Friday, April 9, 2010

Naturally Personal

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My inspiration for this DIY design recipe came from two sources, this wonderful typographic artwork created by Letterfest and also by Ink&Spindle, whose earthy, summery colors and simple patterns I am in love with! I've got a clear protective case on my laptop and was excited to finally create an insert design that would personalize it.

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For this recipe, you'll need:

• a repeating pattern
• a decorative swirl or flourish (I drew mine)
• a variety of fonts (use your own initial!)
• light, earthy color palette: Maralee-Green*, Sky Blue, Putty, and Chalk
(*my fans know that I can't resist using this color, and have appropriately given it my name :-)

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Download and collect the ingredients you need. You may need to sample alternative fonts, depending on your personal taste and the shapes of your own initials. I used an editing program that allowed me to layer the elements with transparency, giving more depth and dimension. I measured to determine the size of my insert to set up my file.

Import and place all the elements, then start playing with sizes. For best results, make sure there's variety in size and color. I used the swirl shape on one side to give contrast to the hard-edged, symmetrical shapes, and also to give more visual interest than a "plain-old" centered design.

Once I felt good about the design of the collage of letters, I lightened the repeating pattern, and placed it behind the collage. It should feel more like a texture of the background, a secondary and subtle element. Make sure it doesn't make your design too busy. Because there are so many elements—fonts, colors, patterns—it's important to make sure there's a hierarchy when you are finished. And consider that a large element in a subtle color may not appear as visually important as something that's smaller in a bolder color! I like the rough and distressed quality, so the last thing I did was "roughen-up" the background texture/pattern.

I created my sample as an insert for my laptop, but you could also create a wrap for your cell phone or mobile device, wallpaper for your blog, or you could bring the whole thing full circle, and create a piece of framed art, just like the one that originally inspired my project.

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  1. i love this! where would you print a piece of art like this at? what is a good reliable company who prints on amazing paper?

  2. thanks Erica! I actually printed it myself, I've got a color laser printer, but inkjets do a great job on "non-traditional" papers. My paper size was legal (8.5 x 14), which only required me to set up the printer settings to print it.

    I don't know of any online places who print on anything but their own stock, but there are copy places who will print on "alternative" papers if the stock is not too heavy weight and isn't coated.

    Where are you located? If you're in the Salt Lake area I can give you some places I've had things printed--let me know regardless--I'll do some checking for you :-)

  3. SO fun! I love this project! And this blog is such a unique and fabulous idea! I will be a regular visitor for sure.

  4. thanks! I appreciate the feedback and will love reading your comments on all our projects :-)


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