Monthly Archives

January 2016


Productivity Tips from Top Designers

January 30, 2016
Photo credit @jennetsaitquoi!

It’s the end of January…the energetic oomph of the new year is starting to fade. I know for myself, I’m still just as determined to accomplish my goals but the motivation level is starting to lag. Good news! Top productivity tips from the best entrepreneurs and designers to get you motived and pushing the envelope of design and life in general.


1 | Jot It Down

“I have my sketchbook on me at all times. Sketching helps me to externalize the craziness going on in my head, allowing me to see a clearer path of what to move forward with.”
—Leah Shea, product designer at ustwo


Photo credit:

Photo credit: ustwo


2 | Quality over Quantity

“You want to be productive? Focus. Do one amazing thing each day. It could be for the world, your life, your partner, or for a friend. But if you do one great thing a day, well, that’s a f***ing productive day.”
—Golden Krishna, senior UX designer, Zappos


3 | Little by Little

“I found breaking down big goals into smaller tasks to be the best way for me to get things done. I can make small progress and knock off these bite-size tasks whenever I have a moment.”
 —Jannie Lai, head of UX, Light


Photo credit @

Photo credit: Light

4 | Strategize

“A lot of time can be wasted in pursuit of the wrong goal. The longer I have worked as a designer, the more I have learned establishing that you are working on the right thing from the beginning, not just working, boosts productivity. Sure, in the moment, time spent asking yourself, ‘Am I working on the right thing?’ makes you feel anxious, but it’s worth it.”
—Jared Ficklin, Argo Design


photo credit @
Photo credit: Argo Design


5 | Take a Step Outside

“Many of my design ideas and strategies came from my showers or evening walks.”
 —Jannie Lai, head of UX, Light


6 | Let Yourself Off the Hook

“It’s hard to tear myself away, especially when I’m stuck and I’m starting to get get anxious, but it helps ground me and puts me in a better mood if I take a moment to do something I enjoy. Instead of trying to get inspired by looking at Dribbble, or other apps, I look at something completely different. For example, I love mid-century furniture. So I’ll go on my favorite sites, Instagram accounts, Etsy, and look at beautiful mid-century furniture and accessories. I also love to cook, so I’ll go to my favorite YouTube channels and watch a couple videos. ”
—Addy Beavers, UX designer, Google Play


7 | One for the Home Team

“Think about all your haters and the people who don’t believe in you. That’s a huge motivator, as well as thinking about how good it feels to see something you made in the world. Focus on the ends and the means become easier.”
 —Ryder Ripps, creative director, OKFocus



Guest Interview – Macey Mackubin

January 11, 2016
photo credit @Macey Mackubin

Hello all. How has the new year been treating you so far? I have an exciting new guest interview to share with you all! I’m happy to introduce local designer Macey Mackubin from Manitou Springs, CO.

Check out our interview together and visit more of her work from the links below.

Website | Behance | Etsy


1. Tell us a little about yourself and how did you get into graphic design?

I was born in Orlando, Florida. My first encounter with design began when I was pursuing a degree in photography. This was just as the digital world was beginning. Photoshop 1 had just come out. I was working as an intern at a food photography studio called Visual Cuisines and we were still using film. During that time we bought a high-end digital camera. As part of my photography degree I had to take a basic course in design. I fell in love with it while I continued to  work in photography. Photography ended up not being my true calling although it has made an impact on my design choices. Upon leaving Visual Cuisines I returned to school for a long journey towards earning my B.F.A. in graphic design. In the course of this pursuit I moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado and finished my B.F.A. in graphic design at the Rocky Mountain School of Design.

Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


2. It looks like you recently completed your BFA degree, congratulations! How has working in the industry/freelancing compared to your work in college?

I did recently finish thank you! School was more fun. Freelancing is also fun, but just not the same as making all the concept and design choices as you would on a school project. I design patterns, a line of products for sale on, I draw constantly, I find old pieces of furniture to refurbish, so I can still feel like I have that freedom outside of work. One of the realities of my career path has been the need to fill in the gaps of freelance work with other types of work.

The internship I did at the end of school was with a company called Mama’s Sauce. It’s a screen print and letterpress shop. Print making has been another love of mine so when Mama’s Sauce asked me to work there in the screen print department I jumped on the opportunity. As this relates to the difference between work and school I envisioned myself working as a full time designer for one company during school. That’s just not how things panned out. However, it doesn’t mean that vision won’t come to pass at some point.


Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


3. Describe your style/aesthetic and where do you draw your inspiration from?

The first thing I do with all jobs is write. I make lists and then I begin sketching. After the lists are made there are so many ideas flowing through my head I have to sketch those. After that I peruse Pinterest, create a mood board and then begin the second round of sketches. Then I finish up; usually in Illustrator. To be able to go through that process on all jobs is a unicorn rainbow dream. I worked as a designer for a t shirt company. Jobs would need to be completed so fast there wasn’t really time for sketching ( this part could fit into question 2 as well ). I also get inspiration from researching the subject.


4. What are some of your favorite pastimes?

Making patterns has become a past time of mine recently. Doodling, print making, dogs, collecting salt and pepper shakers.

Photo credit @Macey Mackubin


5. Any words of advice for aspiring artist or designers?

Hmmm. I would say don’t give up.


All photo credits @Macey Mackubin

Thanks again!






New Portfolio: Lang Tools

January 7, 2016
Lang Tools Packaging design

I’m excited to present new portfolio work this evening adding to my ever evolving collection. I love the raw texture and vibrant aesthetics this project emotes. Very much my style, which is hard to say for many commercial projects! Let know what you think!

As a disclaimer, the Lang Tools logo was provided, the art direction, packaging design and photography are all my own.
Credit: Lang Tools Logo

Lang Tools Packaging Design

Lang Tools Photography

Lang Tools Photography



Vibrant Color Trends Shading 2016

January 4, 2016

Mastering the power of color isn’t an easy task and requires a good amount of artistic instinct, foundational color theory and psychological emotional projective. To break things down, here are a few tips and techniques trending for 2016 to make choosing the right palette a little easier.

1. Think Monochromatic

Less distracting, monochromatic themes are becoming a strong focus in minimalistic design. Because color can be very overwhelming, choosing a bold shade directs focus towards the text content and message of the page.

Monochromatic Web Design

Monochromatic Web Design


2. Color Blocking and Hovering

This technique is extremely effective for compartmentalizing information in compact, clean formatting. By laying out content in a grid or block presentation, it becomes easier to pick and choose through more content which otherwise may be skipped or overlooked in the mass of things. In addition, hovering allows the viewer to experience a more precise intake of information in ‘visual bite sizes.’


Color Blocking and Hovering Web Design

Color Blocking and Hovering Web Design


3. Color Paired with Texture

In the past, texture has been reserved for neutral backgrounds but not any more! Vibrant color paired with texture is creating exciting bold statements for web and interaction design. This technique can easily become overwhelming so be selective and use colors as accents with texture for best results.

Texture and Color Accent Web Design

Color and Texture Trends for 2016


4. Accent with Color

As stated before, color can be a powerful tool when used as an accent in a high contrast setting. This can be as subtle as a color title or call to action button but beautifully effective when contrasted correctly. Below are some great examples of vibrant color accents executed brilliantly.

Color as Accent in Web Design

Color Accent Trends
In addition to using color effectively, keep in mind the mood of your color choices is a powerful tool as well.

Here are a few general guidelines to setting color mood:

Red: is catchy and provocative. Provokes a call to action and adventure but overpowering if used excessively.

Green: is balance, associated with nature, prosperity and wealth. Banks and financial institutions often use green hues for this same reason.

Blue: is associated with security, trust, peace, realism. Strongly linked to the sky and the sense of dependability.

Purple: is imagination and dreams. Also associated with leadership, respect and wisdom.

Orange: is a positive color and associated with social, physical and mental stimulation. Will put viewers in a good mood.

White: stands for innovation, creativity and purity. It is the color of perfection.

Black: is the color of intellectualism, power and professionalism. It can also be associated with luxury and sophistication.

Photo source: tennisaufemininhyperakt | madebypfd | graydenpoper | thefarmerandthechef | crossroadsalliance




Life and Things

Farewell 2015

January 1, 2016

Photo by @rossfeighery

Happy New Year to everyone! In the spirit of things, I have been thinking about my own resolutions/goals for 2016 and realize the common thread between everything I hope to accomplish boils down to one concept, creating opportunities. I read a great quote that I feel addresses this exact philosophy perfectly:

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
-Milton Berle

2015 for me was somewhat chaotic, full of uncertainty being tossed around in the sea of the unknown. As much as I dislike this lack of control in my life, I hope to embrace these uncertainties with a fresh perspective this year (as I’m sure tsunamis lie ahead as they always do.) Instead of fighting to force everything to fit in my perfect comfort zone, I hope to bring on the un-pleasantries and have some amazing new experiences in the process. You only have one life to live, so live it!

New Years Resolution Quote

As philosophical as that all sounds, I do have some practical resolutions I hope to accomplish this year which I will be promptly be crossing off throughout the year.

  1. Take on weekly personal art projects
  2. Repurpose one piece of furniture
  3. Take more Yoga Classes
  4. Work out 3-4 weekly
  5. Lose 8 lbs (not 10…8lbs)
  6. Continue Green Juicing
  7. Cut back on Rockstars
  8. Run a 10k
  9. Attend a Meetup
  10. Pay back one credit card
  11. Read more
  12. Visit a foreign country
  13. Network with other designers
  14. Photography trips

New Year’s Resolution from Currie Person of Spartan Home and Beam & Anchor

Photo credit: Currie Person of Spartan Home and Beam & Anchor
Love & peace :)