Design Crush: Celtic Colours brand

Here on the blog, I want to share more local design that inspires the heck out of me. I absolutely adore the illustration in the Celtic Colours brand, and one of these days would like to pick the brain of its designer, Neil Gascoyne for Vibe Creative Group. Check out the Vibe portfolio page for the backstory on this brand, including seeing the original logo that Vibe modernized. 

I love how the brand is both clean, and yet also full of life and movement. I love the way you can feel the swoosh of wind through the woman's hair and in the leaves, and the way her hand and arm echo the curve of the fiddle bow. It's graceful, and gorgeous.

As I just got back from a trip to Maine (and Halifax and Fredericton on the way there and back, respectively), I'm looking forward to the weekend to relax and won't be taking in any Celtic Colours shows this year.  Luckily, though, you can livestream through the website! So I might just have to give that a try. 

Do you take in Celtic Colours shows? What are your thoughts on the brand? 


Behind the Scenes: #OctoberImpressions2016

Hey WHOA, it's October already. This year, man, it's flying by! (#thingspeoplesayeveryyear)

So here I am, getting into the blogging groove again. Or I guess it's more like, I'm climbing into the groove with this post, and then I'll stay in it. 

Anyway, I really want to share more Behind the Scenes on my work with you all! Today I'm sharing my process for making an Instagram graphic I did recently, for a photo challenge project. 

#OctoberImpressions2016 is a collaboration between myself and four other Instagrammers. It got started because I tried a photo challenge in August that was created by Susannah Conway (#augustbreak), and my friend Yvette reached out to me to ask if there was going to be another one soon. Susannah isn't doing another one until December, but I have always wanted to create a photo challenge, and I thought it would be cool to do it in collaboration. 

So, in early September, I asked Yvette and another gal Nicole, and they said yes! Then Nicole added her friend Kelly into the mix. And we were four. 

The name, October Impressions, was Yvette's idea, and we all liked it, although we kicked around some other ideas too. 

We each came up with a quarter of 31 prompts. Then I put them in an order that I thought made sense, trying to put prompts around times (like Canadian Thanksgiving, and Halloween, and Celtic Colours) that suited them, and also trying to break up the prompts from their original lists. 

Then it was time to make the graphic that we would use to start the challenge off. I was at yoga one day and saw this beautiful plant on the windowsill. I thought it would make a nice background, so I snapped a photo of it with my phone. 

I started designing the graphic in Photoshop, thinking of Photoshop's Save for Web feature, but quickly realized as I was laying out the list of prompts that I really wanted InDesign's mastery with text. Photoshop really doesn't have that - it doesn't have a function for making bulleted or numbered lists. So I switched over and started a new document in InDesign.

I wish I could say that I sketched all this out beforehand, but honestly I didn't. I basically dropped in the image, and worked on it in the program, making the rectangle, playing with fonts, and moving everything around. Writing this post makes me realize I want to do more sketching beforehand, and also take in-progress shots: next time! 

However, I did do a "mock sketch" for this post, which was fun and made me think that maybe sketching on paper could save me time, next time. 

Fonts used in the end graphic are Roboto Slab and Pugsley. 

So then we posted the graphic to our Instagram accounts on September 30, and now we're five days in to the challenge. It's really neat to see other people besides the original four taking part too, and see the hashtag filling up with photos. You can follow me on Instagram here to see what I'm doing each day for the challenge. The other gals who made the challenge with me are: Yvette, Nicole and Kelly. And, of course, you're more than welcome to play along - we'd love that.

If you have any questions about creating Instagram graphics or about photo challenges, leave a comment below! I'd love to hear from you. 

slow blog // June 2016

Time FLIES. At least, it has been lately.

I'm working at slowing things down a bit, which, yeah, I know, sounds like a broken record. But, that's OK. I get a monthly letter from a business coach I've worked with in the past, where she shares with her subscribers how the month is going for her, the numbers and all the nitty gritty, and I was reflecting the other day that a lot of what she says each month is "this month was crazy! I want to slow things down next month". Seeing it in someone else makes me feel less self-conscious about saying the same thing myself, though. I mean, yeah, it's repetitive. But it's the truth. It's the truth of having your own business and learning as you go - and really, the truth of being human and learning as you go. 

Anyway, in next month's slow blog post I hope to have more detail to share about what I'm going to cut out, what I'm going to take to the next level, and all that good stuff. 

For now, though, here are June's slow blog pages! I took the slow blog book to Florence Beach to take the photos of it this month, for the roses and the sand background. Here and here are the photos on Instagram of that evening. 

(And in case you're brand new to my blog and my slow blog experiment of 2016, here are the previous posts: the post on why I'm trying this experiment for a year, then the slow blog posts for JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril and May.)

I really loved the book "The Paris Letters." I can't remember how I heard about it -- probably Instagram, since that's where I'm spending my social media time these days -- but I got it through the library.

Then in mid-July Adam and I flew off to Chicago! Here and here are previous years' trips to that amazing city. Our connection with it is: Adam lived there from age 13 to age 27, because his family moved there for work. He's not American, but since those were the identity-forming years of his life, he really feels like a Chicagoan. We go every year (or at least, have done so for the last three years of our 5-year relationship) and I can see us moving there someday. I love it. (Although, I know I'd miss Cape Breton like crazy.)

Starred/highlighted places in the map above are the places we were. 

We have our little rituals that have developed over the three years we've been going together to Chicago and the suburbs. These mementos are from our favourite restaurants and stores. 

We were there for a wedding! These rad folks were the photographers and here is a sneak peek from their Instagram at the wedding photos which I can't wait to see more of. 

Wedding paraphenalia.

I had printed-out boarding passes because my phone died en route through Montreal! I dropped it on the floor and when I went to pick it up, no dice. But I actually like printed boarding passes - I like the design of them, and then being able to keep them. 

The page above mentions two things I want to link to:

  • Write Anyway with Janelle Hanchett: I took this course from mid-May to the end of June. I really didn't have time for it, but I had arranged it back in March and so sort of just did it anyway - sometimes half-assed, but I showed up and did it. I have been missing writing! So it kicked my ass into writing once a week for six weeks, and sharing my work with the others in the class. It reminded me of all that I love about writing, so spoiler alert -- one of the things I want to make more time for is writing. 
  • Magazine of Your Business with Leah Wechsler: Related to the above, my biz bestie and I were talking over Skype a few weeks ago about writing blog posts, and her expertise, and we decided it was time to go one further than just being biz besties: I decided to hire her. In July/August, I'll be working with her to help me put together a content strategy for this little site and my business. I'm really excited about it (once I got over my own guilt/shame for not being able to Do It All Myself - which, hello, that's life). I will keep you posted on how it goes!  

Playing with my old compass to make circles.

I read The Power of Habit (a recommendation from my friend Mary - hi Mary!) and LOVED it. 

I went to see Finding Dory and also LOVED it. 

A page from The Power of Habit (above).

I was tidying up my office and found this note that Maya Henry had sent me back when It's Business Time ended. 

Inspired by Joy the Baker's Summer Bucket List post, I decided to write one for myself. I kept it short-ish, so I might actually accomplish all of the things on the list. It was fun to dream up.

Part of the Nikki McClure 2016 calendar's June page.

And that's what's been going on! Thanks as always for staying in touch and gracing this little corner of the Internet with your presence. I'm so grateful. See you next month!