Jordan and I go waaay back. We spent our growing up years in Delaware, and although we only lived 45 minutes from each other, we were pen pals. Like avid pen palers. I still have giant manilla folders full of our novels, written in pre-teen fashion. I’ve saved every single one of her letters.
Eventually she moved to California, and I to South Carolina. We grew up and our lives got busier…and the letters got fewer. And then Jordan began a blog: Our Blessed Road. It was my first blog I read, and my first glimpse into how powerful this online thing can be. Rekindling and building relationships via 2 computers, literally from coast to coast. Just genius.
The rest, as they say, is history…
And I’m so excited to have her “here” today…
Thanks for joining our series, Jordan! Can you start off by giving us a little bit of background?
Hi! I’m originally from Delaware, but now I’m a California girl. My dad’s a contractor and my mom is an artist and she homeschooled us, all the way through high school. I have one sister, Kate, and she’s all grown up and married now too. I met my husband, Luke, online of all places. We went to Patrick Henry College together, doing distance learning classes, and the rest was history. We live in Southern California with our two boys and our dog Alice. And since I married him, I have 9 brothers now!
Looking back on your life, what things inspired you to try your hand at graphic design?
I’d say my mom, first of all, because she’s so artistic and always encouraged us to try different forms and styles of art. She’s amazing with a pair of scissors and a piece of paper, and she’s illustrating children’s books as well now! Because of being raised in a very artistic household, my sister and I always tried everything we could get our hands on. I always say I’m a serial hobbyist; I knit, crochet, draw, sew, paint, scrapbook, decorate, cook, write, photograph. You get the idea. And if I haven’t tried it yet, chances are pretty good I’ll give it a go in the future!
Necessity would be the other reason. I’m also a photographer, and wanted a new logo that really stood out from the crowd. The logo I designed is simple, but it really fits me. After that, I started doodling quotes I loved and posting them to Facebook, and my friends loved them.
Describe your first design project.
My first “real” project was designing a logo and the various website elements and packaging for my friend Christa and her new company Publish. It’s a fashion blog and site, and she really has an eye for trends and style. She posts more than just fashion though, because her mission is for living stylish lives. She wanted a logo that really fit her company, and her operating words were “classy” and “elegant” and “timeless.” The logo we can up with together is one of my favorite things I’ve ever designed. I also designed a lot of packaging elements for her that I can’t wait to see in action!
At what moment did you decide to turn your creative passion into a company?
Christa really gave me the idea to start my company, Hey There. design. Everyone liked what I was designing for myself and for friends, and I really enjoy what I do. I thought “why not?!” and put it out there. Honestly, there’s nothing better than seeing something you’ve done, up on someone else’s site, knowing you helped them achieve their dreams too.
When working with a client, how do you get a feel for what their style is and what they’re looking for?
My favorite thing to use is Pinterest! I have my clients create a board of what they want to see in their designs, and it’s a great way to get a feel for them and what they really like and the feel they’re going for. Good old fashioned mood boards are really great too, and Christa created some really amazing ones when I designed her Publish logo.
Do you have a favorite spot you like to go to be inspired and work without interruptions?
The couch, at nap time! I love to be comfortable while I work, and there is nothing like curling up in the corner of the couch, with hot chocolate! I also love working in my new art room…my mom helped me paint and decorate it and it turned out amazing!
Describe the process of taking a design concept and getting it into a finished product.
First, I sit down with my client, we talk about the end goals and what they’re looking for, and what they need. I definitely have them create a mood board of some sort, again, Pinterest is amazing for this! I sift through everything, and create a few sketched to show my client. From there, they’ll pick what direction they want to go in, and we hone it together. Usually it takes about two or three revisions to make it perfect, to the finished product!
If you had to narrow it down, what would your essential tools be?
I work fairly low-key. I always sketch and design on paper first. I love Sharpies and bristol board sketch pads. The other essential is a scanner, and a program to clean up my designs in. I use Photoshop, because that’s what I have, but there are other programs that would be adequate. So, pen and paper, laptop and scanner.
What design style do you want to be known for?
Definitely typography-driven design. I love words, quotes, and great fonts. I hoard fonts, actually. (On second thought, I hoard all three of those things!) I’m always drawn to any designs that center around words. And the other thing I’d love to be known for was hand-designing the lettering for my designs. Both my photography logo and the Publish logo are hand-drawn.
Can you give us not-so-tech-savie people some resources we could use to edit our photos with text, create simple invitations, and also give bloggers a starting place for designing sidebars and creating buttons?
Well, Photoshop is kind of the gold standard to edit with, but it is not necessary at all. Most computers come with basic photo-editing software, and many of those have options to add text. Photoshop Elements is a pared down version of Photoshop, and much cheaper. GIMP is a free, Photoshop-like program, but it does have a fairly high learning curve because it doesn’t have built in tutorials, but YouTube is loaded with tons of tutorials for using GIMP. I used it for years before I got Photoshop.
For creating buttons, I really love the free digital scrapbooking elements you can find all over the internet! You can take the tags or papers or tape strips, layer on text and small elements like flowers or glitters, and you’ve got great looking buttons in a snap! Another trick is to take photographs and use them for buttons, and my favorite technique is fading the pictures out a bit so the text really stands out. Make sure your buttons are all the same size and fit in your sidebar. I prefer designing them to fit, rather than trusting my blogging platform to resize them. For my photography blog, that means no more than 250 pixels wide.
Design-wise, I say keep it simple. Hard to read fonts are only going to be confusing, even though they’re pretty. Too much going on and flashing, blinking, things are going to distract from the content you work so hard to create! My favorite blogs have clean, simple design. Another good idea is to keep the sidebar smaller than the posting area.
Some resources I love are:
:: dafont.com (my favorite resource for fonts!!! Keep in mind, some of these fonts are for personal use only. I’d suggest keeping a list or folder in your computer’s font book for the fonts that are okay to use commercially.)
:: puglypixel.com (clip art, the scrapbooking elements I was talking about, and excellent blog and photoshop related tutorials!)
What would your dream, freelance project be?
Book covers!!! It would combine everything I can’t live without: typography, word-driven design, and books. I read like crazy and write in my spare time, so yeah, book covers! I would LOVE to design the layouts for magazines too.
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