CATEGORY: design

January 30, 2020

Layout Design – Recap 2019

Following my previous post, Logo & Branding Design Recap of 2019, here is a post dedicated to some of the layout projects of the past year.

Late 2018 and into 2019 I had a chance to work on some of my largest layout based projects yet, which I am so very proud of; the UNA program guide full re-design, as well as designing the first-ever print issue of The Narwhal Magazine and lastly, a 90+ page workbook for a new client (sneak peeks below!). Some of my favourite projects are usually also the most challenging ones, whether it's a complicated concept to tackle, there are budget or format restrictions, we are limited in terms of printing options, the design always feels ten times more rewarding after a healthy dose of problem-solving.

Although a lot of designers probably think annual reports are super boring, they are actually one of my favourite types of projects to work on. I've had the chance to design a total of five this year, both for previous and new clients.

Next up I would really love to work with someone looking to publish a book. I've already dipped my toes into this field, designing a zine for a photographer, as well as a book for a comic artist, but I would really love to work on an actual book, that features not just imagery, but also a healthy amount of copy throughout.

But in the meantime, here is a small collection of some of the projects I got to work on this past year.  

UNA University Neighbourhoods Association at UBC Program Re-Design print and layout  |

University Neighbourhoods Association

Working with UNA, the University Neighbourhoods Association at UBC for over a year now has been so great. Although I've worked on a variety of assets with them, the biggest project has been working closely with their team to tackle the re-design of their main project, their seasonal program guides for the community centres.
UNA produces three themed guides every year, Winter, Spring/Summer and Fall. Our first goal was to come up with visuals for the years theme, something that felt local and seasonal. Overall we really wanted to upgrade the design of the programs, making them more sophisticated, while still speaking to a varied audience of children, and more importantly, their parents who would be purchasing the programs, as well as seniors. We decided to go with an abstract theme using colours to reflect the seasons. Once the visuals were sorted; Vancouver's blue mountain range for winter, colourful abstract flower field for Spring/Summer, and fall coloured overlapping panels for the changing leaves, we proceeded to create the artwork by physically overlapping textured paper and scanning it. This made the covers stand out and gave them a very textural feel. I've since already designed the three themed programs for this upcoming year as well, but you'll have to wait a little longer to see those!
Next up was re-designing the whole inside of the program guide, which featured a lot of information and didn't have a clear hierarchy. We met in-person a number of times so I could get very familiar with all the content, understand it's purpose and priority and then start re-organizing it, creating a new legible type hierarchy and start colour coding and labelling information in a way that makes things obvious and easy for the readers. I also completely re-designed the grid and layout structure of the guide, aiming to fit as much content as before on every page, but in a much more efficient manner, by making more use of white space and allowing the content to breathe. The guide is laid out across a multi-column grid throughout that is extremely flexible and allows for plenty of room to play. Graphic elements, pull quotes and photography help break the grid, giving the program guide an almost editorial feel.
To see more of this project pop over to my portoflio here.
I love that I have an on-going relationship with UNA now and am looking forward to sharing more of the work we've completed together.

Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Annual Report Layout Print Design |

Peter Wall Insitute for Advanced Studies

Earlier in the year I had a chance to work with UBC's Peter Wall Insititute for Advanced studies. The Peter Wall Institute draws together scholars from UBC and around the world to engage in deep and unconstrained research into some of the most profound questions and challenges facing humanity. The Institute seeks to encourage highly innovative, creative and unexpected scholarship through wide-ranging explorations between disciplines. We worked together on designing their previous years' annual report, taking a less corporate, more fun approach, making use of the brand colours, patterns and shapes throughout.
Since this project has wrapped, we've already started working on the next annual report, which is much more extensive in size, triple the length of the previous one, taking a slightly more scholar design approach. It's really fun when clients are open to trying out new and different design aesthetics for projects, while still staying true to the core brand.

The Mindful Wardrobe Project Workbook and Branding Design |

The Mindful Wardrobe Project Workbook

The Mindful Wardrobe Project, I don't even know where to start with this one. Over the past year I've been working with Meg on-goingly, primarily re-branding her previous business and creating all the visual assets and branding materials for her new venture The Mindful Wardrobe Project Workbook, an online and in-person workshop. The workbook is so valuable, 90+ pages full of really great information, plus accompanied by videos, worksheets and more assets. I'm really excited to share more about this project but will wait until I get it up on my portfolio, hopefully sometime this spring.

Jackie Dives South Korea printed Photo Book |

Jackie Dives

This was another very special project for me. I got to collaborate with past client and friend Jackie Dives. Jackie is a photographer and recently went through some major life changes and loss and after which she decided to take a cycling trip through South Korea. I helped her put together a little book featuring Jackie's words and photos of what she captured along the way, as well as what it felt like to go through this journey. The book feels relatable and emotional, beautiful and oddly comforting. The initial print run was of 50 copies which sold out within a few short weeks, currently entering its second print run. Jackie's work is so special and vulnerable and I very much look forward to working with her again. If you don't already follow her on Instagram do so now! If you'd like a copy of the book for yourself reach out to Jackie directly before this second run sells out too. 

Forum for Women Entrepreneurs: FWE Annual Report Design |

Forum for Women Entrepreneurs: FWE

Another great local charity reached out to me this past fall to work on their annual report, the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. The FWE energizes, educates, mentors and connects women entrepreneurs to be wildly successful, promoting strengthened economies and thriving communities. They support 650 women entrepreneurs annually and have a radical plan for growth over the next five years to increase this number to 5,000. I highly encourage you to check out their events and workshops.

Gestalt Therapy Portugal Website Design |

Gestalt Therapy Portugal

After designing some branding and printed materials for my mom's new venture last year, this year I helped her put together a Squarespace website. We kept the overall design simple and minimal, with large type and a clear hierarchy. Working in Portugal, within a German community and also fluently speaking English she really wanted the information across the site to be as tri-lingual as possible. We compromised to leave out the German for the time being, focusing on Portuguese and English content only. Have a look here!

The Narwhal Issue One layout design and printed magazine |

The Narwhal

I've done some pretty great design projects for some really awesome clients over the years, but The Narwhal takes the prize! Beyond being a dream project, designing a magazine, it's also doing work for some really awesome people doing very important and good work.
The Narwhal is a team of investigative journalists, who dive deep to tell stories about Canada’s natural environment you can’t find anywhere else, telling the stories Canada’s big news outlets miss and hustle to help their readers make sense of complex, sometimes downright messy issues.
Shortly before their one year anniversary as an online publication, The Narwhal reached out to me to design a printed magazine, showing off some of the best articles from the past year. The magazine already had some great branding and a strong visual website and type hierarchy, from which I had a chance to draw a lot of inspiration for the printed issue.
Please pop over to my portoflio and view the full project here and also check out The Narwhal online and consider supporting them.
I'm very excited to say that issue two is literally being proofed right now and going off to print later this week. 

Vauhus Online Publication Branding and Web Design |


It seems that my designing roughly one website per year is still going strong! I wouldn't mind if this number went up either, hint, hint. I won't share too much about this project since the site hasn't officially launched yet, but I can say that I had the chance to work with my good friend and past client/collaborator Gabriel Cabrera on this new venture, designing his branding and website. Stay tuned for details on this one!

The Greater Vancouver Foodbank Annual Report Print and Layout Design |

The Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Yet another annual report I got to design this year (I told you there was a lot of them!) was for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The biggest challenge of this project was making all the content work! The client had a lot of content which we were trying to fit across a 20-page report. Upon much trimming and breaking down complex information into more visual assets, we ended up with a really great annual report.

Alexa Mazzarello Photography Lookbook, Branding and Promo Design |

Alexa Mazzarello

2019 was another busy year, working on-goingly with Alexa Mazzarello. Beyond a brand audit and minor brand refresh, we also worked together on two different promo's, a lookbook for one of her recent collaborative shoots, as well as various postcard designs accompanying another, summer-inspired, promo (shown above).
I know I'm a broken record but working with a photographer is always such a treat. It's not all smooth sailing, as a lot of creatives, me included, have set visions on how we want to see our work come to life, but together, we manage to bring ideas together and create a visual feast.

Photographers, please e-mail me, I want to work with YOU!

Do the Thing Book by Geoff Coates |

Do the thing, by Geoff Coates

Another project which hasn't quite launched yet (shhhhh secret sneak peek!!), is a book for Geoff Coates! Geoff is an art director in the Vancouver videogame industry and also a cartoonist! His name miiiight sound familiar if you are local, as he's recently joined Vancouver Is Awesome as an editorial cartoonist, illustrating the daily joys and pain points of Vancouverites. I'd tell you more about his book, but you're just going to have to wait until it launches. In the meantime, go follow Geoff on instagram!

Sew Liberated Pattern Packaging Design |

Sew Liberated

I've already alluded to all the amazing work I've done with Meg from Sew Liberated over the past year, but this little packaging piece deserved its own little highlight. I love working on packaging projects, but it's something I rarely get to design these days. Packaging projects are costly, not just from a printing perspective, but also from a design perspective as there is so much trial and error and testing and proofing to make sure everything comes together just right. I'm always up for the challenge though and would love to work on more packaging!!

That sums up some of my top design projects for 2019! It's only January and I'm already in the process of wrapping up a handful of more awesome projects and have some more availability in my schedule for Spring. Get in touch, I would love to hear from you!

If you are curious as to what goes into my layout design process you can learn more here. Or get in touch directly via my contact page over here.

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December 13, 2018

Jackie Dives Promo Posters

As the year is coming to an end I’ve been looking back at all the awesome projects I had a chance to work on in the past twelve months. Some of them are smaller one-off projects that don’t quite make it into my portfolio, but that I am really into and want to share anyway.

Earlier this year I worked with local Vancouver-based photographer Jackie Dives. I’d been following her work for quite a while so it was really exciting to collaborate with her. Jackie wanted to send out some promo pieces to a variety of local news agencies and brands who may be interested in working with her. Since her clients are quite varied we decided to design two separate posters, each focusing on different categories of her work, and each laid out with that specific audience in mind.

Jackie Dives Photography Promotional Poster Design |

The first poster is more of a journal essay, featuring a collection of photos from one particular assignment. This poster went out to local newspapers, so we kept the format strict and tidy, laying everything out in a clean grid.

The second poster showcases Jackie’s work that documents social justice issues through the lens of the female gaze. Together we narrowed down a selection of photos to lay out on the poster in a more free-flowing, collage style grid.

Jackie Dives Photography Promotional Poster Design |

Each poster was 11×17 inches, double-sided, including Jackie’s contact info, folded up and mailed out.

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December 7, 2017

Branding & Logo Design – Recap 2017

2017 was pretty amazing in regards to branding projects I had the honour of being part of.

I pride myself in specializing in typographic wordmarks, and this past year truly lead to some of my best brand work yet. I worked with clients who trusted my process and understood the investment it takes to build out or fully re-brand a business. I had a chance to get really nerdy about typography, research type foundries and ensure that my clients end up with a fully custom brand that represents them and speaks directly to their audience.

Below is a roundup of some of my top branding projects for 2017.

JBS Contracting Logo + Brand Design Vancouver |

1. JBS Contracting

2017 started off with a slightly more corporate brand than I usually work with, however I am so excited with how this came together. JBS Contracting provides engineers and their CAD teams with drafting support, including modelling information such as pricing, material types, structural supports, timeline information etc. Working primarily on large-scale industrial buildings the design was very much inspired by the structural steel skeletons of construction, which is reflected in the brands icon and various graphic applications.

Re-brand logo wordmark for Lover's Tempo Vancouver based jewellery brand |

2. Lover's Tempo

I first worked on a re-brand for Lover's Tempo 5ish years ago. At the time we updated the logo and expanded on all the branding assets, but stayed very close to its original roots. The Vancouver based jewelry brand has been going through some major growth and expansion lately, so it was time to re-visit the logo mark. Striving for effortless styles and clean minimal designs we simplified the logo and narrowed it down to one sophisticated sans serif.

Wagner&Co Weeding Films Vancouver Branding and Wordmark |

3. W&co

W&CO, short for Wagner&Co is the wedding film company by Tomasz Wagner, a friend and previous client of mine. With Tomasz' wedding video services expanding and growing team, he wanted to separate that side of his business from his wedding photography, resulting in the W&CO brand. The wordmark and type choice was very much inspired by swiss minimalist design. The new brand is bold, playful and effortlessly cool, just like all it's stylish and artful wedding clients. Stay tuned for the launch of the brand new website happening early 2018.

BeEco sustainable fashion brand and blog logo icon |

4. BeEco

BeEco is a fashion blog that raises awareness of the importance of eco-fashion in our society, featuring informative articles and ethical brand spotlights, with plans of opening up a brick&mortar location, as well as it's own fashion label. BeEco emphasizes fashionable styles that, while being sustainable and ethical, are also modern and trendy, without breaking the bank. The logoicon is my favourite part of this brand: it's an abbreviation of the name and encompasses the core of the brand; Be. Be fashionable, Be kind to the plant, Be mindful, Be the change you want to see.

Tehya Mackenzie Vancouver based fine-art Photographer logo icon |

5. Tehya Mackenzie

Ok, so I kind of cheated on this one. I worked on the brand for Tehya Mackenzie in 2016, but never got around to sharing it, so I'm sneaking it in here. Tehya Mackenzie is a Vancouver-based visual artist specializing in fine art photography. I've worked on various custom hand type projects and brands in the past, but this one was slightly different. The above logo icon TM, as well as the full logo wordmark is Tehya's signature. I had her write out her name various times, with different materials, which I then scanned, choose the best option, and expanded on the brand, colour story and type hierarchy from there on.

Gabriel Cabrera Studio, photography and styling, branding, logo, wordmark and icon |

6. Gabriel Cabrera

Gabriel Cabrera is another very talented friend of mine. While originally starting out in food styling for photography he's since become the photographer himself. Gabriel has a unique eye for artistic compositions and works with a variety of large brands such as West Elm, Suntory Whisky and more.
Gabriel needed a proper brand in place, something that is sleek, sophisticated, timeless and combines his background and style of mixing art and photography in his work.

The Artful Desperado Blog re-brand |

7. Artful Desperado

Along with designing Gabriel Cabrera's new studio brand we decided to piggyback his blog off of this new brand and give it a bit of a make-over. All typefaces, colours and styles are now consistent across the two brands, creating a seamless transition from one site to the other.

The Focus Journal minimal F monogram design |

8. The Focus Journal

While working on the design for The Focus Journal I also got a chance to fully built out the brand, developing a logo, icon and colour story. The logo icon in particular encompasses everything the journal stands for: simplicity, focus, efficiency, and minimalism. The abstract F monogram is made up of the main graphic elements in the journal; a carefully laid out grid of lines and dots to make your planning effortless and successful.

Filosophi Wedding Planning and Events logo and branding design Vancouver |

9. Filosophi

And lastly, I finished off the year by wrapping up a brand new look for Vancouver based event planning + design brand Filosophi. The goal was to create a new branding experience that makes clients feel excited, trusted and at ease during the overwhelming process of wedding planning. The new brand feels high end and experienced, creative, approachable and professional, with little quirks, hinting at the personalized process Filosophi goes through with every single client. This brand hasn't officially launched yet, so stay tuned for a brand new site launching next year.

If you are unsure of what exactly goes into a branding project, are curious to learn more about it and might be interested in exploring this for your own business, head over to my new branding + logo design service page, outlining all the nitty-grittyness of it all.

I'm currently booking into February 2018 and would love to chat with you about your brand!

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November 21, 2017

Layout Design – Recap 2017

As another year comes to an end, it's nice to take a quick pause and look back. It's easy to get caught up in the day to day of running a business and designing all the things, you quickly forget all the amazing things you got to design during the past 12 months.

This year was one of immense growth for my business, with plenty of ups, and equal, if not more, downs. I guess every year kind of is, but this year especially, I was really strict with myself, saying no to a handful of projects that didn't seem in-line with where I want to take my business, and instead, actively seeking out projects I wanted to work on.

Ever since graduating from design school I have been incredibly passionate about layout and editorial (preferably print!) design. But truth is, I haven't done much of it over the past few years. Last year, as I was deciding on what kind of projects I want to do more of it was clear to me - more layout design. I put myself out there, shared similar projects that I had done in the past and finally put it front and center on my new site " I specialize in typography and layout design".

After much trial and error, attempting to figure out pricing structures, proper processes, and plenty of mistakes I am now finishing off 2017 with over 10 layout based projects I am happy to show off. Most of these have since made it into my portfolio, but there are a few more recent ones which I haven't shared yet.

Below is a roundup of some of my favourite layout based projects for 2017. I hope you enjoy them!

Wedding Photographer Inquiry Package Design |

1. Client Inquiry Package

The Nickersons reached out to me to help them put together a print and web inquiry package for potential clients. This mini-magazine is an extension of their portfolio, showcasing their work, but also does so much more. It's a warm and friendly introduction to The Nickersons, outlines their process and various photo packages and add-ons, such as connection shoots, custom albums, and photo booths, as well as an extensive FAQ and ultimately, what steps to take to book them.

Vancouver based Jewelry Line sheet, Lookbook and Catalogue Design |

2. Fashion Linesheet

I've been designing for Vancouver based jewelry brand Lover's Tempo for a handful of years now. For 2017 we decided to give the brand a bit of a re-fresh, in particular, the logo and packaging pieces. And as always, I got to work on the Lover's Tempo Spring/Summer 2017, as well as the Fall/Winter 2017 lookbook and product linesheet which goes out to all wholesalers and is extremely handy for tradeshows.

Vancouver based Portrait Photographer Inquiry Package Layout Design |

3. Portrait Inquiry Package

After Alexa launched her new brand and website she contacted me to design a digital and printed magazine style booklet she could send out to inquiring clients. Having been a fan of Alexa's work it was such a pleasure to design this for her.
In Alexa's words:
"Working with her (Alicia) was collaborative and thorough. She was patient and attentive and really got my brand. Since implementing what we created together I've doubled my bookings. The catalogue exemplifies professionalism, trust, and answers many common questions."

Layout Design and Iconography for The Focus Journal |

4. Printed Journal

This was basically a dream project come true. Sabrina and Matej did a bunch of research and came to me with the idea of the Focus Journal: designed to increase productivity and achieve your goals while balancing work, happiness, and well-being. Together we established a visual language for the journal, thoroughly tested it and ensured that the design was minimal, making planning and getting organized easy and intuitive. The Focus Journal ran an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign over the summer and is currently in production for its first print un! Stay tuned, as I'll be adding this project to my portfolio as soon as the final journals arrive.

Editorial Magazine Design |

5. Magazine Design

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to lead the design team over at Flurt Magazine. Previously just an online magazine the publication expanded into print this fall. Besides a few key colours and typefaces, the magazine was really lacking in visual hierarchy and brand consistency. I had the chance to re-design the whole magazine for the fall issue and will be involved in the design of a few of the following issues into 2018.

6. Wedding Planning Package

After successfully working together on the Nickersons inquiry package, we then moved forward with the design of a mini-magazine that couples who have booked received before their wedding. Based on the previous design, this mini-magazine covers everything from wedding timeline, to general photo tips, a whole section on helpful lighting suggestions, how to handle a potential rainy day more. All content is written by Sarah Nickerson from her years of experience, not only getting married herself, but also shooting a number of weddings over the years.

Simon Fraser University Research Report Design |

7. Research Report

This summer I worked with the creative team at Simon Fraser University to design and layout this 40-page printed research report for the Centre of Dialogue SFU. I worked closely with the editors to create various visual assets, complex graphs, source photographs and more, to visually complement the research and concepts throughout. These type of projects are oftentimes my favourites, corporate documents don't need to look boring!

Fine Art Photography Layout Catalogue Design |

8. Product Catalogue

As the year came to an end I got to work with Alexa Mazzarello once more. Just in time for the holidays Alexa launched her limited edition online print shop, Solstice Series. As part of the collection, I got to design an interactive product catalogue, featuring beautifully styled images of the prints, their names, sizes, prices, and even suggested frames for each print from Ikea! Perfect way to make your holiday gifting easy.

With the holidays right around the corner, I am already booking into 2018. I am so happy with how all these layout projects turned out. I've had a year of experimenting with various types of layout projects for both print and web and am excited to take on more of the like for next year.

I'll be putting together proper layout packages for next year, outlining the processes, content briefs, pricing and more to make the process easier for my clients and myself. If you want to take advantage of my current 2017 pricing please get in touch before the holidays and let's chat!

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November 9, 2017

Lover’s Tempo Poster Design

Vancouver Jewelry Brand Poster Design for Tradeshows by Alicia Carvalho |

Been cleaning up my computer and coming across various smaller design project, such as poster designs and promotional postcards I worked on throughout the year.

Earlier this year I worked with long-time client Lover’s Tempo on some large scale posters for upcoming tradeshows. We wanted the poster design to focus on the products, while also featuring lifestyle and inspirational imagery, alongside key messages of the brand. The result is a clean and simple poster design, featuring a consistent yet flexible grid structure, producing dynamic layouts showcasing various brand elements.

Layout Design for Vancouver Jewelry Brand, Poster Design by Alicia Carvalho |

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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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September 9, 2015

Vokra Trifold

Mood board for Vokra (Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association). All cat photos by Tania Hennessy |

I just updated my portfolio with a new project! It’s always exciting when that happens.

Above is the colourful and friendly moodboard for Vokra, a local orphan kitten rescue association. I got to work with the lovely Tania Hennessy who takes amazing cat photos. I was seriously blown away by the portraits and the amount of detail she is able capture. If you zoom in on the pictures you could actually count the amount of hairs these furry guys have. Not sure what you would want to do this, but it all goes to say that Tania is amazingly talented and it was so great to collaborate with her. Pop on over to her portfolio if you want a quick and guaranteed adorable distraction :p

As for the brand new trifold, pop on over to my portfolio to view the final printed piece here.

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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 4, 2015

moodboard | 17

Re-Brand Moodboard for a West Coast Fashion Brand, featuring some Tilda Swinton inspiration; stylish, sharp, confident, minimal, fashion forward and a tad weird |

I’m in the last phase of wrapping up a new branding project for the above featured moodboard. This is another really special one, as I was super into the direction and style the client is going for.

One of the new questions I ask my clients in the initial questionnaire is who their brand would be if it was an actor/actress. As you can probably guess they referenced Tilda Swinton; stylish, sharp, confident, minimal, fashion forward and a tad weird. As if that wasn’t awesome enough already there is also a bit of a west coast vibe in the mix, mostly in the graphics and colours.

Keep your eye out for this launch!!

FYI, if you follow me on dribble you may have already seen a few sneak-peaks :)

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February 18, 2015

Cruelty Free BC

Cruelty Free BC Campaign Branding |

Remember that moodboard I posted here last week? I just added the final branding of a new initiative called Cruelty Free BC to my portfolio. I loved branding this campaign and am so proud of the results and what we will hopefully accomplish within coming months.

Cruelty Free BC’s goal is to educate consumers on the inhumane and unnecessary practice of animal testing, as well as the misleading labelling of cosmetics and household products in North America. They will teach you how to identify genuine cruelty-free products and highlight local BC companies who are doing it right.

Dealing with animal cruelty awareness tends to be a very gruesome and visually aggressive field. It was an interesting challenge to make the brand feel friendly and approachable, as opposed to pushy and in your face, while still being able to effectively spread the message. The brand is not scared to give you the hard facts and horrid details, but instead of translating the message via sad and bloody imagery, we resorted to super minimal but clear and impactful icon like visuals instead, as seen above.

If you want to see the full logo + campaign and read more about how it all came together head on over to the portfolio over here.

Speaking of branding…I have a few openings to take on new projects for March and April. If you have been toying with a re-brand get in touch here, I would love to hear from you!

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February 10, 2015

moodboard | 16

Animal Non-Profit Branding Moodboard |

I’m adding the final touches to a new branding projects and figured I should share the moodboard before I add it to my portfolio.

I won’t say much about this project yet, except that it is affiliated to one of my previous branding clients, Paws For Hope, and that I absolutely loved working on this and can’t wait to show it off! The imagery and concept for this one was crystal clear form the get-go which made the logo process super smooth, efficient and speedy; we wrapped up almost two weeks early!

More details to come very soon :)

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December 21, 2014

happy holidays 2014

Happy Holiday Cards 2014. I really enjoyed designing these simple type-based cards with a subtle muted winter colour scheme. Luxe cards by Moo |

Happy Holidays!

Every year I tell myself I am going to make holiday cards and actually sent them out and every year…well…it doesn’t happen. A few weeks ago I found myself with an unusual slow day in the middle of the week. It coincided with a great sale over at moo, so really, I had no reason to skip out on cards this year. I know I wanted to do something simple with type. After trying out a few different variations I quickly came up with a few winners, a favourite being the little christmas-tree-hierarchy. I am not a huge holiday person so I didn’t want to go crazy with the whole red/green/gold/silver colour scheme. I came up with a clean palette of cold snowy blue and light subtle green. I really like how it says winter and holidays without the overpowering christmas colours.

I got these guys printed on the nice thick luxe paper and the quality was great. It’s such a sturdy card which beautifully compliments the light colours.

Excited at the thought of snail mail I tacked on a bunch of bright colourful round stickers to my order. You can see them below. It’s such a quick and easy little touch that adds so much fun to your mailbox.

I’m already looking forward to next years cards! If all goes according to plan I may even have a few for sale at that point :)

Happy Holidays guys!

Fun and bright round stickers to liven up your snail mail. Stickers by Moo |

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December 16, 2014

lover’s tempo re-brand

Branding for Lover's Tempo. Delicate detailing, refined compositions and vibrant colour palettes with a youthful personality, Lover's Tempo is a Vancouver-based jewellery line offering quality, everyday pieces for the classic modern girl |

Minimal grey colour palette with accents of gold AND letterpress?! Sounds good, doesn’t it? I just added the final pieces of a Vancouver-based jewellery re-brand to my portfolio. It’s a good one, pop over here to see the full project.

You can peek at the original moodboard for this re-brand here.

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November 26, 2014

I stand for animal welfare

Paws for Hope

I’m so excited about this! Paws for Hope is a charity I do contract work for every so often and it is always so much fun. They have an amazing little team and are always so passionate about everything they do. Paws for Hope recently reached out to me to design some t-shirts for them. The shirts will be worn by their team and be available for sale so they can collect funds to keep their mission of animal welfare going strong.

The team send me over a few general directions, mostly of what they did not want, and gave me a few awesome taglines to work with. The biggest challenge was that the shirts need to speak to both men and women. I’ve realized that no matter how much I enjoy illustrating my style is very much on the kids-end of things, which women may like, however it is definitely too cutesy for guys. With this in mind we focused mostly on text based designs. I will share all the final designs after the holiday season when the shirts have been printed.

In the meantime, as I was working on these concepts I was feeling really inspired and overflowing with ideas. Although illustrations were not really part of the plan I sat down one evening, just because I felt like it, and started doodling. I figured I’d have fun creating them and if Paws for Hope felt they could use them, then great, if not, I had just created something fun for myself.

I had so much fun creating these illustrations, that it really came through to the client. Paws for Hope loved the illustration and although they are on the cutesy side and no dudes will be running out to buy them, they will print a few runs of the illustration anyway, possibly a few smaller sizes for kids, and potential bumper stickers.

The lesson here is that, sometimes, when you are really into it, even though it’s not part of the original outline or brief, it’s fun to just go for it anyway, because you never know what will come from it.

Paws for Hope

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November 6, 2014

cleaning out the portfolio 01

I’ve been busy planning a few new and exciting things for next year. While doing so I’ve been looking over my portfolio and figured it’s time to let a few projects go. Some of the projects I still have in my portfolio are rather old and although I still like them it’s time to freshen things up a little and make room for new designs.

Because the thought of completely deleting these babies from the internet makes me kinda sad I figured I’d just transfer them over to the blog so they can quietly retire here. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of these old projects, as well as adding a few brand news ones.

First up is splash! Splash is one of my leftover school projects. I know, crazy right? It’s an oldie….Our project was to design a unique tour guide for Vancouver. As the name already suggests, splash is a booklet full of waterproof activities for kids and their parents. Displayed in a fun and colourful way, are twelve different places you can visit in the Greater Vancouver area on a rainy day. Perfect for the Pacific North West, no? I thought so…

The small size of the booklet makes it easy to carry along. The booklet contains big, full page images with overlaying colourful stripes which guide you though the book. It sort of has a juno-theme going on there. The body copy is a fun and simple sans serif while a hand rendered type is used for the headlines. The different locations are described on the respective pages and include a map with directions The map is perforated and can be removed to make it easier for parents to arrive at the various destinations. The leftover pages can be used by the kids to write or draw their memories of their adventures.

I’ve always really enjoyed designing booklets. I guess this is it for Splash but if you are in need of a little printed piece please do get in touch here and we can further discuss your project :)

Splash | Vancouver Tour Brochure |

Splash | Kids Tour Brochure |

Splash | Vancouver Kids Tour Brochure |

Splash | Vancouver Rainy Day Activities |

Splash | Vancouver Tour Brochure |

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October 14, 2014

custom wedding type

Unused custom watercolour wedding type samples. In collaboration with Tomasz Wagner |

A few months ago the very talented Tomasz Wagner contacted me and asked if I wanted to collaborate on some wedding videos with him. I’m slightly obsessed with his work and love myself a good collaboration so I was all ears. Tomasz was looking to add some custom type goodness to the wedding videos he shoots. We quickly decided that we didn’t want to go super calligraphy-wedding-stylish since it doesn’t match his brand. Instead, we took a more fun and contemporary approach at some watercolor type.

Above are a few of the samples that didn’t make the cut. I’m waiting for all wedding videos to be released before I share all the finals, which will be happening in a few weeks :)

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September 24, 2014


Even if you are watching an event alone you are not experiencing it alone - Doug Bowman aka @stop talking about Twitter at #circles2014 | type by

Last week I live-streamed the #Circles2014 conference. Let’s just pause for a second and think about how cool that is. Conferences are amazing and although I firmly believe that they are worth every penny things do very quickly add up. Luckily, more and more conferences are offering live streams for a fraction of the price. Yea, due to the time difference I had to get up really early, especially to catch my pal Becky Murphy talking, but it was all worth it. Besides a few little hiccups in the stream it was great to virtually attend. The above quote by Doug Bowman pretty much sums it up.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to catch all the talks, but the ones I did watch were amazing. I believe they all go online eventually, so I strongly urge you to keep an eye open for that. I think the best part of #circles2014 (besides the fact that I could watch it from bed, in my pjs) was the variety of speakers. I think certain design talks, no matter how interesting, can get a little repetitive after a while. Circles however did an amazing job at getting an awesome variety of speakers on stage and no two talks felt the same. I’d love to tell you which my favourite talks were, however since they really were so different, it’s kind of impossible to decide on.

Super duper quick summary of the stuff that really stuck with me: Kathleen Shannon talked about fear and telling you were to stick it (on the shelf, near the succulent, in case you were wondering); Becky Murphy reminded you to just get started, even if it’s far from perfect, and to measure progress, not comparison; Doug Bowman read my tweet out loud on stage (yeah that happened, it was weird and kind of cool) and talked about how twitter is amazing (it really is); Josh Higgins reminded us to never test a design you can not live with and other things he learnt while working on the Obama campaign; Jessica Hische had some great insight into the physical analog tools she uses and some of her progress when lettering; The Heads of State had a great reminder that you don’t really need to reinvent what’s already out there, but instead can look back on history for some new and fresh perspective; while Sean McCabe reminded us that the most important skill to have is how to learn, since that is the only thing that you will really always need; and that at the end of the day inspiration comes from rest (Kyle Steed) and being a full person (Danielle Evans aka the talented Marmalade Bleue)

Wanting to practice some of my calligraphy skills I started writing out a bunch of my favourite quotes from the two days. I’ll let you indulge in all these quotes (believe it or not, these are just my favourites, I still have so many more) and make sure you keep an eye open for all the talks online.

Feel free to Pin any of the quotes, they are made for sharing <3

Measure Progress, not comparison - Becky Murphy @beckycmurphy quote from #circles2014 | type by

Don't compare your chapter one to someone elses chapter 9 - Becky Murphy @beckycmurphy quote from #circles2014 | type by

Do what you are great at and collaborate with others who are great at what you're not - the Heads of State @TheHeadsofState quote from #circles2014 | type by

Don't reinvent graphic deisgn, draw from history and decide where you'd like to go from there - The Heads of State @TheHeadsofState quote from #circles2014 | type by

Don't let clients define you; define who you want your clients to be - The Heads of State @TheHeadsofState quote from #circles2014 | type by

If there is nothing new under the sun, go to the moon -  Jay Argaet @Jargaet quote from #circles2014| type by

Don't Test anything you can't live with - Josh Higgins @joshwhiggins quote from #circles2014 | type by

Consistency builds trust - Josh Higgins @joshwhiggins quote from #circles2014 | type by

Be like Beyonce, use yourself as your personal brand - Kathleen Shannon @andkathleen quote from #circles2014 | type by

Fear goes on the shelf...near the succulents - Kathleen Shannon @andkathleen quote from #circles2014 | type by

Crazy Busy, Wildly Productive - Kathleen Shannon @andkathleen quote from #circles2014 | type by

Just because I dare to do what I want doesn't mean I don't get scared = Kathleen Shannon @andkathleen quote from #circles2014 | type by

Until you take the first step in the creative process, you'll never know what the end result will be - Kyle Steed @kylesteed quote from #circles2014 | type by

The best ideas come from rest - Kyle Steed @kylesteed quote from #circles2014

Inspiration is over-rated when you're just sitting around waiting for it - Kyle Steed @KyleSteed quote from #circles2014 | type by

Don't confuse being busy with being productive - Lee Steffen @leesteffen quote from #circles2014 | type by

An artist has reached perfection, not when there's nothing to add, but when there's nothing left to take away - Lee Steffen @leesteffen quote from #circles2014 | type by

The greatest reflection of your priorities is where you place your time - Lee Steffen @leesteffen quote from #circles2014 | type by

Everything you've never seen is just a step beyond where you always stop - Lee Steffen @leesteffen quote from #circles2014  | type by

It's not the amoount of time you invest, it's the quality of time -  Lee Steffen @leesteffen quote from #circles2014  | type by

If you borrow an idea, make it into something greater than it was before - Danielle Evans @marmaladebleu quote from #circles2014  | type by

Inspiration comes from being a full person - not just a deisgner - Danielle Evans @marmaladebleu quote from #circles2014  | type by

Learning is the only skill that will remain relevant throughout your whole life - Sean McCabe @seanwes quote from #circles2014  | type by

We are not designing for our client's happiness, we are designing for our client's customers - Sean McCabe #seanwes quote from #circles2014  | type by

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September 8, 2014

sweater weather

Fall Sweater Weather custom type |

I’ve been working on quite a few custom type pieces lately, many of which include watercolour. I had some leftover paint to use up this morning and started dreaming of gold and red hued fall days.

Summer is without a doubt my favourite season, however fall is slowly winning over my heart the older I get. Although I am long past September being a “back to school” month it does still feel like a month of new beginnings. I’m ready to switch in my shorts for jeans and sandals for boots. I’ve even picked up knitting again.

What is your favourite part of fall?

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September 2, 2014

artful desperado

Artful Desperado Blog Re-Design. Custom watercolour logo by Alicia Carvalho |

Today was a very productive day, updating my portfolio and working on a few more really exciting projects that I can’t wait to share in the upcoming months. Don’t you love productive days?

Anyway, while I am pushing pixels around check out the finalized work for I did for Artful Desperado’s branding, of which I shared the moodboard a few weeks ago. Gabriel is such a fun person to collaborate with, I especially loved working on his re-brand since our styles are similar and we had the exact same vision in mind. It may have even made me want to update my own brand but that’ll have to wait for now….

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May 12, 2014

absence | austin kleon

I was re-reading Austin Kleon’s book “Steal like an Artist” over the weekend and the final sentences really stuck with me. He says: ” It’s often what an artist chooses to leave out that makes the art interesting. What isn’t shown versus what is. It’s the same for people: What makes us interesting isn’t just what we’ve experienced, but also what we haven’t experienced. The same is true to when you do your work: You must embrace your limitations and keep moving. In the end creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.”

The above posters by Seoul based designers Sulki and Min made me think of that quote. I love the dynamic and wise colour blocking of the pieces, echoing what Austin said, visually.

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April 29, 2014

the bikini

I was going through some of the type pieces I have been experimenting with over the winter months and came across this little quote by Diana Vreeland. With spring in full bloom and summer planning well on it’s way I figured I’d share this one today :)

Have you seen the documentary about Diana Vreeland? I am a super fan for biographies so I loved it. It’s called “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel”, you can watch the trailer here. It’s on Netflix, get on it!

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April 15, 2014

rika | winter 2013

Magazine design, Rika Autumn/Winter 2013 |

Last year I came across Rika magazine online and immediately fell in love with it (read more here). I quickly discovered that I couldn’t seem to find it anywhere nearby. During a little two-day getaway to Seattle a few months ago I made it my main mission to get to Barnes & Nobel’s and snag myself an issue. Luckily I succeeded!

Measuring at about 13 inches high and at just over 130 pages Rika is a beautifully printed large format magazine. I was initially drawn to it due to it’s beautiful type. The typeface which was custom designed for Rika is a sleek and slender serif type which is perfectly combined with photography and often put in contrast with hand rendered brush elements. In it’s layout Rika is not scared to go big on with the letters and often plays with balancing small items across a large empty canvas. I enjoy the variety in the magazines features, there is always a good mix of black and white features and coloured ones. Exploring different moods across it’s pages each story feels like a little surprise as you flip through them.

I felt like photographing all spreads for this post but that seemed a little excessive. Check if Rika is sold anywhere near you and grab yourself a copy, it won’t disappoint. I know the next time I’m near Barnes and Nobel’s it’ll be the first thing I look for.

Custom Typeface for Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 | Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 | beautiful colour story in Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 | beautiful colour story and layout in Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 | Table of Contents. Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 | Rika Magazine. Autumn/Winter 2013 |

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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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March 24, 2014

personal branding | braid

moodboard: personal branding. dinner guest exercise by Braid Creative |

Before the holidays (yes, a while ago) I took the Personal Branding class over at Braid with Kathleen Shannon. This particular class was all about defining your personal brand, your professional brand and what kind of magic happens when you get them to mingle and overlap a little.

One of my favourite exercises was the “dinner party”. We were to imagine that we were having a dinner party with six guests, all of which represent aspects of yourself. The exercise really focused on bringing these characters to life, by giving them names, values, a personality, wardrobe and more. I thought it would be fun if I shared some of mine.

The Designer is super detail oriented with a passion for concept driven designs that tell stories and don’t merely look pretty. She loves talking about typography and nerding out about anything design related.

The Observer is a good listener and always eager to learn about people and their passions and experiences. You can usually find her quietly sitting in the shadows soaking up all the surroundings and conversations.

The Business Woman is a topnotch go-getter, always thinking ahead, dreaming up new projects and thinking up ways to monazite them. She’s professional and enjoys talking shop with fellow business owners.

The Hippie Artist is free-spirited, passionate and inspired by all things colourful. She cares about this little planet she lives on and is constantly experimenting in different artistic mediums happily getting her hands dirty in-door and out.

The Traveler is pretty fearless, curious and always up for an adventure. She loves to get lost in foreign cultures and explore new little corners of the world.

The Photographer makes herself invisible while capturing special moments and memories.  She doesn’t believe in posed shots and rather her subject ignore her.

I’m curious, who would you want to learn more about?

Once you really take the time to think of who your different dinner guests are you naturally take it a step further and evaluate how these different personas may be incorporated into your business, your personal life, your blog, etc.

The above moodboard  is supposed to represent my six dinner guests in a visual way. I grew up by the beach, love the sun and ocean and now go swimming at the community centre every week. Although my favourite colours are not blue and yellow, without planning for it, most of the images I was collecting for this moodboard ended up having this fresh and bright colour scheme. I guess it is a pretty good representation of me!

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March 5, 2014

book cover archive

inspired by the Book Cover Collection over on |

Remember when I posted about Gurafiku a few weeks ago, the inspiration rabbit hole of Japanese Graphic Design goods? Well I have a new rabbit hole for you to crawl into! It’s called Book Cover Archive and is pretty much that, an archive full of book cover designs and designers. You can search by title, author, designer, art director, genre, publisher and more. My favourite feature is the randomizer on the homepage which quickly loads up plenty of visual candy.

When I was younger I grew up in Portugal so I was mostly exposed to European/UK versions of books, however I did have family overseas who would often send me over US copies. I always loved looking at the different covers by different publishers and very opinionatedly deciding which I preferred. I clearly was meant to be a graphic designer from a young age on and can confirm that I still very much judge a books by their covers, it’s so hard not to!

I’m currently reading Tina Fey’s hilarious book “bossypants” and was curious to see how other designs incorporate human elements on covers. Below is a (slightly large) collection of a few of my favourites.

Book Cover Design Inspiration |

Book Cover Design Inspiration | Book Cover Design Inspiration |

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February 6, 2014


Gurafiku Japanese Graphic Design Poster Inspiration |

I came across Gurafiku yesterday. It’s a Japanese Graphic Design blog started in 2009 by graphic designer, Ryan Hageman. Gurafiku is dedicated to the history of Japanese graphic design, seeking to lift the barrier of language, and present the graphic design of Japan to an international audience.

I’m definitely bookmarking Gurafiku and hitting it up next time I’m looking for some good old design inspiration.

Gurafiku Japanese Graphic Design Poster Inspiration |

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January 29, 2014

DTC: serif vs sans serif

Design to Code: Serif vs Sans Serif. By and

For our first design to code feature we decided to start with the basics of the basics: type! Typography is my favourite part of graphic design and it is a huuuuge subject so I am going to try really hard to stick with the basics here and not nerd-out for too long.

The first thing you should know is what the difference is between a serif and a sans serif typeface. A serif typeface is when the letters and symbols have the little footsies at the bottom. Sans serifs, as the name already says, don’t have little feet.

Typefaces on the web have come a long way so this is not 100% accurate anymore, however as a general rule sans serifs are easier to read on the web, while serif fonts work very well in printed work. Why is that? The little feet on the serifs are there to help you make clear distinctions between the letters (more space between letters, higher contrast). They also serve as a guide to the horizontal flow in a word or sentence. Sans serifs on the other hand are easier to read in smaller sizes because they are “simplified” versions of the serif. One could therefore say serif fonts are great for body copy at a decent size in a printed book and sans serifs are simpler and flexible at any size, on a tiny iphone or a huge title on a poster.

What makes a really great typeface choice is when it is invisible to the reader. Not literally invisible, but more so unnoticeable. Good type is subtle and easy to read. I am not distracted by the font, but instead am focused on the content.

For your personal brand (yes, that includes your etsy shop or blog) you will really want to stay away from the default typefaces that come with your operating system. They are not bad typefaces (well, some of them are. Please stay away form Comic Sans or Papyrus!), but they are the default, they are kind of boring. Instead, get out there and start building your own type library. Some of my favourite typeface resources (free + paid) include Font SquirrelLost Type Co-op and My Fonts.


Now that you have a good grasp on serifs and sans serifs, I’ll help you figure out how to use them in your site! First, let me introduce you to the old-school way to use typography on the web. Then, I’ll show you the newer, more fun approach.

Back in the day…

Back in ye olden days (or, more accurately, a few years ago), there wasn’t any universally-supported way to embed custom fonts into websites, so you had to use fonts that were commonly found on most people’s computers. These fonts are often called web-safe fonts, and include old favourites like serifs Times New Roman and Georgia, and sans serifs like Arial and Verdana.

So, say I wanted to use Garamond for my body text, which is installed by default on 86.24% of PCs, but only 23.84% of Macs. I’d use a CSS font stack, which lets you choose as many backup fonts as you want, so if your visitor doesn’t have the first font installed on their computer, CSS will check for the next font(s) until it finds one that’s available. That looks something like this:

body {
    font-family: Garamond, Baskerville, "Baskerville Old Face", "Hoefler Text", "Times New Roman", serif;

But then things got better!

In the past few years, CSS and browsers have evolved to let you use custom web fonts on your website. This is super exciting, because let’s face it, using the same old web safe fonts over and over was getting a little stale! There are a few ways to use web fonts on your site, which include:

Google Web Fonts

This is, by far, the easiest way to use web fonts on your site, especially if you’re a beginner. Google Web Fonts boasts hundreds of web fonts, which you can filter by category (like serif or sans serif), thickness, slant or width.

To use a Google Web Font on your site, click on the “Quick Use” button, select the weights you’d like to use, and then add the code snippet to your website, like they instruct.

Let’s say I decidd to use Oswald and I’d added the code to my site’s <head>. I’d then use it in my site like this (if I wanted to modify my headings):

h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6 {
    font-family: 'Oswald', sans-serif;
    font-weight: 300;

In this case, I chose to use the ‘light’ weight (that’s what font-weight: 300 refers to).

See? Easy!

Self-hosted web fonts

Sometimes you’ll want to use fonts that just aren’t available on Google Web Fonts, so you’ll have to host the fonts on your own server, which really isn’t too hard! Good places to find web fonts to self-host include Fontspring and Font Squirrel, some of which are free, and some of which you have to pay for. These services will generate the code to include in your CSS for you, so don’t worry too much about learning the syntax, since they’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to include the font in your CSS.

Premium web fonts

If you want to be really snazzy and use professional-level fonts, you’ll want to check out a service like Typekit or Cloud Typography, which make the best of the best fonts available via subscription.

A note on serifs vs sans serifs on the web

There’s a lot of debate about whether serifs or sans serifs are best for readability on the web. In the not-too-distant past, many screens were just too crappy to render serifs nicely, so the widespread wisdom of sticking to sans serifs on screen made a ton of sense. These days, though, operating systems render text much better, screens are way nicer (especially if you have a retina/HiDPI display), and more and more sites are trending towards using larger fonts for body copy than, say, 5–10 years ago. With that in mind, my advice would be to use whatever font suits your project best and, as Alicia said, gets out of the way and lets your reader focus on your content!

Don’t forget, we will be taking turns posting Design To Code features across our two blogs so make sure you follow Dara and me.

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January 28, 2014

moodboard 10 | paws for hope

Paws for Hope Re-brand Moodboard |

Do you guys rememberthese cute illustrations I did before the holidays? After our great first experience working together Paws for Hope asked me to give their brand a bit of a facelift. Yup, that’s right, a re-brand for an animal foundation. It was as much fun as it sounds like. I did indeed spend a few hours looking at pictures of adorable cats and dogs and fluffy bunnies.

We just finished up the re-brand this past weekend and I will be sharing bits and pieces over here soon. Above you can see the moodboard I created for them. I had already created a very similar one for them when I worked on their holiday campaign. It was great to have a solid vision in mind already, all I had to do was switch out a few of the images and we were well on our way.

I look forward to sharing the new pawesome designs with you soon!

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January 24, 2014

warhol on coke

Andy Warhol Coca Cola Quote made into a Wood Type Poster designed by Alicia Carvalho |

The above poster is a piece that I created while in Art school for my Advanced Typography class. We were to find a quote and design a Wood Type poster using a serif, a sans serif, a novelty typeface and explore some glyphs and icons. For whatever reason this piece never quite made it into my portfolio. I think my teacher said, although it “looked nice” it lacked concept. He was a tough cookie. I am still quite fond of this piece and decided it’s about time I shared it with the internet.

If your not a designer and are not familiar with type lingo such as serif and sans serifs stay tuned for next week when Dara and I will go over some type lingo in our first Design to Code post!

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January 21, 2014


supaReada Branding. Simple, fast and easy feed reader for android. Designed by Alicia Carvalho, Developed by Print and Pixel |

A few weeks ago I shared this moodboard and said my boyfriend and I were working on our first app. Well, it launched a few days ago and I can actually tell you more about it now! It is called supaReada and…’s a feed reader!

Earlier in 2013 when Google Reader shut down we were joking around about how many feed readers would start popping up everywhere and how feedly and bloglovin better be on the top of their game! And shortly after…we decided to tackle it ourselves. Instead of going ahead and copying existing feed readers we went back to basics and thought about how we use feed readers, what settings we like, which options we actually use etc. Big fans of simplicity we decided on our priorities for the app: simple, fast and easy to use with a few flexible options to choose from.

You may notice that the moodboard I shared a few weeks ago doesn’t fully represent supaReada anymore. This project was a good example of how things can change as you are working on them. Just because you have a certain vision in the beginning doesn’t mean it is the best one to follow through with. Although the logo as it is now was developed quite early on the icons and colours changes numerous times. In the end we came back to our core principal for app, simplicity, and scaled back the colour wheel.

Since it is just a two person team working on this there is no desktop version of the app and, at least for the time being, it is only available for android phones. I like to think of it as the perfect app for the on-the-go person who occasionally follows a few feeds while commuting via public transit.

Have you noticed how many apps now ask for your permission to access like 10 different random things on your phone, including private things such as your call history? That ain’t cool. With security and privacy becoming a bigger concern for people we made sure that supaReada is as uninvasive as possible. You don’t need to make an account and the only permissions required are internet access (to fetch blogs) and phone store permission (to store your feed).

Although we love simplicity we are also fans of customizing. We added a few settings you can play with, such as show/hide images, show/hide timestamp, shortened vs full excepts and on/off auto-refresh on start-up. Additional useful features include copy Url, sharing via social media, viewing post in browser, easily add/delete feeds and import your feed list (OPML). We also offer the app in english, german, serbian and croatian. It’s a little obscure but we want to make it accessible to everyone, even non-english speaking folk and are hoping to further grow the language library.

We want this app to be as awesome and useful as possible. We’d super appericiate it if you downloaded the app and gave it a spin. While we are not actually supa-heros we would love to hear your opinion, suggestions, feedback or issues and see how we can improve your experience.

You can download the app in the playstore here.

Happy reading :)

supaReada. Simple, fast and easy feed reader for android. Designed by Alicia Carvalho, Developed by Print and Pixel |

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November 20, 2013

coffee collab

Sailor's Coffee. A Collaboration between The Artful Desperado and Alicia Carvalho |

A few weeks ago my twitter friend Gabriel (creative treasure hunter behind the colourful blog The Artful Desperado) asked me if I wanted to contribute some typography to a project he was working on. Before even knowing the details I was excited. What I’ve learnt about freelancing is that you become somewhat of a hermit – you live, work, eat and sleep in this little bubble called your home and soon start longing for human connections (but more on that another time).

Gabriel is an up-and-coming food stylist and I have admired his work for quite some time now. The Canadian food and lifestyle magazine Acquired Taste invited him to be part of the #TheCoffeeProject – a curated collection of photographs showcasing the art of drinking coffee. Looking to spice things up Gabriel asked me if I’d like to add some typographic flare to his contribution.

After many ideas we decided to feature three coffee recipes; a simple cortado for your every day caffeine needs, a triple dark for your sweet cravings with a twist, and finally, a sailors coffee, spiked with a little rum. Each image features the awesome styling and recipe by Gabriel, accompanied by some coffee typography by me.

It was great to get off the computer and get my hands dirty with some grounded up coffee. I’ve been experimenting a lot with watercolour lately so it was only natural that one of the recipes would feature some instant coffee + water type. It was also such an awesome experience working with a fellow creative. I’m already dreaming up new projects to collaborate on and can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

To get the full recipe head on over to The Artful Desperado

The Cortado. A Collaboration between The Artful Desperado and Alicia Carvalho | The Triple Chocolate. A Collaboration between The Artful Desperado and Alicia Carvalho |

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November 8, 2013

flight tags

Neil Stevens Flight Tag Posters: Stockholm |

Earlier this year I came across Neil Stevens minimalistic poster series inspired by old airline luggage tags. The fact that I still think of them and reference them in project moodboards (see here) just goes to show how much I love them. Each poster displays beautiful typography featuring the iconic three-letter abbreviations of various cities. The colour schemes are simple and the designs are full of little unique icon and typography details. By avoiding logos Neil Stevens has transformed these luggage tags into bold graphic posters.

He  also sells a limited edition in his online shop. I may need to grab one if I travel to any of the cities available for purchase as a little souvenir. I love buying souvenirs however the tourist shops are always so full of cheesy and cheap-looking merchandise. I am starting to seek out local art when visiting new cities, avoiding the usual tourist merchandise, or even deciding to purchase something special such as these posters after returning home.

See below my selection of cities I hope to visit in the near future :)

Neil Stevens Flight Tag Posters |

Neil Stevens Flight Tag Posters: San Francisco |

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October 26, 2013

sneak-peak | holiday packaging

Escents Aromatherapy 2014 Holiday Collection |

Although I may have quit my full time design job at Escents Aromatherapy earlier this year to pursue my freelance career that didn’t mean I stopped working with them. I’ve remained with them on a contract basis, continuing as the lead designer on monthly promotions, designing all marketing materials for the retail locations, the online store and social media.

In July when everyone was eating popsicles, going for sunny bike rides or sun-bathing I was inside sketching snowflakes and coming up with the concept for the Escents 2014 Holiday Collection. It’s pretty funny how in the world of product design you have to create all products months in advance, when it feels completely out of place. The products are now finally in stores (also available online) and I can show them off! It was pretty exciting to take on the lead of art directing this little collection of five pieces.

I have yet to get my hands on the products to take some photos, but here is a little sneak peak. I hope you enjoy it and aren’t already as tired of snowflake designs as I am!

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October 12, 2013

life with lipstick on

Life with Lipstick on. Blog design by Alicia Carvalho |

A few weeks ago I wrapped up a blog design for Kacee. In search for a new creative outlet Kacee founded Life with Lipstick on – a personal blog for all things fashion and beauty. Kacee focuses on creating all original content and is constantly sharing colourful and lively style posts.

When Kacee approached me about the design for her blog she already had a logo in place – a chic serif type combined with playful hand written elements. This was an interesting change since usually I create all elements for new brands or work with already fully established companies. After filling out the creative brief with Kacee and creating this moodboard with her, I had to make sure to keep referencing the logo when I was creating elements for her blog.

If you are looking for a designer for some branding work feel free to give me a shout at

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October 3, 2013

motion theater

geometric design by Caroline Grohs for Motion Theater |

I’m not sure what it is about dance and ballet but it absolutely fasinates me. In the past I have often used ballet posters and photoshoots as inspiration for other projects I am working on (such as this one). I came across the branding Caroline Grohs did for the Motion Theater the other day and was immediately in love. I love the way she tackled the overall brand, how the logo wraps and modifies along with the dancers in an elegant and dynamic way. Even the type interacts with the dancers and manages to really draw in the reader. It also reminded me of Stefan Sagmeister’s branding project a few years ago for Casa da Musica in Porto.

Ballet and Dance Posters for Motion Theater by Caroline Grohs |

Be sure to check out the rest of the materials Caroline Grohs designed for Motion Theater on her portfolio. If you enjoy dance and ballet take a few minutes to watch this little video made for the The Australian Ballet (it still gives me the chills). I also highly recommend watching First Position and Pina on Netflix.

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October 2, 2013

fake it | designervaca


I was having a really hard time focusing on work yesterday. I just got back from designervaca, a design retreat in Palm Springs. The retreat was set up as part vacation, part soaking up some sun by the pool, and part seminar, with a few creative panels throughout the day on a variety of design and freelance related topics. To be honest my head is still spinning from all the networking I felt the pressure to do, not to mention all of the resources and information I picked up while there.

For a while now, I’ve felt a little lost; like I am not sure what I am doing. On one hand, I’m impressed with myself for how much I’ve grown and how much I’ve learnt in the past year, but at the same time I still have so many questions and insecurities. That being said, it was really great talking to all these like-minded ladies and realizing that we all have similar struggles no matter what stage of our career we are at.

I think one of the most valuable things I learned (as echoed by this vedahouse post) was that we’re all faking it to make it. There was a general feeling of relief especially on my end to know that I’m not alone in feeling like this. It’s an important reminder to know that, although I may not know where I am going, I do know that I am heading in the right direction.

I have more tid bits of the weekend I’d like to share but I think I will split it up into a few little posts throughout the next few weeks. I think I may start sharing more “advice” or “things I have learned” kind of posts relating to design and freelance (I’ve decided to go with the name “Freelance Life). I often find myself enjoying these sort of columns on some of the other blogs I follow. I can either relate to them or learn from them and I’d like to give my readers that same opportunity.

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September 17, 2013

eau de parfum


I’m finally getting around to sharing some new work! The project had a very short deadline and had to come together very quickly. It meant a lot to me since 10% of the profits of this eau de parfum are donated to a safe house here in Vancouver, which helps women recover who have been caught in the human trafficking trade.

It was also a special project since I got to work on the whole campaign this time; from the labels on the bottles to the way they were displayed in stores and the whole marketing strategy behind the product. Stay tuned as I share more details on the marketing side of the campaign (which was inspired by this moodboard).

In case you are wondering, yes, the perfumes smell amazing. Grace is my favourite with its musky Cedarwood and fresh Lily scent. Hope is also pretty delicious with a scent combination of sweet Vanilla and citrusy Bergamot.

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September 13, 2013


Underwearables Soap Packaging | www.alicia-carvalho.comI’ve been a fan of danish Underwearables soap packaging for quite a while. I recently came across more of their beautifully patterned soaps and felt instantly inspired and in love. While I am a huge fan of colour I do also have a very big soft spot for some good looking black and white designs. Underwearables patterns are so raw and perfectly imperfect with that hand crafted illustration style. The bold graphic patterns are perfectly contrasted by the delicate type treatment on the minimalistic white wrap-around label.

Inspired by Underwearables Packaging |

Inspired by that first dotted and bean-shaped pattern up above I created a little inspirational mood board. Keep scrolling to see more of underwearables awesome packaging. Make sure to check out their website too. It’s clean and simple just like their products.

Underwearables Packaging |

I’ve been working on a lot of christmas themed packaging lately. I look forward to sharing it all once it launches in a few months. It’s always weird drawing snowflakes in the middle of summer…

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September 6, 2013

f. scott fitzgerald

F Scott Fitzgerald |

It feels weird sitting at my desk while it rains outside and I can hear thunder in the distance, when just a few days ago I was in the sun, swimming in the salty Adriatic sea. Although it always feels good to come home, I do prefer the sun over anything else.

Earlier this morning I came across the typeface Dense. I’m a sucker for new free typefaces, especially if they are skinny and condensed – my favourite. It’s only the beginning of September but it’s feeling an awful lot like October. I thought I’d lift my grey spirits a little and make a quick little graphic with my new typeface.

Hope the sun is shining outside your office :)

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May 1, 2013

lotta nieminen


I’ve been noticing Lotta Nieminen’s name pop up a lot so I cruised over to check out her portfolio. She’s an award-winning Graphic Designer originally from Helsinki but now living in NY creating beautiful designs and illustrations. I stumbled across this ad for the Union Pearson Express Lotta Nieminen illustrated and felt it was fitting to share, seeing as how I’m heading to Toronto myself in less then two weeks. Too bad the new rail service isn’t up and running quite yet…

Last Christmas we visited CN Tower and this time we’re probably checking out the Art Gallery of Ontario. Any suggestions what else we should visit? Any extra yummy food places? I’d love to hear from anyone who lives in Toronto or has been there before!

Speaking of short travels I happened to come across this great little site called 12hrs via miss moss which is a quick non-touristy travel guide highlighting a few spots across various cities with a simple 12 hr itinerary. Too bad they don’t have a Toronto one yet!

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April 24, 2013

kelly osbourne

Kelly Osbourne Colourized |

This past weekend I was lucky enough to intern for Blogshop Vancouver. I’m a huge fan of Angela Kohler magical photography and an avid follower of Bri’s blog Designlovefest. I was beyond excited to meet these lovely ladies. Blogshop is a two day Photoshop workshop with a focus on blogging. Since 2011 it’s been travelling to cities all across the world, teaching sold out classes and spreading creativity one student at a time. It covers the basics of photoshop and teaches you all the little tips and tricks of how to make your blog more you.

I’ll be honest that I personally don’t use Photoshop much anymore, except for minimal photo editing and cropping products/people out of backgrounds. This class however made me fall in love with Photoshop all over again. It’s like I forgot how to have fun with Photoshop. The class was really inspiring (and obviously colourful) and I really enjoyed helping all the students out. There’s something so rewarding about teaching people something they are going to love as much as you do. You can’t help but smile when the whole class goes “Ohhhh…Ahhhh” after you’ve showed them some cool little trick as though it was magic.

To celebrate my newfound love for Photoshop I made this fun little graphic of Kelly Osbourne. I don’t follow celeberties at all but I stumbled across Kelly Osbourne’s profile on The Coveteur earlier today and was kind of blown away. The Kelly Osbourne I remembered,  though beautiful, was chubby and a total punk. I’m kind of in love with her hair and pants and figured this would be the perfect way to have some Photoshop fun.

Kelly Osbourne |

I’m still running on Photoshop CS4 and realized how behind I am over the weekend. All students were using Photoshop CS6, which has a bunch of extra features I didn’t even know about. I’m also contemplating getting a tablet. I love hand rendered type and illustrations and it’s just impossible to do with a mouse. I’ve had a tablet before and never really got into it, however I feel pretty good about giving it another go. Do you guys use tablets?

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April 20, 2013

rika magazine

Rika Magazine

I got really excited when I came across Rika Magazine. It’s a bi-annual magazine based out of Amsterdam focusing on fashion, photography and models, with a slight bohemian edge.

Ex model, stylist, fashion designer and ultra entrepreneur, Ulrika Lundgren and Jacob Wildschiødtz, design director of LOVE magazine, fused their talent and vision creating Rika Magazine. Each issue features fearless, strong and non conformist women in the arts. “Rika looks at women as muses, creators, fighters and lovers in the fields. Each issue picks a theme, which is freely reinterpreted by an array of established and up-and-coming contributors.” Some of those contributors have included Helena Christiansen, Anton Corbijn, Yoko Ono and Milla Jovovich.

Rika Magazine Layout
Rika features a ton of eccentric, yet sleek and sexy type, including a custom typeface and plenty of display faces which change with each issue. The type is accompanied by splashes of lively watercolour and hand rendered elements, giving it that personal journal feel. To emphasize Rika’s diverse inspirations and collections each issue is accompanied by various covers. I am a huge fan of editorial design.

I love bring together type and photography with textual elements in dynamic layouts. Rika is like icing on the cake, the perfect blend between smarts, beauty and edginess in both content and style.
Rika Magazine Covers & Typeography

Unfortunately Rika Magazine doesn’t seem to be available online. While for sale in a number of stores throughout Europe it has yet to reach Canada. I will keep enjoying the beautiful spreads online and keep my eyes open for a chance to get a printed copy. Apparently Barnes & Nobels carry Rika so I will need to hunt a copy down on my text Seattle trip.

Rika Magazine Covers

What are some of your favourite magazines? Do you have any online or print subscriptions?

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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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March 13, 2013

wire typography

I noticed this beautiful alphabet by Dan Hoopert popping up on a few blogs last week and had to post it myself. So very airy, light and delicate. I love all the different dynamic lines that are created within the letterforms, each has their own little intricate geometric pattern. It almost makes me think of something architecture related, like a blueprint for a bridge.

Dan Hoopert Typography

I could totally see a few of these letters spell out some short word on a nice living room wall. What word would you spell out?

Dan Hoopert Letters

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March 7, 2013

pantone emerald

I was reading an article about the history of pantone and how the whole concept of creating a universal colour system even came to be. Fun little read on The New York Times website.

The article also talks about how pantone decides what the pantone of the year is going to be. Lisa Herbert, daughter of the pantone founder, explains: “We travel the world and shop the trade shows and look at awards shows and what’s coming down the runway. We also track the sales of our swatches to designers — so we know about the popularity of the colors.”

Pantone of 2013: Emerald 17-5641

Emerald 17-5641 is the winner for 2013; elegant, radiant and harmonious.  Although not an exact match it gets pretty close to that light minty colour we have all been seeing so much of lately (including my recently re-design business cards). In celebration of this years pantone I cruised through Etsy and picked out a few of my favourites (you can shop the links below).

Emerald Etsy Picks

elephant pillow | studded earrings | ceramic bowl

If your craving a little something yummy check out these edible pantone tarts, what delicious tart-topping would emerald be? Maybe something minty?

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March 2, 2013

la vittoria

La Vittoria hosts anual gourmet gala events to raise money for various charities. For the past four years lg2boutique has been taking over the design, creating invitations, menus, program books and translating the design to chef aprons and more.

La Vittoria Event branding |

I came across the design of the 2012 event, hosted at the Ritz Carlton Hotel and was blown away. The diamond shape plays an important role in the Ritz decorations so it was used as a base for the branding and carried throughout all the elements so perfectly.

La Vittoria booklet design |

I love the Jessica Hische Daily Drop Cap like letters and the way they’ve been incorporated into the foldout, apron and little, delicate and elegant patterns.

beautifully designed Drop Caps for La Vittoria |

Design details for La Vittoria |

The use of typography in this is perfect. Not scared to go big with the Bodoni it’s clean, yet bold giving the pages a really prestigious presence. The colours also feel spot-on, delicate and delicious, reminiscent of an italian gelato parlour.

Cover Design details for La Vittoria |

Pattern and layout details for La Vittoria |

I am so in love with the usage of the diamond shape throughout the pages. Make sure to check out the work lg2boutique did for La Vittoria in previous years, as it is also branding design at it’s finest.

Layout for La Vittoria Booklet |

post via ID by David Airey.

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March 14, 2012

featured: wine labels

I’m excited to say that The Dieline has featured my wine bottle label designs. It was a school project from when I was attending the Art Institute of Vancouver. You can read and view more about it on my portfolio.

Featured on the Dieline | Tools Wine Label Design by Alicia Carvalho

The concept design is for a Vineyard by the name of 31º, who wanted to attract a new target audience; young men in their early twenties. A sexual theme was used in a discreet and subtle way. Sex is respresented through three red wines: Nailed, Screwed and Drilled. 31º Vineyard explores the widest possible technical palette, using both ancestral and ultra modern techniques in the creation of their wine. By breaking away from the orthodox ways, it creates an extraordinary experience in the creation and the pleasure of savoring the wine.

The typography on the labels was inspired by the Dada style, implying the rejection of logic and values by going with your senses and exploring casual sex. Therefore, the wine is foremost a sensual experience, not an intellectual one. Big typography is spread onto the labels, both horizontal and vertically using big, bold sans-serifs and modern typefaces to create freedom of expression; the unexpected. To compliment the design cut-out photographs of the tools are laid out onto the type.

Dada Inspired Wine Label Design by Alicia Carvalho

I gotta say it was a pretty tricky project and concept to explore. I always feel nervous showing it during interviews; some clients think it’s awesome, whereas others give me weird looks due to it’s very sexual concept and carefully listen as I explain.

Originally the wine bottles where packaged in a bag made out of condom packages, which where spray painted in bright yellow colours (inspired by Safe Sax). After being displayed in the schools hallway for a few days I was asked to take it home because it sent mixed/wrong messages (aka get wasted and get laid). Additionally someone had ripped one of the condoms off. Better to be safe then sorry and have protected sex, however destroying someone’s artwork is not a cool move.

Typography Wine Label Design by Alicia Carvalho

I apologize if I offend anyone with these wine labels and hope you enjoy and appreciate it’s play on words and thought-out concept.

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February 27, 2012

dogs as typefaces

Dogs as Typefaces

Love this poster found on Miss Swiss Blog. Dog and typefaces, does it get any better?!

Image one

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February 24, 2012

paris vs ny

Love these simplistic Paris vs New York illustrations I came across on society 6.

Paris vs Ny Illustrations

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February 4, 2012


Delicious Dessert Design by Alicia Carvalho

I’m currently working on a identity and portfolio site for miss Audrey. Audrey is my roommates gf, she’s a super cute girl who bakes super yummy cakes. Here’s a preview of what yummy designs I’ve been creating, her website will be up in a few days.

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