Category Archives: Graphic Design

Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers (that they might actually use!)

Most “gift ideas for graphic designers” articles are full of lame gifts. They are either totally kitschy (a CMYK mug! a Pantone brand stapler!) or stereotypical (it’s contemporary! something written in Helvetica!). From one graphic designer for another, here’s a round-up of gifts I would actually use/want.

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Gift Ideas for Graphic Designers:

1. Pantone Swatches

I don’t need a Pantone ornament/mug/mousepad/thermos/paintcan. What I do need are Pantone Swatchbooks. Most graphic designers probably don’t have their own set at home. The basic coated and uncoated sets should cover most needs.

2. Tea for One

This idea is kind of a gimme – but still a good one. Designers are at their desk. A lot. It’s always nice to have a fun mug on hand (I personally love this Harry Potter mug from Etsy seller 312INK). Most workplaces supply coffee (hoorah!) but many don’t have a large tea assortment. Along with mug, wrap up a few kind of herbal teas and a nice jar of honey for an afternoon sweet.

3. Tech-y Gift Card

Graphic designers are usually linked to some sort of technology a good deal of the time. An Apple App Store gift card will only feed their tech-frenzy. Plus, there are a lot of great photo-editing and typography apps out there that I would probably never justify buying on my own!

4. A Massage

There are some days that I am working that I literally could sit down at my desk and not get up for 12 hours if it weren’t for basic human needs. Most people in the work force these days are doing a lot of hunched-over-sitting, but designers especially so! Help us regain our posture and relieve muscle tension with a massage.

5. Modern Art History Book

Graphic designers should know and understand the progression of art history and theory. Even after a year of taking art history, I felt like my classes only scraped the surface of art history in the last 200 years. The book What are you looking at? by WIll Gompertz is both entertaining and informative.

6. X-Acto Tool Set and Self-Healing Cutting Mat

Any designer who is creating their own invitations/posters/namecards/print media will need an X-acto Knife set and this Alvin Reversible Self-Healing Cutting Mat Kit to make sure all their edges and corners are straight as an arrow. (You may want to include a metal straight edge too!)

7. Prismacolor Marker Set

You know that feeling when you are a kid and you have a brand-new box of crayons that are perfectly sharpened and untouched. That’s how I feel about markers as an adult. Perfect for sketching or doodling, the Prismacolor marker set is as good as it gets. Prismacolor marker sets can be purchased individually by color or in an assortment of sets. If you go to Michael’s don’t forget your 20% off coupon!

8. Letterpress Class

Where the fundamentals of graphic design really began – on the letterpress. Research local classes and look for a one-day letterpress or printmaking workshop.

9. Membership to an Art Museum

Oftentimes purchasing a membership to an art museum will more than pay off if you go several times through the year – and there are other perks as well! With 2014 coming quickly, consider buying a year-long membership at their favorite museum so they can stop by whenever they want. (A bonus of membership? You don’t feel guilty for only stopping by for an hour or two!)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all my fellow designers.

Any other graphic designers out there? What would you add to this list?

10 Free Fonts for Halloween DIY!

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As much as I keep telling myself that summer last for a few more weeks, I can’t deny the increasing amount of Halloween candy and haystacks I’m seeing everywhere around me.

(I may or may not be eating candy corn right now…)

Some of the leaves here are starting to change and I’ve been wearing PANTS all week.

While it may not be time to bust out the pumpkins quite yet (although I was oogling a few at the grocery store this week) some of you will soon be preparing your Halloween decorations and DIY projects.

Here’s a round up of 10 free fonts (okay 11, there were too many good ones!) that will be perfect for your upcoming Halloween DIY crafts and projects. I have a few I’m starting to think about trying this year too!

Download the fonts at the links below:

1.  Sweet Halloween Dingbats
2. Zombie
3. A Gothique Time
4. An Unfortunate Event
5. Scary Halloween
6. Black Widow
7. Mystery Forest
8. Deutsche Zierschrift
9. Pumpkin
10. Tombstone
11. Punkinhead

All free fonts listed are from the font.com and should not be used in our not for commercial use.

I Committed a Pinstrosity

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Have you heard of Pinstrosity? It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious.

We’ve all had that one craft project or recipe that failed. Miserably. This is a website that features peoples failed DIY-wreckapalooza projects when everything goes wrong.

It happens to the best of us, especially if you’re a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-glue-gun-pants DIYer like me.

It happened a few months ago. I was trying to be productive – my only goal for the evening was to stay away from the television and that time-sucking giant wormhole called the internet. Simple quest, right?

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I briefly thought about sanding down my desk and refinishing it. “No, no no,” I thought. That’s one thing that actually doesn’t need to be worked on around here. No sir. The desk stays the way it is.

So I decided I was going to practice my lettering.

I’ve always admired beautiful typography (hello, graphic designer here) and want to take the time to learn more. (Hence these beautiful inspiration shots.)


via welovetypography

So I got out my fancy tips and bottle of ink.

And immediately proceed to spill it everywhere.

I don’t even know what happened.

Oh yes, actually, I do know what happened. I got it EVERYWHERE.

Exhibit A:
All over my desk. My desk that, 10 minutes prior, I had declared perfection and in no need of work. This was the best I could do to clean it up.

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Exhibit B:
All over the inside drawer and the contents inside.

Goodbye craft supplies drenched in black India Ink.

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Exhibit C:
All over me. My hands? Black.

My favorite jeans? HUGE ink stain.

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Exhibit D:
This was the worst one. The carpet. The cream carpet.

There is now a medium pepperoni pizza sized black schmear all over my carpet.

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For the last six months I’ve been living with it. I can’t wait until spring to take that desk outside and sand her down!!

I guess you need to be careful what you wish for?

I know I’m not alone! What’s your recent crafty/DIY/cooking mix-up been?

The Era of Design

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I am a graphic designer.

When someone asks me what I “do”, that is what I say.

You think I would post on the topic a bit more, wouldn’t you? I suppose since I do it all day, blogging about other things is a source of creativity in a whole separate way.

I have friends who often send me tidbits of information they read about graphic design in the media and I love when they do that. A while ago a friend emailed me this article, in which the founder of Pinterest shares his personal design philosophy.

“The design instinct, above all, is about viewing the world around you as a place filled with opportunities to add more thoughtfulness and care. Thus, your organization deserves to be just as well-designed as your homepage, and your company’s tweets as crafted as your account confirmation emails.”

To be a designer is a not a career. It’s a lifestyle commitment.

via (sorry, no original source from Pinterest)

To me, graphic design and the philosophy behind it is fascinating. I suppose that’s why I’m happy to do it for the large majority of my waking hours.

Last week Forbes.com posting an article titled The Era of Design. (The original article can be read here.)

Read it, really.

“You see, expecting great design is no longer the preserve of a picky design-obsessed urban elite—that aesthetically sensitive clique who‘d never dare leave the house without their Philippe Starck eyewear and turtleneck sweaters and buy only the right kind of Scandinavian furniture. Instead, there’s a new, mass expectation of good design: that products and services will be better thought through, simplified, made more intuitive, elegant and more enjoyable to use.”

Don’t act like you don’t know the kind of person they are talking about.

Even my husband (pretty much that antithesis of a design snob stereotype – anything that involved L.L. Bean would be the opposite of that guy, right?) is able to identify the basics of well designed pieces and fonts.

Or maybe because I can’t help naming every font I can identify. It’s a bad habit of mine.


via orangebeautiful.com

The author of the article Adam Swann, tweeted “Found out my Forbes article has become the most-read Forbes AdVoice entry of all time. Surely this validates the idea of #NewEraofDesign“.

And this last picture makes me laugh. This one is for my husband. Because, let’s be honest, someone needs to be able to teach our children math.


via piccsy.com

Although Jeffrey Ven, co-founder of TypeKit (whose type-awesomeness you are seeing right now on Withywindle) would disagree.

Math is easy; design is hard. — Jeffrey Veen

I love to read about graphic design and society. What do you think?