June 30, 2011

Paul's Redemption!

Ladies and gentlemen... I would like to introduce the "Paul" I've been mentioning several times on this blog...

Oh, how I love Paul! He is my lil school buddy :) I'm glad I have him in my classes this term. He is such a talented artist and designer and he constantly inspires me. Everyone gives him crap (including myself), but it's mostly because we're all just jealous of his mad skills.

And his name rhymes... it could have something to do with that.

But today instead of poking fun I decided to showcase a design of Paul's that is sure to redeem him of his terribly awkward design I showed in one of my previous posts... (check it out if you haven't already "When design gets dirty...")

I just wanted to let it be known that Paul is super talented and awesome. He's in my InDesign class and we were assigned a new calendar project. He is doing custom portraits in Illustrator of twelve students to incorporate in his design.

Check out the one he did of yours truly...

I loooove, love, love it! 

I think this proves that Paul is the shiz. Wouldn't you agree?

June 29, 2011

The World Spins Madly On

Beautifulamazingcreativegenius video created by Motion Graphics... had to share it. 
Kind of expresses how I've been feeling these last couple weeks... enjoy.

June 25, 2011

Cafe Tre Sorelle

Another InDesign project to share!

This time we had to create a menu for a restaurant... it could be any kind of food we wanted as long as the design had a theme carried throughout it. Creative possibilities were endless!

I've been noticing there's always a little bit of me in every design project I do. For example, I grew up in a very Italian home. I love being Italian :) Everything about the culture is beautiful to me! And after my visit to Connecticut I was feeling very close with my sisters and realized just how lucky I was to be blessed with them in my life. When I came back I was assigned this project and instantly thought about a small family owned Italian restaurant called Three Sister's Cafe. Translated into Italian I decided to call it "Cafe Tre Sorelle." I connected with the idea and dreamed of how it would be if we actually did open up a restaurant some day... that is if we all learned how to cook! HAHA

But holy cow dudes, menus are tedious!!! I basically had to research every Italian appetizer, breakfast, entree, beverage and dessert to come up with this design. The typography choices had to be carefully thought out as well as the colors... everything had to flow and give off an Italian vibe. I got stuck a few times... but I worked through it and busted this baby out!

Cosa ne pensi? (What do you think?)

It's designed as a booklet, kinda like my newsletter project. It looked really good when it was all printed out and professional looking... I seriously love this kind of stuff. We'll see what my instructor thought of it when I get my grade back! (On a side note I would just like to thank Google Translate... without your help this would project would not be possible!)

Ciao, bellas!

P.S. Just a warning... if you are going to read through the menu just be prepared to get immediate hunger pains! hehe

June 23, 2011

Corporate ID Package

Oh, hi! 
No, I didn't drop off the face of the earth, and yes... I'm still alive and breathing :)

Feeling pretty behind at the moment... lots and lots to do over the next two weeks. I can't believe this term is already coming to an end! I honestly can't even explain the to-do's on my list.. it's pretty ridiculous. 

Thought I would bust out a quick blog post showing my store's final corporate identity pieces!

Here are the letterhead, envelope, and business card designs:

I'm loving the way it turned out :)

Now off to work on the store's floor plan, two interior perspective views, exterior building view, signage, and a page showing the specific design elements. 

And that's not all, my dearies...

After that's done I have to work on my marketing strategy promoting the store's Grand Opening including a bunch of print ads, email blasts, and web banners PLUS a write up on my strategy throughout the whole process PLUS a presentation PLUS a big final to wrap up the term :)

Can you say HOLY $#&%?!

Did I mention this is only for ONE of my FOUR classes?

...I think I need more coffee!!!!!

June 15, 2011

The Dramatic Newsletter Project

A couple weeks ago in my InDesign class we were assigned a new project to design our own four page newsletter. It could be on anything we wanted as long as it featured at least two articles, multiple pictures with captions, our own bezier curves, along with several other components.

I decided to do my newsletter for people interested in the world of tattoos. I simply called it "The Tattoo" and pulled four interesting articles off the web along with pictures to go with them.

Let me just tell you... designing a layout of type can be tedious. Any little movements can cause you to take ten more steps to perfect it.

I had come up with an OK layout... but I wanted it to be more than just OK. I was at a stand still, kind of like writer's block but for a designer. Something wasn't clicking. The harder I tried the more frustrated I became. It was just stale and I knew I needed to put in some serious time to turn it into what I knew it could be.

Keep in mind, this was all happening right around when my aunt passed away, actually it was the day my aunt passed away that the project was due. I went into class early knowing I needed to finish it that night... so the pressure was on.

Innocent Paul was critiquing me, trying to give me tips and advice to make it better... but instead of sucking it up and pushing through, I acted a fool (a hormonal fool to be fair) and broke down in tears, left school and headed straight home.

I resembled something like this:

{via abcnews)


It's hard to clearly explain to your husband why you are stressing during the design process. I tried calling during the car ride home and it was useless. I can't explain to him why I'm frustrated about bezier curves because then I get even more annoyed while I'm trying to explain what the eff a bezier curve is...

"It's a stupid curvy line thing and I DON'T GET ITTTTT!!" *WAHHHH*

"...Baby, just relax. You can do it..."


I seriously don't even know how he puts up with me sometimes.

So after my hissy fit I got to work (I confess... there were more tears and tantrums). I took several breaks in between the hours and ended up staying awake working well after midnight finishing the newsletter to my idea of perfection.

So you be the judge... was it worth my tears?

In the end I think it was. My instructor gave me 100% :)

My challenge with this design was trying to create a cohesive flow throughout the articles by introducing repetitive elements that would connect the dots. I started working on that bezier curve (the spermy looking line with heart ends) and that helped create a flow so the articles looked as if they belonged together. I also added that pink ink splatter throughout so there was some repetition going on and a link back to the newsletter's name/logo.

As tedious as this is, I really love this kind of design work. It's all about fixing the tiniest little flaws, paying close attention to every detail, creating good balance and interest, and finding solutions. It's a challenge to the very end. I love that I can nit pick and see what the normal eye would not even notice. And when it all comes together, it feels pretty freaking sweet :)

I learned that I have a hard time tuning into my creative side when I'm surrounded by other design students at school. Something about the environment is distracting, and that's how I got into my little rut. I work a lot better when I'm alone at home in my own little world, not worried about anyone walking by and judging my work. That's really how I finally finished this project... by listening to my inner self telling me to go home. It seemed like the wrong thing to do at the time, but I know if I stayed I would have never completed it to my satisfaction.

What do you all think? Would you want to read this newsletter? Have you ever had any similar frustrations during the creative process? How do you deal?

June 13, 2011

Final Logo Design

Hey everyone!

Sorry for my long blogging break there... lots going on in the world of a graphic design student these days :)

Remember when I showed you the beginning stages of my vintage clothing line logo?

Well, I got some advice from my instructor to draw out my final logo design and then scan it in so I could fix it up with Illustrator. Want to see how it turned out?

OK, seriously... I've grown a new appreciation for Illustrator. Granted, I got a lot of help from my instructor since I haven't actually taken my official Illustrator class yet (which is extremely frustrating at times) but after seeing everything the program offers I'm convinced Illustrator and I will soon become lifelong friends.

My favorite part is the custom script font in "Vintage." I think it's cool I was able to perfect it tracing over my original drawing with Illustrator's pen tool.

Overall... I'm satisfied. I know I could probably do more with it, but I figure I can always go back and add to it later while I'm getting my design portfolio ready.

I'm now working on the store's letterhead, envelope, and business card designs. Shortly after I'm going to draw up the store's interior design layout and that's where the fun REALLY begins! Little side note... before I was interested in graphic design I wanted to be an interior designer. That didn't last very long, but I still like decorating and designing spaces, that's why this project is so exciting to me.

Creating a brand is definitely a long and stressful process. It's hard to not second guess my ideas since I'm constantly wondering if it's any good or not. If anything the experience has given me a higher respect for the genius branding professionals out there.

Oh, speaking of stressful times I have a fun story for you guys...

During my last critique I had some girl in my class basically bash my store name. She didn't get how the word "blackbird" had anything to do with vintage. I could have punched her in the face listening to her logic. Don't get me wrong... even though I get nervous doing critiques I do find it very helpful, but only when it comes from someone I feel is a competent individual. This bitch was just high or something. Poor Paul gets critiqued the worst, but he always takes it like a champ.  We had a fun time talking about her the next day... I don't think I've ever heard Paul or anyone for that matter (except for maybe Kat Williams) drop the f-bomb in such a short amount of time... it was freaking hilarious!!!

The funny thing is this chick didn't have any of her designs ready for critique, she skipped over the entire thumbnailing process, oh and get this... she eventually decided to do an antique store called "Treasure Trove." WTF?! That's super original... when can I offer my standing ovation?

Honestly though, I appreciate all criticism, as long as you know what the eff you're talking about.

So who wants to critique me now? I promise I won't punch anyone in the face :)

June 10, 2011

Celebration of Life

On Monday, May 31st I got the heart breaking news that my favorite aunt, my mother's sister, had passed away. My older sister and I immediately booked our flights back home to Connecticut so we could attend and speak at her celebration of life over the weekend. 

It was such an amazing, emotional, and spiritual experience to be able to visit back home, spend time with my family, and bask in the nostalgia of my childhood... only if it was for a few days. 

I had to get up in front of almost 200 people and speak about my aunt... here were my words:

"Two weeks ago I would never think my next design project would be creating the celebration of life program for my Auntie Jan. As sudden as this was, I’m glad to be here and to be a part of acknowledging what a wonderful person she truly was.

My Aunt Jan was a one-of-a-kind. I’ll always remember how her humor and laughter would light up the room. You knew if you were going to hang with Jan that there would be plenty of sarcasm, jokes, and laughs to spread around.

But soon I would find that underneath her laughter there resided deep sorrow and pain that was filling her heart.

It wasn’t until I moved away that I got to know the real Jan, and she got to know the real me. Although we seldom spoke over the phone, we communicated through email, social networking, and my blog. She shared a lot of wisdom she gained over the years and through her words I got to know the deeper and poetic side of Jan.

She left a comment one time, 'I enjoy your blog and always wait in anticipation of the next...it has allowed me to know another side of you that I never saw before now. You are the most savvy, intellectual, and driven person I have ever been proud to know and can call my niece.'

Another time I posted about receiving my worst critique ever, and she responded, 'Kristen...I absolutely loved it. You know the saying...'some see roses and some see thorns.' That's what 'art' is all about...the Picasso's, the Van Gogh's, the Monet's, I just love the fact that not everyone sees what the creator sees or feels...that's art...'self expression.' F*ck them all and you go girl...I'm here and following your blog and all your artistic creations...I luv ya kid....'

But my most favorite comment of all read, 'Kristen... I always was a very strong believer in you and I am in awe of you and your talents. Do not let anyone or anything stop you now....luv u & ur blog......'

Her sincere and supportive words always stayed with me and kept me going. She made me feel stronger when I was weak, laugh when I wanted to cry, and love and miss her more than ever.

It is now when I am finally home after three years that I realize how much I regret not being here during the last years of her life. I wish I could give her a big hug and tell her how much I’ve missed her. I hope she knows just how much I love and look up to her.

I knew through my mother that she had been struggling with depression over the years. She was comforted by her music through her grief and found a connection with butterflies and their symbolism of change. I think of her wishing to be a butterfly and having the ability to fly away from her sadness. I know it must have been angels that carried her home on Monday, far away from her tears and bringing her into a new life of much needed peace.

I am sad she is gone… it feels different now that she is no longer with us, but I find comfort in knowing she is finally free from pain. It makes me smile when I think of her reuniting with Sebby again and being surrounded by loved ones. I know she will be watching over me and believing in me, rooting me on through my achievements, and sending words of encouragement to help get me through the rough patches.

I love you, Jan, and I will keep striving to make you proud!"