Glittery invitations

When I first started out with the idea for Made by Artisans back in July, the 21st November seemed like such a long long way away. Well it’s only a few weeks away now and things are starting to speed up.

My first official outing with the MBA hat on will be at a media preview event that is being hosted at Diva Wrappings. I will be inviting a selection of hand picked press, tv and radio contacts to the event with the view of showing them some of the work of the exhibitors who will be at the show in November so that they can spread the word and we have lots of visitors and sales as a result.

I enlisted the help of the very talented slugsandsnails to design and make some holders which the invitations would be presented in. She didn’t disappoint. They arrived the other day, all prepped and ready to go. She even matched the ribbon (cut to required length) and tags (which are all original paintings) to the papers she used.

There is a holder which will contain an invitation along with a press release explaining what it is all about.


Quiet on the western front

I have been neglecting my blog and more importantly reading my blog roll, to the point that my google reader is having kittens at the amount of unread posts that is awaiting my attention.

The reason is a good one, I have been busy working on a couple of branding projects and even had a trip into the big smoke the other day for a client meeting. Alongside that, I have also been beavering away at a new idea for a business venture designing wedding monogram identities, stationery and websites – all rolled into one lovely package.

I have been inspired after visiting some wedding shows and seeing what is on offer for prospective bride and grooms and thinking , ‘hey, I could do that’. The proof will be in the pudding, or is it eating? I can never remember the saying, I just know it is something dessert related – the best kind.

Anyway, here is a little sneaky peeky at my stationery set, it is an invitation-come-pouch-holder, still has to past the ‘good taste test’ with my usual focus group before it can be unleashed on the unsuspecting public…



Popart canvas commission

I was lucky enough to be commissioned to create a popart canvas print for a 40th birthday recently.

The end result was a huge 20×20 inch canvas in pinks and oranges. Just perfect. I was thrilled with the results.


I just had feedback from the client and her friend’s reaction to the gift:

…went NUTS when she saw the canvas! She couldn’t stop going on about it all night!!!

Since the original commission the same client ordered three more prints all as gifts for friends. I just hope they all like their portraits!

Christmas stationery giveaway

I am giving away a matching set of five christmas cards and five gift tags. The set has been digitally designed and produced by me and will probably be a limited edition (as I won’t have time to make many more of these – children, artisans fair, cake eating etc. all seem to get in the way – bah-humbug).

The cards are made of very pretty pearlised thick card with matching envelopes and the gift tags mounted on thick card with raffia ties.

To enter, just tell me what epitomises Christmas for you and feel free to spread the word by linking back to the giveaway on your own blog.

For me, Christmas is about food (surprise surprise) and logistics. It’s worrying about how many are coming for dinner and did I order a big enough bird. It’s also about watching my children tear into the wrapping paper and sometimes prefering the paper to what’s actually inside.

Closing date 18th September 09.

If you can’t wait and want some tags now now now, you can purchase a similar set from my folksy shop.


A good kind of Diva

I was delighted to see a luxury gift wrap and accessories shop in our little village. It seemed like fate as I am currently a little obbessed with papers and packinging. What is even better is that the couple who run business are just lovely people who are friendly and make it such a welcoming place to browse in (which I am doing quite a lot of recently).

Anyway, I got to talking to Wendy and James about all their wonderful stock, which is hand-picked by Wendy and James personally. They told me that they always make a point of meeting with potential suppliers and seeing the work in action before taking on any new stock. These guys clearly have a strong sense of what and how they want their business to be perceieved and it is important to them that they have a strong relationship with their partners.

I really admire their business ethics and so was thrilled when they asked me to come up with some concepts for their logo and brand identity.

I have always enjoyed working on branding projects as there is nothing more exciting than devising and coming up with something from scratch and to see the client’s reaction to the concepts and ideas and working together to build to something that both parties are happy with. I love it when the process becomes a real collaboration between client and designer. When you bounce ideas of each other and when both parties are open to suggestions and not afraid to experiment with colour.

Wendy and James gave me a clear brief. They wanted their business to be extraordinary and to be outside of the norm. They love textures, strong bright colours and a feel of luxury and decadance. Wendy gave me a purple Quality Street sweet (still with chocolate enclosed) to use as inspiration. I wish all clients gave me chocolates to fuel my inspiration process! She also loved the Amazone BT font, but outside of that I was pretty much given free rein to let my imagination go wild.

This is the final logo, which I think they are really pleased with. I love the feeling of the modern font with the slight serif vibe and the luxurious platinum* flourish encompassing the name underneath. The purple works so well with the coolness of the silver. We did try gold tones as well, but the silver won through.


*Wendy and James made the mistake of calling the flourish ‘grey’ once and I did my ‘designer scoff’ and threatened to storm out in a hissy. Clearly it’s silver, now upgraded to platinum (I have since called it grey once and now condemed to self-imposed ‘designer timeout’ for the crime).

I am looking forward to seeing their website which is due to launch 1st September 2009 when you can buy all their goodies online.

Christmas in August? Say it isn’t so!

Don’t panic, I haven’t gone completely bonkers. I have had to dust out my elf hat though and get into the Christmas spirit as I am designing some posters for the Made by Artisans Christmas Fair. It’s very weird thinking about snowflakes and christmas trees and the festive spirit when it’s stinking hot outside and BBQ season.

Anyway, here is a rough design, I can’t decided on which colour palette I prefer. What is more Christmas-y, maybe I just need more eggnog…


Dialogue by Design website

I am often asked to create concept designs for company websites. This normally involves designing the homepage and a series of content pages as concepts which I then handover to the client and they take it away to build themselves in-house. I often find it hard to handover the concepts because I always worry about how the design will change when it is out of my control (control issues I know…).

I worked on concepts for a consultancy called Dialogue by Design months and months ago and had completely forgotten about it until I got an email from another client today telling me how great the site looked now it was live!

Normally you don’t get any control over the final result when the design is taken out of your hands. But, I just checked it out and think they have done an excellent job. The brief was to create something simple, elegant and light. The image in the banners are all different depending on what page you are on, adding a little bit of interest, a rotating banner effect without the annoying rotating banner bit.



Keeping it local Popart canvas prints

I have been looking at new suppliers to my createmypopart range of prints and canvases.

I recently came across a local company that just specialises in canvas printing and mounting, so I thought I would order some samples to see how good they were. I received my canvases back today and just delighted with them!

The colours are vivid (quite an important aspect of popart style) and the quality of canvas and frame is noticeable. Really chunky wood and finished off well. They also have an excellent turnaround time and most of all they are local, which always makes me feel good about supporting small, local business. I spoke to the lady there who does the framing and she told me they also do acrylic prints, which could be an interesting product to work with and add to the range.

I am so glad I found these printers as I have been comissioned to design a 20×20 inch canvas poster as a 40th birthday present, so I want it to be as perfect as can be!