1. July 25, 2014
    IN REVIEW | april, may, & june 2014

    IN REVIEW | april, may, june 2014

    So, what have I been up to? Most of all, just trying to make life happy. Wholeheartedly.

    This year started off with some more big life transitions. Eaton came in to my life, and while I’m sure many of you have way bigger obstacles to overcome, single-puppy-momdom was incredibly difficult for me. It’s all in perspective and past experiences I suppose. I felt like almost nothing could get done in-between work and making sure that she had a happy healthy upbringing. Call me crazy puppy lady. I’ve finally got my lunch breaks back and we are sleeping through the night and past 7AM on weekends. Oh man, the sanity that has come back to me! At this same time, I took on the life-changing experience of working with Angela Hauck. Working with her and her team on both blog design, as well as my personal health journey has challenged me in more ways than I could have ever expected. This process has taught me just what I am able to take on while I walk this 8-5 + freelance career journey. I’ll be honest and say that it’s been tough. I failed myself more than I’d like to admit, and these past few weeks I’ve been transitioning in to more self-care and attention. That gung-ho “let’s do it!” attitude helped me get started, but maintaining my self-expectations didn’t go so well. Work, freelance, and fun came first for a while. Ice cream and fancy cocktails were had; workouts, not so much.

    One of the most fun things that has happened in the past couple months has been the start of a new relationship. I met Todd in March, and we’ve been exploring, dining, chatting, and fun-having ever since. I don’t want to be too gushy on a design blog, so I’ll leave it at that. Hah! It’s been amazing to see how my life has changed for the better since meeting him. It’s also been a couple months of figuring out how to live a life together. You know how that beginning stage of a relationship goes. All you want to do is have fun, right? Life catches up, and then you realize that those real-life-adult things need to start happening again. You’ve gained ten pounds and don’t remember what your tennis shoes looked like. Oh, and those pants. Too tight to even explain. Whoops! We’re getting it together now, I promise.

    Since March, I’ve been able to head to Pursue workshop, explore Cleveland in a whole new way with friends, figure out more of who I am as a designer and business owner, explore cooking with local produce, and really live up these warmer months. I don’t know if it has been the harsh winter we made our way through, or the new relationship that has me all giddy, but I’ve been loving this summer like no other. Things are busier, but they are also so much more worth while in lots of ways. Keep it coming, please and thank you!

    All in all, I feel for the first time in years I’m settling in to a regular pace of life. A pace that fills me up, challenges me, and makes me a happier personal all together. These past few months have been an amazing experience, and this time around these experiences needed to happen outside of this online space. That’s ok. For now, I’m working on me, I’m working on us, and I’m working on working on things. I needed this time away to get to this place, to focus on something other than what’s been for so long. It finally feels good to be back.

  2. July 21, 2014
    MONDAY MUSING | on perfectionism

    monday musing | Pinegate Road

    Because sometimes you have twenty minutes left in your lunch break and you decide to make yourself letter.

    In all seriousness, since I’ve been missing around here one of the biggest battles I’ve been trying to fight is the one on perfectionism. I’ve been making great strides, but also letting things slide. For now, I’m trying to realize that most of all, this is healthy.

    Wishing you all a very happy, and non-perfect, Monday.

  3. July 11, 2014
    PORTFOLIO | angela hauck fitness blog

    Angela Hauck Fitness Blog by Pinegate Road

    Guuuuys, Hi!

    I know I’ve been missing around these parts lately, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been up to creating outside of the blog. Last week one of my long-term web design clients launched her new fitness blog! I’ve been working on the Angela Hauck fitness blog since right before the new year to make this dream of Ange’s come true. It’s been a long journey, but I’m happy to say that everything is up and running, and Ange is seriously rocking it. I have been loving her posts as they pop up in my bloglovin — they just inspire me to keep going on my own journey and let me know that I’m not alone in most of my crazy ways. Behind that stellar physique, she really has the most amazing heart to boot. She’s on a big journey to help others on their weight-loss and health journeys, and to that, I give her a huge hug and high five.

    As I mentioned when the moodboard came out for this project, Ange has been helping me along my own personal health and fitness journey. It’s been amazing to have her by my side as I have gone through some serious ups and downs as far as nutrition and working out go. When I fall, she’s been there to pick me back up and put a smile on my face. When I’m doing well, she’s there with email cheers and instagram smilies. I’m still a work in progress, but I can’t wait to share more about my transformation later this year as I continue along this journey of living my version of a healthy lifestyle.

    Angela Hauck Fitness Blog Moodboard, by Pinegate Road

    This design was kept bright and cheery, and really showcases Ange’s personality and the keywords of empowering, transformative, and relatable that we decided upon at the beginning. It’s simple, but showcases the content in a way that draws you in to what Ange has to share. My favorite part was the sidebar sections. They each slop down towards the body content to symbolize the weight-loss journey. Small arrows and zig zag elements were also used to highlight call to actions, as well as relate to a transformation of sorts. There is not one straight route to finding your personal health and fitness path.

    I hope that you can head on over to the Angela Hauck fitness blog and be inspired by her stories. You can also join Team Ange by following along on facebook, and being a part of all the great things she the community around her is doing. There’s some pretty magical stuff going on. Cheers Ange to your new online start and to you continuing to transform the lives around you for the better!

  4. June 13, 2014
    father’s day obaby illustrations

    Father's Day Obaby illustrations by Pinegate Road

    You didn’t think we’d leave out the Fathers after Mother’s Day now did you?

    Just stopping in quickly to let you know that the newest Obaby pack is up and ready to adorn all those photos of your pop. Just in time to celebrate on Sunday.


  5. May 8, 2014
    obaby mother’s day illustrations

    Mother's Day Obaby Illustration Pack | by Pinegate Road

    As we head in to Mother’s Day weekend, I thought I’d share another little something that I’ve been up to!

    Our friends at Obaby had me help them with a little something to celebrate all the mothers in our lives. There is now a special pack of 22 mother’s day illustrations that have been added to the app, designed by yours truly and sponsored by Hyland’s Baby Teething Tablets. Want to hear the real kicker? The regular Obaby app is now available for free, and Obaby+ is now just $9.99. If you’ve been waiting to get a hold of this special little app, now is certainly the time my friends. Happy Mother’s day!

    In the spirit of transparency, and opening up more about my process, I wanted to let you in to how I went about the development of these illustrations. Both for the first round of illustrations, and for this pack. I meant to share this info when the app was released, but with all the excitement that was bubbling up in my head it completely slipped my mind! Yeah, I’m giving myself a little wrist slap as I type here. Hah.

    Mother's Day Obaby Illustration Pack | sketches | by Pinegate Road

    When I was first contacted by Obaby, we did a test run to make sure that my illustrating and lettering style was something that they thought would work well for the app. I was pretty nervous about this. My style? Did I have a lettering style? Throughout my design studies and professional work, I truly feel like my work has kind of been all over the place as far as style goes. It’s always been my mission to let the concepts and the problems at hand direct the design direction. This is where personal style becomes an intuitive move rather than the main attraction. I wanted this project to be no different, so I started with particular guidelines that design decisions would have a foothold in, rather than my own style leading the way. Here is what I kept in mind while making design decisions:

    + The app was created for soon-to-be parents, and current parents. 

    + Users are in to social media, and love capturing and sharing memories.

    + Users are on top of the current technology.

    + Users are trend-oriented but timeless.

    To tap in to the trend-oriented but timeless design style, the lettering referenced calligraphy and calligraphy tools. I looked in to traditional baby design and used a lot of polka dots, checkers, simple shapes and swirls so that it still was baby-centric at it’s core. Keeping the imperfections visible and trying out more modern layouts of lettering helped bring these more traditional approaches into something that parents today would resonate with. After trying out what seemed one million tools, I landed on using the 05 micron pen exclusively. It was just bold enough when making single strokes, but detailed enough to build up on the illustrations. I also loved that at this weight, it automatically created a rounded tip at the end each stroke. This rounded off and soft quality was something that I was definitely looking for when dealing with baby-centric design!

    After doodling around for each phrase, the illustrations were narrowed down so that each phrase had a unique illustration associated with it, but still felt united as a pack. This is where using one tool consistently can really help solidify different designs that have to live together in the same space. Each one was imported in to photoshop where I had custom layers for curves and levels to change the scan to pure black and white images. From there, I used a black and white brush tool to refine the illustrations and make sure they were jusssst right. Then they were popped in to illustrator to be vectorized and off they went to the team at Obaby.

    Mother's Day Obaby Illustration Pack | illustrations | by Pinegate Road

    It was a pretty neat experience to create a custom process for this project. I love the details and the reasons behind the details of design, but making sure that the details were quiet was important. You want whoever is using these illustrations to have a general feeling that these are ‘exactly what they were looking for’ without them thinking too hard about the reasons why. To me, that’s the real beauty in design.

    I was so happy to work with the Obaby team again for this Mother’s Day illustration pack. Please go download and play around if you haven’t already — and let’s celebrate all those lovely ladies in our lives. They sure deserve some extra love this week, and always, duh.

  6. April 23, 2014
    REFLECTION | transparency and authenticity

    a designer's reflection on transparency & authenticity

    Well hey guys. It’s nice to be back here! I feel for the past couple months I’ve been writing down ideas and dreams and have been having this kind of whirlwind thing happening to my life that I haven’t been able to share here. Not for lack of wanting, but for lack of feeling entirely motivated when I did have some time to sit down and relax. You know me and Netflix. Netflix won over all that spare time. I can feel some things in my life starting to settle down, the weather has finally started to warm up, and I can just generally feel good change happening all around. This past winter had it’s fair share of hard times, so I’m going to indulge in all the happy newness that’s been going on.

    While I’ve been away from here for the most part, I’ve been thinking about this space more than ever before. I’ve sensed this change coming for quite some time, and I’m hoping that I can start to make a little sense of where I’m hoping these new changes will pop up in this space. The biggest change is that I want to earnestly embrace transparency and authenticity around my creative life. This concept is kind of the driving force behind where I want to head here, so I thought I’d take some time to explain what I think transparency and authenticity has to do with the creative process.

    A couple months ago I listened to the first Businessology podcast (thank you Angel for the recommendation!). At first listen I was all ‘yes, yes yes!’ inside my head and I couldn’t stop nodding at my computer screen. Thank goodness the cube walls are high at work! What was kind of a smaller part of this episode, but was something that struck me so hard, was Dan Mall‘s thoughts on transparency. He embraces it completely in his design process. By being open about all that is going on throughout the process publicly, he’s able to reflect, rethink, test, and get a much better result for his clients due to this openness. By being open, he is connecting with his audience at a much deeper level as well. We’re all curious people aren’t we? I know one of my favorite things to do is to either watch designers and artists work, or read/listen to how they go about doing what they do. I personally learn so much from how other creatives work — and not as much from just looking at their end result, be it beautiful. While I’ve always been open here about my creative process, I don’t think that I’ve been doing a good enough or thorough enough job at being completely transparent. How many times have I said: “hey guys, look at this moodboard for this client I’m not going to mention the name of—keep stopping by to find out more about the project!” Not in those words exactly, but what I’ve been sharing has usually been past-tense and beyond the point where any thoughtful changes could be made. I want to invite you in to my process at a deeper level. My goal for Pinegate Road from now on is to be better at opening up and being transparent about what I’m doing, and how I’m going about it. I want to be transparent about my journey so that we can inspire and influence eachother. To be completely transparent, there is an element of vulnerability that you have to be comfortable with. Being transparent can be messy, it opens your flaws and shows them to the world, and it puts your hopes and dreams alongside your fears for everyone to see. The post I shared about my faith was the absolute first time that I’ve ever had fear of rejection from this online space. I’d never opened up about any of that, and after I hit publish my heart was racing. I think this is where the good stuff lies. It lies in that area where things are a little scary, a little unknown, but where they’re worth pursuing and pushing forward with. I don’t have nearly anything figured out, and I’m thinking that with this vow to transparency, I might be on the right track to possibly getting closer. I’m hoping that by being transparent about my life and creative journey that this becomes a space where we can all connect and help each other out on our creative paths.

    Related to transparency, but not quite the same thing, is authenticity. How do you even start with that? It’s my belief that authenticity shows your true self, whether or not you’re being transparent about your process. There are some designers who may not believe in being open about their process, and that is totally ok! That’s being authentic to who they are — authenticity inherently comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes. It’s my hope that some of these new changes happening will start to reveal my more authentic self. I’m hoping to personally learn more about my authentic self. This move towards transparency and authenticity is something that I’ve been feeling for quite some time, and it feels so good to be able to put my hands to the keyboard and just type-vomit this all out. Type-vomit, that’s a thing, yeah? While I certainly like to put finished work out in to the world, it’s definitely part of my authentic self to be awkwardly open, and I want to start being a little more of that on here.

    Since starting my job, I’ve had this weird pressure to keep things a secret. Most of the design work I’m doing belongs to American Greetings, and honestly, I’m not sure what I’m allowed to share. I’m learning a ton at work, but for now I need to keep a lot of that private because it’s just not my place to open up about it. I’m hoping that as I move forward with freelance clients, they will be open to this idea of transparency just as much as I am and embrace it as a worthwhile part of the process. I can promise that I’ll be sharing snippets of work on my instagram, and that I’ll be posting the over-arching life lessons here.

    In the spirit of this post, I want to share something that I’m in the midst of right this very moment. Pinegate Road is getting a facelift. I’ve known that this space — that I coded in super weird ways from my very limited knowledge in CSS and HTML — was just not where I ideally wanted it to be as a professional designer. I’m working with Katelyn as a consultant and web developer and with Katie as an editor and copywriter to bring this space into it’s next phase of life. Pinegate Road has become something more than an outlet for testing color palettes and fashion trends. It’s become my entity as a creative individual. I want both the blog and the studio to live in one space and really let those who come to visit tell the story of what Pinegate Road is and how they might be able to join the creative journey. Right now, the ‘studio’ is my student portfolio that hasn’t been updated in well over a year — yikes! I’m sharing this with you now, but I’m barely in to creating a rough framework for the new site. Here’s where I’m hoping this transparency can help us all. Do you mind sharing any resources, or stories for building studio/blog sites? Are there any that you know of that you believe do an amazing job? I’m in the research phase, and I really want to do this right. I’ve never invested into my business before, so this is a scary and big step for me — but I’ve never been more ready! I’m hoping with the sharing, comes the learning for all those that care to scroll through whatever comments might be left. I’ve been collecting some web designs that I’m liking the look of over here, but in all, I’m pretty scattered. When it’s your personal project, don’t you have that ‘It must be all the things!’ mentality? Hah. I’m my own worst client, I swear.

    Cheers to transparency and being all of our own most authentic selves!


  7. April 14, 2014
    IN REVIEW | march 2014

    IN REVIEW - MARCH 2014

    March, you were pretty cool.

    March taught me a lot about where I’m at now, and where I’m hoping to head next. While I never like to make definitive decisions about my future (I change my mind all the time!), I definitely like to make decisions about the direction things are heading. One of the most remarkable moments of March was when I went out to Nebraska for my first ever styling and photography project. If you told me a year ago that I’d be flying across the country to style and photograph product for a client that wasn’t part of my day job, I’m sure I would have given you a huge “yeah right lady friend!” This trip taught me so much about where my heart lies as far as design and branding goes. It also taught me the importance of open communication, and how a genuine connection with your creative cohorts can bring amazing things to the table. I’ll be writing up a post about what we’ve been working on, and how everything happened to be later on, but I thought I’d share how special this particular weekend was to my creative journey.

    In the middle of the month, my family dog Gumbo passed away. She had been through so much in her fourteen years: surviving diabetes, two types of cancer, eventually complete blindness, and having one eye removed. She was a champ. I went home to spend the weekend with my parents after it happened, and little Eaton filled the house with lots of laughs. Gumbo will certainly never be replaced, but we know she’s in a happier place. A place where she has two eyeballs again :)

    Other than the above, March was filled with chaotic weather — getting our first tastes of spring — and exploration. My good friend in town closed on a house this month, so I spend some weekend time celebrating this. We both got pups about a month a part, and we have decided they are future husband and wife pups. Eaton is about a fifth the size of Finnegan, but she’s totally the boss. These two make me so happy.

    Cheers to April, and to a new season. I know I’m ready to have a cocktail — or three — on a patio.

  8. March 17, 2014
    PORTFOLIO | hey man business cards

    Hey Man Business Cards | 2 |  Pinegate Road.jpg

    This was a pretty spread out process. My dad came to me last spring asking me to create business cards for their new neighbor.

    For those of you who don’t know, a couple of years ago my parents made a big dream of theirs come true. They moved out to a farm in a town of about fifty people in the middle of South Dakota. I give my parents huge kudos for living out their version of the good life, and they’ve set a great example for me to live out my own version. Thanks guys :)

    Annnyways. The business cards. Yes. When my dad gives me a project without a deadline, it almost always takes a year to complete. No joke! Hah. We finally made these a reality before Christmas, and I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Their neighbor Paul is a hay farmer, and he goes by “Hey Man.” You know the best part about this project? Type nerds, get ready—I was able to use the typeface haymaker for an actual hay farmer. Kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, yes? It made me giddy.

    Hey Man Business Cards | Pinegate Road

    For the cards, I experimented with a couple different type and image layouts on dribbble and went with some of your suggestions. This is the first time I was able to integrate dribbble comments in to my process, and that was a really neat experience! I’m definitely going to try and be more diligent about posting progress shots there. I had my dad go out to Paul’s farm and sneak some shots on his iPhone for the photo portion of this card. While I would have loved to shoot it myself, the natural beauty of the landscape there was hard to mess up (sorry dad!) so I was fine using an iPhone photo on such a small printed surface area. The back features a barbed wire detail, and a Hey Man monogram with space for notes. We used Stationery HQ for printing. They are amazing for both prices and quality — I use them for all my personal digital printing.

    So in all, this was a pretty new experience for me. I feel like the clients I usually work with end up being a lot like me. They are usually females, and usually have a similar aesthetic. With this project, I definitely had to stretch myself and make a card that a farmer would love to use while still staying true to the Pinegate Road design aesthetic. Have any of you run in to this growth opportunity? What kinds of things helped you stretch past what you would ‘normally’ do? I’d love to hear!

  9. March 12, 2014
    IN REVIEW | february 2014


    Time. It’s been on my mind.

    What’s the right time for this, why did the time come for that?

    I think February was for realizing that there is a time for everything, and it’s time that I realize that I don’t have control over it in the slightest. Good things take time, and there is good in the time spent getting there. And therein lies the challenge: living in the moment while taking steps towards your future.

    February has been a lesson in patience, in letting go, in faith, and in focusing. That’s a lot to handle for the tiniest month of the year, and that’s part of the reason this space has been a little neglected. I’ve just been immersed elsewhere. Time has been taken to step back and asses how I’m living and working now so that I can grow in to the future I hope is waiting for me. There’s been new adventures, and creative insights galore, and I can’t wait to start growing in to all that I’ve been gleaning this past month.

    Cheers to March, keeping focus, and figuring things out. I know we certainly are all trying our very best, so let’s keep at it, ok?

  10. February 25, 2014
    TRAVERSER | 12

    traverser number twelve

    TRAVERSER: french for — to pass, to cross, to traverse, to span.

    This traverser is dedicated to a couple blogs that I have been loving lately. With this year of editing, I’ve been trying to re-focus on reading blogs that are really putting out content that is helpful, applicable, and inspiring to my personal journey. I don’t want to be sorting through posts that are so-so, and each of these lovely ladies are anything but.

    ONE — Made Vibrant: I met Caroline briefly while visiting Jacksonville two falls ago, and then we both attended Alt Summit that following January. We didn’t even see each other during the conference, but serendipitously had the same flight home and that’s where I got her business card and social media links. I’d been following along her journey from advertising to freelance design since, and her mission to find happiness in her life. I could totally relate! She’s just launched a whole new blog that is dedicated to making life vibrant, and guys, it’s killer. She has such a way with her words, and I feel like every time I stop by I’m having some new revelation about my own life through her thoughts. Read one post and try not to get hooked!

    TWO — Studio 404Angel is the queen of blog love, and after getting acquainted through her comments here, I started following her blog on a regular basis. *note to bloggers trying to gain readership: reach out and be positive!!* She has such a passion for design and the blogging community that you can truly feel through her online space. She spends time to reach out to others, to share content that helps designers and bloggers, and is letting us in to her personal goals and dreams at the same time. In reaching out to others, she opens her blog to different perspectives on topics, and does a great job at tackling a lot of that design research for you. You’ll learn more than you ever expected by simply stopping by, promise! She recently opened a new paper shop, and I’m so proud of her for going after her dreams, she’s an all-around inspiring lady. 

    THREE — HIBRIDCourtney is brand new to the blogging world, and I wanted to let you all in on this hidden gem. We met in grad school, and while on tracks that kept our studies pretty segmented from each other while in Savannah, we have reconnected lately through our passion for blogging and hand-lettering. I had never seen Courtney hand-letter while in school, but post graduation her instagram has been full of such a fun style she has been diligently working on. It’s incredible. She has bundles of talent, and you can just see how passionate she is about design, lettering, and getting her work out into the world through all that she does. If you didn’t know about her already, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of Courtney and her work in the future!

    Now, in the spirit of sharing new blogs, do you have any that you think I should add to my own bloglovin? While I’m trying to edit in general, I’m not above sprinkling in a few new quality blogs. What blogs do you keep coming back to that you leave feeling more informed and inspired? Happy blog reading, friends!


















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