Entries in Design (68)


Recent Project - Woodnote Photography

I am getting ready to launch my new website soon, which means getting together all of my recent work to put into the new portfolio layout. It has been fun to go back through recent projects and also exhausting at the same time. I loved working on this branding project with Woodnote Photography - such a fun, interesting, full of life, power house team! 

Woodnote Photography is a husband wife team. They came to me wanting something different and exciting that really represented who they are - fun, energetic, silly and in love. They are friends with and admire the talented photographers behind Shark Pig and really liked the idea of the hybrid animal. Knowing we couldn't use a hybrid animal to represent Woodnote (because that would be copy-catting, and not cool) we had to think of our own solution - something that was fun, quirky and visually pleasing. After having the couple write out their tagline - "Caroline+Jayden, Wife+Husband, American+Australian, Photographer+Photographer" We decided to make a little hybrid of them. I had a lot of fun positioning their images together to make quirky little iconic images to paste up all over their brand elements. They compliment each other very nicely if you ask me! Once we got done putting together the graphic icons we decided to incorporate the thin black line that appeared to separate them in to their logo and in to their tag line. The thin black line is where they come together. It's what makes them unique from the other and it's where they meet in the middle. I really like how it all turned out!  

I seriously can't wait to see where this couple goes! They are already doing some pretty freaking amazing things in the photography world! I just adore this couple! If you are not familiar with their work go check it out and fall in love with life all over again! I promise, they will make you want to! 


How I got Started. It's weird. 

Lately I have been getting these questions a lot. I thought I would share my story here, that way the next time someone asks me this question I can just point them in this direction... How did you get started in Graphic Design? Did you go to school? and do you have any advice for me (me being a person just getting started in graphic design)? 

Well... it's weird, but here it is. The story of how I became a freelance graphic designer - 

I took a lot of art classes in high school. As soon as I graduated from high school I moved to Hawaii to live on the beach and surf. I enrolled in college on the North Shore of Oahu and decided to major in ceramics (I also took several drawing, painting and printmaking classes). I surfed all day and played with clay and paints all afternoon. And yes, I loved my life.

I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a minor in psychology. That summer the economy was bottoming out and jobs were hard to come by. I moved back in with my parents and somehow managed to secure an internship at an art therapy studio in down-town Portland. I worked with schizophrenic young adults and helped put on fairy art camps for little kids. It was an interesting summer. While I had previously planned to enroll in a masters program for art therapy by the end of that summer I realized that that path just wasn't for me. 

My mom encouraged me to enroll in some of the graphic design classes at a community college in Portland. Now, this is where I have to be totally honest - I was seriously depressed at the time. I had just moved away from Hawaii, I was living in my parents house again, I didn't have many friends and I had no idea how I was going to support myself with a degree in ceramics. Everywhere I turned there were articles about how bad the economy was and how no one could find a job. The future to me seemed sooooo bleak... also I really didn't know what graphic design was. I told my mom I would apply for the program and see if I got in. I did. and I loved it. Design made me happier again too. I went to school 2 days a week so that I could get a second degree in graphic design. I got a job at a restaurant at night, and another job at Anthropologie on my off days and weekends. Anthro has a great art department so I did everything I could to help out with their visuals when possible. 

During my second year in the design program I met my husband and we decided to get married once I graduated. Conor still needed to finish his degree and he wanted the same experience I had in Hawaii (of course, who wouldn't?!) So after I graduated, we got married and moved back to Hawaii. The ONLY bad thing about Hawaii is there are not a lot of jobs, especially not on the North Shore where we lived. I basically had no chance of finding a job in the design industry. NONE! I'm not even exaggerating. So, I started blogging. I blogged all of the time about things I liked and projects I was working on. I took on as many freelance projects as I could. I really didn't know what I was doing.

I had limited knowledge of HTML and coding but everyone wanted a website. So I ordered Coding For Dummies and took on my first website design project. I charged $800 to brand, design and code an entire site - I think it took me almost 3 months. I stayed up late into the night crying over my keyboard and pulling out my hair. I learned a lot! We were dirt poor and living off student loans and the government. But we were happy. I kept taking on projects and raising my prices as I felt more confident in my skills. Blogging helped get my name out there in a huge way. Without blogging no one would have ever been able to see what I was capable of doing. Updating my blog and my portfolio regularly let people see what I was up to. 

Our close friends Nate and Katie came to us one day and told us they wanted to start a magazine. It was going to be called Kinfolk and it would be the next big thing. We jumped on board and helped in any way that we could. Nate and Katie decided to move to the Oregon Coast while Conor still had a year of school left - and I was seriously sick with my first pregnancy (like couldn't even look at a computer screen without puking sick). So we stayed in Hawaii and professionally parted ways with Kinfolk. It was really hard for me to let that go but working with Kinfolk in the early stages opened up opportunities for me with another magazine - Verily.

While Conor was in his second year of school I started taking on more and more projects. I had a baby and I designed Verily Magazine from the ground up. When Conor was done with school we decided to leave Hawaii so that he could get a better job than what was there. We moved from Hawaii to San Diego and then from San Diego to Dallas... Each time we moved I set up my computer and started taking on new projects - with each new project/blog post/invoice/collaboration I gained more knowledge and practice. I learned how to run a business. I learned how to educate my clients about my creative process. I learned how to write invoices and keep records for taxes. I got better at designing. I'm still learning as I go. With every project there is something new to be learned. There have been days where I have literally hid under my covers certain that my world would end and no one would ever want to work with me agian... and there have been days where I felt like my time and talents were worth MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and everyone should want to work with me! haha 

There isn't a clear path to get into the design industry. You set goals and then you fight to get to where you want to be. Once you get there you set new goals. I feel really happy with what I have accomplished in design and where I am right now but there is still so much more that I would like to do. I haven't arrived yet. Right now I am super happy that I have figured out how to make this a sustainable job but there are still areas where I would like to improve, get better or bigger or faster. 

As for advice I have 3 things to say

#1. Blog. Start a blog and get an online portfolio together. Right now. Starting a blog serves 2 purposes. First it is a great way to practice putting together layouts and designing for the internet. Second it is an invaluable marketing/advertising platform that you can use to connect to other people and allow others to see your work. No one is going to hire you if they can't see what you are capable of doing. A print portfolio is awesome but an online portfolio is an absolute must! 

#2. Work. Work begets work. Take on anything and everything. If you don't know how to do it, GOOGLE IT! Learn as you go. Get paid to learn. Does your sister need a wedding invitation? Do it for her. Take her through your creative process. Start by sending her a questionnaire. End by sending her an invoice - even if the bottom line says $FREE! Take your files to a local printer and ask them to help you set them up properly for print. 

#3. Create. Stay creative. Don't always do everything on the computer. Make a collage with magazines and glue. Take a pottery class. Rip up a bunch of paper and sew it back together. When designing for others it is easy to loose your creative edge. Remember you went in to this field because you are a creative person. Don't lose site of what it is you love to do. The more work you can create that is authentic and represents who you are and the type of work you like doing the more you will attract your dream clients. 





I was incredibly ecxited to see the feature story that VSCO did on the Weaver House. Read the enitre feature here. The Weaver House girls put together the Emily Dickinson photo shoot for our June/July issue. These photos were really fun to work with and layout for the magazine so I was really excited when I saw them being featured over on VSCO blog.Being the art director for a print magazine was an incredible experience for me. Once these photos were recieved, I worked with the style editor to narrow down our final selections for the magazine (not an easy task because they were all so beautiful) and then I got to work laying out the images for print. I also worked with fellow design friend Eva Black to create a beautifully hand drawn title page and quotes that wove in and out of the elements in the photos.


Introducing - Clementine Daily!

Remember this post I wrote about having some fun projects in the works? Well, the time has finally come to reveal my latest freelance project - Clementine Daily. It has been sooo much fun to work on! And I am so thrilled that it is finally here for everyone to start visiting... daily! 

A few months ago Erin Loechner (from the blog Design for Mankind) contacted me about a new project she had been dying to work on. When she explained her vision, "to create a space for real women living authentic-sometimes-frenzied-often-harried-but-always-inspired lives" I knew I wanted to be a part of it!

The site is relevant and fun and the messages strive to make you feel like you are good enough. I am so happy to have been able to work on this project and so pleased with the way it turned out! I hope you hop on over to the site to check it out! And enter the giveway!! (See below!)


Verily Needs a New Intern! 

Verily Magazine is looking for a design intern for the fall school semester! We are looking for someone who can start September 5th and work with us until December 31st. Click here to learn more. 


Thinking I'm Worth It

Things have been fast paced and hectic around here. Working on Verily has been a tremendous learning experience. It has forced me to learn and stretch and grow in more ways than one. My communication style is different, my time management strategies have changed and over the course of the last 4 months I have gotten a little better at my job (if I do say so myself!). I have failed a few times. I have stressed out to the max. I have cried and gotten angry, but the satisfaction of working with this team has been really rewarding and I wouldn't change it for anything.

While in design school I thought the hieght of my career would be when a stranger asked me to design their wedding invitation. I thought that if someone I didn't even know wanted me to do their wedding announcement that meant that I had really made it. Out of school and a few "stranger" wedding invites later I decided my new dream job was to create logos and brand indentities for small creative businesses... once that came and went my goal was to do some design work for a magazine. After doing some design work for Kinfolk magazine I saw the oppertunity to help build Verily's visual identity from the ground up. When Verily eventually asked me to be their full time art director I was shocked. How did I get here? In school I never would have admitted this - but working for a magazine like Bon Appetite was my wildest dream job. I would never have said that out loud to anyone because I didn't think I was good enough to even dream of that. Instead I set my eyes on wedding invites. Not that there is anything wrong with wedding invites! I still love doing them from time to time but I think I vastly underestimated myself. Now I look at myself and think, "Hey! I'm a lot closer to my wildest dreams than I ever thought I would come! How did that happen?" Now, I know that Bon Appetite is not beating down my door or anything but I don't feel as foolish day dreaming of that occupation anymore. I did hesitate divulging that dream here on my blog just now but maybe it's not as ridiculous as I think it is? Maybe I should give myself a little more credit? Maybe we all should? I have been reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg (don't sell yourself short, go all the way to the top of your field and don't look back, be a leader!) while simultaniously gobbling up everything Brené Brown says (you know? be vulnerable? dare greatly? take risks? bla bla bla?) The combination of the two women has made me think maybe we all sell ourselves a little a lot short. Maybe I am a lot more capable and worthy and powerful than I give myself credit for. I like looking at my life that way. 

Things with Verily are sometimes up in the air. It is a new magazine and just getting started. I have a baby on the way and I wonder how I am going to get my work done or if I will even have work to do. I've taken some big risks - freelancing, working for a new magazine, having kids young and in the middle of navigating my career path, encouraging my husband to leave a secure job to persue something he loves... It's all a huge crap shoot and I worry endlessly about it. But for the first time in a while I'm actually really excited about what might happen. I am aware that there could be failure along the way... no, scratch that... I fully expect failure, but I'm not as afriad of it as I used to be. I'm embracing it. So, all of this just to say that I am happy with where I'm at right now. I'm excited for Verily Magazine and hope that it continues to do well. I can't wait for baby #2 and the mess that comes with being a new mom all over again. I'm happy to just be me. Even with all of my imperfections and short comings. And I'm totally not afraid to admit that I day dream of bigger and better things than I have right now. And I think I might actually be worthy of "it". All of it

And guess what? I think you are probably worthy of it all too! What are your goals? Dreams? If you knew you could do anything and not fail what would it be? 

(Above photos taken by friend Cassie Pyle. She did all of the watercolor spreads that seperate each section in this issue and I just loved how they turned out!)


Fox & Anchor + Blogshop


Excuse the silence around here.... I knew that working for a magazine there would be times where work got a little crazy. Especially around press time. Well this last week and half have been one of those times. Working at Verily is exciting and stressful... and then when the dust settles you see all of your hard work come together into one beautifully printed piece and it is so rewarding. We are going to print tomorrow and I am still on the stressed side of things but looking forward to the reward side.

My parents have been in town enjoying the hot Texas sun, swimming with Henry in the backyard all morning and afternoon while I work. It's been nice having them around. I like those guys. 

I was too busy to mention this earlier but Fox and Anchor was featured in two of Blogshop's goodie bags this last month - Brooklyn and Chicago. I was excited because DesignLoveFest is a favorite blog of mine so to see something I designed on there is a huge compliment. See all of the cute goodies given at Blogshop here


when it rains, it pours

You know how they always say, "When it rains, it pours!" and you always think, "Shoot! How do they always know!?" Because they are always right. Things come in waves and we are just little people standing on the shore. The good comes rushing in and knocks you to the ground and the bad sucks everything out from under you including the sand under your feet. Either way...you find yourself falling down. 

At Verily we just wrapped up our first full issue and started work on our second! The first magazines came back from the printer today and let's just say the whole team was in a dreamy state of pride for what we had accomplished. We are very excited to share the first issue with you - I am particularly excited to show off some of the hard work I have been toiling away on. I couldn't have done it with out some serious help - my graphic designer Loren, my design intern Haruka and a handful of other seriously talented photographers and designers helped put the visual side of the magazine together. I am so thankful to them and happy with what we came up with!

While starting in on the second issue I have also decided to take on another exciting side project. I have been turning down a lot of freelance projects lately to focus on Verily full time but a project came along that I just couldn't say no to. It's one of those projects that you just know you want to be part of because it is fun and happy and makes you feel good about yourself - hence the romantic, girly yet very bold moodboard above. I can't wait to share more about it but for now here is a visual sneak peek of what it will feel like.

On top of the excitement going on at Verily (we are talking dinner parties and editorial shoots galore!) and this new fun project, we have even more excitement coming our way! Big changes are on the horizon for the Riley family and we couldn't be more thrilled. Can't wait to share that news with you either! But let's just say for now, I am that awkward kid on the beach, with goggles on bigger than my head, just laughing as each new wave comes and grinds me into the sand. And I keep on taking wave after wave with a smile. Because when it rains it really does pour!


Caught my eye

1 / 2 / 3 

Have you seen the blog Montreal Bobo yet? These sisters are making some pretty cool stuff and I love their blog. I got a cute little package in the mail the other day... needless to say my camera is looking a whole lot prettier these days with that blue camera strap on it! And as someone who spent many, many... many of her college days in a ceramic studio I appreciate these simple moon plates with imperfect edges quite a bit. They are beautiful! Just thought I would share this gem of a shop with y'all. Perhaps you can find a last minute mother's day present here. (and yes, that's right, I've only lived in Texas for 6 months and I already say y'all... actually whenever I talk to anyone with any sort of accent I sort of adopt it. It's really annoying to me, I'm always worried the person I'm talking to is going to think I am mocking them, but I'm not, I just can't help myself! The other day I answered the phone and immediately started speaking with the heaviest southern accent upon hearing the woman's voice on the other end... I about dropped out of my chair I was so embarassed.) 


Fun Project

I recently had the opportunity to work on a fun project with Casey Leigh! She is incredibly sweet and was so much fun to work with! And talk about southern charm! Her slight southern accent is as beautiful as she is! Casey put together a Pinterest board (go here to find links to the images above) and I created this mood board as a jumping off point for her new branding and blog design. Once we got all of the branding elements and original art in place for her blog we brought Ana Degenaar on board to help us implement the design. I am convinced that Ana is the best BLOGGER designer in the entire world! (She is also just a great designer in general too!) If you are on blogger and you are looking for a new design go to her website right now! She sells beautifully thought out templates and does custom work as well! She is the best! 

Jump on over to Casey's blog to see her new blog design! It is definitely minimalistic and clean which is what we were going for! I am so excited about how it turned out and can't wait to work with these lovely ladies again in the future!