud of.

Eddie and Jessica walking us through the game’s development

 

Having worked closely with the team on the project from a relatively early stage of the development, it was still enlightening to hear their stories of all the testing and reasons for all the changes they made along the way. I also learned that their target demographic was actually students who were not already familiar with the genre of Euro-style gaming, which for some reason came as a surprise to me (wait, doesn’t everyone play these games now?? Are you saying I live in a board game bubble?).

Hey, they’re talking about me!

 

They were very generous in giving me a shout-out in the presentation as the outside professional they hired to pull the game together. I probably couldn’t talk enough about how great of an experience it was to work on this project, and how much I have enjoyed watching (and participating in) its evolution. It was inspiring, and of course, puts the fire under me to once again have a go at creating my own game again.

Brain Dump

Design, Illustration, New Piece

Brain

Deciding to leave my full-time position was not a light decision. I had been there a long time and felt quite comfortable. I started at Sereno Group as an associate designer, but quickly rose to become the lead of the design department, which I ran for 7 years. I’ve come to realize that 7 years at one job is not common this day and age, certainly not amongst my immediate peers. Being somewhere that long had its rewards though: a solid accrual of vacation days, familiarity with all aspects of your job, and other people’s reverence for the knowledge you have amassed. I became an information super center, able to answer seemingly random questions in half a second since I was either there when it happened, or was the person who put the system in place. I thoroughly enjoyed when we hired new designers to the team and they would wonder why things were the way we were and I could provide solid evidence and anecdotes to back up the decisions I had made (though, always eager to see a fresh perspective in case there was something I had been missing in my own view of the way things were). It was gratifying to be working in a system where you understood the ins and outs, and knew where to find things, and knew the reason behind why things were being done, versus the usual mantra of “I dunno, that’s what I was told.”

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But I also found that being steeped with such knowledge and know-how had the simultaneously adverse effect of feeling like nothing was new. Over the years I became increasingly lazy about note-taking and recording my processes since I was the only one involved in each step. When I decided it was time to start my own venture, the reality of how many things I needed to pass along to my replacement was a bit daunting. Being mostly proactive about upcoming deadlines and projects, I had a decent mental map of what was coming on the horizon and when things would need to be started, and how they would need to be accomplished, but lived in a sort of reactionary world where the time of year, for example, would trigger the memory of needing to tackle the task, more so than any calendar of events I had inscribed somewhere.

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So when my replacement asked me for instructions on how to take over the projects I’d been doing solo for 7 years, I felt overwhelmed with all the things I had not taken good notes on that I needed to pass on. On top of it, she asked me to make them pretty (yeah, designers, I know). I wondered how I could relay the detail, caveats and nuances of all the projects into simplified graphic instructions. I ended up making a set of “pretty” instructions, and then also bombarded her with loads of emails full of more detailed instructions for certain projects that I hope will be more useful when the time comes for to actually need them.

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So, for the “pretty” instructions, I made a brain dump, describing with each page of the packet the process involved with each task, distilling it as much as possible into illustrations and flow charts. It actually made the task of relaying all this knowledge rather delightful, as I was challenged to be concise and informative. There really isn’t anything I love more than making cute illustrations, anyway.

Going Full-time Freelance

Design, Illustration

Freelance Design offerings It’s official. After nearly 7 years working as an in-house designer, Director of Marketing, and manager of both people and projects, I have decided it’s time to go rogue and have started my own Design & Illustration business. It will be a big change to not have that paycheck hit regularly, to not have coworkers to mingle with day in and day out, and to not have anyone but yourself to blame when it doesn’t go right. It will be difficult, but it will be rewarding.

It’s been a long time coming, in truth. I’ve been doing freelance work since college, always making time for it outside of my usual work hours, and in the last year, have been increasingly more busy with projects and new clients – enough so that the idea to commit to doing that full-time actually seems feasible now. It is not without its fears and concerns, but I am overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I’ve received from friends, family, and professional acquaintances who all believe I will do great.

It is not without sadness that I will leave the job of 7 years behind as I’ve made valuable friendships and learned many great lessons, both on a professional and personal level. I’ve learned what my strengths are, and know I can leverage them when conducting business for myself. I’ve learned what my weaknesses are, so know there are options for avoiding or delegating them so that I can focus on the good stuff. I expect I will make many mistakes still, but hope I will meet them as a challenge to just get better. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve worked with, and how it all is leading up to this new direction for me.

So consider this proclamation the beginning of a great new adventure, and come back here to keep checking out the latest projects I’ve been working on, ideas I’ve been having, or the things I’ve been admiring. Oh, and of course, feel free to get the word out to anyone seeking some design or illustration help. I can help with posters, info graphics, brochures, game design, invites & announcements, packaging, apparel, logo & branding, editorial illustration, as well as web and mobile design. And of course, I do still paint, so keep an eye out for some new landscapes or what not – perhaps to fill that nook between your bookshelves and tv stand that needs a little extra color.