I feel so incredibly lucky and flattered to have recently been asked to participate in Jen Serafini’s Inspired By Series. If you ever wonder what inspires my work, head on over to her site for the full interview and an explanation for the random photos below! Thanks so much for including me Jen!
P.S. Jen also is a graphic designer and has an amazing portfolio and blog so be sure to click around her site for additional eye candy and inspiration!
My amazing and talented friend, Alexis just recently launched a beautiful line of hand-drawn and hand-printed wallpaper. Not only do I love each design but I also love her vision and generosity to the Land Stewardship project. Aren’t the designs adorable?! I want all of them! Congratulations Alexis!
I just came across this amazing instagram series by photographer, Murad Osmann and it’s got me dreaming of far off lands I’ve yet to explore. I just did a huge vacation last year so unfortunately it looks like I’m staying close to home this summer. How about you? What are your summer plans?
People are always asking me what I’m up to, so I thought I’d go ahead and share with everyone! My latest adventure is a studio photography class and I LOVE it—especially styling the shots! While I admit I’m definitely NOT an expert, I have come a long way from where I was just a few months ago so I thought I’d share a few tips!
What or who is the hero of the shot?
In most shots you will want to emphasize the main subject. This is your hero and all the other items in the scene are only there to support it. In the photo above, the lemon bars are clearly the hero and are placed in the foreground to emphasize their importance.
Create depth in your photos by placing elements in the foreground, mid-ground, and background.
Styling (my favorite part!)
Choose lots of props. The more props you have, the more options for a variety of shots. Also, make sure the props support your theme so the final photo makes sense. For example, if you are shooting a brandy decanter, it wouldn’t make sense to style it with lemons, straws, and tumblers because that isn’t what is usually used for drinks containing brandy.
Choose lights that are best for your theme and subject. A soft box will create a soft diffused light whereas other lights produce harsher light on your subject. You may want to use multiple lights if something needs to be highlighted. If areas of your set seem dark, use a white matte board or mirror to reflect light from your main light source onto areas you want to brighten. Another trick is to use a flashlight in areas where you need more light. For the lemon bar photos above, I used a softbox on the right side of my set. I placed a large white board on the left and used a flashlight directly on the lemon bars and lemons.
Use Photoshop for further adjustments to your photos. I tend to select various areas of the photo and adjust either the levels, the hue, or the curves.
Tip for food shots
The point is to make it look delicious! If you don’t want to eat it after seeing the photo, then you probably need to adjust something. With that said, hopefully you want to eat a lemon bar! I realize I’ve only covered the very basics, so what additional tips would you suggest?
Oh, and just in case you want to make some lemon bars (they are super good!), here is the recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties! Ideas and recipes for easy parties that are really fun.
LEMON BAR RECIPE
½ lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking sheet, building up a ½-inch edge on all sides. Chill (I chilled it for about 30 minutes).
Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into triangles and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
I am currently going through another purge (I have so much stuff!) and came across a box of vintage stamps. I love the simplicity of the artwork and the bright colors—a great source for inspiration!
It seems like I’ve been doing quite a few branding projects lately and I couldn’t be more happy about it! I absolutely love establishing a look and feel for a business and strongly believe this is the most important step in developing a successful business. Not only does good branding familiarize the public with a recognizable and consistent look, but it also legitimizes a business.
For the super talented, Scot Woodman, I created three logo variations—each of which are consistent with each other so that if one is used without the other, it still looks like it came from the same place (very important)! I also created graphical elements, patterns, and a color palette that are unique to his brand. By sticking with this overall scheme, Scot can now easily maintain a consistent and professional look throughout all his future marketing materials. Don’t you think the overall look and feel are a perfect match to his amazing photos? For more visual eye candy by Scot, go here.
The other day I was doing some packaging and product research for a client and found these amazing flash drives. Only problem is they are a wee bit out of our budget.
To develop an effective brand identity, it is extremely important to have a clearly laid out process that gives me guidance and allows clients to articulate their needs. While every designer has their own logo design process I have found that these few simple steps have saved me from miscommunication, frustration and unnecessary time and money spent on revisions.
1. GET TO KNOW MY CLIENTS (Questionnaire and Pinterest Board)
The most important part of the process is getting A LOT (the more the better!) of information from my clients. This enables me to understand what their business is about, what their needs are, and what they like and dislike. I get this information from my clients two ways. First, I send a design brief that includes questions such as, “What do you want your logo to communicate about your company or products?” and “Are there any images or concepts you DO NOT want to see?” These types of questions allow clients to think about their business goals and how they would like their company to be represented visually. Secondly, I encourage my clients to set up a Pinterest board. Pinterest is an online pinboard that allows individuals to collect and share their images and is a terrific way for clients to communicate their likes and dislikes. Below is a screenshot of the board that the High Five gals put together for me. Notice how they added comments about what they liked or disliked about the image?
After I receive all the information above, I do my own research to inform myself on the latest trends within my client’s industry. If I’m not exactly clear on the style my client is after or if I want to push them in a certain direction, this is also when I show them images of a particular look and feel I am after.
3. SKETCH, DIGITIZE, AND PRESENT
After all that research, I usually have a pretty good idea of what direction I should go in and finally start designing. I usually spend about 2-3 days sketching. Once I have some good solid ideas on paper, I scan the three strongest designs and digitize them on my computer. It’s important that the logos are strong designs without any color (often clients choose logos because they are influenced by color). So, I almost always present the first round in black and white.
4. REVISE, CHOOSE COLORS, FINALIZE AND DO A HAPPY DANCE!
Once I submit the designs to my client, I wait for their feedback, make revisions and present color options based on inspiration photos they send me (see sample of color options based on images below). I then submit round two and repeat until complete!
If you are a designer, what’s your logo design process? What works for you? What doesn’t? Or, if you have been on the receiving end, what made your experience good or bad? Let me know in the comments below—I’d love to know your thoughts!