Just over 10 years ago (where did the time go?!) I spent a few years designing for the Greeting Card Industry. It was fun, exciting and truly a family venture. My daughter Valerie wrote many of the verses and coordinated our marketing efforts. My son-in-lay Chris created a number of beautiful illustrations and my husband Dwight and daughter Carolyn helped with day to day operations. My daughter Joelle joined us at the Stationery Show and was a great help in our booth. Two greeting cards won prestigious Louie Awards that year, and another Louie was awarded the following year. After a few years of loving this industry I took a break to teach Adobe Illustrator, Typography and Color Theory at the community college while I also enjoyed working as a contract graphic designer for a few wonderful clients. I embrace change and love a challenge, bringing me to my new passion for surface pattern design and illustration — with a trip to NYC in May where I’ll exhibit at Blue Print!
2018 flew by, soon the calendar turns to a new year. I never imagined mid-year in 2018 that by the end of the year I’d be busy preparing to exhibit at Blue Print in NYC, May 2019! After all in May 2018 I was in the early stages of surface pattern design and building a new portfolio. When a space opened up in this popular show at a second venue, Shop Studio, I decided to go for it. It’s a challenge to be show-ready in the next six months but I’ve got a plan and it will keep me busy. For now I’ve set my sights on three goals for the show: get feedback on my work, make connections with buyers, agents and fellow designers and third (this is the one I have to remember so I don’t get too stressed) have fun! Let me know if you’ll be there, I’d love to meet you!
According to WIRED, perhaps more than any other single designer, Paul Rand (1914-1996) was responsible for defining visual culture in America in the decades following World War II.* He is best known for logo design and corporate branding. In 1962 Rand designed the IBM logo which is still in use today. After receiving my BFA in graphic design I was hired by IBM to work in a corporate design center. Prior to being hired I was asked to have a portfolio review by Rand, IBM’s corporate design consultant. Admittedly, meeting Paul Rand was a bit intimidating for me as a young designer, yet he was most gracious and encouraging! We discussed typography (Bodoni + Helvetica, of course!), the Swiss grid system, and the importance of color. Rand’s modern signature style not only influenced my work in corporate graphic design but also inspires my surface pattern designs. His quote in my blog image captures the essence of creating surface designs: gathering ingredients, discovering visual relationships and arranging them into lovely patterns. Magical!
*For more about his life and work, check out this article on WIRED: "Paul Rand, the Visionary Who Showed Us That Design Matters"
If you’re at all like me, a little bit of an introvert — showing your work, especially on social media — doesn’t come naturally. There are those nagging questions. What if no one likes the designs? Are they really ready to be shown? What if someone copies my work? Yet, maybe the biggest question is what do I miss out on by not sharing? Feedback, support, confidence, encouragement, a sense of community and camaraderie — these are just a few of the things I’ve gained since I started posting my surface designs not that long ago. I’m happy I took the first steps on the journey and hope you’ll follow me! (For a great book on this topic, check out Austin Kleon’s Show Your Work!)
For me it all really starts with the Apple Pencil. I love to draw and the Apple pencil lets me take my hand drawn sketches and transform them into digital illustrations on my iPad Pro using Adobe Draw. From there to Adobe Illustrator, I fine tune and finesse the artwork into clean, perfect vector files. That’s where the magic happens! Surface pattern designs emerge using these drawings in limitless combinations of colors, scales, layers and proportions.