CATEGORY: colour

April 13, 2017

Blue – a little colour theory

Brand Moodboard Blue - colour theory |

I’m in the process of putting the final touches on my new website and brand and thought I’d share the moodboard I put together for myself and talk a little bit about colour theory .

As a teenager blue was my favourite colour, I grew up in a sunny country, surrounded by the deep blue ocean and sandy beaches. Once I went to art school and learned more about colour theory  I somehow got it stuck in my head that blue is actually a really boring colour and I moved on to bright yellows and oranges and explored various combinations throughout different projects.

It’s always hard designing for yourself, but the key is to treat your own personal brand project just like a client project. Designers put a lot of work and effort into setting up proper processes to ensure that the client walks away with a strong brand.

So, it was time for me to sit down and talk to my client, myself, and evaluate what I want my brand to look and feel like and why and what it means to me and my audience.

I quickly realized that although I had been living in denial for all these years, blue was still my true colour and it was time to embrace it! Going full on beach theme there is a strong colour story of dark and medium ranges of blues, combined with a selection of softer, lighter greys and beiges.

Beyond me just “liking” blue, it also works well with my personality and how my brand has grown over the years. Blue is a colour of confidence, and while I’ve been at it for a few years and faking it till I make it, I can now say, that I do indeed feel confident in the design work and services I provide for my clients. Blue is a colour of trust and reliability, sincere, approachable, friendly and educational, all words that relate to how I want to run my design studio.

The first few years of being self employed come with a lot of anxiety and doubt, you make mistakes and go through lots of trial and error, but you learn from it and improve. While struggles still arise, as I am approaching my fourth year of self employed life, I definitely embrace more of that blue calmness and relaxation when it comes to work and life and everything in between.

While colours can have various interpretations one can’t deny that there is a lot of truth behind what they stand for. I encourage you to think of what your colour is, and how it relates back to you and your business values.

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November 24, 2016

FREE Holiday Gift tags

FREE DIY download Holiday Gift Tags, custom watercolour type |

I recently did another custom type project for a client and was reminded of how much I miss it! It’s been a crazy busy year with all sorts of branding and web projects, but not much custom type work.

As the holidays are approaching things are starting to slow downs so I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to get out my watercolours and do a free downloadable DIY for you guys. Gift tags it is!

I had some coloured cardstock laying around from forever ago, which was the perfect thing to brighten up these guys. You don’t need a fancy printer and even plain white 8.5×11 (letter size) paper will do.

Two options for download:
plain tags here
black tags (so the type shows through if you have coloured paper) here

Enjoy and feel free to tag me @alicia_carvalh0 on instagram if you use them on your gifts this christmas!

FREE DIY download Holiday Gift Tags, minimal or colourful, custom watercolour type |

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May 20, 2015

LT ss15 Look Book

Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2015 collection Look Book, layout design. Soft pastels inspired by spring blooms and starry summer night skies |

I’m generally not a huge fan of pastel hues, but man, when I saw the results of LT’s SS15 look book photo shoot I was feeling pretty dreamy about the colour scheme. The hints of pastel are really subtle but it was enough to inspire the design of this look book.

Lover’s Tempo SS15 collection is inspired by the freshly blooming spring season and starry night summer skies, featuring a few bolder and edgier elements for the modern girl. Wanting to keep the overall look of the brand light and minimalistic the main elements are the photos themselves. To emphasize the dreamy colour scheme, light geometric squares frame the photos and cover the background. Lastly, simple type highlights the product information and grounds the page.

To view the whole look book click on over to the portfolio section over here, or shop the collection now over on Lover’s Tempo online store.

Designing for products, whether it be in the form of branding, packaging or look books is quickly becoming one of my favourite kind of projects to work on. If you have a product or collection that you are about to launch and need some design assistance with feel free to contact me over here!

I’m currently booking new clients for late July and early August so get in touch soon before the spots fill up!

Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2015 collection Look Book, layout design. Soft pastels inspired by spring blooms and starry summer night skies |

Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2015 collection Look Book, layout design. Soft pastels inspired by spring blooms and starry summer night skies |

Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2015 collection Look Book, layout design. Soft pastels inspired by spring blooms and starry summer night skies |

Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2015 collection Look Book, layout design. Soft pastels inspired by spring blooms and starry summer night skies |

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May 14, 2015

colour 6 | tilda swinton

Tilda Swinton colour inspiration |

I’m bring back my colour series!! I originally started my colour series because I find that colour is one of the hardest parts of design, figuring out what evokes the right mood and feeling and how they all come together and interact with each other.

As you know from this post, Tilda Swinton is a part of the inspiration for a branding project I am currently working on. When I have to come up with a colour scheme I often times look at different photos that relate to the brand and cherry pick hues and combos from photographs to see what I can come up with. It just so happens that the above image really spoke to the brand I am working on, not just because it’s Tilda Swinton, but also because of the colour scheme.

Below are a few more Tilda Swinton colour inspirations that I had some fun with.

You can view a few of the old colour posts here

Tilda Swinton colour inspiration |

Tilda Swinton colour inspiration |

Tilda Swinton colour inspiration |

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April 9, 2014

colour | 5 lucy snowe

Lucy Snowe Photography. Mid-century Swimmers Collection |

I recently came across west coast photographer Lucy Snowe and was immediately drawn to the colour palettes in her work. I am big fan of anything water/swimming related so I was very intrigued by this particular collection. It reminds me of those later summer afternoons by the cool, cooling off with fruity popsicles. Also, don’t you really want a vintage swimming cap now?! I sure do!

I’m loving the very vintage, mid-century feel this collection has. I highly suggest you pop on over to her etsy store and check out some of the backyard and home photographs too.

This whole mid-century vibe has me dreaming of Palm Springs again. Last year I attended DesignerVaca, a little retreat with a bunch of other lady designers. I made some great friendships there and am looking forward to making new connections again this year.

What are you summer plans? Anything exciting planned? :)

Lucy Snowe Photography. Mid-century Swimmers Collection |

Lucy Snowe Photography. Mid-century Swimmers Collection |

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April 1, 2014


Design to Code: Orange Pantone Goldfish. Free image via the amazing free library of the BioDiversity Flickr Photostream |

A few weeks ago I was over on Dara’s blog talking about colour in the print and web world for our Design To Code series. The post totally inspired me to create this pantone graphic!

I’m a huge sucker for anything that lives in the sea and have a soft spot for Goldfish. Growing up we lived in an apartment and three little orange goldfish were my first pets. The last one of them lived for an astonishing 9 years, which is not very common for little home aquarium fishies. People always say fish are boring, and I get it, but I think they are kinda fun in their own way.

Now, get your bookmarks ready! I got this little goldfish image from an amazing free online resource, the BioDiversity Flickr Photostream. It’s a collection of scans from biology books with images ranging from sea and sky animals, insects, a ton of plants, flowers and more. And yes, it’s free and you can download them in whatever size you need, it’s awesome!

Hopefully the Bio Diversity Flickr Photostream will inspire you to create something :)

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January 9, 2014

Clare Elsaesser

Beautiful simple painting by Clare Elsaesser |

I can’t remember where I came across Clare Elsaesser paintings but I do know that I have been swooning over them for months now. The first ones I saw were definitely the floral ones and I immediately knew I needed one. A few months later I finally visited her Etsy store and realized that I loved pretty much all of her prints, making it impossible to decide on just one.

I really love simple artwork. Simplicity is my new tagline. Clare’s work has very simple colour schemes and usually just one main subject. There is so much intriguing texture in her artwork. The thick brush strokes create a certain dynamic in the frame and the vibrant colours bring the piece to life.

Isn’t that black pillow one just amazing? I could totally see myself buying a big 16×20 print of it and hanging it above my bed. As of right now I seriously still want them all. I guess I will take some more time to swoon over her entire collection before deciding on one (or several) final pieces. I love purchasing artwork but it isn’t always easy.

Do you have a current favourite print or artist?

I love water prints. These two especially speak to me, I almost feel like I can relate to the girl in the painting. I do have the same hair style :) paintings by Clare Elsaesser |

I want to get a really large print of this and hang it over my bed. Painting by Clare Elsaesser |

Love the simplicity, combined with thick textural brush strokes in Clare Elsaesser's paintings |

Beautiful floral paintings by Clare Elsaesser |

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October 18, 2013

colour | 4 – grand budapest hotel

The Grand Hotel Budapest by Wes Anderson, Colour Inspiration |

Two days ago I came across this beautiful image. Before even watching the trailer (which was released today, watch it here) or knowing what the movie was even about I already loved it. It’s no secret that Wes Anderson is some sort of cinematic genius, constantly nailing it in the various departments of storyline, character development, consistent aesthetics, folky tunes, good typography and those awesome muted and saturated colours.

I’m not usually a huge fan of piggy-pink but it pops so nicely on this poster in front of the muted mountain landscape. Notice how the two cliffs on the each side are dark brown, somewhat framing the hotel and the mountains in the center of the poster are light and airy, allowing the typography to stand out. Well done.

I’m looking forward to watching this one, are you?!

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September 4, 2013

colour | 3 – ana kolega

The Beautiful Young Navy by Ana Kolega |

I just got back from a little vacation from both Portugal and Croatia. I will be posting a few snapshots of my trip throughout the next few weeks, but firstly I wanted to share some of the artwork of Ana Kolega. While in Dubrovnik, Croatia, we stumbled upon a little art gallery selling all sorts of art and crafts from local artists. Ana Kolega’s bright canvases caught my eye right away (in particular this one, which I would have purchased if I had had the budget for it).

I have a soft spot for thick brush stokes and loose lines. Her style is sort of kiddish and the colour combinations are so alive. Besides her signature each painting also has a title sketched onto the artwork in croatian scribbly first-grader-style. Handwritten type is always a bonus, it adds so much extra character!

Artwork by Ana Kolega |

On our last day in Dubrovnik we went back to the little gallery and bought these postcards. I would have loved to have bought one of her original prints, maybe next time. For now this is plenty of colour inspiration for me!

Ana Kolega’s site is in croatian and not the easiest to navigate. Unfortunately all of the artwork on her site is watermarked and kind of small but I do suggest you look through the pages and scan her different categories. If you’re like me and don’t speak croatian it’s like a little adventure as you click throughout without knowing what you’ll see :p

The Women and Children on the Shore waiting for Ships by Ana Kolega |


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May 23, 2013

colour | 2 – supernatural


I love it when people from different creative backgrounds collaborate – the results are always one of a kind. I’m digging the way the florals are incorporated into these plain outfits. Combined with the delicate make-up and bulky earrings it’s the perfect picture (+ bright yellow and a lot of green and we’re getting close to a Frida Kahlo vibe!).

This colour palette is a good description of Vancouver at the moment. All the pink cherry blossoms have fallen and blown away and although the sun keeps trying to get through the dark blue clouds are still winning.

supernatural-floral-design-Poloneckfloral design: supernatural  |  photographer: alix-rose cowie  |  styling: kate desmarais  |  model: shelly chen

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April 1, 2013

colour | 1 – Bonnie Tsang

As much as I love working with colour in design I find it hard at times to come up with a colour palette from scratch that evokes exactly what I want it to. For random inspiration I use colourlovers a lot. You search something like “sun” and get a number of different palettes in varying tints and tones of yellows and blues. The colour palettes are uploaded by users so sometimes a search term can bring up the opposite of what you are looking for. I find it a great tool for colour brainstorming. It’s really exciting when I have a rough idea in mind, then go on colourlovers and get so many more options, which I hadn’t even consider before. I don’t usually use the exact palettes I come across, but save two or three and use them as a template to mix and match my own.

In an effort to bring some more colour to my own blog and practice my colour-combining skills I have decided to introduce this new little colour column to my own blog. Every now and then I will feature a design, photograph or piece of art that inspires me and dissect it.

I’m very inspired by photography so it felt right to start this new column off with a lifestyle photograph from Bonnie Tsang. I am very attracted to photographers who play with depth of field. Bonnie Tsang always has great composition in her photos and a real good eye for simplicity and details. With spring around the corner I love the warm colours the light creates in this photo. The colours I picked out of this photos are very much in style right now; neutrals with a bright soft pop of teal, very retro indeed.

For more photography by Bonnie check out her portfolio. You really get a sense of her style by just scrolling through her instagram pictures as well.

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