Game of Thrones Gift Baggies

Game of Thrones final season is coming up and we are stoked. It’s Easter time so these Reese’s Eggs are everywhere. I game of thrones these up with some printable gift bags. Fun, easy and cute.

Download Game of Thrones bags here & ignore margins when printing.

Glee Party

I’m back with another very extra birthday party filled with fun Glee Themed-printables.  My stepdaughter asked me for a Glee Themed Sleepover. Six days before she wanted it. K.

I made personalized, framed posters for each attendee. The PSDs will be below. You probably will have to adjust the width of the letters. I also made individual letters for her name.

On Friday night I sat up the welcome bags (manicure set with nail polish and sandwiches, drinks and cupcakes, along with my sign board that announced a bake sale tomorrow. Lunch was leftover sandwiches. Around 3, we brought out the bake sale stuff including Cheerios, Rachel Berries & Grilled Cheesus Pound Cake.

Dinner was a pasta bar a la Breadstix with Fettuccine Alfredo, Bowtie Bolognese, Meatballs, Chicken & Broccoli.

We set up a sleepover area with pink blankets and sparkly pillows we had around the house. We also used our blackout curtains to make a karaoke stage and borrowed a karaoke machine from our friends.

Printables are below, but you will need photoshop and they are expert level:
ella big signs glee style
glee food printables
individual names glee style

all

New house – Ethan’s Room

Recently, my husband and I went through the very exciting of buying our first home. Design is a huge part of my life and that includes interior design–Creating a beautiful and comfortable space for my family is very similar to creating beautiful & functional designs for my clients. When I design for clients, I take their needs, wants and style into account and I did the same for my family.

My stepson Ethan is a normal teen boy who needs a room where he can relax, study and be himself.

For Ethan’s room, I used his favorite color, orange! When using such a dominate color, minimal design is important. I balanced out the warm orange a cool gray and black furniture with clean lines.

ethan room

I got the oil painting from Amazon and painted over the red buildings with orange acrylics. The black floor chair folds out into a bed so that Ethan can have friends over or just relax and read. The animal pillows add some whimsy and fun to the rest of the room and tie in Ethan’s love of music.

I designed the orange prints seen up close here:
ethan prints

You can score the printables here to jazz up & add a pop of color in any room.

WAKE UP, be awesome, REPEAT Print:
Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 11.44.38 AM

Atlanta Skyline Print:
Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 11.44.58 AM

Let it Go Balloon Print:
Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 11.45.11 AM

For finishing touches & furniture protection, I made these coasters:

ethan coasters

I used some photos of graffiti and used modge podge to glue the images to coasters from the Dollar Tree. These robot & punk coasters are a fun and unique accent or gift. If you make some, show me in the comments.

Layer 27  Layer 28

 

 

 

New House – Ella’s Room

Recently, my husband and I went through the very exciting of buying our first home. Design is a huge part of my life and that includes interior design–Creating a beautiful and comfortable space for my family is very similar to creating beautiful & functional designs for my clients. When I design for clients, I take their needs, wants and style into account and I did the same for my family.

For my stepdaughter, Ella, I wanted to create a grown up early teen room for entertaining that felt like her. She is a huge fan of Harry Potter & other fantasy series & loves hot pink.

ella room

The bottom bunk doubles as a couch so she can hang out with her friends and watch her favorite shows & movies (Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter & Once Upon a Time). I ordered the flower stickers from Amazon & arranged them above her dresser. This mini mural ties in the flower design & pink from the beds and curtains and gives a nice feature wall. I put the lights on a remote for easy access & because who doesn’t need a little sparkle? I also created Harry Potter themed prints & fantasy coasters to add personality a few more colors so that the room wouldn’t be too monochromatic.

Print & frame these Harry Potter printables to add a little magic and color to any room.

Hogwarts & Marauder’s Map Watercolor Print:
Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 12.18.09 PM

Deathly Hallows Watercolor Print:
Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 12.18.49 PM

As a finishing touch, I created some black & white Once Upon a Time & Lord of the Rings coasters. I used 4×4 inch coasters from the Dollar Tree & modge podged these images onto them. Click the images to enlarge & print.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 12.25.03 PM
Snow White Once Upon a Time Coaster Image
Layer 29

Lord of the Rings Middle Earth Map Coaster Image
Layer 30

 

Birthday Invites Freebie

Over the weekend, I finished my stepson’s birthday invites.

He’s having a lazer tag 16th party and we’re also going to do an escape the room game.

His favorite colors are lime green, orange and blue and he loves music so for the invitations, I decided to go with a VIP pass look.

 

To make them extra special, I ordered pass holders & lanyards.  I think they turned out great.  You can download my invitation photoshop file, but be warned this is an advance level template as you will have to resize each line of text to create the cool justified look above.

Here’s the finished product:
ethanbday

Real Questions – Agencies vs One Designer

Yesterday, a designer had a question about what services she should offer and if working for big clients might be biting off more than she can chew.  I thought this question and answer might be useful for clients and designers alike.  Read through and let me know what you think in the comments.


“Hello Leah,

I’m a freelance designer [and], I thought you might be able to give me advice on how you apply for RFP’s? [Requests for Proposals]

I’m trying to increase my client base and there are a number of Government and corporate requests that I know I can fulfill however, I find that they are looking for the whole package. That is, they want the design, printing and sometimes even distribution covered in the quote.

Would you apply for this opportunity and hire third party contractors or do you think that a Graphic Designer should apply solely for request specific to just design and leave the larger opportunities to the local marketing companies?”


Hi!

First of all, I’d really consider if this is something I could do by myself.  Most large corporations have 20+ designers working for them in different departments and many web designers don’t also do print design, and most designers don’t also do marketing.  They are 3 completely different skill sets, and while a few freelancers may posses all three, I’m not sure a client would be getting the best work by assuming that a team of one would be the best fit.   

I do have a couple of small business starter packs that include a template based website, social media photos, business cards, logo and a postcard (or some combo of those).  I’m a big proponent of flat rate vs. billable hour pricing, and I find that most companies like that too.  

If you’re going to do printing, you’ll want to find a good printer to work with long term.  A lot of people use Got Print & Vistaprint because they’re cheap and they work for most small businesses.  Personally, I prefer to work with local printers who I can develop a personal relationship with.  You can get quotes from printers on your own.  I usually upcharge for my time in doing that.  

Designers don’t normally deal with distribution, so they’re probably looking for a marketing firm & may not hire you anyway, since this isn’t your area of expertise.  You can however get quotes on email/mail distribution by googling/calling/researching around. Again, upcharge for your time is appropriate.

Hiring subcontractors is a legal hassle that most small time freelancers do not want to deal with.  For example, do you know how to file taxes when hiring a subcontractor?  I don’t, and I went to business school–I’d have to go speak with my accountant and figure out what I’d need to upcharge to compensate and if it was worth it financially to even offer this service. 

I think an itemized invoice/estimate is the way to go.  

I’d say:

Post Card Design (front & back) – $300
 – includes: x, y z + short description

Printing – $100

 – 1000 cards, recycled paper, card stock, whatever

Distribution – $300
– your cards mailed to 1000 local businesses and residents that fit your demographic need based on age/income level/etc

& just go down the list like that for each item/service. 

I mean, you could go out on a limb and try it, but if you fail, would it be worth your reputation?  If you succeed, are you looking to do the work of an entire agency by yourself on a larger scale?  

I guess it depends on your long term goals.  If you want to open an agency in the next couple of years, screw it…go for it. 

One more thing…

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about what to look for in hiring a graphic designer, but I think I forgot something.  Your best designers will have a passion for the field and do design work even when they’re not getting paid for it.  That said, I’d like to show you some Word Cup 2014 printable signs I’ve been working on.  You can also check out more fun freebies here.

BRASILIA

Brazil World Cup 2014 Sign | Que Bonito E

USA

USA World Cup 2014 Printable Sign | I Believe That We Will Win

So, how do I hire a Designer?

1. Look at the designer’s portfolio.  Make sure you see examples of what you’d like to hire your designer for.  If you are looking to have a logo made, and you only see business card designs, this designer may not be a good fit for you.

  • Also evaluate the content & the site in general.  If the website doesn’t look nice, your design probably won’t either.  When you’re looking at examples of the designer’s work, ask yourself if you would buy from or trust a company with the logos, cards, websites, etc you see represented on the designer’s portfolio.

2. Send an informative inquiry.  You may see several designers whose portfolios you like.  Get in contact with them with a short note about your project, but be as descriptive as you can (ex. I’m looking for someone to design a logo for a childcare business.  I’d like it to have a baby in the logo & I want the main colors to be pink and blue).

3. Discuss your payment plan. Most likely, you will pay a retainer fee.  After this you’ll get your first designs within a few days.  Then you give feedback and get your changes. Rinse, repeat until you’re happy with the project, pay and receive the source files.

  • Ask for an estimate based on the designer’s experience with this type of project.  A lot of designers work on an hourly rate, so you’ll need to ask how many hours they estimate the project will take.  Some designers offer a flat rate but may limit changes. Here is a sample of my flat rate pricing for design work.  While each project is different, these will give you an idea of about what you can expect to pay from a freelancer.  Agencies will cost significantly more.

Why do I need a designer?

I know photoshop.  Why do I need to hire a graphic designer?

  1. Good designers have relevant experience that will make your branding look professional.
  2. A good designer will be able to work in the correct programs to make sure you have the types of files you need.
  3. Having a designer do it right the first time means you will save money in the long run. A complete set of the files you need in the correct formats means you will save time and money later should you need to make any changes.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a new client hire me to fix something their last designer did wrong.  Some common mistakes are saving a logo in a raster instead of vector format.  It’s extremely important to have an editable vector file of your logo so that you can make changes and increase the size without losing quality.

When you do it yourself or hire someone who is not a professional, you run the risk of having to spend the same amount of money again to have it done right.

See my next post on How to Hire a Designer for more information.