Flowers in a Vase Birth Announcement

Posted 20 January 2012 at 4:55 PM | Comments (2)

I took one week off from blogging. Don’t you go picturing me on restful holiday, however—I was busy working. So busy! Overnight I went from having zero design projects to having ten; I just thought it was about time I start accepting projects again.

It’s crazy how that happens. One day I decide to take projects, and the next day I have ten inquiries.

Anyway, this is the first of several “my projects” posts you’ll see in the next few weeks.

Flowers in a Vase Simple Modern Birth Announcement

I like the simplicity of this birth announcement, and the contrast between cheerful color and quiet layout. Most of all I love the cute little icon in the corner—imagine just adding a flower to the vase when this family has their second child!

*Names, details, and photo have been changed.

Cool Modern Twins Birth Announcement

Posted 15 November 2011 at 7:34 PM | Comments (2)

A potential client just asked for more examples of my simple-and-modern baby announcements, so I pulled out this one that I did two years ago. It’s different than most of my other announcements in that it has a cool-jazzy vibe!

Simple Modern Intersecting Lines Baby Announcement With Photo

When Naomi and Magnus* first approached me, they couldn’t envision exactly what they wanted but gave me some good keywords—simple, modern, brown and aqua. So I sat down with those keywords and considered how to apply them to a meaningful design.

I came up with the idea of four intersecting lines to represent each member of their growing family. I wanted the lines to be fluid, almost as if two of the lines spun out of the other two. The result is smooth and sinuous; and the lines are not just symbolic, they also do their job as a design element by moving the viewer’s eye from one point to the next.

Luckily I got it exactly right in the first round (easy clients!), so we had very little work to do. The only thing they asked for is a second option—one without a photo, in case they couldn’t get a good picture of the twins right away.

Simple Modern Intersecting Lines Baby Announcement No Photo

We actually ended up using both designs, so that was nice.

*Names and details have been changed.

Cute and Snuggly Birth Announcement

Posted 9 September 2011 at 3:47 PM | Comments (2)

I wanted to give Galina and Jon* a more cute, traditional announcement for baby Marcus. This is what we came up with (sans baby photos):

Cute Moon and Star Birth Announcement

You can probably tell that there’s some kind of lined texture in the background. It was super easy to create! After making a new layer in Photoshop, I just drew messy, vertical blue lines with the paintbrush tool.

Simple Background Texture, Step 1

Then I filled the background layer with a slightly darker shade of blue, using the paint-bucket tool.

Simple Background Texture, Step 2

Once I added other design elements, it looked less like a messy mistake and more like an interesting, yet subtle, background texture.

Simple Background Texture, Step 3

Ridiculously easy! One of my favorite tricks in Photoshop.

*Names and details have been changed.

Coral and Pink Floral “Save the Date”

Posted 22 June 2011 at 10:15 PM | Comments (3)

If you assumed I’d be designing my sister’s save-the-date cards, wedding invitations, and programs, you were right! I’m knee-deep in her wedding design, and I love it.

Our starting point was some of my wedding inspiration boards. The two boards I really liked for her were Youthful Pink and White and Crisp Coral and White. We had a couple of back-and-forths about how to apply one of these color palettes, when it occurred to me that we could combine the two.

My sister really liked the idea of a softer color with something brighter and punchier, so I sat down to brainstorm how it would all come together. I wanted to give her a visual before going much further, so I created a collection of spring dresses from Banana Republic:

Coral and Pink Dresses from Banana Republic, Spring 2011

And a collection from J.Crew:

Coral and Pink Dresses from J.Crew, Spring 2011

And voilà, we were done with the hardest part! With the green-light* on a coral and pink palette, it was time to come up with an overall motif for her big day. I wanted so badly to go with stripes—like you saw in the inspiration boards—but it just wasn’t connecting. My sister isn’t “stripes” as much as she is “cute flowers.” I had to trust my instinct by switching gears completely and going floral.

Initially expecting to design just a few cute flowers, I was pleasantly surprised as an allover pattern began to emerge! I haven’t done pattern design in years (such a shame, considering my love for it), so it was very exciting. Once again, green-light (yay)—so I refined the pattern to make it seamless.

While applying the pattern to our first project, the save-the-date card, it became clear that the girlish sweetness of the colors and style needed to be balanced by something more tough and masculine. So that’s how I approached the information.

Here’s the final card (with names changed, obviously):

Coral/Peach and Pink/Fuchsia Floral Save the Date Card

*I’d just like to note that the green-light came from both the bride and groom. In case any of you were thinking there’s no way the groom would approve! Nuh-uh, this is a couple that works in total unity.

Spring Weeds Birth Announcement

Posted 1 April 2011 at 7:38 PM | Comments (2)

Lynette and Greg* wanted to introduce their baby boy with an announcement that was elegant, inspired by nature, and had green as the dominant color. My first draft was a little too green—hubby Greg said, “Hey, wait a second! That’s my wife’s favorite color, not mine. Can we tone it down a bit?” So we scratched “green” as a requirement and replaced it with “springy,” since baby was due at the start of spring.

The final announcement does feel a lot like spring; I can almost feel dewdrops on the grass and hear the buzzing of bees:

Spring Weeds Birth Announcement

*Names and details have been changed.

Purple Floral Birth Announcement

Posted 8 March 2011 at 8:56 AM | Comments (0)

Zina and James* just wanted a simple birth announcement for close friends and family. They were really open to ideas, so I suggested something feminine, floral, and purple. Since the announcement was only going to be sent by e-mail, we could do whatever we wanted—use full-color all the way to the edges, use pretty photo filters—and not worry about cost or quality.

I used a William Morris floral pattern in the background, layering it to add dimension, and recoloring it to make it new.

Baby Announcement with a Purple Floral Design

Looking at it now, I’m not sure I like how the image floats in space. It needs to be anchored. Perhaps I should have cropped off the bottom so that the image falls off the edge or added another colored bar to the bottom half of the announcement.

*Names and details have been changed.

Tonal Stripe Birth Announcement, One and Two

Posted 29 January 2011 at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

The stimulus for the Marsh* family’s birth announcement was an imaginary nursery. I imagined walls with a yellow-tonal stripe on top, solid blue on bottom, and white chair rail in the middle. Our first draft was essentially a simplified version of just that:

Tonal Stripe Birth Announcement Draft

The Marshes loved the classic, happy-baby look but wanted it stronger and more elegant, so we changed the colors to blue and brown:

Tonal Stripe Birth Announcement Final

I like how it turned out but am reconsidering the diaper pin detail. I didn’t integrate it as well as I could have. Maybe each photo should have been pinned? Or at least pinned together? Maybe I should have dropped the pin altogether and kept it simpler? Or stretched the nursery concept and turned it into push-pins instead?

Another thing on my mind is baby Griffin’s adorable foot. Well, not his foot exactly, but his sock. Had we planned better, we could have ensured that his clothes matched his announcement, because when I look at the little red and black stripes, I can’t help but wonder what we could have done to echo those colors elsewhere.

*Names and details have been changed.

Save Water

Posted 26 January 2011 at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)

I recently designed a series of nine e-mail announcements for an organization trying to raise water conservation awareness among its employees.

My execution was simple. Background images of water were blown up and overlaid with images of swirls and flowers, colors were kept in shades of blue, and text was basic and legible. I know it’s not the sexiest design project, but I’m posting it because it may inspire you to conserve water at home!

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

Water Saving Tips

The Compelling Story of the Illustrated “Save the Date”

Posted 20 January 2011 at 12:02 AM | Comments (8)

My clients were so happy with their engagement announcement that they came back to me for their “save the date” card. They wanted something elaborately illustrated, almost storybook-ish, and reminiscent of the unique location where their wedding would be held—Haifa, Israel.

So I came up with an interpretation of the famous Baha’i gardens in Haifa—tall cypress trees, trimmed hedges, red geraniums, and ornate lampposts—and it was a hit.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

Not even two minutes after I got their approval, my husband looks over my shoulder and says, “What time of the day are they getting married? Because if it’s an evening wedding, maybe you should incorporate that.” Crap. That’s a good idea.

So I quickly called the couple and asked if they wanted to see a second version, and they did. They said they’d be getting married at 6:30 pm. Sunset.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

So I was almost finished with that version, and then—I kid you not—my husband says, “Don’t kill me for saying this, but maybe you should consider illustrating the view from their wedding venue. I mean, wouldn’t that be nice? It’s like giving guests a preview of what they’ll actually be looking at on the night of the wedding.”

Crap.

I called the couple again and asked what they thought. They were open to it. Their wedding venue would overlook all of Haifa Bay, with the glittering lights of the city and the mountains of Northern Israel in the distance. I waved an angry fist at my husband for making me do so much extra work. Of course, if I didn’t think it was worth it, I wouldn’t have done it.

And it was definitely worth it.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

Additional notes on technique:

The image was illustrated in Photoshop, using the brush tool. I paint in Photoshop just as you would paint on a canvas—constantly painting over the image underneath, layering color upon color until it feels right.

Once I was done with the painting, I overlaid the vintage floral pattern from their engagement announcement. It’s subtle, but it adds a nice texture. Also, since the save-the-date was such a departure from their engagement announcement, I wanted to find some way to connect the two designs.

The final design uses a couple of Photoshop filters—“paint daubs” and “rough pastels,” if I remember correctly.

Penguin Family Birth Announcement

Posted 12 January 2011 at 11:01 AM | Comments (4)

The Hawns* had a cute idea. For their daughter’s birth announcement, they wanted to represent their growing family with penguins. A web search led them to illustrator Jessi Miller, whose “Penguin Family” painting was perfectly suited for their project. Naturally, they contacted her for permission to use it (always the right thing to do!).

With an ordinary Photoshop brush, I colored the bottom half of the announcement to look fluffy and almost snow-like. Then, by mimicking the brightest colors in Miller’s illustration, the design becomes joyful, whereas on the upper half, I toned the color down with a solid pastel to give it a sense of girlish sweetness.

Penguin Family Birth Announcement

*Names and details have been changed.