Entries in My Work (56)


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. 




Cassidy Parker Smith

Wow! What a week! We have all been sick over here! It's tough to get anything done when babies are sick. But I wanted to share one of my latest projects! New York based photographer Cassidy Parker Smith was absolutely amazing to work with! We had a lot of fun putting together her branding and website! You can check out more in my portfolio or you can head over to her site right now to look at all of the work we put in together. And I just want to give a huge thank you to my developer Brandi! She is amazing and incredible at what she does! Anyway, hope everyone is having a better week than we are! and stay healthy! We will be seeing the doctor this afternoon for the second time this week! :( No fun! No fun at all!


The Farm

It seemed like a lot of things didn't work out the way I expected them to this month... Mostly just as far as work goes. Please, nobody get me wrong here! I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job and I am so grateful to all of the people that I am able to work with, the last thing I could even think to complain about is my job! ... but sometimes being a designer can suck the life out of you. A good designer knows you just can't let that happen. But sometimes it can. After designing for other people for so long you can't remember what your own style is anymore. You aren't making things just for fun, you are making things to make a client happy... and that's when you get stuck in a rut and you just gotta break away. it's nice to just go do something you are passionate about and let it inspire you. Not to make money. Not to help someone else make money. Not for a grade or a job or a friend or any other reason. You just have to leave your desk, find something out in the world that makes you happy and be inspired by it. Make something just for the sake of making something. It's a guaranteed rut obliterater. 

Conor built a Mid Century inspired chicken coop last week for our 4 chickens. This week I just had to get away and do something different. We told Henry to put his cowboy boots on because we were heading to the farm. We drove about an hour outside of the city and picked up 2 new silkies. I have been dying to get my hands on some silky chickens. On the way home (while the chickens wrestled each other in an emptied diaper box) I planned a photo shoot and a catalogue and a packaging design for our eggs... I let my imagination run wild. What would it be like to design for a chicken? I lined our girls up in the backyard on white foam core board and snapped photo after photo, trying to get their personality just right. Call me absolutely insane for all of my chicken shenanigans but damn, it felt good to do something creative just for creativity's sake. 

Maybe I'll share the final catalogue in my portfolio someday... maybe you'll see a pretend magazine spread of our "coop tour" ... who knows... For now I am rejuvinated. For now I feel ready to jump back in to designing for other people again. I seriously can't wait to get rolling on May's projects! I have some pretty interesting clients lined up! Wahoo! 



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.


CH CH CH Changes

I still exist! We have had a lot going on over here lately and I just haven't had time to blog. Not a bit. A lot of changes, traveling, working and adjusting have been happening. I'm excited to announce that another website I designed will be launching soon! A very editorial/magazine type site with inspiration for women JUST LIKE ME!! It's a site that I am going to probably be checking everyday! So stay tuned for that! The project was so much fun to work on and of course the group of women that I have been designing for are phenomenal! I love creating mood boards with my clients! (See above) 

There have been some major changes going on over at Verily as well. With the editorial team deciding that it would be best for the magazine to become an online only platform I have taken a huge step back. I loved working with print and editorial/layout design. Working with Verily on a print magazine was definitely a great experience and world changing as far as being inspired by intelligent, creative women! I will still be involved in the overall art direction of Verily but I am now focusing more of my time and attention on my freelance work/business. Working for yourself can be tricky so I am eager/excited/nervous about investing a lot more energy in to Jane Reaction! This year I am taking on more clients than ever before but still keeping my studio small enough to provide that personal, unique, one on one design experience. 

And finally, after encouraging Conor to quit his (really nice, awesome, flexible) job at his real estate investment firm - he finally did it! Now he is crossing off real estate goals of his own! I'm proud of him but adjusting to the new schedule of him being gone a LOT more. Every time I start to feel discouraged with all of the change and chaos going on I start singing David Bowie's Changes! and I feel like I can handle it all over again! 


Changes by David Bowie on Grooveshark


2014 Goals + Winner Announced

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 

Every year I like to put together a little post about my new years goals using some of my favorite pins from Pinterest from the last year. It is just my way of getting my goals out there and creating something beautiful that I can look at that will hopefully remind and inspire me to work towards my goals. I have to admit I don't think I accomplished half of my goals from last year... This year I decided to take a different approach. I only set 3 really big goals and then the rest are just fun/easy to achieve goals - things like sign Henry up for swimming lessons and make more ice cream! Duh! of course!

I also heard recently that instead of setting a bunch of goals and working towards them and trying to achieve them no matter what - we should first really consider how we want to feel about ourselves and then set goals accordingly. So instead of setting goals to earn a lot of money  we should set a goal to feel successful or financially stable. Then really examine what that means to us. I personally struggle with anxiety and worry a lot. More than I'd like.  This year I want to FEEL peaceful, and calm. For all of 2013 I was cynical and scrutinized my religion and my beliefs to death. It was exhausting. At the end of the day all I felt was doubt and fear. This year I just simply want to be still and know. I don't want to be perfect or overly zealous about religion but I do want to feel peace - and for me that means trusting that a higher power is guiding my path. I want my children to also feel peace and comfort and know that even when things aren't going right they can always find love and acceptance at home. I just want to trust that things work out the way they are supposed to. It seems really scary to me but I am going to work on it. 

And (drum roll please) I am really excited to announce the winner of the 4moms RockaRoo swing! I let Conor do the honors of randomly selecting a number ... and the winner is!! MICHELE RODOCKER. You will be emailed and notified soon! 4moms will be sending you a brand new RockaRoo swing in the mail! Congrats! 


Recent Work: Bleubird Blog

I recently had the chance to work with James from the blog Bleubird on her blog re-brand. It was a really fun project to work on as you can imagine. James and I came up with the mood board (directly) above together and then I went to work on creating all of her brand elements and blog design. She knew she wanted the site to be clean and minimalist with some hand drawn elements to make it more alive. I spent a few hours one day painting Bleubird over and over and over trying to get it perfect but after a while I decided to just quickly paint it out in my normal handwriting and let it be imperfect. It ended up being both of our favorite versions of the logo and we stuck with it. James is a really fun person to work with and we really took our time on this project to make it perfect. I am so glad I got to know her and so excited to work with her more on some upcoming projects! 

This project practically went off without a hitch until the very end! We encountered some technical difficulties as we started to export her blog from Typepad to Wordpress. Because her blog is so huge it crashed both Typepad's export server and Wordpress' import service repeatedly! It had James and I both at home before 10 o'clock on new year's eve trying to figure out how to fix it! In the end her blog just ended up going up a bit late. It was a pretty frustrating lesson to learn the hard way: leave plenty (and I mean plenty) of time for technical errors towards the end of your projects. Just a word to the wise. ;)

On a personal note: I knew I wanted to start working again after having Wayne but I wasn't sure how fast I should jump back in to work or how much I should take on. Back in September I decided to take this project on. We would start once Wayne turned 4 weeks old and I would have it be the only thing on my plate - just to see how I would do. It was a great transition for me and has totally inspired me to take on MORE! Yeah, I really thought I was going to slow down a lot too but these 2 kids just push me harder! I'm not going crazy working all of the time but I don't feel like quitting either (like I really thought I would). I'm trying to take it easy but I have projects booked out until April right now and I am pretty excited about it. 


Freelance Mama V + RockaRoo Giveaway

Now that the new year has begun and Wayne is starting to sleep longer through the night I am diving back in to work. My plan for the year is to work smarter not harder. I plan on only taking on projects that I am excited about. As a freelancer it is easy to get stuck in the habit of working more, more and more. Anytime you think of something "extra" you want to buy you just take on an "extra" project. But when you have kids you can't really do that anymore. Time is a hot commodity. So saving money, and being selective about projects is how you survive...

As I planned out my next year as a working mama of two I decided I would share a few of my working mama tips. This is how I balance work and life (if you can call it balancing... I like to just think of it as life with kids, things are messy and unbalanced) I work from home and have 2 really young kids so this stuff might not apply to everyone but I think a lot of it is pretty universal and it has saved me quite a bit of time and money in the last couple of years. 

1. Meal Plan - I know this one sounds boring and trivial but it has been a game changer in our house. Every week I sit down and write out a dinner menu. We usually eat out once a week and have leftovers one night a week so I really only have to plan 5 meals. I take stock of what I already have and then only buy things for those meals (I also stock up on lots of eggs for breakfast and fruits and veggies for lunches). Then I try my hardest to not go to the store for the entire week. I sorta make a game out of it. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. But we save a ton of money this way and there is less stress at that time of night when everyone just goes bonkers. You know, your kid has that switch that automatically flips at 5 in the evening? And they start screaming about everything and nothing? and going wild for no apparent reason? Mine too! It's so convenient because it's right at dinner time when you need to get food on the table. Having a plan usually helps this time of night go a lot smoother.

2. Scale Down - This was/is a hard one for me. We decided as a couple to live well within our means a long time ago. I hate feeling like I can never buy anything I "want" because all of my money is going towards stuff that I "need". I want to be able to take my kids to get ice cream and buy myself a new shirt every once in a while and not feel like I am breaking the bank. So we scaled down. We don't have overly expensive "needs". I used to drive a new Honda Element that I absolutely loved. Now, I drive an old Volvo wagon (she's a boxy little thing but I think she's pretty) that we don't have to make payments on. Instead of furnishing our house all at once we shop around at thrift stores and buy things on sale. In order to make our lives less stressful we scaled down our expenses. Now I don't have to worry about taking some time off of working here and there to spend more time with my kids. I know I will be able to pay my bills because I have scaled down.

3. Child Care - This is probably the most important one for me. It is absolutely impossible to work with children pulling you in several different directions. It's even harder when they are in someone's care that you don't really trust. Or at a daycare facility that you feel uneasy about. I have extreme anxiety about my children's well-being. I'm not just exaggerating either. I mean I really have panic attacks over my children's health and safety. I tried taking Henry to a day care while I worked for a while and I would go pick him up really early every single time because I couldn't breathe thinking about all of the things that could possibly happen to him there. I know that might sound a little nuts but I am pretty nuts when it comes to my kids. I think most people are. You have got to be able to find something that works for you. I finally found a nanny that I love. I love her so much. She is more money than a day care but that is why I drive an old Volvo wagon. Because knowing that my kids are safe and well taken care of is more important than a nice new car. And without our nanny I am not able to work at all - so she seems really worth every penny. If child care solutions are hard for you don't worry! It's hard for everyone! Don't give up if a child care situation doesn't feel right. Try something else until you feel secure. I don't know why I felt like I needed to say that? Maybe because I really was about to give up on ever trying to work again when my mom encouraged me to keep trying different solutions. Working has helped me feel fulfilled and sane. It helps me be a better mom. So it was kind of a big deal to be able to find something that helped me do what I love and still feel like a good mom.

4. Get your partner on board - I don't know how single parents do it. They are amazing. I know I can't do it without my other half. Ever since I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg I have had a way easier time asking Conor to do specific things around the house to help take care of the kids. I am able to express to him what exactly it is that will help me each day. For example Conor gets Henry dressed and ready for the day before he leaves for work. This simple thing helps me get myself and Wayne ready so much faster and there is less drama when we head for the door. It is amazing how that simple little act makes my day go a lot smoother. Without him putting in time and energy I would not be able to get anything done. 

5. Let go of the Type A personality - I am still working on this one. Those who know me well know that I am a closet perfectionist. I like to pretend like I can fly by the seat of my pants but really I am constantly planning, plotting and cleaning. With two kids, a job and myself to take care of I don't have a lot of time for relaxing, painting my nails... just sitting and talking with my husband about anything...let alone cleaning and organizing. But those things are sooo important. I have learned the hard way that sacrificing relaxation or one on one time with my husband for a totally spotless house does not make me happier. It makes me grumpier. So I have had to learn to overlook messes. I walk out of my house with dirty dishes in the sink quite often. More times in the past 2 months than I ever have in my entire life actually! I have a "good mom" mental checklist that I go over every night in my head: did I feed the kids good healthy meals? Did I take Henry to do something fun or exciting or to the park? Did I give him enough time and attention? Did I tell them that I love them and make them feel important? If I can answer yes to those questions I feel good about myself. I've stopped asking myself if the house is clean or if there is clean clothes left in the dryer... that stuff can just WAIT!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful to someone out there! If not, at least you can enter the RockaRoo giveaway! I've teamed up with 4moms to do a fun little giveaway. One lucky Mama out there will win one of these new RockaRoo infant swings. I'm a huge fan of all of the 4moms products but this is by far my favorite! It is super light so it is easy to relocate to different rooms around the house. I think it looks super comfortable - Wayne slips right in that seat and just hangs out while I eat (with two hands!) or play with Henry. I love the rocking motion and you can really crank it up for those babies that need MORE motion in their ocean (this would have been so nice to have 2 years ago with Henry who was a very very difficult sleeper). To enter LIKE 4moms on Facebook and leave a comment below letting me know you "liked" them and that you want to win the brand new RockaRoo swing by 4moms! Also check out the 4moms 31 days of RockaRoo on Facebook - they are giving away a RockaRoo swing everyday for the entire month of January so if you don't win one here, you still have 30 more chances!! Ready Go!

This giveaway will be closed on Friday January 10th and a winner will be announced right here on JaneReaction. This giveaway is only open to US residents. 


Summer Camp

DESIGNER VACA 2013 from Jaymee Zeller Harney on Vimeo.

Happy weekend everyone! I am so glad it is F R I D A Y!! Designer friend Jaymee made this awesome video of our weekend together at Designer Vaca. I got a little teary eyed watching it. Give me a break I'm 9 months pregnant! I cry over everything. It reminded me of being young and going to summer camp and making tons of new friends that were interested in all of the same things I was! I especially love this retreat because even the girls that I think are going to be "too cool" are not. Everyone is inclusive and the drama you usually brace yourself for when interacting with 50 hot, talented, strong, women is nonexistent. I am so grateful to have been part of a group that was so encouraging and fun! That's what life is all about! Love mixing business with pleasure in such a beautiful way!