Book Review: Burn Your Portfolio

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Hi readers! I came across this book unexpectedly at my local Barnes and Noble and have been wanting to share it with you ever since. In a nutshell, Burn Your Portfolio: Stuff They Don’t Teach You in Design School, But Should, recognizes that it takes a lot more than a design school degree and a killer portfolio to succeed as a creative professional. Written by Michael Janda, owner of the design firm Riser, this book spews out a ton of real-world advice in a relatable and funny tone. With chapters focusing on relationship building, managing difficult clients, effective production processes and more, Burn Your Portfolio opened my eyes to the many working parts of the design industry beyond stellar knowledge of Adobe CC. While I highly recommend giving this book a read as it is jam-packed with far too much knowledge for me to share with you, I will include a few of my favorite tips that I highlighted as I read. Enjoy!

  • “Teamwork, client skills, communication, social aptitude, production speed, and business savvy all play a GIGANTIC part in what will make you successful as a graphic designer.”
  • “…your friends will willingly and freely market your business, so it would serve you well to make a lot of friends”
  • “You want to be a graphic designer? That means you’re a designer, a writer, a programmer, a photographer, and sometimes an illustrater…you often have to fill the holes left by your client’s inability to deliver necessary assets.”
  • “Bad FPO image usage can scar a great design and keep a client from recognizing the greatness behind a comp…”

Sew Fun Tote Bags

Hi everyone and happy December! I’ve just about wrapped up all of my holiday shopping and thought I would share two of my favorite gifts to give this year. Perhaps selfishly, (I have been dying to dust off my sewing machine and get back in the sewing swing), I decided to make some fun and floral tote bags for a few of my family members. The bags were super easy to make, relatively inexpensive, and I loved roaming the aisles of Jo-Ann searching for the perfect fabric pairings based on my recipients’ individual personalities. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the few hours I got to spend working on them, the recipients equally loved the homemade aspect and special touch. Happy Holidays!

Diet Coke Cake

Hi everyone! Hope you are all having a great summer. I’m back with another cake post, this time for my dear old mom’s birthday. This year’s inspiration comes from my mom’s slight addiction to Diet Coke, and while I’m not saying I condone her obsession (I have been trying to get her to lay off that stuff for years) I had to admit that it would make a pretty awesome cake. I started off by pouring melted dark chocolate into an empty Coke bottle, using it as a mold to create the exterior shell. Once the chocolate hardened, I peeled away the plastic bottle and filled the chocolate shell with layers of Coke flavored cake and frosting. Reapplying the label and bottle cap were the perfect finishing touches to this deceivingly delicious cake.

Valentine’s Cupcake Bouquet

Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone! I hope you had a pleasant holiday. This flower pot cupcake bouquet is something that I had been wanting to try out for a while. It is super easy, makes a great gift, and can easily work for a variety of occasions including baby showers, birthdays, get well gifts, etc. All you need is a standard terra cotta pot, a foam ball that sits nicely atop the pot, approximately 18 cupcakes, toothpicks, and some tissue paper. Simply attached the cupcakes (without frosting) using toothpicks to the foam ball. Frost the cupcakes and complete with green tissue paper to disguise the remaining foam from showing. That’s it! Now share with friends and family!

Door Décor!

Hello everyone and happy November! I am very excited to be moving into the holiday season. This year I was determined to start my Christmas shopping early in an attempt to avoid getting overwhelmed at the last minute. As I was strolling the mall this weekend I came across this amazingly detailed hand-carved door. I love the floral pattern and natural wood finish and would love to be able to have something like this in my home someday.

Grandma’s 80th!

Hello everyone and happy October! I’m back at it with another cake post, this time for my Grandma’s big 8-0. I wanted this cake to be different from any of my previous cakes so I took a more traditional approach. I learned a new quilting technique which turned out to be super easy to do and looks so beautiful and understated. I also made the cake topper myself after being inspired by similar designs I had seen online. I was pleasantly surprised by the finished product and my Grandma loved it too 🙂

My Biggest Project Ever!

Hello everyone and happy February! Over the past month I had the opportunity to design the construction barricade for our newest location of Urban Home, a furniture and decor store. This was, by far, the largest project I have ever worked on, consisting of two panels that wrap around the perimeter of the future store location. The first panel, seen in the video, is 120 feet wide while the second panel, seen in the photos and poorly executed panoramic shot (it was raining and I was trying to avoid being hit by cars) is a whopping 180 feet wide. Both panels stand 12 feet tall. I have to say, it was pretty exciting to finally be able to go and see the design in person, after having only seen it on my computer screen up until that point. But I think the best part was hearing lots of people take notice and comment on my design as they walked by. Design is a powerful communication tool and that is my favorite part of this industry.