Eyes on the Prize

I won a prize, can you flipping believe it?!

Thursday afternoon was the long awaited International Greetings prize giving. Super exciting stuff, and really kind actually, to give out prizes to students just because of a live brief, they could have easily not, which is just really amazing of the IG team and Sarah Barker.

With 5 big prizes and 5 smaller prizes to give away, I was excited to see who would win the internships, and quite curious as to what the smaller prizes were and what new ones had been brought in for our year. So the time came for the prize giving and I was nervous for everyone. I’d walked around our room and had seen what had been created for IG, It was all pretty greate and all really different. And the people who won the prizes, well their work was so good and they truly deserved it.

And that’s where I come in. I will be honest. I can’t believe I won the prize for trend development. I always kind of thought my trend choosing was one of my weak points, but I guess that’s changed with third year because I’ve chosen two trends this year and I’ve loved both. And IG liked my trend just as much as I did, which has just given me a confidence boost with my current collection. I’m so happy!

Thank you Sarah and the IG Team.


Things Can Only Get Better

My presentation with Marie and Keireine went really well. From what I can remember (post-presentation mind fog had descended). I spoke clearly about my collection and used up the whole five minutes (though I was glad when it ended). I would have said more, but when that timer goes off, all thoughts of what I was about to say next vanished, its the strangest thing.

My display was set out really well, even if I do say so myself, I made sure that entering I used that was part of my collection, matched well, like the mesh memo board I used to click all my products too.

Keriene has mentioned before that I didn’t experiment enough to begin with, mainly because I kept having a lot of happy accidents, but I’ve tried to think about, and show, different ways I add colour into my wrapping paper, or on my sheet wrap how I could add another layer of designs; all of which are laid out in my sketchbook. I just have to make sure during the next project, I experiment as much as I can (which doesn’t seem like a difficult thought at the moment because I have barley an idea).

One thing that was pretty clear from my feedback was that I still need to work on my gift bow. That blasted thing just doesn’t have the same feeling as the rest of my collection, its too pretty, or as Paige would say ‘its too hipster’.

So how do I make a bow that’s not pretty, or hipster, matches with my collection really well and isn’t something I want to throw at the wall?

At the moment, literally as I’m typing, I’m in the process of making metal bows. I’ve made a few bow ties with metal or out of metal, now I’m doing something thats not a bow tie at all, but is metal and well it’ll stop me from going crazy (which is why I’ve taken a break from the bows to blog).

I have a good feeling about the bow I’m making, maybe because its not actually a bow, just something a bit unusual. And maybe its because I get to play with metal and superglue in the hopes of making mesh. Thats always fun. It also involves a weaving, kind of, which is also fun, and relaxing, but more to come on the bows later.

Back to my feedback; I was really pleased with the overall comments; both Marie and Keireine liked my collection, and where really positive about what I’ve made, which was just really amazing to hear. I’ve really enjoyed this project so it hasn’t really felt like work work (except the bow), its been enjoyable work and I’m glad to see that is not all be for nothing. *happy dance*

Eye In The Envelope

The next task on the agenda was to make an envelope to go with my greetings card.

Originally, I wanted to have a black envelope so that it would really match up to the card, but then after speaking to Keireine, I realised that while the envelope was just an add on to the card, the design of the envelope could be something that elevated the design of the card. Also that a black envelope is really unpractical, and the the post office doesn’t like having addressed write in white ink.

The envelope could be something subtle so that when the card is revealed it would be a wow moment, which is kind of what I wanted.  I also wanted my envelope to mask the brightness which is inside the card, which is why I decided I didn’t want yellow on my envelope because in my experience, envelopes do tend to match, and I didn’t want to give any clue about the bright yellow colour pop that goes inside.

That was my original motivation for a black envelope, so that when looked at, no one would realise that the card contains a bright yellow centre!

However; to match up with both my collection and my card, and with some tips from Keireine, I decided on a grey envelope. This works nicely with the black and white design of my card and also with my two wrapping papers, which are both mainly monotone.  With the colour of my envelope decided, I though it would be too easy, and a bit boring to have just a plain envelope, so that’s where patterns come in.

I made three different envelopes, each with a different design inside. It was then a case of choosing which envelope I wanted.


Out of the three patterns, one was on my roll wrap and the back of my gift bag so that was automatically pushed to the bottom of my chooses; it would work well but I didn’t really want to have the same designs on three different products.

The other two designs were both on my greetings card, while one was also on the handles of my gift bag; which would again, give me the same designs on three products. So the other designs, which was also on my greetings card isn’t really noticeable; its used as the background surface pattern (because I have two surface patterns on my greetings card) and as such, isn’t a design that is dominant, which pretty much puts this design at the top of my choices list.

However, after all that reasonable thought, I decided to pick the envelope design that I thought looked the best, which was the second design; the one that matched the design for the card. It just looked better and sat more coherently with the rest of the collection. All the logical arguments can be made, like in this case, but sometime you just ave to go with you instinct and choose which one you think will fit better, instead of which one would logically fit better.

The Tag In Blue

One of the suggestions that Keireine give me to think about was the fact that my tag was black, and that not everyone had white pens, meaning the tag isn’t really that practical.

With this in mind, I then started to think about how I could bring this practice element into my tag. My swing tag has two layers already, the black front with the laser cut design, and a separate film-work layer all held to other by black and blue foil ribbon.

What I needed was another layer that I could insert between these two, which would work really well with the rest of the tag, and also have a surface which is a much more practical writing area.

I tried a grey insert which I didn’t think worked very well; I also tried white but that was a bit too plain; I then experimented with a insert that was white on one side and blue foil on the other. There was just too much blue for it to be classed as a coloured pop, I think.

I left one tag with the blue foil insert, and started to experiment with another insert, a white one that had blue foil strips on it. I felt like this insert could be the one, but when I attached it to the rest of the tag, there was just still too much white. It looked really lovely on its own, but I don’t think it added anything to the tag itself.

So I was looking at these two tags with their different inserts and decide that the fully blue foiled insert was better, but when I added it onto the other tag, I noticed that when the holes lined up, the blue was hanging over the edge of the black tag, thanks to my terrible cutting/hole-punching skills. However, I actually really liked this mistake!

(I feel like half of this project has come about from mistakes and happy accidents!)

What I was left with was a thin sliver of blue foil above the top and right hand side of the black tag, and I love it. There not too much blue; it makes the black look blacker and it helps to accentuate the blue in the ribbon; it also, gives me suitable writing surface because the reverse side of the blue foil is white card!

So I glued the foil insert to the back of the black tag, making sure I had those slivers of silver and that white backing, which really just bring the tag onto another level. It also mirrors the small slivers of purple foil that I added into my roll wrapping paper. I love having small elements that are repeated in more than one project, it just helps to knit the whole collection together more.

The Sheet Wrap Dance


The design for my sheet wrap happened to be a happy accident. I was playing around with samples, layering and then bam! There was a result that I liked. A white pattern printed onto film work, with black organdie on under and white organdie over it. The result was a very tonal wrap design that was quite soft, which worked really well as a contrast to my roll wrap design.

While it was great to find a design I liked that easily, I still wanted to experiment with adding more tones, or maybe a contrasting stripe like in my roll wrap.

I used slices of film-work for thinner stripes and tape to create larger spaces, trying out a few different combination.

I experimented with closer stripes, overlapped stripes and stripes that were quite far apart.

Two of my designs had very structured lines that contrast really well with the more expressive lines of my grid design.  the other however has overlapping designs that are a bit more similar to the foreground pattern which I think makes the designs look a bit busy and doesn’t have a good as contrast of the more regimented stripes.

I think I prefer the design without the added tonal elements/stripes. I think by adding in extra elements its taking away from the simpleness of the design which compliments the business of my roll design. I like that both of the designs play off each other in both print and colours, I think this makes my collection more complex and well thought out.

Greatest American Ribbon

The idea I had for my ribbon was pretty solid. It cam from a lot of experimental printing the happened at the beginning of this project, and came from a specific sample that actually printed wrong.  I took this design and scanned it in, so that I could re-created the mistake I’d made. Not that I didn’t know how to, I had accidentally printed onto the wrong side (or maybe the right side given the results) of photo paper, so that the foil I was transferring in the heat press, stuck not only to my pattern but also to the plastic of the photo paper in a random, but beautiful pattern.

This is the design I chose to have on my ribbon; a structured grid pattern that had suddenly turned into a unpredictable mess. I loved it.

I also knew that I wanted my ribbon to be white, with orange foil, just like that original samples because, lets face it, I am obsessed with that happy accident.

There was a problem though, all the foils had been used up in a second year workshop and it was going to take while before more could be ordered in. So about two weeks later, I was still waiting on my foil, but it was ok, because my ribbon was going to look boss in the end.

With only three weeks until I/G came back for another visit I was getting a bit insane in the membrane. I wanted my ribbon done so I could check that off the list of things I needed to complete, and low and behold! The new foils arrived on Friday (or was it Thursday?). I was so excited, I rushed into the office to ask Steve for some of that beautiful orange foil, only there wasn’t any. None what so ever. To say I was crushed wouldn’t be an exaggeration. I was actually gutted, still am. I adored that orange, I’d even tried to order some from two different places while waiting for Steve’s order to come in, and neither of those came anywhere near to this colour.


I had no choice. There wasn’t enough time for me to order any more foil and have it here in time for my presentation. I had to choose another colour. One from my colour scheme. I’d used the yellow in my card, the pink on my bag, the purple on my wrap and bow, and the blue on my tag. There was only one option for me, to use the same aqua blue as I’d used on my tag, for my ribbon. Thankfully it wouldn’t look too similar, because while it’ll still be the same foil, the fabric I was printing it onto was a different colour, and I was also using a different design.

It looks good, don’t get me wrong, its a lovely looking ribbon which I finished off with white and blue overlocking, but I just isn’t the ribbon I wanted. It isn’t that beautiful deep orange that I loved so much. It does however fit in well with my collection, and ties the tag and the ribbon together in a way that the roll wrap and bow tie have been connected. It works well, but its just not that orange.

The Sounds of Greeting

My greetings card has been an ongoing mission, kind of like the five year mission on the USS Enterprise, only not quite lasting so long.

It started when I was creating my gift bag, suddenly a new design popped into my head, layers and all. I considered making another gift bag with this ideas, but since I had other things on my list that needed completing before I go off and make any extras, I decided to adapt the idea so that I could use it to create a really cool greetings card.

The idea started with two layers, one with a font pattern, the other with a grid pattern. For the gift bag I was thinking about the orange grid pattern I experimented with, but for the card, I though it would be too much colour, and not enough pop, so I turned to a grey grid pattern that I had printed, and layered this with the font pattern I created, printed not black organdie (mainly because I thought they looked better together than the grid and the font pattern on the white organdie).

Then I started thinking about what this card should look like. Its not good enough to just slap a surface pattern on a card because that shows you haven’t thought about the card itself, and while I realise I have used surface patterns on my card, I’ve also combined that with a font idea that I thought of just for this card, as well as the rest of the card compositions, e.g what card I’ll use to create it, what the inside will look like, do I have a coloured paper inside, what is my box template for the inside going to look like, what colour envelope should I make to match, etc. I have very purposely been thinking about every other aspect of this card, because I know that it needs to be designed differently from the rest of the items in my collection.

The font pattern I used in the background was a design that combines both old and new slang, typed up and printed out. I then scanned this designs back into the computer, but while doing so, I moved the paper so that the writing could get distorted, like a technical glitch or a paper jam kind of effect. This effect is one that takes its inspiration  my research into 80s digital medias. So with a pattern that was both modern and retro, and a retro distortion of that design, I decided that what the card needed now what a modern slang or phrase for the writing that would be on the front.

My collection is an everyday collection so I don’t need to have any holiday or ‘happy birthday’ on the front of my card. I did however go for a phrase, or two that could easily be used to describe an outing or celebration.

Low-key / hi-key

They are modern terms, I know because I’ve been extensive googling modern slang (and wondering what the flip someone it means, but thankfully they have description included).

Low-key is to have an event thats not announced, so a small, quite gathering that could easily be a few friends coming together for a little celebration.

Hi-key is the opposite. A large gathering or party that be announced out loud so that everyone can join in.

These are two modern definition of a way to celebrate, so even though I’ve made an everyday collection, I’m still aware that this card could used for as a birthday card, or other celebration card.

I took inspiration from one of the samples I’d made earlier on, which had bright yellow embroidery on it, I was planning to do that for this card, to have my two phrases embroidered on the front as a colour pop. But then a card I’d ordered came in the post. A plain white card with black font on the front, but with neon orange paper inside. I loved it. And so my idea for my card developed further. While I was laser cutting for my tag, I also cut out my phrases from some white photo paper so that the whole front of my card would be black and white.

I then had to think about arrangement which was was whole lot of shifting letters around, taking pictures and then starting at them and asking other people opinions on which compliments the rest of the card best.

I also wasn’t through with thinking about how I could get my colour pop into my card. And the card I got in the post really helped me along. The outside of my card is black, then inside white, and then in the very middle, I have a sheet of bright yellow paper. Hows that for a colour pop! And it will be the only colour pop with the card because I’m planning to make a black envelope with a white inside, so the yellow is proper surprise when the card gets opened. I think that a pretty cool card, if I do say so myself.

Im really happy with how my collection is coming along at the moment, I’m finding it not easy, but easier to come up with ideas and designs than I usually do. Progress.