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Born To Stand Out

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” -Dr. Seuss

Growing up, Dr. Seuss's books lined the shelves of my childhood library. I loved reading the stories out loud - the words and rhymes always rolled off my tongue so sweetly and bounced around the room. I enjoyed the stories, rhymes, encouraging messages, and colorful illustrations. I liked his books because they, themselves, were far from fitting in. His books stood out. They were wacky, crazy, bright, confident, and imaginative. I am a visual designer, and his books remind me to take risks and let my creativity run wild. Thanks Dr. Seuss!

Lesson One - Word List

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Style Research & Moodboards

Vintage Fair Posters

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Characteristics: colorful, hand-lettered, paper cut-out, illustrative, painted, sans serif, busy, bold type, saturated, paper texture

Going to the annual State Fair is one of my most cherished traditions. As soon as I've bought my big bag of cotton candy, I always stop by the vintage posters exhibit. It is a massive collection of all the posters made for the fair since the late 1800's. They perfectly capture the magic and whimsy of fair culture: it's jubilant, entertaining, and just a little mysterious. I did an online search for vintage fair posters and came across these that I found particularly inspiring and celebratory.

Scandinavian Folk Art

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Chracteristics: 2D illustration, embroidery, saturation, detail, bold color, organic lines, minimal negative space, patterns

I am in love with my Scandinavian roots. I spent a few years looking through vintage family photos, finding old census records, and tracing my family lineage back to the 1600's. They came to America in the early 1900's from Sweden and Finland - hence the Scandinavian blood. I've uncovered an amazing and extensive family tree that I am proud to be a part of. This knowledge of my heritage solidifes my understanding of who I am and where I come from. To me, Scandinavian folk art is a celebration of culture, self-expression, and the creative mind.

Just recently, I was turned on to Finnish design company, Marimekko, when I walked by their shop and salivated over a beautiful poppy flower dress in the window. I've been hooked since! Marimekko strives to make the dark grey days in Finland a little happier with their bright colors and patterns. "The color doesn't yell at you...it glows" says Minna Kemell-Kutvonen, a designer from Marimekko. I think this is an important distinction to make between "standing out" and "being loud." You can be uniquely you without having to broadcast it to the world. I feel that Scandinavian art does this with grace. 

1900's Botanical Seed Catalogs

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Characteristics: folk & medieval typography, type on banners, shaped type, embellishments, flourishes, whimsical, max & match type

I have a deep love of vintage botanical drawings - but they typically don't have much text on them. Instead, I researched vintage seed catalog covers and found  interesting typography and compositions to brainstorm off of. Seed catalogs of the early 20th Century (1880-1914) embrace the Arts & Crafts Movement. This movement stood for traditional craftsmanship using simple forms and often applied medieval, romantic or folk styles of decoration. I want to utilize the whimsical style of this movement's typography to communicate individuality and uniqueness in my design.

Lesson Two - Lettering

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