Branded printed labels make the world go round

The round labels are proving very popular, so popular in fact that I am currently trialing some round gloss style labels and transparent style labels. Once I am happy with the quality and look, I’ll put them online as part of the Printed Stationery range. From samples to date, I suspect they will be a big hit!

In the meantime, you can look at some highlights of most recent orders from my lovely clients. Client supplied designs from Abi of ‘Sew You’ (sewing queen and a bit of a design junkie) and Kerry of ‘Truffle Piglet’ (don’t you just love the name?). Sara of ‘Kitty Eden’ would have designed her own, but I saw one of her flower brooches and was inspired, so sent her a design, which she didn’t have any choice but to accept.

Twitter Small Business Sunday #sbs

For those of you who are on twitter and who also follow Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis will be aware that every Sunday between 17:00 and 19:30 he offers small businesses the opportunity to promote themselves to him and in turn he ReTweets your tweet to his 82,000+ followers. Firstly, what a great idea and secondly it shouldn’t surprise me that Theo offers his time and generously helps support small and home-grown businesses in his own unique way.

This is my second week of trying out for the #sbs. I tweeted Theo at around 6pm with my short summary and my URL. I think it helps to have the URL so that people have something to click onto straight away to see what you are all about. Anyway, so I sent my tweet, did bath and bedtime with the little Crayons and promptly got distracted with doing some copy writing for Mr. Crayon’s StopForumSpam website and then a bit of overdue artwork framing (another glamorous Sunday evening at Crayons HQ).

It wasn’t until later when I logged into twitter that I saw all the messages of congratulations from my lovely followers and also complete strangers! What a lovely surprise. I am still dealing with all the lovely supportive messages that are pouring in and doing it all with a huge smile on my face.

I would like to thank Theo for chosing me, and I would like to congratulate my fellow #sbs club members this week. They are @artyglobe, @CotswoldNature, @LesleyKemp, @m2mmirrors, @TwentySevenWed.

I wish for us all a wonderfully busy week ahead!

Thanks also to @ShelliBobbins who was on the ball and took an instant twitter screenshot!

Not so secret ‘pie club’

I am a proud member of the ‘twitter pie club’, along with the lovely and talented illustrators and designers @muddleduck, @jennyariane, @catpalairet, @DeeAndrews.

We decided that it would be fun to create a badge for each other. We considered doing a ‘secret santa’ thing, but it got a bit complex and so in the end Jenny suggested doing it alphabetically. So I made a steak and ale badge for @catpalairet and the very yummy mummy @muddleduck made one for me. Pictures of all badges will be posted on our flickr group (yes we are taking this very seriously) once all the badges arrive at their destinations.

I love my badge and it pretty much captures my love of pie, all hand-sewn – how clever! Thank you very much Julia!

Inkling Prints labels and Button bears

You are getting two topics for the price of one in today’s post.

The very talented designer and illustrator Kiran (@InklingPrints) ordered some printed round labels the other day. I was really looking forward to seeing the artwork she was supplying as her work is just gorgeous. I wasn’t disappointed. There are some designs that just ‘work’ and this is definitely one of them. I have been allowed to show you a sneaky preview of the labels…nice heh?

I have a four year old birthday party to go to on Saturday and I always try and buy handmade when it comes to gifts. I recently commissioned a Holly Fairy and Ben Elf for the little Crayons from Amanda at Handmade by Button and thanks to the power of facebook and the birthday boy’s Mummy’s statuses, I knew what his favourite characters were. So, on Wednesday night I sent @giantbutton a message asking (aka pleading) to see if she could knock up a special commission. A couple of hours later, a homage to Brave Captain Barnacles was cut, sewn and finished! Now that’s what I call exceptional customer service.

Thinking outside of the card

I was asked by the very sweet Sara Webster (@kittyeden, a stitching wizard and a badge queen) to print some product cards to mount her badges with.

I was inspired by the red spotty background on her website as part of the design. I also wanted it to adaptable so that it could double up as note cards or gift tags (imagine hole punched at top and a lovely red ribbon) and not just a badge card.

We decided on an A7 sized card (even though she wanted square at first) as it allowed for badges up to 58mm and gave us room to put the website information on it. I designed a white space that could be used as a mount area for the cards as well as a writing area. We also opted for a 300gsm card stock, which is thick but not too thick and a matt art card so that she could hand write onto for that personal touch.

I am really pleased with the results. Below is a sneaky peeky preview of the package which should be winging it’s way to Derbyshire as we speak.

This product is available in the Printed Stationery section, if you are interested in ordering some made to your own specific design.

Mel Anderson Design designed labels

The very lovely Mel Anderson ordered some round labels today. Mel is a super talented felt and textile artist, she also takes great pride in the presentation of her work (see sample picture below). She is also an excellent client, in that she pretty much gives me free-reign with the ‘design’ aspect.

I really wanted to incorporate some of Mel’s personaility and unique style into the labels to showcase her work and to keep her branding consistent and what better way than by using her ‘Love x’ felt art (quickly becoming a best-seller for Valentine’s day) as inspiration? I have allowed for 3 various designs all based on Mel’s work for maximum flexibility.

I have really enjoyed designing these and hope they will compliment the whole ‘Mel Anderson Design‘ experience when you buy a piece from her.

Funky plastic business and product cards

I am very excited to present this product to my printed stationery services.

A newly developed product which is rather special. I am sure you have seen and heard of plastic business cards before, but they have always been rather cost prohibitive. Not anymore! Using a special technique this product offers excellent quality for a fraction of the price.

I think you will agree that they look very funky and would make excellent business cards, or product cards (for your designer/makers) and even gift tags, multiple uses!

Any design printed in black only. Please note, the quality of the print is well above 2000dpi, I have blurred the sample for the purposes of client privacy. The final colour of the card is an off-white matt transparent, weight equivalent to 380/400gsm card stock. Nice and luxuriously thick.

More details on specifications and how to order can be found at the Printed Stationery section.

Retro Valentine’s card

I was tweeting with Wendy (@1stUniqueGifts) last night and she was very complimentary about my Geek ‘inspired’ Valentine’s card designs. However, she ‘got’ them but didn’t think Mr. 1st uniqueGifts would ‘get’ them, he was more of a Batman fan apparently.

So, that got me thinking on ideas for a more retro style of Superhero based cards. This is my first ‘Kapow!’ card. I have an idea for a Superman and Spiderman as well, but that will have to wait until Monday when I am officially back at work!

Freestyle original hand-drawn with ink on card 127x127mm.

Buy Now – Free P&P

You Kapow Me

More cards can be seen in the ‘Homage to Handmade‘ page.

Brief guide to CMYK and RGB colour profiles

When designing for online or print, you need to be aware of the correct colour profiles. Basically RGB refers to digital work and CMYK refers to print work.

RGB (or additive color space) stands for Red, Green and Blue. They are the colours used by monitors to recreate all the colours you see when viewing anything digitally. You cannot rely on what you see on your RGB as each person’s monitor is calibrated differently. So a bright blue/green on your monitor, may look more blue/grey on another person’s monitor.

CMYK (or process/4 colour/full colour) stands for Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black (honest, even though it’s K). These represent the colours that are used in a modern day digital printing press.

The printing process uses a mix of these four colours to create all the other colours in the spectrum. CMYK is made up of lots of little dots to fool the eye into thinking it’s another colour.

Example from

When designing a logo you must design with CMYK in mind and not use RGB, unless you never intend to see your logo in print. I use my trusted Pantone Colour Bridge book which shows me swatches of colours and what they look like in Spot (single block colour) and CMYK version. This helps me ensure that what the client sees in proof will be as close as possible to the finished printed product.

Unless the client can afford to pay for Spot colour printing, I tend to avoid vivid colours (lime greens, neons etc.) on the spectrum. Generally a vibrant colour that you view on your RBG display will not be the same in CMYK print. This is purely down to the fact that CMYK just cannot recreate vivid colours RGB can so it would be wrong to rely the RGB colour space when designing any branding or colour critical print work.

As part of my logo/branding package I also provide clients with a style guide which displays the colours of the chosen colour palette along with all the values for each colour in their Pantone, CMYK, HTML and RGB references. This handy resource will assist in keeping the colours and brand consistent when working on any future online or print material projects.

It can be a minefield, but with the help of a good designer, it should be a completely pain free process. I hope that this article helps explain why a good designer is worth their weight in chocolate buttons.

This is only a very short summary of RGB and CMYK, if you want to know more, you can read up on it on wikipedia.

Why you should have a vector version of your logo

What is a vector file and why do I keep harping on about it?

When I ask clients for a vector file of their logo, I am often presented with a ‘huh?’, especially if the logo was produced years ago by a friend of a friend or using software such as Photoshop. Understandable as it’s not something you would need to know unless you work with graphics on a daily basis.

So what is a Vector graphic and why should your logo be in this format? Unlike raster graphics such as JPEGs or GIFs, which use pixels (little dots) to define areas of image information, vector files use a series of paths to define the image. This means that vector graphics provide complete flexibility for manipulation of the image file.

The major benefit of having a vector file means that it can be scaled and resized and will remain smooth at the edges. When you resize raster graphics (JPEGs and GIFs) they can appear more pixilated when sized up or down. I’m sure you have tried doing it with your image editing software. When you make a logo bigger or smaller, the whole images becomes slightly blurred and you lose the sharp edges. The example above shows the clear differences between vector and raster.

Vector images can be used in artwork to make images small enough for use on business cards and made big enough for vinyl banners and large scale posters without losing any of the image quality.

With a vector file, you can output the artwork into any file format (JPEG, GIF, PNG etc.), any colour profile (CMYK, RGB) and any size (pixels or DPI) without compromising on quality. Consider a vector file as a ‘master’ from which all other image types can be created.

When producing print material, it is vital that vector logos are used to ensure a polished professional look. There is nothing worse than a blurred looking washed-out logo on printed or online marketing material.

When you commission any logo, branding or non-photographic work make sure you ask for the vector file version. Needless to say, when you commission a logo from me, I provide you with a vector of your logo as well as the JPEG, GIF and PNG formats for use in print and online. This means that you are completely covered in terms of the formats for any eventuality.

I also provide a ‘re-drawing logo service’ which basically means I will recreate your logo as a vector file for people who don’t currently have a high enough quality version of their logo.

Vector files can be opened using using software such as Illustrator and CorelDraw. A universal method of saving vector images is by using the .EPS (encapsulated postscript) format, which can be opened and edited using any vector-rendering software.

I hope the above sheds some light on why it’s important to have the right file format for the right job.

My next post will cover the differences between print and online colour profiles and what the differences are between CMYK and RGB and its different uses. I’ll also try and cover the infamous DPI and pixel subject.