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Entries in inspiration (160)

Tuesday
Aug022011

inspired by lovely lace + big partnership news! 

Lately I’ve been exploring softer, more romantic designs. A random paper doily found in the bottom of a kitchen drawer inspired the new romantic lace doily wedding invitation I designed for Wedding Paper Divas.

That’s right! In addition to all the new designs we’re releasing this month in our new Delphine wedding album, we’re also launching a partnership with Tiny Prints and Wedding Paper Divas! I’m super excited about this new partnership. We worked with the Tiny Prints folks to help design a new hybrid letterpress-digital wedding invitation.

What does that mean? Well, the design-y part (in this case, the doily motif) is letterpressed on pretty cotton paper, and the text (the part you customize) is printed flat/digitally. My collection of Delphine for Wedding Paper Divas wedding invitations launched with a few designs last month. Check back often, as the collection will be filling out soon.

DETAILS: //1// California rustic wedding, photo by Wildflower Photography via Style Me Pretty   //2// Lace doily “Soothing Crcles” wedding invitation by yours truly, Delphine, for Wedding Paper Divas   //3// Stunning lace dress by Lela Rose   //4// Cotton and antique lace dress by Sestra Moja  //5// Picture perfect lace wedding cake by Sweet and Saucy   //6// Rustic salvaged wood tiered serving tray from Restoration Hardware   //7// Queen Anne’s Lace necklace from BHLDN   //8// Lace dancing shoes by Badgley Mischka from Nordstrom

Tuesday
Jul192011

amazing treehouses

photos: TreeHouse Workshop

Photos: Barbara Butler

For Father’s day, my dad got a new chainsaw. Having trimmed all the bushes and trees on the property, he decided to move on to a fun new project: building a treehouse for my son! John and my dad put in the floor over the weekend, built a rope ladder, and the all-imporant dumbwaiter (for loading snacks up to the fort). 

I’m feeling inspired by these beautiful treehouses by TreeHouse Workshop and Barbara Butler. After seeing these, I think we may need to revisit the original blueprint for the treehouse:

Alexander drew a plan for his treehouse. Note the fun slide! 

photo: Erika Firm

Tuesday
Jun212011

font geek moment: st. lorie

Our apricot trees are super bountiful this year, and the Mémé’s have taken to making lots and lots of jellies and jams. They keep asking me to make them some fancy labels … I think St. Lorie may be the perfect font. It reminds me a bit of French schoolgirl handwriting.

Thursday
May052011

6 essential ingredients for maximum creativity

A little peek behind the scenes and into my creative process … just about every week I sit down with a stack of magazines, catalogs, flyers, brochures and ephemera and update my journal/scrapbook/inspiration book. I use it to keep track of color stories I’m digging, track trends, sketch new designs, write lists and doodle. Any time I’m feeling stuck on a project I go back to “the book” for inspiration. This method for overcoming creative block has yet to fail me (knock knock knock on wood). 

For me, there are 6 essential ingredients for maximum creativity: ///1///Good tunes (right now I’m listening to Beastie Boys and R.E.M. constantly)    ///2/// Pinterest. How I ever survived without it I have no idea   ///3/// My stack of notebooks, filled with doodles, notes, inspiration and lots of color   ///4/// Magazines & any printed material  ///5/// Ruby red grapefruit. Mmmm.    ///6/// Iced coffee to stave off caffeine headaches. 

Friday
Apr082011

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.

Thursday
Mar312011

even more notes from the AIGA Y16 conference


Last weekend I geeked out with fellow graphic designers at the 16th annual AIGA Y Conference in San Diego. Here are some more notes I took during Raphael Grignani,  Lab Partners and Frank Chimero’s speeches.

Wednesday
Mar302011

map of the usa from a californian's perspective

USA map infographic by Haley Nahman 

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Twitter? I do. The tweeps over at Knock Knock shared a link to this map & it made me giggle all afternoon. I asked the illustrator, Haley Nahman, if she could tell us a little about it. She says,

“I love to doodle and play around with words, colors, and whitespace. One day, when reading an article about some unnamed mid-west state, I grew distinctly aware of the fact that I knew very little about some of my fellow states. I decided to draw the country, mapping out each state with common stereotypes in the eyes of Californians. I’m sure the map would look different from the perspective of a Colorado or New York native — but I suppose that’s why I found it funny, if not blatantly teasing our ignorance. Either way, it’s just for fun, and I promise not everyone in the state of Kansas is a serial killer.”

Haley is a senior at Cal Poly (which is on the central coast of California in San Luis Obispo, and is, apparantly, where the party is).

Just a reminder: you can click on just about any image on my blog to see it larger. 

Wednesday
Mar302011

more notes from the AIGA Y16 Conference

Last weekend I geeked out with fellow graphic designers at the 16th annual AIGA Y Conference in San Diego. Here are some notes I jotted down during Brian Boyl and Jen Bilik’s speeches. 

Tuesday
Mar292011

notes from the AIGA Y16 conference

Last weekend I geeked out with fellow graphic designers at the 16th annual AIGA Y Conference in San Diego. This week I’ll share some notes I jotted down in my trusty notebook. These are from Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Co.

Wednesday
Mar232011

artist: jesse lefkowitz

Illustration by Jesse Lefkowitz for Washington Post

Because I occasionally outsource illustration (for Delphine stationery and for graphic design projects for clients) I am on a bunch of illustrators’ eblast lists. I consider it one of the best perks of being a graphic designer! Lots of interesting pieces of art end up in my in box each week. It’s super inspiring, and a welcome break from pharma spam and “you’ve just won one billion euros from the Italian lotto” notices.

I just have to share these awesome illustrations Jesse Lefkowitz sent me; he illustrated the chipmunk/turtle/toad one for a story about how and why animals hibernate for the Washington Post, and the money pyramid illustration for Money Magazine.

Illustration by Jesse Lefkowitz for Money Magazine/Making Money in 2011

Sidenote: I love Jesse’s bio. You should read it. And then you should hire him. Clipart: booooooo. Real illustrations by real people: yaaaaaay

Wednesday
Mar092011

logo crush: domestica 

I first spied Domestica’s fabulous logo via a Tweet. It’s difficult to make a little 50 pixel square stand out, but they’ve done it for sure! After I saw their avatar I HAD to click through to their website. It was love at first sight, and their logo has been sitting in my inspiration folder on my desktop for about a year now. I love the color palette, the use of transparency, the perfect font choice. So fresh and retro at the same time. 

I emailed the shop owner, Chrissy Jensen, for a little more info about the logo and was surprised to hear that she came up with the concept herself. It looks like it was commissioned by a fancypants agency, right?!? Here’s what she said: 

The logo was inspired by the 60’s artwork for a chemical. I didn’t really think about using a bird til I noticed that the symbol looked like a two sides of a heart overlapping. I loved that it was a heart if you put it back together. The colors just happened to be the colors I wanted, too. I turned it on its side  (if you look at my logo sideways, you might see where I was going) and added a bird head and beak.  You Work For Them had just posted a few new fonts, including Lodge - it was perfect, so I bought it.
That was it.  I thought it was pretty good, but wanted to run it by my friend, Joe Williams. His wife, Danelle, and I were originally going to open Domestica together and we spent SO much time coming up with the name + had spent hours looking at logos and I just trusted their judgement. Joe said it was a good start, but thought if I left him with it for a few, he’d if he couldn’t refine it a bit. He designs a ton of stuff, including a lot of the flyers for Craft Saturday, a craft show they run here in Des Moines, so I totally wanted his help.  What he sent back is the logo we have today. 
I owe him so much thanks because I really believe that our logo opened a lot of doors and gave people a lot of confidence in us when we were nothing more than an idea and a signature on a storefront lease. People comment on it all the time and I love how it looks on the store window. Some people call it the Partridge Family bird, but I like to think it would fit in your hand like a Dove. For Christmas, Joe designed a wreath sticker for us using a repeat of the bird.  It was beautiful.

Photos courtesy Domestica

ADORE what Chrissy said about the logo opening doors for her new business. I whole heartedly agree that a good logo inspires confidence and helps get a new venture off the ground. This is something I’m constantly telling my clients.

Needless to say, I have a huge crush on the Domestica logo. Isn’t it lovely? Don’t you wish you lived in Des Moines so you could go visit in person? If that’s not convenient, you can shop online for modern home décor, paper goods, art and gifts. Check out their cool blog, too, for some fun inspiration. 

Wednesday
Feb232011

field trip: birch aquarium in la jolla

Our first grader is on “ski week” vacation. Why they don’t call it President’s Day vacation is beyond me. But I digress …

It’s one of the busiest times of the year at the Delphine studio, so we couldn’t take time off for a proper vacation. Nor do we ski. Chilliness and I don’t mix very well. Instead, John and I are taking turns taking half-days off with our little one this week for a “staycation” in San Diego. We’re super lucky to live in a city where other people love to visit — there’s lots to do here. We decided this is the year we’re going to actually take some time out to enjoy our back yard! Hopefully we’ll find time to take some time together as a whole family to enjoy it all together soon.

It’s Museum Month in San Diego, so we went to pick up our half-price museum pass at Macy’s on the way to our first museum trip this week. We were super sad that they are all out of passes! Major bummer. We decided to press on anyway, and visited the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla, California yesterday.

This giant wolf eel looked super grumpy!

This gigantic fish tank is home to some pretty huge fish, including some that seemed larger than my kid! 

The little suckers on the octopus and starfish are really amazing up close. I also like this red and pink color combination. Inspiration strikes me in some of the strangest places!

My favorite tank is the reef tank, because it reminds me of snorkeling with my family in the Florida Keys. 

These sea plants remind me of fern botanical prints. Love the shapes here.

Hard to beat this view! The Birch Aquarium is available to rent out for special occasions like weddings and corporate parties. I’ve been to a few wedding industry events here.

We had a fabulous visit, and Alexander told me “this is one of the best days ever.” Awwwww. Just that made it worth it! 

All photos: Erika Firm

Wednesday
Feb162011

in the press: ceremony magazine

Ahem … not to brag or anything, but we were featured FOUR TIMES in the 2011 issue of Ceremony magazine. Woot. Many thanks to Adrianne Smith, fleuriste extraordinaire, who included our invitations in two of her tabletop shoots, including the pretty robin’s egg turquoise and purple cover shoot!

Tuesday
Feb152011

color palette: romantic spring blossoms

The fruit trees in our backyard are blooming. There’s something magical about a pretty blossom on a leafless branch. I love the stark contrast. The colors in this photo may be one of the all time classic color combinations for weddings: soft, romantic blush pinks, with creamy off white, gray, and a pop of brighter pink. The palette of a bouquet of pink and white peonies, or a ballerina. 

Monday
Feb142011

behind the scenes: carlsbad wholesale flower market with adrianne smith

Last Friday I took the day off to help my friend—and favorite florist—Adrianne Smith, prepare for one of her craziest days of the year: Valentine’s Day. We started off bright and early at the Carlsbad International Floral Trade Center, where Adrianne took me on a quick tour of the facility. It was bustling with energy and excitement, and many of the vendors we chatted with had been awake for more than 24 hours straight getting ready for this busy day.

Adrianne pre-ordered most of her supplies, so they were ready at various vendors’ stalls for us to wheel out to the car when we were finished with our tour.

Guess how many flowers we fit in Adrianne’s car? Well, I don’t know exactly, but I do know that if we had picked up one more bunch I may have had to walk home. I even carried some on my lap and A had some shoved between the seats. When we got back to her studio it took three of us about two hours just to unload the car and process all the stems.

I learned so much about the floral industry hanging out with A. Did you know that “fillers” and greenery can cost as much, if not more, than many flowers? She even taught me a few secrets to making a beautiful (and lasting) arrangement: soak floral foam before you cut it; trim stems on an angle; tulips will continue to grow after they are cut, so cut them shorter than the rest of an arrangement; design from the edges in to the center; texture is the key to an interesting bouquet; add water every day so the foam doesn’t dry out.

Isn’t it amazing how buckets of flowers, big sticks, bits of mossy goodness and bunches of wild greens can be transformed into stunning arrangements like this one? It still seems like magic to me, even after spending a day in the studio and watching the process first hand.

I’m in awe of this lady. Thank you, Adrianne, for letting me peek into your world for a day.

Photos by Erika Firm; Floral designs by Adrianne Smith Floral Design