FROM THE DESK OF | jen serafini, designer & blogger

From the Desk of Jen Serafini | PINEGATE ROAD

I’ve been following along with Jen Serafini and her design for a little bit now, and I just knew she was the perfect next person to ask to be in this column. She shares about her process, her inspiration, and all about design over on her blog — she’s definitely a girl of my own heart in those regards. I hope that you enjoy this peek into Jen’s space and process as much as I did! Also, that wood-topped desk is incredibly dreamy and has me thinking about making my own version over here shortly. 

Hi! I’m Jen Serafini, an art director and graphic designer living in the Windy city with my husband and little pup. I spent four years at Syracuse University where I earned my BFA in communications design. It really taught me to look at design as a holistic and strategic process that goes beyond just a pretty picture. When everything comes together and tells a cohesive story, that’s the good stuff. Currently, I work as a senior designer at Pinch Provisions and take on my own freelance clients as well. When I’m not designing, you can find me making pizza with my husband, decorating my apartment (over & over), eating sour candy, traveling, and endlessly searching for the perfect NYC bagel out here in the midwest.

From the Desk of Jen Serafini | desk detials | PINEGATE ROAD

What gets you jazzed?

Exceptional typography, a great pair of shoes, editorial design, black and white patterns, bold colors, new york pizza & bagels, sour candy, a glass of red wine, the couch and my husband (and pup)

Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

Lately I’ve been trying to step away from the computer and find inspiration in my surroundings. Chicago has such a talented creative community and I’m always blown away by the passion and pride that’s derived in this city. Whether it’s a photo shoot or a design conference, meeting other driven creative people and hearing their stories leaves me feeling so energized, inspired and excited to create.

When I’m stuck at my desk, Designspiration and Design Work Life consistently has an amazing variety of work to browse through!

From the Desk of Jen Serafini | a recent project |PINEGATE ROAD

Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

This is a recent branding and blog design project I did for Girl Meets Brooklyn. I was really excited about this one since Cassie was so fun, energetic and enthusiastic about the creative process. It was a very collaborative and enjoyable experience from start to finish. The result is a fresh, bold design and a fun layout that breaks out of the standard blog template. I was really inspired by the architecture of the Brooklyn Bridge and used that as a jumping off point for the graphic patterns on either side of the site. I wanted the design to reflect a modern industrial look that compliments her content and personality. (blog developed by Dennise Saxton)

From the Desk of Jen Serafini | on her desk | PINEGATE ROAD

How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

Having an online presence has opened the doors to so many new relationships and collaborations with creatives in my city and across the country. The blog has also provided me an outlet to share my process and creative exploration which is a great exercise for me as a designer; it helps me explore and grow outside of my normal client work.

From the Desk of Jen Serafini | inspiration and process | PINEGATE ROAD

If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

Take advantage of every opportunity you can and be passionate about the work you create. Sometimes the best projects are the ones with low budgets, or personal explorations after hours. Have an open mind and be willing to share your experiences, good or bad with others – there’s always a lesson that can be learned!

Huge thanks to Jen for sharing with us today! Head on over to her blog for more inspiration and process — you won’t be disappointed!

FROM THE DESK OF | maggie waller of type & title

From the Desk of Maggie Waller of Type & Title | PINEGATE ROAD

Maggie Waller was my first graphic design friend. Truly. After stalking anyone taking the major at Iowa on the early version of facebook, I found Maggie and for some reason she accepted my stranger-friend request. Hah. Thanks for your leap of faith lady! Besides a few short months working in the same studio in Iowa City, our friendship has been mostly of the digital variety. Maggie and I have most recently bonded over our passions for hand-lettering, freelancing, and blogging. She just launched her new studio, type & title, and I’m so proud of all the lovely that she’s been able to accomplish in these past few months. Get it girl! 

From the Desk of Maggie Waller of Type & Title | Desk Details | PINEGATE ROAD

Hello! I’m Maggie Waller. I live in San Diego, where I do freelance design and lettering under the name type & title. I started working from home a few months ago when my husband and I moved to California from Texas for his job in the Navy. I’ve loved words in every form for my entire life, so it only made sense to dedicate my business to the design of type, lettering and communication!

What gets you jazzed?

Sharpened pencils, long train rides, a well-designed magazine, a neutral color palette, the ocean, a good postcard, home-brewed beer, knitting, and public art… lately, I’m especially inspired by a well-curated site, blog, store or space. I love finding & meeting people who know their aesthetic and wear (or design) it well.

Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

My go-to trick for inspiration is to get out of the house! On a daily basis, that usually means taking my pups for a walk. They’re thrilled to get a mid-day break and it clears my head. I almost always come back with a new idea or approach to a project. Working from home is an entirely new experience for me. I’m learning that I really need regular breaks and interaction to get out of my own head — sometimes that’s a dog walk, meeting a friend for coffee, or even a break to check Instagram… connecting with other creative people can really inspire me to create something myself!

From the Desk of Maggie Waller of Type & Title | Ampersand Sketches | PINEGATE ROAD

Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

These sketches are the initial ideas for my hand-lettered ampersand tote bag. I’ve wanted an ampersand tote for I don’t know how long, and eventually my DIY instinct kicked in and I decided it was time to design one myself. I tend to be ridiculously picky about typography (which is partially why I’ve gotten into lettering) so I knew I was going to end up with a hand-drawn letterform.

Ambersand tote by Maggie Waller of Type & Title | GIVEAWAY on PINEGATE ROAD

How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

Blogging and I have had an on-and-off relationship since high school (hello, livejournal) and I keep coming back to it, which is something I’ve never been able to do with a journal. I think putting your thoughts and work online where there’s a potential audience can keep you making work. Blogging makes me feel like I’m contributing to a community  — even if only one person sees my post, that’s one person I’ve connected with. Connection fuels creativity!

If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

Do it anyway. I’m still brand new to working-for-myself, but it took me a really, really long time to even begin following my career dreams — I stalled for years because I was scared to act. It seems so crazy now! It’s easy to want to quit, or not even begin, when you have no forward momentum, but you can’t get that unless you actually do something. “I can’t do this but I’m doing it anyway” is one of my favorite quotes ever. We’ve all been there! Just do it anyway.

Thanks again Maggie! Be sure to follow along on Maggie’s journey over at type & title, she’s sure to keep doing some pretty great things. Maggie has been kind enough to send along a tote to one lucky reader! Follow below to enter the giveaway. AND, if you can’t wait for your chance to win, you can get your own here

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

FROM THE DESK OF | liz riden, fashion designer

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - Her Desk

So I’m a little obsessed with this feature today—Pinegate Road has it’s first fashion designer feature! I’d like to welcome Liz Riden, fashion designer, blogger, and fellow Savannian. Liz and I first became acquainted when we were working for ban.do as a couple of their brand ambassadors this past fall. While we have yet to catch up in real life—weird—I love following her via instagram to take peeks into her fashion lifestyle and day-to-day inspirations. I feel like fashion is one of those things I like to dabble in, but Liz lives and breathes this stuff. It’s pretty inspiring! I hope you enjoy taking a look behind the scenes of fashion designer Liz Riden.

LIZ: I’m currently a junior fashion design major at SCAD, and working on developing my first full collection. I’m keeping myself busy with my job at the school’s art museum, planning my wedding, and illustrating on the side! I blog about fashion and art on The Modern Mademoiselle, and work as a Fashion Associate for Re: Magazine.

What gets you jazzed?

I really thrive when I’m around other creative people! There is something so inspiring and refreshing about being able to have a dialogue about art and design, and then infusing that into my own work.

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - vingette 3

Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

When I’m truly stuck and can’t seem to get inspired, the first thing I do is turn off my computer and get out and do something. I find myself getting stuck in the rut of only getting inspiration online, and that isn’t always good. I love vintage hunting to look at design details and textiles, a good iced Americano, and digging through art and photography books.

When it comes to fashion, I’m always inspired by the 1950’s and very feminine styles. Right now, I can’t get enough of florals, both in my apartment and in prints.

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - illustration copy

Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

I’m currently working on two different projects (three if you count planning a wedding…which I certainly do!). The first project is my new illustration Instagram, liz draws. My fiancé was the creative mastermind behind this idea, encouraging me to do sketches on my ipad that I could quickly share. As I’ve been sketching on my ipad, I’ve really been inspired by Irving Penn’s flower still life photography, and hope to develop my sketches into prints and notecards soon!

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - fashion illustrationFrom the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - a recent project

My second project is the beginning stages of developing my own apparel line! For my first collection, I really want to focus on color and texture and make each piece a statement of it’s own. For this, I drew a heavy amount of inspiration from Frida Kahlo and her work, especially focusing on bold color and floral details.

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - her style copy

How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

I have found that it’s such a great outlet for me to share inspiration, thoughts on fashion/design, and have a voice. The best thing about blogging is that it’s like a creative journal for me to go back and see what I did, what inspired me, or how much I have grown since then. It also has been so essential and beneficial for networking within the fashion industry.

From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - vingette 1From the Desk of Liz Riden of The Modern Mademoiselle - vingette 2

If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

As a kid, my parents always told me “don’t be afraid of being awesome”, and that is something that has always stuck with me. No matter what field of study or career, it is so easy to get discouraged by what people may think, or what people are already successfully doing before you. This simple reminder has kept me motivated to make my own mark in the fashion industry, and keep striving to be my personal best.

Big thanks to Liz Riden for sharing a look into her creative life today! Check out more on Liz at The Modern Mademoiselle.

Happy Monday everyone. 

FROM THE DESK OF | alex yeske, designer + blogger

From the Desk of Alex Yeske of Dreams and Jeans - Her Desk

Pardon my enthusiasm, but it’s coming out of me like crazy today. Alex Yeske, one of my go-to blogger and design inspirers is giving us a look into her inspirations and her working space. This girl has some killer style, and I was so glad to have been introduced to her through the blogging world last year. She just moved apartments in NYC and it was perfect timing for her to be featured here, if I do say so myself! Now, let’s let Alex take it away. 

From the Desk of Alex Yeske of Dreams and Jeans - desk details 3

From the Desk of Alex Yeske of Dreams and Jeans - desk details

Hi everyone! I’m Alex and I am a graphic designer, currently working for Madewell in NYC. I also blog over at Dreams + Jeans and do freelance work when I have the time!

What gets you jazzed?

Exceptional typography, unexpected color palettes, anything black + white, stripes, unique printed pieces… the list goes on!

Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

Living in NYC is inspiration in and of itself. I’m constantly learning about new things, going to new exhibits, passing by interesting stores… It is ever-changing and serves as great inspiration. I spend an enormous amount of time on the internet so I have to say that I find a lot of inspiration online from various websites including Pinterest, Designspiration and other blogs.

From the Desk of Alex Yeske of Dreams and Jeans - DIY pouch inspiration

Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

I originally did this project as a DIY gift idea for a friend’s blog. I was inspired to take a stab at monogramming something myself after seeing all of Clare Vivier’s monogrammed goodies. It was a fun projects & definitely took me out of my comfort zone – you can see the step-by-step here.

How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

I started blogging the summer before my senior year of college and it helped me meet and interact with a group of people who had similar interests. It opened my eyes to so much that I didn’t have access to living in upstate NY and allowed me a creative outlet outside of my intense design major. It also helped me with networking which is ultimately how I got my current job!

From the Desk of Alex Yeske of Dreams and Jeans - desk details

 If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

My one tip would be to learn that it’s okay to say no. Too often I’ve found myself in a place where I’ve said yes to too many commitments and have completely overwhelmed myself with work. I’m now learning to be choosier about what I decide to do, especially in my free time. I never force myself to blog if I don’t have something I really want to post about and I don’t take on freelance work that I don’t feel passionate about. It’s been an important lesson for me when balancing a full-time job, a blog, freelance work and regular life.

Thank you thank you Alex! Please be sure to check out more of Alex’s work on her blog, Dreams and Jeans.

FROM THE DESK OF | margaret barley, floral and frayed

From the Desk of Margaret Barley of Floral and Frayed - Her Desk

I have another treat for you today! I’ve been following with Margaret Barley and her journey over at Floral and Frayed for quite a while now, and she seriously has me constantly smiling. She’s such a sweet lady, and I hope that you do go get to check out her adventures—she just did the 30 for 30 challenge, and that was so fun to follow along with! She’s clearly passionate about life, and it really shines through in all that she posts.

Hi Pinegate Road! My name is Margaret and I’m from Traverse City, Michigan. I’m currently a student, living and studying in the south of Michigan. I’m currently studying Business with a focus in Event Planning and Design. I’m a blogger and dance instructor by night. I blog all about life, style, and faith at Floral and Frayed.

What gets you jazzed?

Paper and stationary, a good cup of coffee, typography, great design, packaging (It’s disgusting how often I buy things based off the packaging), organization, instagram, good food, business, and my man.

From the Desk of Margaret Barley of Floral and Frayed - desk details

Where do you go to find inspiration, and what are you inspired by?

I find inspiration from a variety of places. Of course, like any good blogger I find inspiration from Pinterest, but I like to find the majority of my inspiration from non-online sources. I find that the times I’m most inspired are times when I’m not actively seeking out inspiration but letting life and people affect my life freely.

I’m inspired by people. I always inspired after a long conversation with a close friend over a cup of coffee. I’m inspired by solo hikes around Lake Michigan, and by the fresh air. I’m inspired by my boyfriend’s passion for business. My little dance students inspire me, and continually teach me to never take myself too seriously.

And sometimes I find inspiration at Target. ;)

From the Desk of Margaret Barley of Floral and Frayed - event inspiration

Tell me a little about this project and how it was inspired:

I was presented with a really cool opportunity to work on an event for the dance & art studio that I work at. Each year we hold a festival that doubles as an open house for students, parents, and the community. Because we are a non-profit, the night before the festival we hold a fundraiser gala. The theme for this year’s gala is “fairies” (everything is kid-oriented). It’s been really fun finding inspiration for décor and atmosphere. The middle of the room will feature a life-size tree with glowing lights. Centerpieces will consist of natural elements like moss, flowers, branches, and lots of tulle! We’re trying to channel a garden/tea party “feel.” I’ll be sharing photos and details from that event on blog my in the next few months.

How has blogging effected your creative life, and vice versa?

I have found that through blogging I have become more appreciative of other people’s creative work. Blogging has taught me that developing each detail for the creation of a post takes time and energy, which I think a lot of people don’t realize. When I read blogs I can recognize the hard work and ideas that have gone into each post. I have also learned to appreciate how important it is to create and generate ideas offline. It’s essential for me to just sit down with my journal and work my brain out. I actually keep a journal by my bed because I have the best ideas when I’m trying to sleep!

If you could give one tip to the rest of us, what would that be?

Be yourself! I know that sounds cliché, but in the blogging world it’s so easy to get caught up in what you should and shouldn’t post; as well as comparing yourself and your work to others. Blog about what you find interesting and what’s important to you, chances are it will be interesting to someone else as well.

Thank you so much Margaret! For more on Margaret, check out her blog Floral and Frayed!