Developing a Logo: Part 1

Posted on June 28, 2013 and tagged Small Biz with comments

If you've been to CourseCraft this week, you'll notice that we have a bit of a new look! We changed the logo, the colours, and the style of the buttons. Working on CourseCraft this year has taught me so many things. I always thought I had some design talent. I can make a mean wedding invite, I've been through a million Illustrator and Photoshop tutorials and I'm always trying to learn new things. But you know what? Turns out designing a whole web app is a bit different than some floral party invites. The design process has been a constant struggle for me. Not to say it hasn't been fun, because it has! I'm learning new things everyday. But I feel like a lot of what I do is trial and error and learning by doing.

I thought you might want to see my process for designing the new CourseCraft logo. I recently took an amazing course at Alt for Everyone taught by Laurie Smithwick. She walked us through her process for creating a logo from scratch and I borrowed a lot of her techniques. I don't claim to be an expert, but here ya go!

Sketching is the first obvious step... you might think. But it's not where I started. As per Laurie's amazing advice, I took a few minutes (literally) to browse Logo Pond to find logos I liked. I scrolled around and makd quick judgements. If something caught me eye, I quickly took a screen shot. Once I had about 10 logos collected, I put them all in front of me at once. Then I took a closer look at each one and tried to put it into words why liked it. I came up with a list of words and right away started noticing a pattern.

These are the phrases that were most common:

  • simple
  • line drawing
  • two tone
  • soft
  • low contrast
  • square
  • logo on top, name on the bottom

Then I set that list aside and went to work on another list of words. I wrote down words that (to me) described CourseCraft or what I wanted CourseCraft to be. These were a little harder to come up with and kind of abstract:

  • tools
  • bringing people together
  • school
  • teacher/student
  • learning
  • growing
  • sharing
  • books
  • building blocks

Ok now let's get to the sketching! With those 2 lists in mind, I started drawing. The kind of drawing where you just put down on paper anything that pops into your head with no erasing. If I liked something I tried to build on it and come up with more iterations. After a few days (yes days) of slow sketching I had this.

And this.

What did I do next? You'll have to come back next week to find out! I'll show you how I went from these rough, ugly sketches to the new CourseCraft logo.

Art (almost) Everday

Posted on June 17, 2013 and tagged Art & Photography, Personal with comments

Hey remember when I wrote about my New Year's goals and one of them was how I wanted to fill a sketchbook page every week? And then I started doing that and posted a photo every week of my sketchbook? Well if you don't, it's probably because I did it like 4 times and then totally gave up. Gotta love New Year's goals that last only for January...

Well, I've been following Jessalin Beutler on Twitter ever since I bought an adorable and beautifully painted dress from her online shop and she started this project called Art Everyday where she (as you may have guessed) makes art every single day.

For some reason, even though I couldn't manage to put pen to paper once a week, making something everday seemed attainable. I still don't understand the logic, because there is no logic in this, but I find setting aside a few minutes everyday just to play around in my sketchbook so much easier than "filling a page each week".

Art everyday (in my opinion) is about feeling free to just scribble on a page one day, make giant ugly mistakes the next day, and maybe even create something you're proud of the next day. When you experiment and make something you're feeling blah about, there's always tomorrow to start fresh. I felt a lot of pressure with the sketchbook page per week to create something good every week. Afterall, I had a whole week to complete it. Now, I love being able to experiment with my tools and not think of it as a final piece.

While I haven't managed to stick with making art literally everyday, it's definitely art almost everyday. Turns out I've been managing to fill way more than one page per week too! So I still feel like I'm sticking with my New Year's goal.

What about you? Have you stumbled on any goals this year and what are you doing to get back on track?

June Freebie

Posted on June 1, 2013 and tagged Freebies with comments

I'm fully into all things summer now and just loving this warm weather! I've been stocking up on summer dresses and cute new sandals. Also, my main mode of transportation has been my bike. I really wish I could bike everywhere all year round. This week I might even try my hand at a little veggie garden on my deck. We'll see how long those poor plants last. My next post might be titled "RIP Zucchini" so watch out.

This month I made a beachy, summery desktop background to celebrate sandal weather! Hope you like it. :)

There are 4 sizes to choose from depending what kind of computer/lappy you have so there should be something for everyone's situation, plus a patterned iPhone background. Just click one of the buttons below to get the full size image. Then just save it and set it as your wallpaper.

Download the Backgrounds
1440 x 900 // 1366 x 768 // 1920 x 1080 // 2800 x 1880 // iPhone

Knit & Crochet Pencil Holders

Posted on May 30, 2013 and tagged DIY with comments

I know it's summer and the last thing you're thinking about making is sweater, but this project is too cute to wait til winter! Don't worry, your pencils won't mind a little extra warmth.

This craft is great because it will probably cost you $0. I rinsed out a can and a small jar and used leftover yarn I had laying around.

Both of my pencil holder cozies were made with Bernet Handicrafter Cotton. It's a light weight cotton yarn that comes in some very pretty colours. The blue one is "Mod Ombre" and the orange one is "Mango Madness". You'll also need a yarn needle for stitching the ends together.

For the knit cozy, I used a US size 7 set of knitting needles and cast on about 36 stitches. This will of course vary depending on the yarn you use and how you knit. Just knit a couple rows and measure up against the can before you get too far. To get the classic little v's just knit one row then pearl one row.

For the crocheted cozy, I used a J/10-6.00mm hook and 2 strands of the cotton yarn. I made a chain of 28 stitches and just did row after row of single crochet using 2 strands. Again, the number of stitches will vary depending of the size of the jar and type of yarn. After the pieces fully covered the height of the jars, I stopped and with right sides together, sewed the ends together to form a circle. If you're a better knitter than me, you could also just knit in the round and then wouldn't have to worry about the sewing!

Keep those pencils warm everybody!