Food Publications

Food Publications Galore

Beautiful food photography is everywhere now. Instagram and Pinterest are plastered with it. I love that the internet has popularized this trend, even if it is linked to overeating. All the amateur, easy access food content is great, but I have to admit, I am a sucker for a gorgeously designed cookbook or other food publication.

Print design by its nature is read at a much slower pace than anything published on the internet. Most of our time on the internet is trying to grab information quickly. We have 17 tabs open at once, switching from article to article, always assuming there could be something better out there. With print, you can take your time, you have one thing in front of you at a time. The information is linear.

In the same way, an excellent meal causes you to slow down. You savor the taste you have in front of you presently. You may be excited for dessert, but you first work your way through the other courses. With a well planned meal, you aren’t wondering if eating a different meal might be better, you are enjoying the meal and the company around you. Because print design and food have these traits in common, they are a match made in heaven.

With both, there is a focus on presentation. There is hierarchy of significance and all the parts must tie together to make one greater product. A publication that can achieve these ideals in both design and content will hold my attention for hours. I have a few favorites that I must recommend.

Firstly, Remedy Quarterly is amazing. There are recipes and stories paired with illustrations and photography. All the articles are created by various writers, chefs, and designers. Yet, the final product feels cohesive in the design and the theme.

Next is Bon Appetite. I love both their print and online content. The online content is perfect for recipes. The print magazine is full of beautiful photography and great layouts throughout.

As for cookbooks, I recently bought my mom Twenty Dinners, a cookbook full of full page images and text design with plenty of white space. The recipes are planned seasonal and seem very cool, but truthfully it was the design that sold me.

I also have been pining for a few other cookbooks I would love to get my hands on. Fire + Ice, Hartwood, and Mexico – The Cookbook are on the top of my list. As always, I am hoping to find a perfect combination of style and substance and can’t wait to check them out!


Design girl v. me

Most professions have stereotypes about them. As for designers, we’re artsy and it can show up in a variety of categories. I like to think that I’m very much my own person, but I will say that my designer friends have a lot of the same tastes as I do. So today, I’m going to take a look at these stereotypes and find out how I actually stack up.

Clothing ⅖

designgirl1Stereotype design girl is wearing some trendy outfits. She’s got a lot of layering going on and a bunch of unique accessories. She also totally wears some cute glasses and is rocking chic booties. Her bun and her look can both be described as stylish mess.

I am wearing a tshirt dress because it is comfortable and easy. I have the same booties, but my only go-to accessory is my watch. My look is simple and put-together so as not to be an actual mess.

Music ⅘


Design girl likes cool music that does not get played on the radio. She goes to those bands’ secret shows. Truthfully she knows way too much music because she listens to music all day.

I have yet to go to any secret shows, but I do listen to music all day long and have found that my music taste is most similar to other creative people’s. You can check out my favorite summer playlist here.

House Decorating ⅘


Design girl’s house is chic but with an edge of boho. Basically, Anthropologie copies her looks. She totally has some cacti flowering on her window sill and has the coolest prints hanging on the wall. She has artfully mismatched furniture and yet it still looks modern.

Going into an Anthropologie makes my heart race a little with excitement. I do have cacti and succulents lining my window. My main decorations are books and maps, but I also have a happy desk wall to keep me inspired when I’m working. My furniture doesn’t match, but that’s mostly because I’m a broke college student.

Activities ⅗


Design girl is always doing cool things. Basically her Instagram looks like a Kinfolk magazine. She loves drinking craft beer at music festivals, traveling to places like Peru and Vietnam. On a slow weekend she hits up a yard sale after brunching at the hippest new restaurant in town.

With my busy schedule right now, I really enjoy a good book in my free time. Craft beer is great and I do love travelling more than just about anything else. I’m more a farmer’s market type of girl, but I am all about a new restaurant even if I won’t be up in time for brunch.

So, maybe the stereotypes aren’t totally wrong. I’m going to go put in my headphones and water my succulents now.


Wes Anderson, I love you

I am obsessed with Wes Anderson films. His movies have an astonishing level of attention to detail and brilliant sense of design. He attacks design on so many different levels to make his films as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Scene still from "The Grand Budapest Hotel"(Credit: Martin Scali)

Scene still from “The Grand Budapest Hotel”(Credit: Martin Scali)

The first, most obvious design elements are the costume and set design. Always beautiful and flawlessly uniform, anyone watching one of his films will absolutely notice this. They’re whimsical and colorful, setting the tone for his playful stories.

Screenshots of Futura used in the signage in the movie backgrounds.

Screenshots of Futura used in the signage in the movie backgrounds.

Next, the details I gush over, the careful graphic design throughout. He loves using Futura (the font I use on this site); he had Jessica Hische create the typeface for Moonrise Kingdom. Annie Atkins got every designer’s dream job as the graphic designer for The Grand Budapest Hotel where she created every document, sign or prop with insanely beautiful detail. Basically Wes Anderson takes the time and consideration to make sure the little props add to the movie rather than merely passing as part of the made-up world.

The last, least obvious level is in concepts such as camera angles and symmetry. In particular symmetry is one of his trademarks, but wow, when I saw how frequently he really uses it I was blown away. The reason this doesn’t seem repetitive or overused in his films that that humans want to see symmetry since we ourselves are symmetrical. It makes the shot feel more stable and easily creates a hierarchy of information on the screen.

In regards to design alone, Wes Anderson films are each a masterpiece. My top three must-see films by him are 1. The Grand Budapest Hotel, 2. Moonrise Kingdom, and 3. The Royal Tenenbaums. But honestly, you can’t go wrong, even his commercials are cool.


To trend or not to trend

In the design world, the word trendy comes with a lot of different connotations. Sometimes it’s good because it means you’re not behind the times, but no one wants their design to look cool for a year or so and then look like something from a time capsule of the past. Considering both sides of this is important when talking about design trends. They are essential to know about, but imitating them exactly can be a mistake.

Disclaimer aside, trends tend to reflect what new technology and techniques have been discovered to make design more effective. Here are my top design trends happening now:

Bright Colors

I love that color is being used fearlessly in a lot of designs these days. A lot of the time it balances out the minimalistic design used with it. Plus it allows for some really fun color combinations.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is about to be everywhere. Every tech company has their own version. But what I’m interested in seeing is how designers approach what users see and interact with in the virtual reality worlds. This is going to be an opportunity for designers to take on a new sort of medium and make the most of the new technology.

Material design / Flat 2.0

As the descendent of flat design, material design marries the simplicity of flatness with more depth and context to pieces of the design. Basically this makes the web page feel like it’s three dimensional using light and shadow.

Subtle animations

Little animations when a user interacts with something on the page makes the page feel extra alive. This comes in the form of loading screens, menu buttons or page transitions. There are a lot of ways to incorporate this with CSS3 animations and SVG capabilities.


It’s always exciting to see what’s big for the year in graphic design, web design and technology since it helps you figure out what might come next. That being said, trends do fade as evidenced by this April Fool’s article.

Disney and Pixar Present the Shining

What the Shining taught me about teamwork

Disney & Pixar present The Shining. I’ll bet that’s a phrase you never expected to hear. Well my friend, teamwork can bring out the unexpected. It can result in something one person couldn’t make.

In this case, it was an assignment: mash up 2+ movies into a title sequence. My partner loved Pixar and I wanted to add something classic. We started with the title sequence from “Monsters Inc.”

As we talked about it, we realized there were a lot of ties between the two movies. The monsters in “The Shining” were less obvious, but no one can say “Here’s Johnny!” without a slight shiver. The doors in the hotel also paralleled the doors in Monsters Inc. We decided to keep the theme as light hearted as any Pixar film.

It was definitely fun to work on this project, but I also got to learn a lot about teamwork in the process. Since you want the motion graphic to look like one piece of art, you really have to work well together. The main takeaways I got from this experience are:

Teamwork is pretty amazing when everyone involved is excited about the final product.

The cool thing about the Journalism school is that most everyone in it is as excited to be there as you are. Everyone cares about what they produce. This is the ideal situation in the professional world as well. If you can join a team who really cares about what they are doing, everything is going to be more fun. Extra hours don’t seem to be a problem if it means the end product is going to be awesome!

You have to come to a joint vision and then put aside your ideas that don’t contribute to that vision.

Honestly, Pixar movies aren’t my thing. I’m more into Wes Anderson, Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. Being part of a team means that you’ll get to work with people with different interests that will push you out of your comfort zone into something you wouldn’t think to create otherwise. This does mean though that sometimes you have to push back against your own tendencies if they don’t match the vision of the overall group.

Everyone will have a strength to add to the team, use it to your advantage.

In this project, I didn’t mind doing the detail work of the faces and my partner took the time to figure out how to imitate the iconic blood scene. We divided up the work so that one of us wouldn’t waste our time struggling through a section the other person felt comfortable taking care of. It doesn’t mean you should avoid trying new things, but it does require you to put the needs of the client before your own.
It’s funny to think about what a different movie “The Shining” would be if Disney and Pixar had teamed up with Stephen King to make it, but you can check out a little preview with our title sequence.


The hidden art in every museum

Walking through a museum, there is a hidden piece of artwork you need to keep your eye out for. It’s massive really. I don’t know how so many people miss it.

What is this piece? It is the design of the museum itself. The design is so immensely important yet must feel so natural that it’s barely notable. The way the artwork is exhibited can completely change the mood and story of an exhibit.

Exhibit design is one of the most subtle yet purposeful types of design. The content is always the most important part of the design, but in a museum where visitors are paying to see the content, there really shouldn’t be anything detracting from the value of the art, history or science being displayed.

At the same time, the huge quantity of information have to be interesting enough to keep the viewer engaged. Because of this, cutting edge technology can be used to tell the story. Whether it be through interactive displays or virtual reality, a museum designer has to decide what will best tell the story.

The scope of the design is another thing to consider. The design can be in minute details or expansive wall displays. The materials of the installations can be chosen specifically to further complete the experience.

The wide variety of available mediums for museum design and the unique blend of graphic design, interior design and storytelling makes museum design one of the most interesting types of design around. To see some of my favorite examples of this design, check out my Pinterest board.


So, my new site is up

Today, my new site is up! I’m pretty pumped about it and you should totally check it out. Some of you may have some questions. I will answer them here.

Q: So, you just created your site a year ago, why are you already changing it?

A: It’s not because I’m indecisive or have too much free time (I promise, I don’t.) I changed my portfolio site primarily because the previous site was built entirely on a WordPress theme. When I created it, using a WordPress theme made sense for simplicity and was appropriate for my coding skill level.

Now however, I know more things and want my portfolio to demonstrate that. It seemed silly to have links to sites and web apps I coded from scratch while having my own portfolio be coded and designed by someone else.


Q: So, what did you do with this new site?

A: That’s a fair question. This time around, I hard-coded the home page, about page, and work pages. The blog is still a WordPress blog, but now I am using the blank theme _tk. I chose this theme because my PHP knowledge is limited, but this way I am completely in charge of the design.

The entire site uses Bootstrap to simplify the responsive grid. I also used a jquery plugin to make the nifty functionality on the work page. But everything else is all me.


Q: So, how did you do this?

A: My process for this has been much the same as with any other project I create. First, I looked high and low for inspiration. My google search history is full of the “best design portfolio sites” variations.

After letting these ideas sit for awhile, I jumped into wireframing. Some people use cool sites or programs, but I stuck with pencil and paper. This helped keep my process agile so I could make quick changes without feeling too stuck in any one idea.

Next, I made design comps in Illustrator. Oops. Then, my boss kindly reminded me that the industry standard is Photoshop. I transitioned my designs into Photoshop which ended up being a great opportunity for me to think more critically about my design. This, in turn, made my design more grid-based and just generally better.

Finally, I started coding. As I coded, I adjusted some parts of my design to be more practical for implementation, but overall it stayed true to my comps and original design intentions.


Q: So, you’re finally done now?

A: Ha. Never. What you’re seeing now is my MVP, minimum viable product. Instead of waiting to post the new site when it’s been perfected like my type-A nature wanted me too, I only waited until it was something I was proud of and suited my needs. Over the next month or so, I’ll be adding a lot of different features like animations, transitions, more styling and any other cool functions I think would add value to the site.
So, please look around. It’s got new content and a whole new look. I’m excited for the progress and hope you enjoy it too!


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!


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!

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

My map covered walls

All of my friends know that if we’re going to a new place, I’ll be the one with the map out leading us there. I do not know how anyone got anywhere before Google maps. I love maps, especially well designed maps.

Reasons why maps are great:

   1. They help you be more efficient

   2. You use them to go see new places

   3. Maps put a context on where you are currently

   I already have a map tapestry, globe and a paper map in my room, I am always looking to collect more. These are some of my favorite pieces I’ve seen:


Found on flickr


Found on tumblr


Found on Behance

All these styles are so beautiful! My favorite are the ones with the details that match the different parts on the map. If anyone has any maps they want to love, definitely send them to me. I will absolutely nerd out about them with you.