MonthOctober 2013

Just Show Up

Awhile back, I thought I was going to write a post about getting out of a design rut, but I just couldn’t quite write it. I did lots of research and found some great ideas. The one that probably works most often for me, like in this instance, is “just show up.”

It’s true. If you show up and get started, projects will get done, even if it is a painful process. Sometimes, you just have to power through.

In this case, I needed to make a flyer for our Halloween event, A Night at the Museum. I just couldn’t come up with anything attention getting. I laid out the type pretty much like you see here, but the rest was flat. I decided to sleep on it and see if any great ideas came to me the next day. Nope, only one last desperate attempt by adding some dark clouds. And they helped add some depth and set the mood. I sent it out with a plea for suggestions or other ideas. Bats, those were the only suggestion. And now here it is. Not too bad.


Now, I’m not saying this is the most fabulous design for this flyer, but it was an improvement from what was previously done. And, those putting on the event were pleased. That’s a win in my book.

My designer takeaway: Keep showing up.

Fundraising Packets

Within the last few months, I’ve put together two fundraising packets for work. The first was for a visitor center in one of our state parks. The second was for an exhibit by our arts council to go in our state museum.

I worked for the Iowa State University Foundation right out of college, and I learned some interesting things about design for fundraising.

    – One of the most important design considerations is that the people with the money and willingness to give are often older. This means the font size needs to be 12 pt. (Of course, this is just a good rule in general.)
    – If your piece looks too fancy, it’s hard to see that there is a need for funding. One of the ways we avoided this was to always use uncoated paper. The funny thing about this is that sometimes the uncoated paper was more expensive.
    – While it shouldn’t look to fancy, it needs to look well thought out and legitimate (and be well written).
    – Personalize when you can.

That said, here are two examples from outside a fundraising foundation. The park piece had private funding (and a private ask) to accompany the expensive envelopes.

The museum exhibit matched the graphics developed by the exhibit designers (not my design, I just repurposed them for this use). You can see how each is it’s own little self-contained packet. Because only a few of these were produced, I made them all in house, hand trimming each page.

My designer takeaway: Build on what you’ve learned.

A Colorful Welcome

During some summertime Pinterest perusing, I came to an article about how welcoming a colorful front door makes a home. (I’d share it, but I didn’t pin it. Bummer.) It had lots of great photos with vividly colored front doors — yellow, green, reds and more. I loved it. I thought, “That is simple enough that I could handle that.” (There were also articles on how-to paint it, which I checked out.) Plus, we had a relatively new fiberglass front door that had only white primer from the factory and had been sitting neglected in need of a coat of paint. Originally, that was going to be a coat of white paint, but no more!

And since I like to offer my opinions to my family members, I told my mom that I thought we should paint her front door a color (It was white like the rest of her house.).

I hit the paint aisle and grabbed charcoal, chocolate browns, navy blues and whites. My parents picked a chocolate brown, and I talked my hubby into a blue for ours. I got the paint in August, and we set to work on my parents’ door. We loved it!

I thought I would complete ours in late August or September. Instead, our weeks were filled with lots of visits from family and friends (who can complain about that right?). So, I finally got to it and painted our front door. With the first coat of paint, I panicked. It looked like a country blue to me. It’s much better with the second coat. I do think it’s welcoming, and a nice touch to our very beige exterior.

My designer takeaway: The punch of color helps denote the front door as the focal point on the house, which is probably what makes it feel more welcoming.

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