PORTFOLIO | sarah hearts branding

Sarah Hearts branding by Pinegate Road

Happy Wednesday everyone. This Sarah Hearts branding project has had me is such sweet spirits lately. Sarah and I first met at Alt Summit several years ago, and I was thrilled to help her take her branding to the next level over the past month. As a graphic designer herself, I was slightly intimidated to take on this project. For all you designers out there, you know how hard it is designing for yourself though right? After a few takes on her own, she decided it was time to pass the torch, and what an experience it was for the both of us! It was a completely unique process working with another designer for their branding, and Sarah’s amazing feedback helped us push this logo to where it is today.

Sarah’s brand value words are inspiration, creativity, and accessibility. She is a DIY blogger who loves bright colors, simple shapes, patterns, and helping her readers make their homes joyful creative spaces. The new Sarah Hearts branding shows that she is a creative, that what she presents is simple and design-forward, and that her brand is an inspiring one to interact with. We made her primary logo colorful and had lots of dots surrounding her logotype. This represents the pops of inspiration that Sarah Hearts gives to the readers. ‘Sarah’ was done in a unique custom typeface that shows off the creativity in the Sarah Hearts brand. She is always putting unique and simple spins on to every-day items, and this type really shows that quality off. ‘Hearts’ is done in a simple feminine sans serif that represents Sarah Hearts’ accessible approach to DIY.

Next we’ll be tackling some website optimization. This is a newer approach I am taking with clients. While I’ve been designing websites and blogging for the past several years, I’ve been more in a ‘tell me what you need’ mode rather than a ‘let’s explore how your brand lives on the web and how it can tie to your values.’ Novel, huh? ;) I’m going to be going through every detail of the Sarah Hearts’ online experience and making sure that it not only lives out her new brand visually, but that it’s supporting her values through the reader’s experience. I’ve been adding these kinds of elements throughout web design projects over the years, but this will be the first time we’ll be coming from this point of view 100% from the beginning.

Cheers to Sarah on her new branding!

ADVICE | 1 | web design and development for designers

Advice | As a graphic designer, how much should I know about web design and devleopment? | PINEGATE ROAD

In the past couple weeks I’ve received two emails asking just about the same question. As a graphic designer how much web design and development is necessary to know? Insert the eyeballs looking around the room for an applicable advice-giver, here. I write this as the girl who’s learned to touch coding as little as possible and is currently making a living as a stationery designer. Paper-lovers unite! I have some serious issues with technology. All this aside, I do have something so say about the subject.

What I’ve learned through seven years of schooling, a couple years of freelancing on the side, and a few more part-time design jobs, is to try it all. What these beginning years as a creative professional are there for is to learn what makes you tick and see where that takes you. I’m totally still on my own journey to find what makes me tick, and that’s what this blog is for. I’m thankful that I dove head-first into coding with this blog, and that it even brought a couple clients my way that wanted me to try my luck at web design and development for their sites. Then came the tears. Big fat terrible tears all over my keyboard and time spent on family vacations tweaking in courier looking for a slash and dash that may or may not be misplaced and causing that web font to display on some pages and not the others. Taking that breath in now. I quickly learned that coding was not for me — but through these projects I learned that I loved to work with creative individuals who needed help building their brands visually. I also learned that I loved to design for the web, but that I needed a little help on the development side. And this is OK. Actually, it’s more than OK, it’s great! Always look for that silver lining.

The important thing to know about any aspect of design is that you don’t have to do it all. You can certainly be well-rounded, and it helps the budget to be able to do a few things on your own, but we were never meant to do it all. What throwing yourself into these new experiences does is that it helps you learn the language of the subject matter. In the worst-case-scenario, even if you learn that you hate whatever you threw yourself into, you’ll still be the better for it. It’s kind of like that one time when you took French in high school and we able to buy a croissant using the mother tongue while in Lyon. Anyone? :) Think of your skill-sets in terms of being conversationally adept in the subject matter. If you find that you were crying over your keyboard like me when it came to the coding, you’ll have learned enough about web design and development to hand your developer files and notations that make sense. The first time I handed files over to a developer, she commented that they were a breath of fresh air. I knew what kinds of files she would need, and I knew what information to give her because I’d kind of been there. Learn how to communicate and how to collaborate with those who’s true passions lie in web development (or lettering, or stationery, or social media…). That’s where the beauty in collaboration lies.

When the blog world started throwing around the word collaboration on a regular basis I thought everyone was talking about how wonderful it was to write for other blogs, to collaborate on posts, and generally collaborate on blog-specific material. What I found out was that it was less of that and more of the above. The blog world opens you up to making connections with others who can help you out. Those that have rocking skills in things that you know you would rather not deal with. This frees you up to take on the matters you’re truly passionate about, and gives those that are truly passionate about what you’re not an amazing project. Win-win.

I’ve recently put my money where my mouth is and am hiring out for a personal web project — this experience is definitely helping to put me in the client’s shoes and it’s scary! You’re giving a little part of yourself away when you’re a creative who’s relying on someone else to help your visions come to life. That or I have serious control issues, hah. But through my client’s experiences, I know it’s for the best. Once you take that leap, it feels so great to have the weight off your shoulders and to know you’re going to get a better outcome than you could ever have had on your own. Great is the product of collaboration.

Whew! Excited to get that off my chest. Do you feel a little bit better? I know I do. As you might have been able to tell by the title of this post, a reoccurring advice column has been made. Email me if you have any questions about anything you might think I’d be uniquely situated to answer, and I’ll work on getting back to you here.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand in the comments. Do you find it helpful to know a little about a lot of things and focus on one main thing? Or do you try and make it all happen yourself? Do you have a story to share? We can all learn from successes and failures, and it’s usually in those failures that I find I learn the most, hah.

Hope you’re all having a lovely week.


painterly patterns

painterly patterns | PINEGATE ROAD

I’ve never been much of a pattern-maker, but this new job and some recent clients have helped me get in the groove of pattern design. Sourcing inspiration on a daily basis, it’s been fun to come across trends in this realm. Right now I’m particularly drawn to these painterly patterns — and yeah, pretty much painterly anything — it’s getting bad! Are you drawn to the more hand-painted look, or do you like your patterns simple and graphic? Better yet, a mix of both?

Also, if you have any recommendations for pattern inspiration, I’m all ears! I mostly find inspiration as I’m browsing unrelated blogs and pinterest, so any go-to sources would be super appreciated.


GIVEAWAY | miriam designs


Today I have a treat. I’ve partnered up with Miriam Designs to bring you some inspiration. Gracie Moakler came up with the idea for Miriam Designs after a chance encounter in a grocery store:

“In May 2012, I met a woman named Ronza at the grocery store, and left incredibly inspired by her story that began with drugs and addiction and now exudes restoration and redemption. I went home, bought copper discs and a hammering kit, and stamped the word “hope” on a necklace to give to her. This was the beginning of a passion that hadn’t quite found its purpose yet.

As the year went on, I met other amazing women in Nashville who, like Ronza, survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, and addiction, and wanted to learn to make jewelry. So, I started teaching them. Little did I know how much I would learn from working alongside them… like how to laugh until it hurts, to allow hope to conquer my fear, and to experience the healing that comes through a community that loves unconditionally.”

I love storys that encompase not only creative passion, but that do so for the betterment of the community at large. Sometimes I think we’re so ingrained to help those far away, that we forget what a difference a little creative attitude can do to those in our own communities. I know I can sure use Gracie’s example as inspiration for my own life! I’ve been researching volunteer work at a local pet shelter. Who knows what creative mischief I could get into there! Anyways…

Today, I and Gracie invite you to check out Miriam Designs for yourself. You can support the cause by purchasing some jewelry, but you also have a chance to win an item of your choosing. I’m using Rafflecopter for the giveaway, so please click through if you’re in a reader. Follow along below to get started, and best of luck! Be sure to share your inspiring stories with a comment — I think that might be the most important thing here. We can never have enough stories of people helping other people out when they are in need, right?

a Rafflecopter giveaway



It’s back! The second installment of Iterative Inspiration: a collaboration between myself and Rashi of Bucket of Squash. This week we chose this photo of a deconstructed salad to inspire our outcome, found via Oh Joy!, in this issue of Sweet Paul.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | iterations | Pinegate Road

What struck me first about this photo was both the transparency of the items in the photo as well as the spectacular light. I knew that I wanted to experiment with these two aspects for this project. Instead of working through with a mind map this time around, I did the first thing that came to my mind. I grabbed all the transparent items I could find around my apartment, held them up to a lit window and started snapping away in hopes of something striking. Annnnd, that totally happened.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | turning point | Pinegate Road

At first I thought I was going to grab sections from the different colored transparent areas and make some kind of abstract collage. As I got to my sixth or so item, something pretty neat happened. In the hand-soap bottle I was photographing, suddenly there was the view from my window, abstracted and colorful and turned upside down. I know we’ve all done this with our spoons, but it was really neat to see this new view from my apartment window.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | iterations part two | Pinegate Road

I started to look at what else I could photograph through this soap bottle. After a few rounds,  nothing seemed to match the quality of the photograph from out of my window. I realized that having the light from the window was necessary to get that crisp and beautiful upside-down reflection. So I went to the different doors and windows in my apartment and started to capture those different views. I ended up with three photographs that I thought captured the bright and beautiful essence of that first shot.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | photo picks | Pinegate Road

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | making | Pinegate Road

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | final pieces | Pinegate Road

A couple of months ago I won this giveaway on Design Improvised, and I still had a couple frames left over that I was waiting to fill. This project was the perfect chance for me to use the frames—and if I got bored of them, I could simply change out the photos with new ones easily due to the awesome design of these frames. I’m pretty obsessed with how I’ve been able to use these all over my apartment and not have that fear that I’m permanently committing to something I might not like on my walls in a couple weeks. So, I went ahead and cropped the photos to a composition I was happy with, printed them, cut them out, and filled the frames. Easy peasy.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | art above desk | Pinegate Road

With crazy high ceilings here, I’ve been so weird with how to decorate. Now that I’m graduating in less than a month it’s a little too late to really figure out what to do about this, but it hasn’t stopped me from hanging art and trying to make it as cozy as possible for the rest of my time here. These photos made the perfect addition to the space above my desk. Best of all, wherever I’m off to next, I’ll be able to take little pieces of my experience here with me. I’m not the most sentimental person, but when I do take the time to make note of particular experiences, I’m always glad I did. I love that these bring in some bright color to my space, and will remind me to keep thinking and experimenting in different ways to keep those creative juices flowing.

ITERATIVE INSPIRATION | TWO | new wall art | Pinegate Road

Head on over to Bucket of Squash to see how Rashi was inspired and to see her project.