Project 2 – Vodka Label, pt 1

With this project, we worked on designing a product label for a pecan pie-flavored vodka by Seventy Eight °C Spirits in Raleigh. Pecan Dream almost immediately presented itself as an option for the product name, though considered others too. But finding something intriguing and also suitable for the client was harder for me this time than for the last project. But here are the thumbnail sketches and the 3 roughs that I generated for this project.

I sketched around two or three different styles for this, in terms of the graphic elements. Regarding fonts, in this stage, I kept it pretty simple for the sketching process, because I actually had a pretty clear idea of the kinds of fonts that would be best suited to it. We also submitted a file of font ideas, as well as some color palette ideas.



Project 1 – Real Problems, Real Solutions, pt 2

Here are some of the campaign materials in progress, in the first stages of designing. At this point, I had only gotten the button and pillow box/seed packet done with color in Illustrator, and the brochure, info card, and plant card into preliminary layout in InDesign. I didn’t even have a layout for the print ad yet!

But that changed pretty soon. I started developing the brochure first, figuring that would set the tone and theme for all the remaining items, and I could adjust the button and pillow box as needed after that. The illustrations were done in Illustrator and the layout finished in InDesign. Same for the print ad, which followed the brochure.

I narrowed the fonts down from the comps stage, to 3, which I’m way more comfortable with than 4, especially if they’re all different. And it’s pretty clear I’m reusing whole chunks of the floral pattern. For some reason, this felt like cheating at first, but saved SO MUCH TIME over generating different patterns for each doc, which was my original dumb idea.

Using the patterns and the other motifs, I filled in the layouts of the two cards, and I ended up doing them in Illustrator completely, no InDesign finalizing. The pillow box and the button were last. The pillow box had a re-color and font update, and the button didn’t really change beyond having the side print font updated.

Overall, this was a really fun project, and the first time I’ve done most of these items. Hoping at least a few of them will end up in my portfolio.

Finally, here they all are mocked up for extra viewing fun!

Project 1 – Real Problems, Real Solutions, pt 1

This project is about creating a campaign for an issue we feel strongly about that needs to get out there on folks’ radar. Out of three of my top issues, I chose planting native plants/trees. At the risk of getting soapboxy (I’m always at risk of getting soapboxy), I’ll just mention that I feel it is super-duper important to kick the exotic plant habit and plant your garden/lawn/5+ acres with wildflowers and trees that support the wildlife and the ecosystems native to your area.

When I found out that NCSU has a program just to encourage this, called “Go Native,” I thought, “Gee, I know a lot of people who have the same understanding about this, but none of them have ever heard of this program. Why the heck not?!”

Here is a page of thumbnails for potential campaign pieces. At this point, I’m pretty solid on going with a print ad, a brochure, and a mailer packet with a few neat things in, and the sketches reflect attempts at capturing all of those pieces.


Then I took one idea for each piece that I was at least 80% good with, and roughed it out.


As I said in my last post, I often to throw in lots of little detaily things that probably will have no place in the final layout, since my tendency there is to streamline and simplify–as much as I love detail in my illustrations, I tend equally to pull toward minimalism in design.

Short Project – Branding

This very first, and very short, project was about creating some pieces of branding for a (fictitious?) client, Junior Aquatics. We were tasked with coming up with three pieces for a hypothetical client meeting, to be delivered in a half hour. Apparently quick turnaround like that can be expected in the real world sometimes. Which terrifies me a little now, because, full disclosure, this took me more like an hour. And honestly it would have taken longer if I hadn’t already had a couple of mockup templates just sitting around. I had to find the third, which took longer than I’d hoped, because the ones in the top few results of my Google search were priced, and I’m broke, so I had to wade around for a free one.

But anyway, this frustrating little exercise turned out the below spread of mockup items: a t-shirt, a water bottle, and business cards.


I dunno, but I dig the wavy stripes.

Blog Goals

Hi again, Internet. I’m revamping this here blog for another class I’m currently taking, and just laying out some thoughts about what I want to do with it, realistically. In the blog’s earlier incarnation as a repository for drawing class assignments, I posted some aspiration along the lines of wanting to continue putting up sketches and arts-in-progress once the class was over.

Did I do that? No! Why? A bit of the lazies. Also, I kinda forgot about it. Also also, there were shinier things over there.

But instead of making yet another blog for this other class, I’m just gonna juice up this one again.

What I aim to do now is kind of the same as what I wanted to do before. Aside from posting class assignments, which will all be tagged “GRD241” (as this one is!), I want to post…well, sketches and arts-in-progress.

I’ve truly never been good at maintaining a blog of any kind. I get bored easily. But keeping a little digital sketchbook doesn’t seem so hard, if I think about it that way.

What’s different this time, you ask? Me, in various ways. Some things in my life have settled out a little, and I’m more committed to it this time. Last year, post-drawing class, I somehow found extremely little time to do what I love most, which is illustrations, and that sucked, so this year is not going to see a repeat of that. I just turned 30 on the New Year, so call it a birthday revelation, or a New Year’s resolution, or any and all of the above.

So this will be a sketchblog. Hence the new and improved(?) name of it, “Sketchblah.”

(The previous name was something really pretentious. Oh, 29-year-old me, what were you on?)

To wrap up, a little about how I approach the design process: I tend to start by foraging, by which I mean I go looking for lots of examples of the kind of thing I’m working on, and I gather them up and stare at them. Then I start doodling, going off what’s in front of me at first, just to get my hand around what’s possible. At that point I start taking it apart and seeing if I can mess it up (in a good way). A lot of early sketches are really illustration-y and full of details which almost never (need to) make it into the final design.

That was supposed to be insightful, but yeah.