When designing stationery, every element, from font options to paper selection can greatly affect the final product. This is why I'm sharing with you today my latest find and my new favorite stock for digital printing.
The name of the stock is: Mohawk Superfine Eggshell i-Tone Ultrawhite, 270 GSM
It's an uncoated stock with the perfect shade of white and a slight texture that adds a touch of sophistication to your projects. Give it a try when you have a chance - I'm sure you'll be very pleased with the results.
Stationery Design Tips and Inspiration
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Hi there! I'm super excited to share my latest designer cheat sheet with you. I'm sure you'll find it super handy, especially if you're like me where you jump between Windows and Mac platforms all the time. You see, I'm a PC-based graphic designer at my 9-5, but I only have Mac electronics at home, so yes, I tend to go a little nuts from time to time trying to remember the keyboard commands.
Save yourself some time and avoid embarrassment
My advice to you, no matter what platform you use, memorize these! You'll save so much time 'cause you won't have to stop what you're doing to search the web or look for your cheat sheet. I learned the keyboard commands for lower case accents about 20 years ago and all was smooth sailing until a couple of years ago when I switched to Mac at home.
One more thing! NEVER think that it's okay to substitute the letter "ñ" with a regular letter "n" just because you don't remember how to add that little squiggly line at the top. If you do, you'll end up totally changing the meaning of a word or even a sentence, for that matter.
For example, you know when we say "Happy New Year" in English? Well, that is translated as "Feliz año nuevo" but if you use just a regular "n" so it says "ano" – that spells a bad word! Well, not really a bad word BUT "ano" is that place you wipe every day after you go number two. And you do really want to be the person who writes "Happy New Anus" on a design project just 'cause you were too lazy to learn your keyboard character commands? I hope not!
Well, it looks like you got yourself a free printable cheat sheet AND a Spanish lesson today. Yay, you! Heehee. Just enter your email below to have the cheat sheet sent to you automatically. Print it out and keep it in a binder or keep it on your bulletin board where you can see the codes at a at glance.
Cheers to reference sheets that make our jobs easier. Happy designing, my friend. =]
Over the last few weeks, some of my Stationery Bootcamp students and newsletter subscribers have been reaching out via email. In all of the emails I've received, there is one question they've all had in common:
"How do I get my work and business to the next level?"
This is a difficult question to answer in one email because everyone is at different stages in their career. If you're reading this, I'm assuming you have the same question as well.
There are many things that need to happen in order for growth to occur. Maybe you need to establish an easy on-boarding process. Maybe you need to find wholesale vendors for a variety of stocks and embellishments. Perhaps you have yet to find and establish a relationship with a print shop that best suits your needs.
Regardless of what stage you're in, the trick is not to drive yourself crazy by comparing your work to that of others who are more advanced in their careers than you are. It's great to browse around looking for inspiration, but don't spend hours doing so or you will start to feel hopeless and stuck. I tell you this because it used to happen to me as well, ALL. THE. TIME.
By now, I'm "ripe" enough to recognize that when I'm feeling stuck I just need to step away for a bit and focus on tasks that nurture my creativity and physical health. I know my way around this field (stationery design) well enough to proceed with certainty that creativity will undoubtedly strike when I least expect it.
You might not be so familiar with the territory yet, but that's not a bad thing. It keeps the journey exciting, as you have so much to discover along the way. The best part about familiarizing yourself with this territory as you complete one project after another, is the growth and sense of accomplishment you will be left with. You will, without a doubt, learn something new or finally master a skill that will make the next project you work on a lot easier to get through.
The pace of growth
Whether you want to become a high end stationery designer or focus on cute illustrated invitations for kid's parties - the journey is still very similar. It all starts with baby steps. You have to truly master the basics before you move on to the next phase in your career. To do this, you must work to the FULLEST capacity with the resources you have available. If you are just getting started with stationery design and you feel your work is still pretty basic, then master the basics! Produce the BEST basic stationery pieces out there, the type that makes people say "Wow! It's so simple, yet so pretty!" Polish up your typography skills (a topic I will cover soon), follow a few basic design principles (not too many fonts, create focal points, use colors appropriately, yada, yada, yada).
Once you've mastered the basics, you will naturally and easily gravitate to the next level as you gain more understanding of what each process entails and what needs to take place to achieve certain outcomes.
During this time, there are two things to always keep in mind:
Where are you and where do you want to go?
Take a close look at the work by other designers that you are drawn to. Which ones make you say "Gosh, I wish I would have designed that!"?
The next step is to study the work that inspires you and figure out what it takes to design work of that caliber. What resources do you already have available and which ones do you still need to discover in order to create similar work?
"Well that's the problem - I don't know!"
I swear I just heard you say that. Heehee.
For starters, EVERY designer needs a good print shop. That is the absolute most important business relationship you will make. If you don't have access to a high quality reliable print shop, then your beautiful designs will not come to life in the way you intended them to.
Even if you don't have access to wholesale paper suppliers, patterned stocks and rhinestones, when you have a professional printer you can turn to, you have access to their stock and special treatments. You just need to remember to use them.
Take the invitation below, for example:
This is a design by Paper Fresh Co, I found on Etsy. It's so simple yet beautiful. The hand lettered font used for their names creates a nice focal point and adds a bit of warmth and romance to this otherwise cold design.
Let's say you created this piece but you want to embellish it somehow. It's beautiful as it is, no doubt, but how can you take it to the next level if all you have access to is a print shop?
Below are some enhancement suggestions:
Above is a piece I created in 2013 for the McCallum Theatre's annual gala. This is their major fundraiser each year, which meant I had to create something elegant that would appeal to high-end donors, but it also had to be easy and inexpensive to produce considering we'd be printing about 5,000 invitations.
Here's what I did:
Whether you're a Bootcamp student or not, if you are serious about your stationery career, I ask that you to complete the following mission:
Take a look around and assess your current situation.
STUDENTS: If you log on you'll see I've added a Resources page where I share all the resources I use and recommend. Though the page is still under construction, my entire list is already there, which includes everything from wholesale paper suppliers to printers in the state of California. I just need to finish adding links and a blurb about each resource describing when and how I use them.
NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS: If you have been wanting to join the course, but haven't done so, please send me a note and let me know what's holding you back. Perhaps you are not sure if this course is for you? Perhaps you're unclear as to how the course works?
In summary, Stationery Bootcamp is a password protected website where I share everything I know about the stationery business. I charge a one time membership fee which gives you access to all the lessons and all future updates at no additional cost. You can work at your own pace and access the lessons at any point in your career. The lessons currently included will prepare you to respond to customer inquiries quickly and effectively, give you insight on how to conduct consultations both by email and in person and guide you through everything that takes place in between, all the way through delivering the final product.
Registration opens at $229 on July 18th and closes on July 30th, 2016. I don't know if I'll reopen the course for enrollment again, until the spring of 2017. It just depends on how busy I get with work as fall approaches. I don't keep enrollment open at all times because I want to make sure I am available to answer student questions and I can't do that year round as my full time job requires much of me from September-March.
Registration will reopen in spring of 2017 at a rate of $300, so mark your calendars to ensure you are able to sign up this summer to enjoy the benefits at a lower rate!
Thanks for allowing me to be part of your stationery journey. I know my blog posts tend to be long-winded, but what can I possibly teach you in just a couple of paragraphs? I'd only leave you with more questions than answers. My goal is to pour on to you as much knowledge as I possibly can, because frankly, what else can I do with this knowledge that will truly make a difference? Make another pretty invitation?
I'd rather use my skills and knowledge to make a difference in YOUR career, because I remember what it was like to feel lost and overwhelmed. I remember reaching out to more experienced designers and never receiving a reply. In the end, I found my way around and it all turned out ok for me. I am certain that it will all turn out great for you as well, whether you decide to join Bootcamp or go solo. At least you have the option. I didn't.
I hope you found immense value in today's post. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me a note.
All the best, your stationery design coach,
Are you annoyed by the fact that each time you create a new document in Adobe Illustrator, the measurements show up in picas?
What are picas anyway?
Picas are a measuring unit such as inches and centimeters. Each pica consists of 12 points (as in the point size of a font) and there are 6 picas per 1 inch.
A standard 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper measures 51p x 66p. If you are not familiar with this measuring system, it can become rather frustrating each time you create a new document and you see these numbers on the screen not knowing what dimensions you are working with. There are times, however, when it becomes highly convenient to switch from inches to picas to simplify the creative process. It just makes the math easier.
For example: Let’s say you’re working on a 3-panel brochure and you want to divide a standard horizontal page measuring 11 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall into three columns. Good luck trying to divide those 11 inches by three! Guys, I’m an artist, not a mathematician, it’s not easy for me. BUT if you switch to picas, you can easily divide 66p by three, making each column 22p wide, and ta-daaa! You’re ready to get to work. So you see, it’s not so bad. Those guys over are Adobe are just looking out for us creative types.
In any case, below is a 2 minute video showing you how to change your settings so that all your new documents are created in inches. You'll also learn how to display your rulers to verify the size of a page in both picas and inches, and how to change the size of an existing document using the artboard tool. It's basic stuff for an experienced designer, but a huge breakthrough for beginners. Enjoy!
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What do you say when someone casually asks you to work on a logo or draft up a few layout ideas for a marketing piece? You channel Jerry Maguire, of course - but much more tactfully!
This is the quick and short version of a more extensive client qualification process. But if they show interest after you mention the process stated above, then they are ready for a full-blown consultation where you will discuss the project goals in greater detail and fill out a creative brief (step 3).
Today, I just wanted to remind you not to fall for the old "design something, and if I like it, I'll buy it." If they hesitate or decline to follow your process, it just means they weren't ready to work with a professional. This is good news for you, because it will free up your time to work with someone who truly values your work and appreciates your talent and professionalism.
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I came across this funny graphic today by Digital Synopsis, it make me chuckle because I can totally relate! When I see fonts that are stretched out beyond recognition for now apparent reason, I get so irritated that I'm pretty sure it messes with my blood pressure.
So here's a the tip for the day, and I'm not sharing this for the same of my personal health, for the sake of your graphic design portfolio. Don’t EVER stretch out your fonts to the point they are unrecognizable. It’s like shaving your eyebrows and drawing them in arched halfway up your forehead. You just don’t do it.
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Hi - I'm Dio!
You can read more about me and my background as a designer, in my about page.
Hey! You obviously have good taste...
and you obviously love stationery and hand lettering as much as I do! So join the mailing list to receive design tips, inspiration and guidance to help you excel in your craft!
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