MonthJuly 2013

Planter Layouts

Years ago, as a high school/college student, I worked in the summers at a garden nursery. I loved being outdoors all day, got a great tan (though some of it was probably just dirt) and learned a lot about plants. By the end, I was pretty knowledgeable about the flowers we sold, but a little less so about the trees and shrubs. One of the interesting things I learned is that there are trends in flowers and planting layouts just like clothing and graphic design.

At the time, the trend was something large (like a spike or geranium) in the middle surrounded by something medium height (like petunias or pansies), and then something low (like lobelia or alyssum). And then you needed a trailer of some kind, like a vinca vine.

Now, as I walk by planters around town, I keep noticing a new trend which is perhaps more natural. No symmetry, no rows, no placement by height. At first, it felt a little hodge-podge to me, but the more I see it, the more I like it.

I didn’t quite go all the way in my own large planter this year, but this is my step in that direction. I pushed my tallest flower to one side, did an area of petunias, an area of alyssum and found a fun vine with flowers (because I love a trailing plant!). Every year I get the urge to try new annual plants, but I force myself to include petunias. They just never disappoint with hardiness and constant bright blooms.

Here is what I used:
-Yellow Osteospermum
-Pink/White Petunias
-White Alyssum
-Candy Cane Verbena

I wish I’d photographed it earlier in the season because the osteospermum has stopped blooming (grr). Overall, I’m thrilled with this beautiful pot welcoming people to our house.


(Here are a few more of my flowerbed, which is a work in progress and needs some attention to weeds and overly hardy plants!)

My designer takeaway: Pay attention to new trends in other fields. You never know how the influence might help your day job.

File Organization

As designers, one of our critical communication duties is to visually organize information. Being able to sort and organize is very important. While I can say I’m pretty good at organizing on my computer, I’d rather you not see my lack of organization in my office or home. I’m not sure why that doesn’t translate. I’m drawn to it. I seek out organizational websites, tips and tools. Sometimes, I even figure out a good solution for one small area. But, as a whole, it’s still a problem.

But getting back to the computer, I can tell you that I’m a filing fool.

My files

My files

Thanks to my husband, a programmer who has found other designers’ random file naming habits challenging, I try to be descriptive and consistent with file names. I put each project in a folder with the department name, project name and date. Because we have a lot of recurring events, I date each brochure, flyer, invitation, program etc. While this isn’t fool proof, since events can have multiple names or the exact names are developed after it’s started, it’s been easier for my boss to find files when I’m out of the office. And, if I ever leave, hopefully my replacement will have an easy time finding old examples.

My designer takeway: Remember that you aren’t the only that will be accessing your files. Make it easy for others (and your future self) to find what they need.

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