New Year, New Store

Update December 2015: The store has changed to nerdfelt.storenvy.com, please look there instead!

So now it’s 2015. Has been for over a week, in fact. It’s no longer the year in which I graduated, I’ve started doing more freelance work, and—even more exciting—I’ve set up my own online shop for crafts and prints. It’s located on Storenvy.

This shop really is years in the making. Starting around first grade, maybe earlier, I made up my own “business” that I called Katie’s Kreations. I made little crafts such as painted rocks, desktop-printed cards, and some other silly things that only family members would buy because I was a kid. I even made my own business cards. For the next few years in my gifted & talented class, I used desktop publishing to write and design my “logs,” or journals, instead of simply handwriting them.

But it wasn’t until high school that I realized I could put my creativity into use as a graphic designer. Over four years later I’ve now graduated, and I’m sort of back where I started—making designs and crafts to sell—but of course in a much more advanced way.

I started with printed designs that were (and are) printed by another company. Some of them were designed as a part of my classes. After graduation I designed a set of mugs for coffee and tea drinkers that include quotes ranging from literature and pop culture.

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I’ve also designed stickers, a few of which were modified from class projects.

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But again, printed items are not the only things in my store—now that I’m out of school I have had more time to do crafting. In the past year I have taken up needle felting and have made several projects with the process, most notably my eco-friendly dryer balls that help finish laundry faster & therefore cheaper.

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But I have—and continue to—make paper crafted, felted, and various fiber arts projects.

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And so my store continues to grow every day with new designs and crafts, and I hope I’ll be able to sustain this store for as long as possible, because I really do love it.

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Life update and projects

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything. Since then* I’ve graduated, unexpectedly lost a family member, went to a music festival, went on our annual family vacation, and have continued to work as a graphic designer for myself and others. It’s been a bit of an odd whirlwind.

During that time, I was contacted by the folks at DFTBA Records (they don’t forget to be awesome, as per usual) because I had once designed a poster for the fictional band The Hectic Glow from John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars, now a movie. Now the poster has become a shirt and is part of the official The Fault In Our Stars store. As I’m sure you can imagine, this was very exciting to me. In all of my excitement, I completely forgot to blog about it!

The greatest band you’ve never heard of—The Hectic Glow.

I have also been trying to be more crafty. Since around April I have been trying my hand at needle felting—a process of sculpting raw wool into any shape—and I’m excited to do more. One of my favorite things I’ve made is this little elephant, and I’m excited to make more!

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And so I’ve begun a handmade craft store, much like Etsy but also free of cost. The store is on Storenvy, and I have felted items and Golden Snitch holiday ornaments (Harry Potter of course).

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So it’s exciting times for me and I hope it continues. I’m planning on making more items, felted or not, and I hope it takes hold. The best part about it is if someone wants me to make something, they can easily let me know and I can do it. I hope soon I will have a wider variety of stock items once I know what types of felted items are popular.

Do you have any project ideas? Let me know!

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*Not entirely true, since my last post was Fourth of July fireworks after graduating, but I didn’t really write anything.

Thinking of design ideas

I tend to have difficulty trying to create something just for the sake of creating something. For example, if there’s a contest or a class assignment that just says “make a magazine spread about anything,” it takes me a really long time to figure out what “anything” will be. It’s a lot easier for me to be told to make a spread about a specific topic.

I know this probably has to do with creativity, and maybe this means I’m less creative than I’d like to say I am. But I think the root of the problem isn’t just creativity, it’s just that I need some sort of direction to narrow down the possibilities from an infinite number of choices. Infinity is a daunting concept, and I’d much rather avoid it. Besides, when I work for a client I [hopefully] won’t be told to “just make anything,” as the client would at least tell me what the design should be about.

I think this difference can possibly defined as “art” and “communication,” two concepts that divide graphic design and graphic design schools. Many schools put design in their art department, and if I were at one of those I may be better at designing “anything.” But I’m at a school where graphic design is in the communication department, and so I need to have concepts given to me first so I can convey them through design. That’s not to say that art has nothing to communicate, because it certainly does, but the abstract concepts they come from are entirely different.

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My first animation

Last semester one of my classes was a 3D animation class. While it was very interesting, I found that I should probably stick to two-dimensional and static art. Despite my inadequacies, I still managed to create a 51 second video for my final project.

This may seem like an odd video, but it’s loosely based on my friend, as we joke that she is a robot. She also has a recurring dream that she is on fire—however this fire is not harmful, just an annoyance. Therefore, robot on fire.

At some point I plan to fix certain things in this animation, but for now I think it’s fine as it is.

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Selling and buying my own designs

Instead of studying for my only—yet easy—final, I have finally gotten around to putting more of my designs out for people to see and buy. Some I’ve had for a while and just hadn’t done anything except let it sit on my computer, and one was a class project from this past semester.

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Today I even took the time to make another design which I’ve been meaning to for a while. This quote is from Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and it’s been sitting in my “projects to do” folder for ages. 

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But I joined Society6 last night after discovering how many great products there are besides prints and shirts. There are pillows, bags, and mugs along with the usual device cases. I uploaded my Type & Stripes design set that is also on Spoonflower for wrapping paper, mainly so that it could be turned into a mug. 

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I still have the Hectic Glow poster on there, of course, and I think it looks great as a pillow. I just hope one day I have the expendable money to buy some of these things myself. I mean, how great would it be to drink tea out of my own typography mug every day? Buying and using my own wrapping paper was great, and I can’t wait to do more of that as a graphic designer in the future.

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If you’re interested in any of these designs, please check out my Society6 and Redbubble page. Both accounts have different products, even if some designs are the same, so pick whichever is best for you! And if you’re interested in my Type & Stripes wrapping paper, have a look at Spoonflower.

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NaBloPoMo 17.2: Map making is fun

Again I’m left with 15 minutes in the day to write a blog post: GO!

I had a really great time this past weekend being able to relax with my parents and two of my friends from school while at home. Luckily I didn’t have a lot of work to do this weekend so the only thing I had was design work which could easily be done while watching television, so my friends and I lounged around and had a lazy day yesterday while I was finally introduced to Parks and Recreation. (Even though I started watching in season 3, today I began watching it all from the beginning.)

The only thing I have been working on is another map, even more extensive than the last map that I worked on. Unlike before, I am working on the map almost completely by myself, and I am still finding that I enjoy designing maps as long as a preliminary map has already been drawn. (There’s no way I could go out and do all the measuring myself!)

So far the map looks like this, but it’s nowhere near finished, as I’ve only been tracing the major roads and rivers.

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I’m definitely excited for Tuesday when I am able to continue working with the rest of the team. Maybe one day I’ll find myself designing more maps, or maybe one day I’ll find I dislike the whole operation. But for now, the tedious process is soothing and gratifying with every design step I take.

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