Archive for “March, 2009”

what is a graphic designer

For those of you who have no idea what a graphic designer is or some of the struggles we face in design, I’m about to tell you. Plus, you’ll learn a little bit more about me and how I got where I am today.

In the 10th grade I attended a Business Seminar that would change my life. I met a graphic designer making posters and brochures for a television company. Not knowing exactly what one was, but knowing it involved art and computers, I decided that career was for me. I even decided I would one day own a greeting card business called Muffin Inc.

So what exactly is Graphic Design?
Well, it’s a broad spectrum and involves some of these things:

• visual communication by a skillful combination of text and pictures in advertisements, magazines, books, etc.

• Art which designed for commercial purposes. Such as: Letterheads, packaging, posters, advertisements, and brochures.

• websites, dvd menus, billboards, wedding and graduation announcements, logos, magazine layouts.

G.D. {graphic design} is all about using the basic principles you learn in school over and over again to create multiple works of art in various formats. That’s what’s so great about design, is that you can apply the same necessary skills toward everything that you do. Design is all about layout. How does it look and feel. Is it balanced? Do you have a focal point?

I found myself designing wedding invitations and graduation and baby announcements. I also got into package design and designed gift card tins with some fun patterns. I never considered myself an illustrator. But after working with a company for over a year doing that very thing, I now love pattern design.

For some graphic design comes more naturally, but for me, it didn’t, I really have to work at it. It takes a lot of creativity. I am always learning more and more things that I never knew before.

What kind of schooling will you need?
You will need a Bachelor’s Degree in G.D. The first two years will be fulfilling all of your General Education classes {unless you attend an art school}, like Math, English, Reading, History, Psychology, etc. Plus one or two studio classes each semester. Studio classes are at least 1.5 hours long and are focused on art! I took classes like watercolor, figure drawing, basic drawing, pottery, color and design, photography, bookmaking, identity design and conceptual design. {that’s just to name a few.} My favorite classes were bookmaking and letterpress.

Who will Hire me?
When it comes to working as a G.D., there are many people that will hire you. Right now the “HOT” thing is web design and I have a feeling that is going to be that way for a while.

There are in-house designers, which usually have better benefits, such as insurance and retirement plans. An in-house designer means someone who is working in-house. {For example, I could go to Minnesota and work for Target. I would only design things for Target, no one else.}

You many also choose to work for a design firm. A design firm works with many different clients designing such things as logo design, web design and packaging. Some times for big time companies, like Microsoft, Wal-Mart or even Disney.

If going into the marketing and advertising side of design you could choose to work at an ad agency. An ad agency is another place to let your creativity out even more.

You may also choose to do freelance design. A freelancer is someone who works from home and gets work contracted to them. For instance, I am a freelancer and have been contracted to do work for Better Homes and Gardens. I get paid a certain $Dollar$ amount per hour and have to send out invoices of my work. I also have to pay all my own taxes. Which kind of stinks, but it’s worth it to work from home and have time to spend with my daughter.

How much will you make?
When you first get out of school you’re looking at making anywhere from $28,000-$32,000 a year. For the first 2-5 years, you will be known as a junior designer, but you can quickly move up in the career ladder {especially if you’re good} and get the title as senior designer, which make a lot more.

What is the hardest part of being a designer?
The hardest part of being a designer is staying creative and on top of what is hot in design. Design is always changing. Have you ever noticed when your favorite cereal box changes it’s packaging? Why is that? It’s because they’re trying to stay on top of the design trends. Trends change and they change frequently.

There are days when I just can’t design. So what do I do? I read. I look at other designers work to get ideas. I may go to Barnes & Noble and read through their design books, or I may just take a break from design on the computer and do something else that is creative. I may choose to bake some chocolate chip cookies or sew an apron.

What is the most enjoyable part of being a designer?
The most enjoyable part of my career is knowing that I am making the world a more beautiful place and solving problems. That’s what design is. Beautiful Garbage. I am taking something ugly and turning it into something usable. If you have a good logo with a beautifully designed business card you’re going to get more business. Same, as if you have good advertising for something. Design helps out so many people with so many things. I like knowing that I can design something and help someone out.

What are some necessary skills that all G.D. should have?
Be a good problem solver. You always have to be thinking outside of the box. If it won’t work this way, how can I do it another way.

Must be a hard worker. Growing up on a dairy farm taught me to be a hard worker, to be persistent, and never give up. I often wanted to give up on something I was designing because it just didn’t look right, and I didn’t know why. But there are other designers who can help you. I would ask my teachers or even my husband {who just happens to be a G.D. as well.}

Be creative. Find ways to let your creativity shine every day. Whether it’s making a collage in your notebook, painting a picture, or just cooking something, it’s a creation. I try to create something every day. It keeps me sane.

And last, but not least, remember that the computer is just a tool. A G.D. should sketch out their ideas on paper first and then just use the computer to accomplish their tasks and designs.

I hope that this small job description has been of some assistance. I wish I would have know more what I was getting into when I got into design. But, I would never go back. I love design and I love being a G.D. It’s challenging, but fun and exciting all at the same time.

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about being a designer.

new projects

These two projects come from Lena Corwin’s new book, “Printing By Hand” . It is such a fun book full of creative ways to print on fabric and paper by hand.

I took foam w/ an adhesive back. Cut out the pieces and stuck them to a clear acrylic stamp mount. Then you apply ink or paint and apply to the fabric. This is the end result. A cute, quaint little traveler’s pouch that is perfect for traveling with.

The second project was a lampshade tutorial and a simple one at that.

I bought a circular lampshade for $2 at a thrift store, cleaned it off and let it dry.

Here are the steps.

1. Cut out contact paper in the design that you want and stick it to the lampshade.
2. Cover the inside and all metal parts with masking tape and newspaper, to protect it from the paint.

3. Take it outside, lay down some newspaper and spray on paint staying about 6″ away.

4. Allow to dry. Peel of contact paper, masking tape and newspaper.

It’s that simple! A new lampshade that would add character to any room! Hope this gives you some ideas for creating something fun for your home!

Also, I was inspired to put up this faux wallpaper after seeing white walls for way too long. I had purchased an old book in Arizona, so that I could put new “guts” inside of it and happened to keep the insides, “just in case”. It didn’t take me too long. Just use double-stick tape and away you go. It not only adds dimension, but character to walls. Especially for those of us who are renting and can’t paint.

{Sorry for the bad quality of photos for the lampshade ones. It was before I got my Nikon D60. Oohhh, I love this camera. It takes such amazing photos, compared to my digital. Just compare the difference with the photo of the traveler’s pouch in the suitcase. Isn’t there a huge difference? Wow!}

an e-course on blogging

I’m doing it! I’m taking my first e-course over at decor8 and I’m sooooo excited! Holly Becker is offering the 4 week course and giving such advice as:

• Writing from the heart
• Creative post ideas
• How to build your readership
• Dealing with negativity

Space is limited to only 200 students, so if you’re interested contact her here .

ruffle apron pattern

This has to be one of the cutest apron patterns I have yet to find. And the best part is that it’s FREE and it only took me 2 hours to make from start to finish. I just used scraps of fabric that I had laying around. One of the pieces I used was from a vintage napkin that I found at a thrift store. I then sewed two pieces together to make it long enough.

There are many free apron patterns listed here and I got my pattern for this apron here .

{note: I noticed in her instructions that there is a typo. Toward the end, you are instructed to place piece “A” inside piece “C”, but she really means piece “D”, not “C”. It will make sense once you are doing it.}

Tutorial courtesy of “One More Moore”

molasses popcorn

This popcorn rocks! Just try it! Or as my daughter would say, “MMMMM!”

Molasses Popcorn

2 cubes butter or margarine {I prefer butter}
1/2 c. molasses
2 c. brown sugar
1 t. salt

Boil these four ingredients in a large saucepan. Do not stir. Boil for 5 minutes, then add 1 t. baking soda. Pour over popcorn {Make 2-3 batches of popcorn, depending on what you like. Each batch is 1/2 c. unpopped popcorn.} Mix well & enjoy.

Tip: Mine turned out very crunchy, like cracker jacks. If you want it crunchy boil it 5 minutes, if you want it softer, don’t boil it as long.

displaying product

Well, these are some photos for my upcoming show at the Sweet Tweets Boutique. It will be this Friday and Saturday in Lehi. If you are in the area and would like to come visit Sweet Tweets Boutiques Blog.

We were lucky enough to get this table to display my product on. There are over 60 vendors and space is tight!

I thought I would mention some amazing deals I found for my displays as well as some pointers that I have learned along the journey for displaying product.

First off, when looking for inspiration, scope out what the competitors are doing. I visited a few local boutiques to see how they displayed their product. I went to Soel and noticed that not only did they have amazing and delightful product, but they knew how to display their product to make it gorgeous. I noticed they used these adorable wire baskets so that the cards and notebooks could shine. So, I went on a quest to find some wire baskets.

My first stop was the D.I. {For those of you who are not from Utah and not familiar with the D.I., it stands for Deseret Industries and is a very large thrift shop}. Much to my surprise, I found two wire baskets that were exactly what I wanted. I was pumped! I was going to try and put my product in a normal wicker basket, but couldn’t see my cards very well, so I was excited to find these.

Not only did I find these sweet wire baskets, I also found this vintage Westclox wind-up clock, another vintage suitcase, and these beautiful vintage looking frames {which I will post later}. Normally, I go to the D.I. and am disappointed b/c I can’t find what I’m looking for. But yesterday was awesome!

Next, I went to Saver’s {another thrift shop} to see if they had any more cool stuff. I found the most amazing vintage tool box/luggage piece. I couldn’t help but get it, for $10 bucks!!! Come on! I was hoping Chris wouldn’t be mad at me for bringing home another luggage piece, but he thought it was so cool too, that he couldn’t be mad. Hee hee.

So, make sure when displaying product to feature the products that you want to sell the most of, and let the other product act as support.

Pay attention to detail. The little things are what help it feel rounded out. Little things like this small aluminum bucket {which is holding my business cards}, or little globe ornament {which is a pencil sharpener} help to make things feel whole and complete.

Look for displaying product with or inside things that normally aren’t grouped together. Like my vintage toolbox and some books. Or a wire basket with cards. I’ve seen such things as jewelry and a bulletin board.

Hope this helps and I’ll keep ya posted and let you know how well the show goes! Go out and support your local artisans and handcrafters!

a fun idea

This is a fun way to brighten up your work space. Just add rub-on’s or stamps to everyday clothespins and you’ve got a fun shabby chic design.

{Sorry for only having one image, but this is just from my display for the Boutique. They are packaged up. I will try to post more later.}

a face lift!

Mufninc had a face lift, or should I say a design lift. I designed the blog and Jacob Bair programmed it for me. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him! Thanks a mil Jake! And also, thanks to Christopher (my cute husband) who did all of the finishing touch ups. It surely pays to have such amazing friends and family! Thank you all who believed in me and for helping me to make this a reality! This is truly a dream come true! Let me know what you think.

{If you like what you see and would like to contact Jake, he can be contacted via LinkedIn.}