Sexy Info Org

In the world of design there are the sexy projects—and the frumpy ones. Or at least that's what some say. There are the Nike print ads, and then there are Word Doc templates. But, I think all projects deserve design love. One of the things I like doing as a designer is getting a simple document (preferably one that's just a wall of text) that has no clear design direction and finding the best way to organize information and present it in a clean, and sometimes fun, way. It's the nerdy part of designery. You need your Word Doc research table branded, or a more engaging one-sheet? I'm your gal! You've got some boring charts and graphs to share, let me at 'em.

  Left:  Original flyer design that was posted in patient services checkout areas and presented in plexiglass stands. This design is fully branded with colors and approved icons, but lacks personality and warmth. The information could also use some help with hierarchy. Right: This is my redesign. I chose one branded color and created a monochromatic design. The concept tells more of a story and brings the viewer into an Oregon-inspired scene. The heart icon is reimagined. Gifts from the heart spring from an envelope. Giving info is provided on a stamp. The hand is in grayscale, and is gender neutral because my designs need to be representational of Planned Parenthood's goals for equity and inclusion.

Left: Original flyer design that was posted in patient services checkout areas and presented in plexiglass stands. This design is fully branded with colors and approved icons, but lacks personality and warmth. The information could also use some help with hierarchy. Right: This is my redesign. I chose one branded color and created a monochromatic design. The concept tells more of a story and brings the viewer into an Oregon-inspired scene. The heart icon is reimagined. Gifts from the heart spring from an envelope. Giving info is provided on a stamp. The hand is in grayscale, and is gender neutral because my designs need to be representational of Planned Parenthood's goals for equity and inclusion.

 Left: This was the MS Word table I was provided with and asked to brand and make more accessible. The end product was an internal cheat sheet for staff. Right: This is the cheat sheet branded (with logo and color) and turned into a clean and easily readable flow chart. It's important in design to know when artsy is needed, and when functionality rules. This was a case of the latter, so that's what I delivered.

Left: This was the MS Word table I was provided with and asked to brand and make more accessible. The end product was an internal cheat sheet for staff. Right: This is the cheat sheet branded (with logo and color) and turned into a clean and easily readable flow chart. It's important in design to know when artsy is needed, and when functionality rules. This was a case of the latter, so that's what I delivered.

Organizing information takes many forms depending on the content and audience. Even the driest material can be turned into something enjoyable to experience, or at least pleasant to look at. The most important tools for this design process are understanding the content and developing a hierarchy with design elements, size and placement of headers and body text; using color as a branding tool; and utilizing image for storytelling when the opportunity presents itself.

Illustrated PDX Weather Animation

I've been learning some more fun stuff at HOW Design University. I'm currently working on my Certificate in Animation. For the first assignment we were asked to do an animation about the weather. We were given some rain drops and an umbrella and told to use them, or make our own illustrations. So, I created all my own illustrations (landscape, people, rain, umbrella, etc.) and made my animation into a mini animated infographic (since that's one of my end goals in learning After Effects). I added informative copy, and some bouncy music. It could use a little more work on timing and face animation, but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction. 

 

HOW University Infographic Certification

write-tech-infographic

I just got my How University Infographic Certification. Now I'm ready to rock and roll on more projects that combine my artistic and information organization skills. Below is the infographic I designed with content provided by Jessica Mehta of MehtaFor. I also created an interactive PDF based on the infographic. You can email me if you'd like to take a look at that. Unfortunately, Squarespace doesn't support interactive PDFs.

Character Sketch

I'm working on some children's book illustrations for a self publishing author. Below are a few different stages from the character sketch painting process of a troll named Stamp. I actually started creating the sketch in Illustrator, but switched to gouache because it was a lot easier for me to produce the line work and shading that I wanted.

Process: Girl Power Card

As part of a maternity present I created a hand painted card. It was made using gouache on Bristol paper. The inspiration came from spring and a children's book a just got from the library called A Wizard in Love.

Low Poly Squirrel Poster

Thanksgiving is almost here. The leaves are busily falling from the trees, the rain has paid us more visits, and all the little neighborhood critters are busily foraging for winter foods and house bedding. Inspired by the speedy and often unseen squirrels that dart impulsively across our streets, I decided to create a poster—a royal squirrel crossing awareness poster. Hope this helps, my little friends! :)

Outtakes-Designs that Didn't Make the Cut

Designing happens in many stages. I often start with a design brief to acquire all necessary info, create moodboards to explore look/feel options, create two or more comps to give layout choices, then make several revisions of the final client choice before pushing the end product out the door. During that process some concepts are left behind never to see an audience, often never to even see outside the computer where they were conceived. I call these lost concepts "outtakes." I believe there is value even in these project remnants. Just because they weren't right for the client or ideal for one particular project, doesn't mean there isn't potential in them for future design work. In the spirit of showing more process, here are some of my outtakes from the past couple of years.

 This was a book cover comp that I felt ticked many boxes, but was maybe too quirky. It also didn't include a color palette that was desired by the client. The final cover is in the "books" section of this website.

This was a book cover comp that I felt ticked many boxes, but was maybe too quirky. It also didn't include a color palette that was desired by the client. The final cover is in the "books" section of this website.

 This book cover was similar in style to the author's previous cookbook, but didn't convey the idea of the 8x8 pan as well as the chosen layout (seen in "books" section of website).

This book cover was similar in style to the author's previous cookbook, but didn't convey the idea of the 8x8 pan as well as the chosen layout (seen in "books" section of website).

 Originally this was just a blk/wht gouache painting presented as a cover option for The Less We Touch. It was too ominous and didn't provide enough whitespace for the title. I chose to finish it up in Illustrator.

Originally this was just a blk/wht gouache painting presented as a cover option for The Less We Touch. It was too ominous and didn't provide enough whitespace for the title. I chose to finish it up in Illustrator.

 This was a concept for title pages for None Call Me Dad. Sometimes elements like this are just out of the project budget. It also wouldn't have fit with the cover design that was chosen.

This was a concept for title pages for None Call Me Dad. Sometimes elements like this are just out of the project budget. It also wouldn't have fit with the cover design that was chosen.

Creative Practice & Process

These days it's easy for me to become artistically complacent—not keeping up my practice with using traditional materials since most design work required of me is digital. I actually have to assign myself projects that require me to pick up my pencil and paint brush. As a designer and illustrator there are so many techniques I'd like to try as well as skills I want to work to improve. So, I force myself to do hand lettering, create animations, illustrate animals in a cartoon style, etc.. Because the more you work these creative muscles the stronger they get. And, when you leave certain tools behind, they get rusty. 

Because I love to see other people's process, here are the steps I took to complete a "thank you" card I made—with traditional media: pencil, gouache, watercolor, and pen on watercolor paper.

Double-exposure Portrait

Today I challenged myself to create my first double-exposure image in Photoshop. I don't think it's bad for my first one, but I can see how important it is to get the right face/landscape pairing for blending.

For this portrait I combined a photo I took of my son, and an image I downloaded of Mt. Fuji from Shutterstock. This was pretty fun to do. It was also very rewarding, because you can come up with a finished portrait in a couple of hours. There are lots of possibilities with this technique, and I'm looking forward to some more exploration.

Portrait Illustration with Objects

I thought I would share a couple process photos for an illustration I just finished. This illustration was a personal project. I chose items from my son's room that I felt best represented him at this moment in time, and made an illustrated snapshot.

 First I laid out a collection of my son's goodies and took a photo with my phone. Nothing fancy.

First I laid out a collection of my son's goodies and took a photo with my phone. Nothing fancy.

 Then I drew the images in Illustrator, and started coloring them in. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the type yet, so I just slapped in a placeholder. I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the background. At first I thought I might want it to have a paper texture. The one laid in here is linen.

Then I drew the images in Illustrator, and started coloring them in. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for the type yet, so I just slapped in a placeholder. I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the background. At first I thought I might want it to have a paper texture. The one laid in here is linen.

 For the final version I chose to go with a clean light blue background, and to do some decorative hand lettering—in a style to match the way I chose to draw the items.

For the final version I chose to go with a clean light blue background, and to do some decorative hand lettering—in a style to match the way I chose to draw the items.

Interrobang Collective Animation

I just made my first animation using Photoshop and After Effects. I have some learning to do about creating the right size/resolution for the intended media host, but I think I'm off to a good start. And, I really like making these little stories. It reminds me of when I took video classes at Cornish College of the Arts. One of my favorite parts was adding the music and sound effects. Super fun!