Month: February 2016

February Book List

Even though my schedule is hectic, I try to make time for reading because it’s peaceful for me and I find it gives me a good perspective on the busy to-do list I have on any given day.

I have a habit of reading several books at a time. This month’s list of books I’m working my way through paint a pretty good picture of what I’m interested in right now:


Breakfast At Tiffany’s by Truman Capote: I am trying to read more books by famous writers. Capote is known for In Cold Blood. Truthfully Breakfast At Tiffany’s drew my attention because of the movie. Like many pieces of 1950s literature, the story is about a woman the narrator meets and spends the rest of the book half idolizing, half trying to figure out. If you liked The Great Gatsby, you should check it out!  3/5


The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman: As I am in the process of entering the workforce, I have realized that a large part of being good at your job requires skills other than what we have learned in school. There are lots of articles discussing the idea that women are on average much less confident than men and that it is impacting them negatively at work. This book addresses the reasons confidence matters both professionally and personally, how much men and women differ in their confidence and how to create more confidence. The book is a bit academic at points, but I would definitely recommend it.  4/5


The New York Times: 36 Hours 125 Weekends in EuropeI am pretty much always reading this book bit by bit. Recently, I created a project where I presented what I would recommend in each European country and used this book for inspiration and information. My favorite part of the book is the description of each city; they paint a picture of the culture of the city. The to-do list, while nearly always out of my price range, captures the spirit of the city excellently. This is one of those books that increases my wanderlust I mentioned before.  4/5


Jessica Hische’s In ProgressI saw this book at work and knew I had to have it. As one of the most well known letterers around, Hische is pretty much a rockstar in the design world. Her book starts with her story, details her process and gives advice for lettering. If that’s not enough to make you want it, it’s filled with her amazing designs.  5/5

dear books

A Love Letter to Books

In college I have jumped back into reading for pleasure with the same excitement as when I was 5, carrying my book with me everywhere I went. Even though I’m no longer reading the Magic Tree House, I love the discovery of reading, learning about a subject I know next to nothing about, gaining an appreciation for another point of view.

I love books about people whose position in life seems so different from mine. Every time I read a book like that, I find unexpected similarities that remind me how similar we all are at our core. My favorite recently has been I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son.

I love books about people who have succeeded in their chosen path, particularly in the face of difficulties or when they have been told their dream is impossible. These books give me courage when I’m doubting myself. Recent favorite: #GIRLBOSS.

I love funny books. They point out the humor in everyday situations and remind me not to take myself too seriously. Recent favorite: Bossypants.

I love books about theories and ideas. Thinking about emotional intelligence or what makes an idea memorable makes me think critically about myself and what abilities I can take advantage of. Recent favorites: Emotional Intelligence and Made to Stick.

I love books about adventure. They always make my wanderlust worse, but they convince me to live more dangerously, to take more risks for the life I really want to live. Recent favorite: Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults.

I love books about anything and anyone creative. I find a lot of validation in hearing the biggest names in any given industry have struggled and doubted and had to work hard for everything they got. Recent favorite: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life.

I love the passing of wisdom and the depictions of humanity in these books. Books make me feel more a part of the human race. Learning about new people and places always enriches who I am and how I see the world. Reading makes me more empathetic and more empowered.

Next blog post I will be posting a book review of the books I’ve been reading lately. So check back on Thursday for more!


What the Helvetica?

Choosing a typeface is one of the most important parts of a design whether it’s for print or for web. Every typeface tells the story of the design differently.

The basic categories are serif, san serif, and script. There are deeper categories as well like slab serifs, modern serifs and decorative. Serif signifies tradition. San serif can indicate the subject is modern. Script typefaces are usually used to evoke emotion.

I have my go-to typefaces and my wishlist typefaces in each of the categories and they all convey a different message for me.



Found on Wikipedia

Georgia: Georgia is a classic look, it makes content seem trustworthy and worthwhile.


Found on Wikipedia

Archer: Archer is a playful slab serif. Its round ends add lightness to wherever it is used.


Found on Wikipedia

Mrs Eaves: Mrs Eaves has enough contrast to be refined, but not too much so that is becomes script–like.


Found on Wikipedia

Bodoni: Bodoni is elegant. To me it looks like what classical music would be as a typeface.


Found at Design How

Harriet: Harriet belongs in a publication about city life. It has stark contrast and an amazing italic that would be the perfect headline font.



Found on Wikipedia

Futura: Futura symbolizes simplicity to me, its lines are clean and geometric while still being interesting. (It’s also the font used across this site!)

Pluto: Pluto has a bit more swoosh in its characters than most san-serifs, making it perfect for more light hearted, yet modern material.


Found on Wikipedia

Helvetica: Truthfully I like the history of Helvetica and its efficiency. The documentary about it is great.


These are some of my favorites, but I am always looking for new ones to obsess over so if you think I missed any, let me know!


Memory Lane graphics

In today’s post, I wanted to share some designs I made while I was abroad. We spent a lot of time in cute little towns that had a lot character and beauty. For each of them I chose my favorite part of the town or a memory that I felt particularly represented it.




Verona is home to Juliet’s balcony and the beautiful gate covered in love locks. While we were there we say a *eccentric* opera version of Romeo and Juliet and obviously imagined we were in Letters to Juliet.


Cinque Terre

5terre logo-01

The Cinque Terre are amazing little towns on the cliffs of the Ligurian coast. The town below, Manarola, was my favorite because we went cliff diving there and it was awesome.




Ferrara has an awesome castle and the day we were there, there happened to be a road race of old timey cars and a massive hot air balloon festival. However, I will always remember Ferrara as the place there was a train strike that led to us sitting in the train station for 3 hours.


I made these in the hopes that I could share my experience of these places with others, but now that I’m looking back at them I’m able to remember so much more about my time there. One of the things I love about design is the emotions you can communicate with it, especially when they’re such good emotions.


I built myself a campfire

I told you I would do some animation this month and I have! I made it for class; the assignment was to create a looping scene and work with the principles of animation.

Honestly, I always watched animation with the assumption that it was some sort of magic that I would never be able to figure out. Obviously there are many people that can do amazing things with animation that I in fact will not ever figure out, but still I was excited to learn that the basics weren’t too tricky!

So for my piece I created this camping scene:

camping scene

After getting feedback, I was able to create this new version where I added a person in the tent, adjusted the movement of the trees and made a few other tweaks.

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty excited about it. The whole process was not as complicated as I would have imagined. First you sketch out your storyboard:


Next you create the static illustrator artwork that you will be using in the gif:


You animate it in after effects. Everything I did for this project was 2D so that meant thinking about how an actual motion would happen and recreating it.
Lastly, you use photoshop to create a gif out of all the frames (in my case there were 210.) And that’s it! Not too hard!

Here’s the final!



Italy: A Study in Signage

I always find myself taking picture after picture of signs whenever I travel. I love how much signs reflect the aesthetic and culture of the place. The signs at the Italian beaches are light and colorful:


Taken on the Amalfi Coast


Taken right by Portofino

The signs in Italian cities are equally beautiful, but much more austere:


Taken in Genoa

And because Italy has such a long history, there are lots of signs in the form of tiles:


Taken in Chiavari



Taken on a five mile hike to Portofino

I love to see such totally natural expressions of design. Even though most of the signs here probably weren’t created with particular attention to design, they innately have the essence of the country in them. Hopefully soon I’ll get to go around Raleigh and snap some pics of signage here!