I love working on product and packaging design. I believe that good packaging is like a good make-over, where something can be transformed so that the outside look matches the beauty and potential of what is inside. It enhance the very best qualities you have to work with. I have worked on album jackets to package the most lovely music, designed boxed sets for greeting cards, watercolored designs and patterns for plant totes for Bachman's 125th Anniversary Watch 'Em Grow campaign, and I have designed multiple lines of products aimed at large mass-market retailers like Target, Office Depot, Walmart, and Walgreens. If you would like help designing a line of fun products, or if you would like some help packaging and branding something, let me know if I can help you. I think it is great fun!
My husband, Chris, is not the creative type. He is an adventure-seeking nature-loving scientific-minded super smart statistics guy, so when he suggested a theme for our wedding, I was overjoyed and I ran with it. Nests! He came up with the idea that we could collect abandoned birds nests and use them as decorations at our wedding, and that is exactly what we did. Leading up to our wedding, we took many hikes in many places, looking for and collecting nests.
Once we decided that our venue would be the Round Barn Farm in Red Wing, I knew that there had to be a pair of birds with red wings to go with that nest theme. I created a save-the-date postcard featuring the red-winged couple, branches with leaves and different colored berries, and a red-and-white striped inchworm. I also created my own custom lettering, which I continued to expand upon throughout the entire wedding suite. That cursive is not a font.
For the invitation suite, I wanted to create something people would want to keep. I also relished the chance to create an invitation like none I had ever seen. I sketched and planned and, after consulting a printer and laser-cutting place, I set about designing a two sided, perfectly registered folio with a nest pocket to hold the formal invitation as well as practical information, directions, and the rsvp postcard. The invitations were offset printed using four Pantone spot colors at Ideal Printers in St. Paul, MN. I chose a gold-flecked cardstock paper to add a little more interest and texture to the otherwise flat digital design. The folios were then lasercut at Lasercut Plus. They were hand-fed one at a time (by an incredibly bored guy with headphones on) and a magic laser beam cut my paper-cut like folio out from the sheet.
To assemble each invitation, we used a couple tiny squares of double stick tape to fold up and attach a couple tabs in back so that the pocket would actually hold a few sheets. Once the invitations were assembled, I hand-wrote all the addresses onto craft paper envelopes and mailed them, excitedly.
Our wedding programs served a few purposes. We wanted there to be a schedule for our guests, but we also wanted the program to double as a fan because August weather in Minnesota can be very hot and humid. Using a simple tool, we joined three sheets together with a rivet. The back sides of each of the three sheets were printed with a stripe pattern matching the colors of the suite. Though people did use the programs to fan themselves, we were very glad that we were fortunate with our weather. We had an incredibly pleasant day!
I had a blast and spent an embarrassingly huge amount of time on my wedding invitations and decorations, but I have no regrets and am so thankful for this privilege. My invitation suite was submitted for a juried printing competition by Ideal Printers and won an award.
For the past couple years, I have been designing balloons for Northstar Balloons in Minnesota. It is a ridiculously fun job, full of strange challenges. First I design the shape of the actual balloon, making sure it has enough lift, and looks right when it is inflated. Since these are helium balloons, we make them as small as possible while still allowing them to float so as to help conserve on Helium, saving our customers money and saving a precious natural resource. Once the shape is finalized, I design the artwork that goes on the shape. This is all done on the computer, though I usually sketch by hand and scan in my ideas. I have loved the strange designs I have gotten away with making and even been encouraged to create. Pirate Fish is a favorite of mine! I created a couple pirate fish on the pirate ship balloon simply because they made me laugh, and then I created a collection of Pirate balloons to go with it, and Pirate Fish was loved by everyone. Here are some of my balloon designs from the past nearly two years. Feel free to visit www.northstarballoons.com and check out their amazing products!