Yearly Archives: 2012

Holiday DIY: Customize Your Ornaments!

3M ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

With Christmas fast approaching, I decided it was well time for an ornament DIY project! This is our first year with a full-size tree and I wanted it to have some personal touches. Store-bought ornaments are perfectly fine but we all have unique tastes and my goal was to find a way to spice up our tree with a few of my favorite patterns and symbols.

Joey and I got to work with a handful of simple, graphic designs we are so happy with the way they turned out! Now it’s your turn — we promise that this is super easy and much more manageable than the shakeboard D.I.Y. he came up with last time!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

Let’s get started! First, we found these oversized silver ball ornaments at Target. Have you seen their Christmas decor section this year?! It’s AWESOME. Since these were going to be the main accents for our tree, we wanted them to be larger than the rest of our ornaments.

Supplies needed:

• One roll of ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape

• Krylon X-Metals Spraypaint

• An X-Acto Knife

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

For designs, it’s best to stick with angular, bold shapes and patterns that can easily be masked off on spherical surfaces. Think along the lines of varying stripes, symbols, letterforms, chevron patterns. To customize your ornaments, first mask off the ornament surface completely. Secondly, trace on design. Next, cut design out of tape. Once that’s finished, spray in design in the color of your choice. And once it’s completely dry (we let ours sit overnight just to be sure), peel off tape. See, that was easy!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

I am SO excited to finally have a cross ornament! And a Helvetica A! I’ve used both elements in my design projects for a long, long time and it’s nice to have those special additions to our tree. I’m sure we’ll come up with even more for next year.

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

This is the first year that we’re all ready for Christmas early enough to actually sit back and enjoy the decorations!! How about you? Have you decorated yet?

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

scotchblue, scotchblue painter's tape, painter's tape, tape

A huge thank you to ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape for collaborating with us on this post! All thoughts and ideas are our own. To join the creative community, visit Facebook.

The Week In Pictures: 12.14.12

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

Nubby Twiglet The Week In Pictures

I met the best Santa ever last night. As you can see, he was very, very enthusiastic about his job and even topped off his big red suit with sunglasses and a hand-carved cane!

Beyond all the excitement that goes along with holiday festivities, this week is different and for that reason, I’m cutting this post short. I went back and forth on whether I should even post today because everything including blogging seems superficial in comparison to the tragedy that took place in Newtown. Collectively, we wonder if things will ever be normal again. I think, at least to me, the answer is no.

I still remember when the Columbine massacre happened. I was in high school and that shift was very obvious — we were in that first wave of students that went from having no cameras in school to coming back to find them installed in every possible corner. Things never really went back to normal. Or at least to the way they were before.

The other shooting this week at Clackamas Town Center hit very close to home — it is where I do a lot of my shopping and it still feels very surreal.

I’m reminded tonight how lucky I am and to those people who did absolutely nothing wrong, those who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, my thoughts are with you.

I saw a tweet earlier today that said something along the lines of “Be kind to the people you meet. You never know what they’re going through.” Let’s remember that. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Media Kit Insights: The Who, What & Why!

The Blogcademy Media Kit

I just wrapped up a digital media kit for The Blogcademy (we’ve been super busy this month between putting this together and launching our updated website!) and I’d like to shed a bit more light on media kits overall.

One of my most popular articles ever on this blog was a press kit how-to. It’s very out of date at this point but that’s okay because since that article was written, we’ve become increasingly more digitally savvy and these days, for the most part I wouldn’t recommend a press kit for most people to use. Over the last three years, I’ve switched over to digital media kits and my clients have found huge success using them. With sharp editorial-style layouts and clickable links all in a PDF format that’s email-friendly, it’s easy to get the word out in a quick, professional manner whether you’re a blogger or small business.

The Blogcademy Media Kit

The Blogcademy Media Kit

Historically, digital media kits have been most commonly used by large magazines to provide information including circulation rates and stats of their target audience for advertisers. Often, they also include a brief bio, testimonials and contact information.

The Blogcademy Media Kit

After designing my first media kit for a print magazine in 2008, I had the realization that they would be ideal for bloggers too. Sometimes a one-sheet just isn’t enough information if you’re trying to land bigger gigs and advertisers. I’ve designed a lot of media kits over the last few years — my two personal favorites are for Rock N Roll Bride (this is her older version — we just wrapped a 2013 refresh that more closely matches her magazine) and Veronica Varlow.

At The Blogcademy, we’ve had a one sheet since the beginning to send out to sponsors but realized that while that was perfect for filling goodie bags, we needed something more robust for larger corporate partnerships that may pop up. It’s important to always be prepared for those potentially huge moments! 14 pages later, we’re feeling much more prepared for what 2013 holds.

The Blogcademy Media Kit

In the media kits I put together, especially for bloggers, I usually start by suggesting the following:

• Front and back covers with a visible URL and logo
• An introduction with key accomplishments
• Testimonials from readers and clients
• Stats including traffic and social media numbers
• Rates / packages / availability
• Suggestions for how to make the most out of your partnership (recommendations for achieving the best results)
• Professional images of your brand / blog / yourself throughout
• Contact page with clickable links

From this list, we add and subtract content until the balance feels right. Each media kit should be very specific to that brand. There are some crossover design elements I’ve used but for the most part, every media kit is a clean slate.

The Blogcademy Media Kit

If you’re attending The Blogcademy London, I do a much more in-depth media kit overview during my branding segment. I hope this glimpse inside media kits makes them feel less mysterious!

*All photos in the media kit are by Devlin Photos and Made U Look Photography.

Link Love: 12.13.12

link love

link love


• Whether you are focused on blogging or another career path, it’s time to stop dabbling.

• Here are some great insights on what reviewers are looking for in your portfolio.

• If you’re a lover of well-designed coffee mugs like I am, here’s an aesthetically pleasing round-up!

• Just because: 100 words for snow.

• How to write emails that get an immediate response.

• Rolling Stone rounds up the 50 greatest hip-hop songs of all-time.

• I love this article about how “Made in the USA” is making a huge comeback!

• Darren Rowse from Problogger shared ten things he wished he’d known about blogging when he started and this person made notes.

• Simply being helpful and doing more of what you love may open the door to even more great opportunities.

• Do you update your marketing plan regularly?

• Wow, I’ve never seen an airline publication look this good but British Airways nailed it!

The Typofiles #121: J. Crew Holiday Catalog

The Typofiles: J. Crew Holiday Catalog

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: J. Crew gets me every time. I’m probably not their target customer and I barely own anything by them but sure enough, their catalog shows up on my doorstep every few months and I’m suddenly transfixed by their world…or at least the world they project in their catalogs.

What is it about J. Crew’s branding and offerings that has this certain power and charisma? There’s this sense of inviting cool that I immediately feel when I flip through their catalogs. Nothing’s too fussy. And the type is sharp and on-trend but never overdone. Maybe what draws me in as a from a design perspective is that they manage to strike that elusive balance between classic and trendy. Not too classic that it’s boring but not too trendy that it’s vulgar.

The Typofiles: J. Crew Holiday Catalog

I like the idea of having staying power but without being dull. To me, that’s precisely why J.Crew is so popular. And why I like their catalogs so much. It’s no secret that I gather a lot of design inspiration from flipping through catalogs. If you’re looking for some free inspiration over the holidays, check out my catalog post and sign up for a few of your own. Isn’t snail mail the best?

The Typofiles: J. Crew Holiday Catalog

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.

The Blogcademy Website 2.0!

The Blogcademy Website

Today we have a very special announcement: The Blogcademy has a new and improved website!

Our workshop has come a long way since its launch back in August! To say that there was a time crunch when we were getting ready to launch doesn’t quite sum it all up…it was more of a mad dash. The workback schedule was nearly nonexistent — I had one day to design the site design and Kat’s husband coded the entire thing in a weekend. And even better, the night before our big launch, I headed across state lines to a Mötley Crüe & Kiss concert, promising Kat & Gala I’d finish up any final assets that night when I got home.

The Blogcademy Website

I made it back from the concert in one piece and the next morning, the launch went better than any of us could have imagined. Since that time, our first workshop in New York has came and went and London is now on the horizon.

Beyond all the excitement, each of us had the nagging feeling that our website could be a lot better. Truth be told, it just didn’t feel complete — post New York, we had a video, amazing testimonials and a one-sheet but nowhere to really put them. I didn’t want to just tack on more content to the existing pages. We needed an overhaul.

The Blogcademy Website

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I got to work on the redesign. Kat’s coding whiz husband Gareth quietly worked away and surprised us with the finished product this morning and we couldn’t be more happy to share this next chapter of The Blogcademy with you!

Take a look around (we have lots of new content, including Testimonials and Sponsors pages)and let us know what you think! And if you’re interested in joining us in London, there’s a few spots left.

Back To Basics

Back To Basics

I find that the more immersed I become in creating visual identities for clients, the more I navigate towards the familiar for myself. I used to be one of those people that wondered why fashion designers sent fantastical creations down the runway every season but would then step out for the finale and take a bow in a simple jeans and t-shirt ensemble. Surely they could wear their otherworldly creations as well?

But now, I think I get it. When you dive into a sea of other people’s worlds and try to bring them to life, it’s nice to strip things down to the familiar when it comes to yourself. When you have a clean slate, you can create anything. Inspiration awaits around every corner.

When I’m focused on multiple projects, I find myself feeling the most comfortable being surrounded by things that are black and white. I love color but when all I can think about are other people’s colors day and night, I like to keep it simple for myself. My love affair with all things black and white continues.

Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Creatives, do you have a go-to “uniform” when work takes over?