Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Practice Makes Perfect

I've been working on a few top secret projects, that unfortunately I cannot share with you (fancy reveal dates and all). So in the mean time I thought I would share this instead!

With Joddi Invitations well on its way, I've been brushing up on my calligraphy (no pun intended), both digitally and by hand. And boy is it tricky. The beautiful thing about digital calligraphy (top photo), is the UNDO button. But I find it harder to have a steady hand with a tablet, so it evens out. Below is a GIF of some lettering I did by hand. Upside, it's much easier to control the flow and pen pressure, but the downside is there is no room for error.

Recently I took a trip to Michaels, and came back with some goodies! I was on the hunt for opaque white and metallic paint markers to write on dark card stocks. Can't wait to use them, and as I prepare for some envelope address writing this week, I'm going to keep up the practice!

Until next time,

Monday, 11 April 2016

The Island Of Misfit Designs

One thing that remains constant in the world of Graphic Design, is the eventual pile up of unused designs! In fact, rejected concepts are a necessity in creating the perfect design for a client, especially with logos. It's all part of a delicate system, where the Designer (aka me) gives the Client (aka you), a wide range of ideas... and we narrow down to shape the final product (aka the logo you've always wanted).

But what on earth happens to these unused concepts? Well picture an island, full of misfit designs, just sitting around waiting for Santa to come along in his sleigh and... wait. A Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer reference? Sorry.. all this snow in April really got me in the holiday spirit.

Anyway, rejected concepts can have many other uses! They make great portfolio examples, and can always be used in the future for other projects. Here are a few logo concepts I made that weren't my Clients' final choices:

As their proud mama, I'd hope some of these designs make a future Client very happy some day! But either way, they were an important step for creating the perfect logo. And even though they didn't make the cut for some, I still loved the process of making them.

Until next time,

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

An Invitation Timeline

Imagine your perfect invitation. Maybe it includes a reverse-pocket to hold extra cards, or a beautiful golden envelope, with a floral liner inside. Maybe you envisioned lace bows, or a rustic burlap cover slip. But what you may not have thought about yet, was if it could be done with your wedding approaching fast! Well, to relieve some of the stress and guess work, I've come up with a little timeline for creating invitations.

How Soon Should You Book Your Consultation? Well, this can vary depending on the type of card desired. The more details and layers, the more time it will take. To be safe, consultations should be done at least 5-6 months before your wedding date. This allows for extra time (always factoring in printing or shipment delays). To put it cheesy, the early bird really does get the worm... or in this case, the best possible invitation. Here's why:

Custom Stationary: If you fell in love with a certain metallic paper stock, or a reverse-pocket, it's important to know that custom elements are usually ordered from a paper company. Ordering such items can take up to 4 weeks to arrive from the source. So if there's something you really had your eye on (or love the idea of), the earlier we order, the earlier we can start the printing process.

Printing your Invitations: I provide various options for printing depending on the time crunch. It could be done in less than a week, or up to two weeks depending on what printer is used. To be safe, always estimate 1-3 weeks for any printing, especially if you're experimenting with different techniques. This factors in some room for proofs, or any mechanical errors. These errors are extremely rare, but it's always better to take the time in getting that colour just right!

Some Assembly Required: After the prints are hot of the press, next stage is usually assembly. This includes anything from gluing and hand-painted inking, to mailing addresses! This stage really depends on how much assembly is required. A single printed card with mailing addresses printed on the envelope could take a day. Where as gluing and inking could take 3-5 days to allow for proper drying. To be safe, it's good to count on 1 week for this step.

Sending to the World: So we have the finished, gorgeous invitations in front of you. Time to mail them out for all to see! If your invitations require an RSVP by mail, then you want to send these bad boys out 3 months before the wedding date. Online or phone RSVPs only require 1 month for mailing.

Time Tally Up: Okay, did I lose anyone yet? Let's review. We have 4 weeks for ordering paper, 1-3 weeks for printing, and another week for assembly. All together that's up to 2 months for production! Add in 3 months for mailing, and before you know it, we got our 5 months timeline.

Don't stress too much over it, emergency invitations have been completed in the past within 2 weeks. But if you're looking to go that extra mile (an invitation with the works), then the earlier the better. And the best part is, after that consultation, you just sit back and relax while I handle all these pesky deadlines!

Until next time,

Monday, 22 February 2016

Photoshop vs Editing Apps

This design study is brought to you in part by: the classic "less is more" motto. In the middle is the original photo. The left image is edited with a selfie touch up app (InstaBeauty). The right image is edited by me using Photoshop.

Leveling the Playing Field: Alright so to make things fair, I willingly over edited the Photoshop image WAY too much. Normally I would not have added makeup, or removed every single pore that exists on human skin. (Personally the original photo is my favourite of all three.) And it's also important to note that there are slightly better apps than InstaBeauty out there, like Airbrush. But as you may or may not agree with, I still think it looks like a short cut.

The Editing App: Besides the hilarious option to GROW your eye balls, overall I found the editing app grounded, but poor in execution. Looking at the picture, in order to achieve most effects, the app just blurs everything. Though it was cool to add eyelashes, and extra makeup, in the end it just looks really fake. I basically stuck to smooth skin, and chose a makeup look from their list of "looks". It seemed to ignore my neck. And that's the problem with filters for editing something either than colouring. Filtering eye shapes and makeup types just leaves your face a mucky fuzzy mess (and not in a classy glamour shot kind of way either).

Photoshop: What's the difference between a set app and photoshop? Two things: layer masks and sharpening. I used classic photo-editing techniques, and scaled it all back. Smoothed the skin with a surface blur (masking out the eyes, nose, hair and mouth). Then removed blemishes and straggly hair on a new layer. I even fixed the gaps in my eyebrows by individually painting in the hairs. After "contouring" with the dodge and burn tools, whitening teeth and eyes, I merged everything together for a final overall sharpening. In the end it's obviously more time consuming, but that precise work is what makes it more "realistic".

Conclusion: Photoshop pretty much wins. With it's ability to layer mask, it removes the "gausian blur" look of the app. Though the editing app allows for lighter opacity, it still can't get precise enough to make sure my nostrils stayed in tact. And let's not even get into the growing eye balls effect (this isn't a Snapchat Filter here).

Apps like Airbrush can come close to the options Photoshop offers, but in the end, it really comes down to over-editing. No matter which you use, straying too far from the original photo ends up looking fake. Plus most of the time, an overall photo filter for colour is enough to smooth out any blemishes. I personally love photos with imperfections. It's more important to have good lighting and a decent camera, than an after thought fix-up. So when you're having fun with your selfies, remember:

Less IS always more, scale it back (just a tad), and no filter can change the fact that you're beautiful either way!

Happy retouching,

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Joddi Invitation's Beginning

Here's a throw back to my very first invitation design. It was for my cousin's bridal shower. This little card printed on linen card stock is what started it all!

Part of my love for design stemmed from the beautiful world of weddings. Seeing the gorgeous stationary, papers, and cute little labels just drew me in. Nothing was more satisfying when attending weddings than seeing a consistent monogram or design flow. From colour scheme to the finite details, it was always something I wanted to become involved with.

And it all started with a request from my cousin to design her shower invitations. After that, I knew it was an industry I just had to get into. Too many times I'd see a wedding invitation that was obviously cut and pasted from a template. You see it everywhere, pearl paper, glued on to another pearl paper, with terribly spaced out generic script font, all tied together with a flimsy band (made of what else, but pearl paper).

After the shower invites, I was brought back for my cousin's wedding design (with the lovely help of Paper Creations I believe at the time). Slowly my clientele started building, and I knew this had to grow as it's own brand.

And I am proud to announce, that "joddi invitations" will launch in June 2016! (Though it pains me to wait that long, I have to wait for my current clients' events to finish before advertising their invitations.) In the meantime, all inquiries can be made by email to

It's time to ditch the template!

Until next time,

Friday, 29 January 2016

400 Thank You's!

While filtering through Instagram, I've noticed that I actually hit 400 followers. It really got me thinking about starting out, and how truly amazing freelancing has gone so far. I've slowly built up clients and work, and now four years later, great opportunities are in the works, and ahead.

Starting out, I was really worried about keeping up with finding jobs, and getting the name out there. But thanks to connecting with people, and word of mouth, I've got to establish something, that thanks to all your support, I'm now quite proud of. It may be a small business in comparison, but it's perfect for what I need.

Basically, if you're reading this, I wanted to say thank you. Thanks for all the likes, shares, comments, and commissions. Without all this support, I wouldn't get to do what I love for a living. It truly means the world. And most of all, thanks for following!

Until next time,

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

New Year, New Work!

Wow it has been so long since I've been in a position to post some new things! 2016 has started off right away, though unfortunately I'm unable to share any of that work with you all yet. Most thing's won't even be up until June, due to discretion. So for now I thought I'd show you a quick doodle I worked on yesterday, and go through some things to expect for this year.

Well so far in January, I've been working on some commissioned illustrations, as well as continued designs for some clients. But the most exciting new update is the upcoming launch of my new web page "joddi invitations" in June! Lately I've been creating invitations for a few people, and decided to put everything in one section. Through the years I have loved wedding invitations and designs, and one day I decided to take my love for wedding design to the next level! Countless times I have witnessed the cookie-cutter template invitations being used, and I knew it just had to be more personal than that.

Until "joddi invitations" launches in June, for now I'm still taking on wedding requests! Just send an email to to book a consultation. It's time to ditch the templates, and get invitations that match your special day.

Until next time,

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bundle and Save

When you bundle, you save. Good design usually promotes continuity within its work. When everything flows visually, you create a brand identity that's easily recognized. I believe whole heartedly that it's extremely, extremely important to be consistent with your design choices. In fact, I believe in it so much that for every item you bundle, the more discounts I'll offer.

Any bundle of two or more requests can add up to savings from $25-100 for each design element. Basically, the more you add on, the more you discount (besides "additional work" included beyond the initial agreed upon bundle). For website bundles, anywhere from $25-$50 can be taken off each page, depending on how many additional designs are included!

Above is a recent project for ENA Electronics Inc., who decided to bundle business cards and ad pamphlets with their website. In the end, they received a consistent design across the board, and a few savings to boot! Now no matter where you look, ENA Electronics Inc. will have a distinct visual representation.

Because I believe good design should be paired with some savings.
Until next time!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Be Responsive

Now more than ever, having a responsive website is becoming a necessity. Even Google displays mobile-friendly pages at the very top of their list.

So what is responsive? It's a pretty basic term (across the design field) for creating layouts that respond to different screen sizes. This is something that I've began to dive into back in January. Better late then never.

The biggest differences can be seen from a mobile phone to a desktop. Computers are designed horizontally, and going from a wide screen to a small vertical screen on mobile devices, can bring some challenges. For example, any photos you have that are larger in width than height, will scale down to a much smaller size on a phone. This can leave a wide gap at the bottom of your screen.

Since finishing my Mobile App Design course in April, I've been updating old websites to be responsive! It makes for a better viewing experience on a wide range of platforms.

It's been nothing but coding lately, and I'm loving it. Below are a couple examples of updated sites, on desktops and mobile devices.

Until next time,

Monday, 18 May 2015

Buds & Bees Baby Shop Logo

This logo was a recent project designed for Buds & Bees Baby Shop. When creating a logo I usually work in stages, which allows room to refine the concept to a final product that combines the client's vision with my design ideas. Here's a look into my work process:

Stage 1: Concepts

First comes the idea. After meeting with a client, and compiling information about their company and ideas, I take it to the drawing board. Usually the goal is to create as many different styles possible, from clean and modern to complex. In this case the client wished for 3 concepts to use a stroller, and the rest to come from my imagination. It was really great to be able to interpret her ideas and have free range. The client then chooses their favourite, or a combination of some, which brings us to stage 2.

Stage 2: Digital Proofs

Here is where I take the drawings and turn them into digital proofs (based on client feedback). These are digital coloured proofs of one or two concepts, so the client can get a better understanding of colour schemes and layout. With refinement, this is where we play with colours and text. In this case, the client asked for two concepts to be made into proofs, with coloured and b/w versions.

Stage 3: Revisions and Final Logo

Based on feedback from the proofs, this is the final stage, where I create one final logo. The final is sent to the client and revised until we come up with the completed file. This stage usually involves minor tweaks here and there, with either colour changes or design fixes. In this case the client chose one of the proofs, and we made revisions to the frame.

My work involves much compromise and adaptation, to ensure the end result lives up to (or exceeds) the client's expectations. Whether it's something I come up with, or changing my idea to better suit their vision, in the end I am making something they can get excited about. The main goal is to embody the client's business branding in a visual way. After all, graphic design is all about turning ideas into reality.