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branded by delphine: mediterranean cruise

This is one of the more unusual logo projects I’ve ever done. A regular client is headed off for a big birthday celebration private cruise with her husband and their friends, and she wanted a logo to help brand the trip. I had a lot of fun doing the research, and came up with an anchor as the main theme for the logo. I incorporated classic nautical hues: navy blue, foul weather gear yellow, and squid ink black, as well as a fun bright yellow stripe pattern. 

I found some fabulous nautical tote bags, complete with painted rubber bases and real rope handles, at Lands End, and had the logo embroidered onto them. Of course we had to embroider the logo onto a few beach towels and terry cloth shirts for all the guests, too.

Watch out, Marina. I may stow away yet! 


trendspotting: overprinting

Overprinting, one of the trends I noticed last year at the National Stationery Show (NSS) and New York International Gift Fair (NYIGF) is really starting to hit mainstream. I think the overprinting trend was influenced a lot by, ahem, letterpress (okay, okay, and screen printing).

Because every color you print costs money (additional plates, additional passes through the press, more wasted paper), a lot of printers use the less is more approach, and overlap two inks to create a third (i.e. yellow and blue make green).

It’s a technique that can be simulated in flat printed artwork by utilizing the transparency filter in Illustrator, and I’m seeing A LOT of it lately (including in my own work … look for Delphine Christmas cards this year using overprinted text and artwork). 

John even used this technique last weekend while coloring Easter Eggs! He has a lot more patience than I do. I like to color on the eggs with white crayon then let them sit in a single color. Boring, huh? 

I’m excited to head off to NSS next month. I predict a lot more overprinting at the show this year, as well as nautical stripes, anchors, ikat and other patterns pulled from textiles, yellow, yellow, yellow, dark teal, metallics and pennants/flags. 

<<<IMAGES>>> Alphabet print by Ryan Beshar via OhDeeOh   GAP Sale eblast     Overprinted wedding invitations by Erin Jang     Elum thank you card on the cover of Stationery Trends magazine     Easter eggs by John at Delphine


7th annual nss meetup may 17, 2011

I am really looking forward to the National Stationery Show this year. I don’t have a booth, am not showing my line, but AM celebrating being part of this wonderful industry by co-hosting my 7th Annual NSS Meetup! It’s Tuesday, May 17 from 7 to 9:30 pm at Brooklyn Winery. All stationery industry peeps (designers, exhibitors, reps, buyers, store owners, bloggers, wedding planners, etc) are welcome. But KINDLY RESPOND because space is limited. RSVP required for admittance. The first 50 guests to arrive will get super awesome goodie bags (trust me, you’re going to want one of these).

This year Delphine has some special friends helping out with the hosting/planning: Brooklyn Bride, Cat Seto, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Paper + Cup , and The Sweetest Occasion.

Many big hugs and special thanks to the amazing sponsors of this year’s meetup. We truly could not have done it without Felt & Wire, The Knot, and Mohawk. And more thank you hugs to the goodie bag sponsors: Anthology Magazine, B-List, Blossom and Branch, Brooklyn Bride, Brooklyn Winery, Cat Seto, Delphine, Eat.Shop Guides, For Your Party, Graphic Image, Green Paper Company, Kelly Guenther StudioLinnea’s Lights, Mom Inc. Daily, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Paper + Cup, The Sweetest Occasion, and Wendelline Papers.




impromptu celebration: surprise 7th birthday boys party

A few months ago my son’s (twin) friends turned seven but didn’t have a party (they had a private family weekend getaway instead). My son still wanted to celebrate his best buddies’ birthday, so he asked me if it was okay to have a surprise party after school one day. I picked up yummy cupcakes from Cupcake Love in the morning, then COMPLETELY FORGOT about the big plan. Whoops. While John went out to pick up the kids from school I dashed around the house and pulled together the party.

After they finished the cupcakes, the kids actually ate the healthy snacks I put out! 

I used markers to decorate “place mats” on kraft paper with each child’s name & a big “7,” put the cupcakes on a stand, fished some colorful striped napkins out of our party drawer, threw some stripy straws in a cup, tossed some colorful carrots and apple slices in bright bowls, and voila: instant party. The boys were TOTALLY surprised, then devoured two giant cupcakes each. 

SUPPLIES: kraft paper on a roll from our shipping department, markers, cupcake stand (my most recent cake stand purchase is a wire one from Target, which I spray painted pink), colorful stripy straws, a couple of candles, and cupcakes

TIP: Keep a drawer in your kitchen for party supplies. We keep one stocked with birthday candles, cute napkins, sprinkles for cake and cookie decorating, and doilies. One can never have too many doilies ; )


sale at solo

Is it wrong of me to NOT want to post this? To adjust the dates so I get there first? To hoard all the amazing treasures for myself? Sigh. I will be good and let you know that SoLo is having one of their AMAZING warehouse sales April 29 - May 1, 2011. Doors open at 10am on Friday and Saturday, at 11am on Sunday. I’ll see you in line waiting to get in! 

SoLo is located at 309 South Cedros Avenue in Solana Beach, California. 


in the press: stationery trends first interactive issue

I may be a print designer, but I LOVE interactive magazines. I was super thrilled to be included in Stationery Trends’ very first interactive issue (Early Spring 2011/Pre-NSS). Many thanks to editor Sarah Schwartz and to author Abby Heugel for the cover story: an interview and profile with Delphine designer Erika Firm (moi). Merci, ladies! My story starts on page 26, but the whole issue is packed with paper goodness.


north county graphic design: happy hour april 28, 2011

I’m really looking forward to the next North County Graphic Designers (NCGD) meetup: Happy Hour at Mother Earth Brew Co. on April 28, 2011. For more details visit the brand new Creative-SoCal blog. 

All creatives welcome. NCGD co-founded by Delphine and KMG. Artwork by Michael Peters.


font geek moment: pointy


There’s something dynamite (as in Napoleon Dynamite) about this cute and retro new font in my toolbox: POINTY. Reminds me of passing notes in class. Do kids still do that? Or is it all texting these days? 


color palette: secret succulent garden

Mom planted a bunch of succulent cuttings in this pretty Italian wall well we had around the house. Who knows where we pick up all this stuff?!?? Love the color palette: verdant green, spring, rhubarb, stone and flame.



in the press: bridal insider

The Royal Wedding approaches! I hadn’t thought much about it until Eventity asked me to participate in an inspiration shoot with A Royal Wedding theme in San Diego. I whipped up some pretty menus using our Wonderland motif. Now I’m super curious to see what the paper goods at the “real” royal wedding look like. My gut tells me that Kate is going to look stunning, but the paper goods are going to be a bit stale and crazy traditional, if it’s anything like their uninspired wedding invitation. Where’s the drama??

Anyhoo, I’m officially on board for watching the Royal Wedding. Anyone planning a viewing party? Believe it or not, we don’t have a decent television in our house! 

Many thanks to Eventity for including us in this inspiration shoot, and to Kristina Chartier Photography for shooting such lovely photos. Hop on over to Bridal Insider to see the lovely champagne, ivory and gold tablescape in all its glory.


countdown to NSS: pack an umbrella

The National Stationery Show (NSS) is only 5 1/2 weeks away (GULP). I am SO HAPPY to not have to plan a booth this year. It’s a super stressful time suck. However, I still plan on going, for lots of reasons. I will be wearing many hats: designer, friend, buyer, licensor, licensee, blogger, writer, cheerleader, Stationery Show Meetup planner. What badge to wear? 

For all you newbies, remember to pack an umbrella. It’s the best way to ensure good weather ; )

Here are four chic umbrellas, in various shades of my latest favorite color, yellow. No. 1: Burberry “Kensington” umbrella from Bloomies  No. 2: Marimekko Silkkikuikka umbrella from  No. 3: Clear bubble umbrella with yellow trim from Target  No. 4: Yellow & Gray travel umbrella from Jonathan Adler.


north county graphic design: meetup wed april 13, 2011

Join us Wednesday, April 13, 2011

8 am - 9 am at E Street Café in Encinitas, California

Kick off the day on a positive note with other North County graphic designers. No major agenda, just say hello and get to know each other and share some great coffee. If you’re really not a morning person or are just plain cranky until the caffeine kicks in [ahem… me], then just “nod” and take time to adjust to the morning sunshine. We look forward to seeing you! 

R.s.v.p. by leaving a comment on this blog (or on the LinkedIn thread or email Kathy or I directly). To join our LinkedIn group: do a GROUPS search for “North County Graphic Designers” on LinkedIn to join.

I hope to see you all there. All creatives welcome.

NCGD co-founded by Delphine and KMG. Artwork by Kathy McGraw.


8 hostess gift ideas

Spring Break is around the corner, and with it is the beginning of the social season. I love shopping for hostess gifts. I always try to bring something that my hostess probably wouldn’t buy for herself, but can use in her home. Here are 8 of my favorite gifts for hostesses:

No. 1: Ceramic Note Pad (designed by Helen Johannessen; spotted via Apartment 34)   No. 2:  Tin of loose breakfast tea from Charleston Tea Plantation   No. 3: Orange blossom honey from Savannah Bee Company   No. 4: Pretty mercury glass candle from Anthropologie   No. 5: Fabulous cheese from Cowgirl Creamery   No. 6: Sofia Blanc-de-Blanc   No. 7: Cheese board by Soundview Millworks from Orange & Pear  No. 8: Fresh flowers wrapped in brown paper (visit HGTV to learn how to wrap a bouquet of flowers in brown paper).



branded by delphine: given

Congrats to the ladies of GIVEN, who are the proud new owners of a lovely logo designed by Delphine! GIVEN combines jewelry with the power of community and commerce to markedly contribute to global healing. Can’t wait to tell you more about it … their website isn’t quite ready yet, but I’ll be sure to share once it’s ready for business. In the logo, I used an elegant color palette of metallic champagne (not quite gold, not quite silver) for the “rings” and earthy rich mushroom brown to ground the name. 



Delphine calendar

Happy April, friends. I’m so excited for Spring, aren’t you?

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