1. November 13, 2014
    SKETCHBOOK SERIES | 1

    sketchbook series | 1 | PINEGATE ROAD

    I always love a good look in to artists and designers’ sketchbooks. There’s just something about seeing the begginings of a design and seeing how A got to B — and the windy road that lead it there. I did a deep clean of my desk yesterday, and was inspired to share a few unedited sketches from things I have been working on lately. Most of these are just for fun, and it’s in sketches like these that I learn a lot about new forms when lettering. Sometimes I’ll read a quote on a blog post and just have to letter it, and other times I’m practicing new ways to hold my pen and just writing out what day it is. No end goal, just practice and lots of fun.

    Is this something you like to see around here? I’d love to keep sharing lettering sketches if you find it beneficial. I know I always learn more from others when I can see some behind-the-scenes work.

    In other news, I’m heading to Omaha for a wedding this weekend. I’m a little worried that all this snow decided to hit, but glad that Todd will be on the plane with me. I have been traveling by plane alone since I was about 15, so it will be a nice change to have a travel buddy. Hope you all have had a great week, and are doing something fun this weekend!

    Happy fall, cough, winter.


  2. August 28, 2014
    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing

    While the juggle of freelance and other commitments has been something I’ve been trying to balance for a little over five years, this past year was the first time I took on the responsibility of full time employment. This has been a hard transition for me, as I’ve had the tendency to bite off way more than I can chew. Literally and figuratively — I’ve been to the doctors a couple times this year because food keeps getting stuck in my throat! Serious there, but kidding aside, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way that have been born out of some serious mistakes as well as taking notes on what was going well. If I can give you one over-arching tip, it’s to notice what’s going right, and to keep doing that.

    Anyways, here are my 6 tips for creatives working full time and freelancing on the side:

    1: Specialize

    Since moving to Ohio, I have worked on all sorts of projects on the side. I’ve taken on styling and photography, copywriting, consulting, branding, web design…the list goes on. What I’ve been learning over this past year is that I feel best when I am working on shorter-term projects. For now, I’m trying to focus on contract lettering projects. I can concept and letter over my lunch breaks, and then come home to edit and send off finals and be done with a project within a week. Getting work out the door on my off time, while still having a weekend full of fun feels incredible. I give this up a little when I take on bigger projects that require full-days of work that I can only do on the weekends. I’ll take them on here and there, but for now my heart is with these lettering projects because of the flexibility they afford my schedule and the passion I have towards doing them.

    2: Under promise, over-deliver, and over-estimate

    Over-promised, missed deadlines, apologies, and guilt. Been there, and I’m through. Keep lofty goals to yourself, and tell your clients about half of what you hope to accomplish. It’s not deceitful, it’s just honest. I’d much rather the client be happy with what they 1: assume they are getting and 2: a little something extra, than to be promised something huge and grand and end up with something less than. This is a huge one that I’m still working on. I get ahead of myself, and I let my passions speak louder than what my time allows. Also, over-estimate the time that it will take you to complete a task. Unless you’re up against a strict client-given deadline for a certain deliverable, double up the time you think you could get it done in. If you get it done early, your client is happy, and you’re happy! If you run in to snags, you have that buffer time to smooth them out.

    3: Learn to say no, to say yes

    My 2013 goal was to learn to say no. It’s treated me well. When you’re working a full time job, you usually have the liberty to take on only the projects that you’re super passionate about. Your regular work pays the bills, and the freelance is a little something extra. When you’re taking on these extra projects, they should be fun. This is one of the huge perks of doing both! You get great creative projects to do at work, and you get different projects to balance out those other creative needs on the side. Say no to anything that doesn’t immediately have you saying heck yes! When you say no to the so-so, it opens your schedule to say yes to the thrilling projects when they do come along. It’s so worth it.

    4: Connect with peers in and out of work

    Working for a creative company, I’m lucky to have so many other people who are in this very same position. A group of us have a monthly sushi lunch where we catch up with our lives, and usually end up talking through the struggles and benefits of doing this working full time and freelancing thing. Being a blogger also lead me to finding one of my creative soul sisters at work, which has lead to us collaborating and chatting about so many things we tackle in life as creatives. Outside of work, it’s been important to me to connect to others through instagram, by leaving comments on others’ blogs, and to be active in the online creative community. I definietely had my moments where it was all too much, but a blog post here, a ‘great job’ comment there, it all adds up! All of this leads to a network of people that are there for you in different but necessary ways. These connections help keep me inspired, and they help me gauge some of that ‘what’s going right’ business. It’s too much burden to be a solitary creative. Reach out, open up, and find out the possibilities of what some of these creative relationships can do for you all!

    5: Take smaller bites

    This is something that I’ve been learning since I went to Pursue in April. One of the speakers (eeep, I can’t remember who! Giving myself a wrist-slap) showed us how writing out to-do lists for our to-do lists in teeny tiny steps actually helps you get more accomplished. Herm!? Yeah. So what you do is that for each task you have that seems a little daunting or that you can’t quite make yourself manage, you write out every tiny step that is put in to that to-do item. Maybe it’s as simple as buying a new calligraphy pen — yeah, lettering girl at heart here. For example:

    1 – open safari

    2 – google ‘calligraphy pen’

    3 – browse for a calligraphy pen shop

    4 – compare prices at different shops

    5 – choose which one works for you

    6 – put it in your cart

    7 – get out your wallet

    8 – type in your card info

    9 – click purchase

    10 – celebrate!

    Kidding, kind of, on that celebration part, but honestly this does work. I’ve been breaking up to-do’s at work and it has been helping me manage things that seem a little daunting to me. By breaking up to-do’s for freelance, I’m able to get small aspects of work done on my lunch breaks that I would have otherwise spent worrying about how I was going to get the whole project done during the nights that week. Taking bite-sized pieces of work, and of food, is just the way to go for a more productive you.

    6: Give yourself grace

    This is the biggest one of all. I have extremely high expectations for myself, and it’s bitten me in the butt in the form of emotional sabotage waaaay too many times. Look at you, you’re basically working two jobs! That’s excellent! You did your dishes this week? CONGRATS. Learn to give yourself the opportunity to mess up, and learn in the process. Smile and solve when something does go wrong. The freaking out wont help the matter. I realize this is all simpler said than done, but it’s something I try and remember when I feel like I’m just going about life all wrong.

    +++

    And that’s that! For those of you who are working full time and freelancing, do you have anything else to add? This is certainly a work in progress, and I know we’re all just trying to figure it out one day at a time. Hope this helps full time workers, freelancers, and anyone just trying to manage their work load.

    PS: you’ve got this!

    SOURCE


  3. August 11, 2014
    weapons of mass creation 2014

    weapons of mass creation featured designer 2014

    This weekend marks a pretty big milestone in my design career. I’ll be heading to the Weapons of Mass Creation festival here in Cleveland as a featured designer. Some of you may have seen a little bit of this stamping craze that I got in to last month, and that was all in preparation to take part in the National Poster Retrospecticus that will be held at the festival. Along with taking part in this event, I’ll be spending my weekend soaking in inspiration from speakers that will be traveling here to Cleveland from around the country. I had a major pinch-me moment when I saw Grace Bonney’s headshot pop up as one of the speakers at the festival. Gah. That’s stuff my design-girl dreams are made of.

    While I made the move here shortly before last year’s event, with my unpacking craze I wasn’t able to make it to the festival. I don’t know what to expect in it’s entirety, but I’m crazy excited to take part in an event that celebrates artists, designers, and creativity in this expansive way in my new hometown. Cleveland, I love you, honestly and truly. I was gushing to my coworkers last week about how there really couldn’t have been a better place for me to end up after graduation. It’s events like this that make me realize that the decision to move here was one of the better choices I’ve made in my life. There’s still a long way to go and a lot that I haven’t explored here, but after a year I can really say it’s feeling like home.

    If you’re around the area, or are making your way to Cleveland for the festival, be sure to reach out! Send me a tweet, and I’ll be happy to come say hello. It will be amazing to get to know the creative community here in a new way, and there’s no better way to experience some major inspiration than in-person events like this.

    Hope to see you this weekend!

    You can purchase tickets here.


  4. August 4, 2014
    MONDAY MUSING | 3

    monday musing | 3 | PINEGATE ROAD

    When it comes down to it, that happiness thing, it’s really all in your control. I know I need this reminder more often than not.

    Happy monday friends.


  5. July 30, 2014
    brand refresh process — color palette + logo

    Logo and color palette process | PINEGATE ROAD

    With the portfolio and blog getting a rehaul in the next few months, I’ve been busy trying to make little tweaks here and there to the visuals of Pinegate Road. There are some things that were feeling great aesthetically from my last big rebrand, but as I was working within certain areas, it just didn’t seem flexible enough. I felt like there was a certain kind of persona this brand was creating, that just wasn’t entirely true to what Pinegate Road is at the core. Things just got too crisp and clean, and I like a little mess around here sometimes I’m realizing. The creative journey is never nothing but pretty.

    With this slight refresh, I wanted to get the love of hand-lettering back into the brand. This new logo was hand-lettered and then vectorized to keep those asymmetrical qualities you usually lose when you make a logo fresh from the digital space. The added ‘g’ also is working better with how I’ve been abbreviating the brand from the start. PR just screams public relations to me, and it just needed a slight tweak.

    The color palette is a complete work in progress. If I learned anything from working with the Angela Hauck brand, it’s that I shouldn’t be afraid of color. While still keeping a more subdued natural spin, I wanted to build out a color palette that works with the Pinegate Road brand and one that could stand up to possible growth. If products start to be a part of the future here, I need some go-to hues that I’m not just picking out with a color dropper as needed. Having a larger palette of hues that work together is something that stationery world is making me take note of. It’s the details that keep things together, and this is my first stab at making the color process work towards a cohesive brand look beyond those five colors I picked out specifically for branding purposes.

    Have any of you worked with building out a large cohesive color palette? I’d love tips if so! I’m up for any suggestions on this palette. Is there anything that’s standing out to you? Any colors you think are missing? There’s something about this that I’m not entirely thrilled with, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. (Help!)


  6. 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.


  7. 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!


  8. 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.

    Enjoy!


  9. 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.


  10. 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!

    SOURCE













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