pick a state, any state

license plates for indiana

Did you know that Indiana is a huge producer of bio-fuel?

Fall 2009, students chose states, or maybe they chose us, and from there we did a lot of research in order to create a state logo, variable license plates with a theme and a poster for our state’s State Fair. Green, or ecology minded design, is often a compelling theme for me, so I designed three eco-inspired plates for the state of Indiana. The encircled ‘e’ is the symbol that would appear on each eco-plate. It was interesting to communicate one message in three different ways, hopefully reaching three different audiences. (No logo is shown because it needs some tweaking.)


ecological guide to paper and more


They’ve done all the research and leg work for us. Celery Design Collaborative has been around for over 10 years. As they put it, they are a firm merging aesthetics, ethics and a dogged obsession with effectiveness. If you are looking for ecological papers for your next print job, please follow this link to the paper guide on their website.

I discovered Celery Design when I was researching green design solutions online. I came upon Brian Dougherty’s book, Green Graphic Design. Brian is Celery’s principal creative director. His book has received rave revues and is on my list of must haves. 

If the mark you’re looking to leave behind as a designer is one of environmental consciousness, enjoy checking out this valuable information at Celery Design Collaborative.

(image extracted from Celery Design Collaborative)

happiness found in letterpress cards

Over the past several years, whenever I’ve needed a special card, I’ve shopped around for letterpress cards. I love them! The feel and look of textured paper and embossing, the ragged edges, the designs and the simplistic messages that usually accompany such cards. They make me feel happy.

So today I decided to take a break from all the work I’ve been doing at my work station and treat myself to a moment of happiness. I’ve been a fan of eggpress for years, so I have to share this beautiful little Mother’s Day card I found on their site with you. The colors and pattern are so attractive. Don’t you love the cut out window? And, by the way, if you are a mom, Happy Mother’s Day. Myself, I am only a mother to my cat. She never brings me cards or gifts, but I still love her.

sh1425BI also wanted to look around at other letterpress makers around the Portland area. Do you know how lucky we are to live here? We have so many cool little shops with handmade gems in them. Anyway, my journey led me to Oblation Papers and Press. This card actually makes me feel calm and yummy. I love the color palette, typography, the embossing, textured paper, and that impeccably designed flower in all its flourishing glory. (sigh)

bloom_smOblation has a great store in NW Portland that’s really fun to browse and pick up treasures. They also make their own paper that’s made out of 100% recycled cotton.

Finally I came across a new letterpress shop that I hadn’t been unaware of called Lark Press. I’m wild for the suttle analogous color scheme and elegance that this card beholds. I just love the earthy artistic quality and the embossing.

ginkoSo, there you go. I’m feeling better. How about you?

xerox colorqube : green print solution

As designers, it’s necessary to print out projects whose final output is print. Sometimes what we see on the screen is not what we get on paper. Since I am sensitive to excess printing and waste, I’ve cut my printing, at the very least in half. I tend to print out a copy once I think the design is close to complete. That way I get to look at the color translation from screen to paper, as well as type size and how the layout is really working. As long as the color is good, I generally don’t print again until I’ve tweaked what wasn’t working and made necessary changes.

Tonight I heard about the new Xerox ColorQube printer series. The ColorQubes employ solid ink technology (photo below). You just set them inside the ink slots and can then expect over 200,000 copies per cube. Being an Oregonian, it gets even better. The solid ink technology comes from a Wilsonville, Oregon company. Plus Xerox has partnered with Portland-based Greenprint, including their technology to owners of solid ink printers. Greenprint has created software which eliminates unwanted page printing.

Picture 8

As can be imagined, this new green printing system, has a high price. Currently, the price for the ColorQube costs around $23,000. Definitely a big company purchase item at this point. However, the cost and environmental savings to date through use of solid ink technology is impressive. As the price point lowers on solid ink printers, green savings will grow.

ready, set, go! business cards complete

bus_cardAfter much thought and valuable feedback, I have made final decisions on my business card. The image shown represents the front and back of my card.

I’ve decided to go with Greener Printer for a couple of reasons. First, they are the greenest printers I found during my research and that aligns with my beliefs. I appreciate the multiple layers of environmental choices they made as a company. For all they offer, I think the price is very fair. And my research brought to light that they now offer the printing of 3.5 x 1.5 inch business cards with a thicker card stock than their standard cards.

With enthusiasm, I thought I’d at least comp up a couple card designs in this size. I found that my design works amazing well with this size of card. Knowing that smaller cards can get jammed in people’s wallets or get lost in a sea of larger cards, I tried convincing myself to go with a standard size anyway. But redesign and try as I might, I could never achieve a design nearly as attractive on the standard sized cards. So, I give in and throw caution to the winds!

crackedpots in troutdale

Cracked Pots uses art to encourage our community to creatively look at trash. Reuse is at the heart of all we do. Think before you throw.”

 This is one art show I try to attend every year. All the garden art is created from recycled materials. The show features more than 80 artists in a garden setting that surrounds McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon. The people are down to earth and the event is enchanting. This year the dates for the show are July 21-22.

I’m displaying some past items to give you a feel for what you might find. The 80 plus artists on with work on display (and for sale) have more than artistic ability in common – they’re ingenious!



(photos from crackedpots website)