47 articles Articles posted in Design

Circles 2013


Last week was Circles Conference 2013, and just like last year, I left feeling charged, full, and energized for the creative journey ahead. My favorite talk, and most applicable right now, was Ben Jenkins from One Fast Buffalo. Six years ago he traded his overdone life for the bare essentials life of living in an RV. Kent and I got talk to him at the speakers dinner and pick his brain. The main takeaway from our conversation, was, “it’s all about togetherness.” We are 12 days into our journey on the road and that is for sure what I’m seeing. But, more about that later.

He talked about what is essential in life and what is not – and for our journey of simplicity right now, it resonated in a big way. I’m totally stealing this from his talk, but here it is.



The way he sees it there are 24 hours in a day – 8 hours for work – 8 for play – and 8 for sleeping. His best work is done in solitude and he believes that every artist needs solitude  plus participation (exploring, interacting with people, etc) for the best work to come. There definitely was a common theme through a lot of the talks about creating more with love and integrity and simplifying so you can experience more and focus on relationships. Lotta Nieminen talked about this when she realized she felt more like a factory than a designer, and she was just crossing projects off the list, not doing them with love.

Too tired and too busy is very American. Slow down. Slow is better. -Ben Jenkins

I also got to meet a designer I admire very much, Megan Gilger. Her talk was wonderful and her slides were just delicious. I love everything she creates, right down to the life that her and her husband lives.


Photo from my Instagram feed

It was so fun to be with other creatives, but not just creatives who are ambitious and talented, but Circles attracts a very special crowd that seems to want more from creativity than just big name clients, money or building a big name. It might sound cliche, but there is definitely a commonality in wanting to use art and creativity for good and to bring change in the world. That is what I love about this conference. I walked away with a lot to process and a lot to build upon.

10 Years of Marriage, Illustrated

I recently got an email from a reader that had an 11th anniversary coming up – a special one considering that her husband had a rupture in his brain 2 days before their 10th anniversary last year and they spent it in the neuro ICU as he underwent brain surgery. He’s been in an intense year of recovery, but thankfully, he is doing great. She had seen the little illustration I did for my husband on our 8th year anniversary last June and thought it would be a special gift to him to do something similar. Here is how it turned out.

It’s amazing to see what two people can go through together in 10+ years and still be…together. And still be celebrating. And still be strong. Happy Anniversary Kim and Marc! May your best years be yet to come!


Circles Conference – Pt. 2

I wanted to post the notes from my conference talk for you. Wow, it was such a huge privilege to be able to share some of things I’ve learned in my own personal journey. If you want, you could also listen to the audio from all the conference sessions, including my own. But with this route, you get to see the slides I created and included in the talk as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts about these points in the comments, and get a discussion going.

Read the full notes and see the slides >>


The best thing about the conference for me was how intimate it felt. There was a commonality, a feeling of, “these are my people, and they get me.” New relationships were forged with ease, and it was great feeling like we were all there for a unified purpose. I wanted to post a few highlights from the talks I took the most notes from – hopefully you will be able to take away a nugget or two.

Kyle Steed

The work you do does not define who you are.
Talking about God is easy, having faith is hard.
Simplicity is the secret to seeing things clearly (Oswald Chambers). Don’t over think it.

Josh Blankenship

Designers/artists, you may as well know magic. Because most people don’t understand how we do what we do. Everything you don’t understand is magic. (Tim Berners Lee) Most magic has humble beginnings. Accept it, you are a wizard – that doesn’t make you special, it makes you necessary. We who know “magic” can help others who don’t. We get used to our own skills – to where it doesn’t seem magical anymore. If you don’t use your talents for anyone other than yourself, than the magic stops with you. Don’t complain about what you permit. What you build will have ripple effects not just in your world, but the world as a whole. You are building the world you are going to live in. What does the world need to look like? What good is magic if you don’t go on a quest?

Promise Tangeman

Cultivate thankfulness. Encourage others. Think of 5 people you can encourage today. Identify your strengths. Knowing who you are is key to filling yourself again. What makes you come alive? What are you passionate about? You can be passionate about a lot of things, but what are you most confident in? Find your rhythm so you don’t get stuck in cycles and ruts. Let your work simmer in the subconscious mind first before you tackle it. What can you adjust to create more efficient work flow?

Dan Mall

Design doesn’t tell the whole story. Your goal as a manager is to get your hires to their next job. All clients are created equal. But some clients are more equal than others. The client is your partner, part of your team, not an extension of your team. Big sites need smarter work not more work. Explore the genius of the tinker – find the adjacent possible (the connection in things). Create empathy, put yourself in your clients shoes.

Blaine Hogan

You are not a tool, you are a human. Tools cannot make beauty. Machines and tools break and fall apart. The world is not yet done. Relax + breathe (Sabbath principle). We are crazy and we don’t think God is real so we work our asses off. Embrace obstacles. Computers only give answers. Humans ask questions. It will never be easy work – The ground is cursed.  I want to love so well that evil wants to destroy me. We don’t always know how to increase our heart (Prov. 4:23) but we know how to lop off our limbs (self-sabotage). What are you doing now that is breaking your heart? Good design means you love people. When you put love into it, you make the best work. Don’t make work that functions out of mere utility. What am I really making? Am I loving well? Our work will be better if we can figure out how to be better humans. Good artists know themselves.


Confessions of a Designer

There are so many stereotypes designers fit into. I’ll admit – I fit in a few. But, for years I felt there might be something wrong with me because I felt I didn’t exactly fit the mold. Now I’m at the point in life where I can embrace my quirks and differences and still be {relatively} confident in what I do. Let me make it clear that I don’t have anything against ANY of these things; my intention isn’t to make people feel bad. It’s just a way for me to say…embrace what makes you different. Even if it’s a flaw. Embrace your limitations (see #1). You don’t have to do or wear or own any certain thing to be a creative person. Just be you. So with all that said, I’m a designer. And these are my confessions.

I don’t use a Canon or Nikon. I use a cheap Panasonic Lumix camera for all my photography.

I don’t drink Starbucks. Or any coffee for that matter.

I do all my design work on…wait for it…a PC! I don’t have anything against Mac, it’s just what I’ve always used. And it works for me.

I don’t own anything Eames. Someday though.

I don’t own a Keep Calm poster.

I can’t really bring myself to buy anything retail. Unless it’s a really good pair of jeans that fit *perfectly.* And then I’ll just wear those for ten years until they fall apart.

Speaking of clothes, I’m terrible at putting outfits together. I just don’t have the personal sense of fashion or creativity or boldness, or whatever to do it. Promise does though. So does this girl.

I didn’t go to college. Everything I’ve learned has been self-taught in the area of web and graphic design. This was an insecurity of mine for a long time. I was confident at the time about my decision not to go to college, but people along the way definitely made me doubt myself because I didn’t receive formal training. I’m over it now though.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Eleanor Roosevelt

OK, I broke the ice. Now it’s your turn to spill the beans!

Blog Makeover: Version 3

Well this is the third big design iteration of this blog. I’ve been foregoing blogging for a couple weeks so I can work on this, and it feels nice to have it finished. My main reason for an update was wanting a fresh clean look and also wanted it to reflect my current personal tastes. This fits me much better now.

If you’ll let me get a bit geeky on you, I designed what I wanted my blog to look like in Photoshop and then I searched for a bare bones theme that I could modify to fit my design. I ended up using the Ari theme from Elma Studio. It’s a great basic theme, very well coded and documented to go in and do your own customization. I also had a lot of fun integrating Google’s Font API. I used Arvo, Raleway with a sprinkling of Goudy.



If you look around and see something that looks a bit wonky, just let me know! I’m terrible about doing in depth testing in all browsers. :)

Top 150 Makers Blogs

There are hundreds of great inspiring and creative blogs to read, but do you ever wonder which blogs everyone else is reading? I do, which is why I have compiled a list of the top 150 design, inspiration, and DIY blogs – I call them all Makers.

The blogs are measured and ranked based on 5 criteria (Alexa rank, Compete traffic, Google Pagerank, Google Reader subscribers, Yahoo! inlinks). Scroll down to the bottom of the list to see specifics on how the list was compiled.

This list certainly isn’t perfect. Each of the 5 criteria have their quirks. However, I do think this mashup is a step in the right direction of creating better lists. Because of these quirks, one blogger has requested to be removed from the rankings, which is noted in the list.

I tried to scour and dig for the most popular sites out there, but it’s nearly impossible to know about them all. By all means, if you don’t see a blog on the list that you think should be there, please email me at info at evie-s.com

Have fun browsing! I’m sure you will find a bunch of blogs you didn’t know about.


Want to brag about your rank or give some link love to the Top 150 Makers Blogs list? Embed the badge at the bottom of this page on your website.


Will Work for…Non-Profit

I’m currently looking for some design work to raise money for a non-profit that my husband and I are working on. Most everything you see on this blog is designed by me, including the blog itself. So if you need:

  • Logos
  • Custom invitations
  • Blog or website design
  • Etsy graphics
  • Party Decor
  • Anything else you can think of!

I’d love to be your girl for the job. Just email me at info at evie-s.com with the details of your project!

Using Stamps for Identity

The concept of using stamps for business cards or other identity is really interesting to me. It really gives a handmade personal look, and if you use your imagination, there really could be some sweet results. I could see mixing up stamp colors, placement, etc. Just look at these examples!

From left to right:

Business cards by cameron moll // cards by King Muck Shanty // cards by mr. keasone // cards by sassen


hairdresser identity by Alexis – Love that you can mix and match to make each one unique// Identity for a wine museum – built a font from wine stains [ Via Graphic Exchange ]


To get your own custom stamp, just send in artwork to Stamp Asylum. I’ve worked with them before and they do a great job turning your original design into your very own stamp.

Design from Complex Fruit

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine just flew by, as always. Today has not been a good day to get very much work done, but I can briefly give you a morsel of inspiration! I love these graduation announcements and hand drawn logo sketches from graphic designer, Paul Torres of Complex Fruit.

complex fruit

Business Card Inspiration

Love these business cards from a list of 60 of the most beautiful and creative cards out there. I really need to get myself some new cards!

business cards

[ via naldz graphics ]