We’ve got a very hip force with us today: Brooklyn’s own Hello Hailey, below with her beloved cat Mucha last Halloween. (Psst… Minted offers Halloween Cards now!) Hailey is a multi-faceted designer, comfortable with anything from designing card typography to painting book illustrations to creating web pages. If I had one word to describe her work it would be happy! All of her designs are so full of life and have such a lightness to them. Read on to find out what her favorite day planner, dessert, and (of course) blogs are!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
When I was a kid, I was always drawing, painting, and coming up with all sorts of creative projects. As I got closer to college, it certainly seamed like an appealing option to choose ‘artist’ as my future career, but it was a tough decision (I also wanted to be a marine biologist, teacher, and musician). Graphic design never seriously crossed my radar. In fact, when I first entered college I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be a designer. I vividly remember thinking, “who wants to sit in front of a computer all day?” But when I got to college, I eventually had to make a decision between art and music. The idea of sitting in a tiny practice room for 4+ hours a day helped in my decision (slightly claustrophobic). So I went with art and thought I was going to be a teacher. As a an Art Ed major, we were required to take a variety of classes throughout the department. One of my first was Intro to Graphic Design. Unexpectedly, it was true love. Needless to say, I changed my major.
Do you have any formal design training?
Yes, I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Central Michigan University. Go Chips!
How would you describe your style?
I’ve been told my work is usually very recognizable, though I’m not sure exactly what the unifying factor is. I am always trying to evolve my work and push myself out of my comfort zone, so I think my designs span a range of styles. But usually I find my go-tos are bright, bold color palates and clean, thoughtful typography.
What is your normal workflow or process like?
It varies. Sometimes I like to sketch ideas first… the best times for sketching and brainstorming seem to be when I’m on the subway, in a waiting room, or right before bed. Sometimes I’m so excited to jump into a project that I skip the sketching altogether and start playing with ideas on the computer. I’ll start with a single idea in InDesign… and each time I think of a new way to play with that idea, I copy the last version to a new page and begin playing again. So I might have ten variations of a design within a single document, and I can look through my progress and decide if I like where it went. Bed time is often really difficult for me: this is my favorite time to think about designing. It’s almost like the darkness is the perfect canvas to let my imagination run wild. Some of my favorite designs came to me this way. Some of my most sleepless nights too.
What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
Tools: Adobe Creative Suite, Pantone Books, CSS Edit (for web design), paper and mechanical pencils.
Techniques/mindsets: I have learned to speed up my process by taking breaks from a design when it just isn’t working. Experimenting with multiple solutions and getting everything on the page before I start fussing with anything is a huge help. I can easily get caught up in details, only to realize I haven’t even finished putting all of the content on the page. At that point, the whole design changes!
Your illustrations are so fun and so full of life—how do you go about creating them?
Thank you! I love working on illustration projects – especially in watercolor. I start with thumbnails to get the composition right, and then draw a rough sketch, at size. From there I fill in the details and complete the drawing. After the client/author approves the drawing, I transfer to watercolor paper and paint the final image (my favorite part).
Do you have a favorite font?
It’s always changing… I seem to fall in love with a font, use it too much and then get tired of it. It’s a bad habit. But currently, Mrs Eaves is a big favorite. Bebas, Avenir, Futura and Bickham Script are also some of my favorite go-tos.
My favorite notebook is probably my day planner. I found it one day at this super cute stationery store in Brooklyn. It was the planner of my dreams! Really. I had this ideal of what my perfect planner would be… and when I found it, I knew it was the one. It is a red Molskin day planner, pretty sure the proportions fit ‘The Golden Ratio’, and it has the ideal page layout inside. Each week has one (perfectly-designed) page for the days of the week, and one page for general notes. I know it’s absurd to be going on about a day planner like this, but it’s just so functionally beautiful. And bonus! There’s a pocket in the back of the book that can hold business cards or receipts, and extra note pages (for my doodles and thumbnails)… and tabbed note pages as well! (Can you believe it?)
Favorite design tool?
My pencil. It is the quickest way to materialize my ideas.
I know you love ice cream. What is your fave flavor?
Ha! Oh my, yes. My boyfriend bought me an ice cream maker for my birthday a few years ago, and we’ve been experimenting with flavors ever since. One of our latest experiments was Mango ice cream… that might be my favorite. Classic chocolate is also incredible from the ice cream maker. All time favorite might be chocolate chip cookie dough. Or pistachio. Maybe Strawberry. Mint Chocolate Chip is also really good. I can’t decide… can they all be my favorite flavors?
I love your ‘Daddy Can You’ illustrations. They are so fun. How different is book illustration than stationery design? Do you enjoy it?
Thank you so much! Book illustration is definitely different than stationery design for me. It’s fun going between the two, or even combining the two. Although I love illustrating, stationery design, and working on the computer in general, is probably an easier medium for me. With painting, I often find myself about to reach for the ‘undo’ keys. The inability to start a new version with a few clicks of a mouse can mean hours of working through an illustration that might not make the cut in the end.
Did you send out a family Christmas card? If so, what was it like?
Last Christmas I repurposed a design I had submitted to the 2010 Holiday Challenge, that didn’t make the cut. It was the perfect design to feature our cat Mucha. The finishing touch was a spot gloss coating on her little Rudolph nose! (Side note: I’m crazy about our cat Mucha… I’m pretty sure she’s a dog in a cats body sometimes. She even made her way into one of the latest design challenge submission kits!! I couldn’t be prouder.)
Tell us about one of your favorite cards offered for sale on Minted and how you came up with the design.
My favorite design would have to be ‘Painted Leaves‘ Save the Date Card design. Creating that design was a lot of fun. I made puddles of watercolor on a big sheet of paper, and blew them around with a straw to create different effects and color combinations. I was really happy with how the overall design came out – and it’s probably a good example of my overall style: clean and simple – but a little unexpected.
I really love your ‘two crane‘ wedding invitations. Was it hard to draw the cranes?
Thank you! It was a definitely a challenge to draw the cranes, but also a good puzzle. I ended up creating the basic shapes of each crane and then piecing them together to fit the arrangement I had in mind. My favorite aspect of the finished set is the way the crane illustrations carry through each piece.
What was your favorite Minted design challenge and why?
I suppose the holiday challenges are my favorite. I love the holidays, and I’ll take any excuse to put on some Bing Crosby in the middle of May. It’s also amazing to see the the number of submissions that come in for this challenge – and the gorgeous solutions designers dream up. It’s an inspiring challenge for sure.
How does living in Brooklyn influence your design?
I feel like I’m always taking note of things… the tile work in the subways, graffiti on trucks and barriers, flea markets, signage, architecture, the simple organization of tiny spaces, and of course the work of so many artists living and working in Brooklyn.
It’s inspiring, encouraging and energizing.
Moving to Brooklyn has also provided me the opportunity to work with a lot of exciting and seriously passionate independent start-ups and organizations. I’ve had the privilege of working with NYC-based, Maya’s Hope – a child sponsorship and aid program, on a range of projects. Working so closely with an organization to communicate some of the most important messages that will ever pass through my hands is rewarding, humbling and a whole new type of design responsibility. The experience is a continuous exercise in harnessing the strength of design to develop the most effective communications possible.
What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?
I’m originally from Metro Detroit. It’s a great place to grow up. Going to the apple orchard in the fall is quite possibly my favorite thing to do in Michigan. There are beautiful orchards just a short drive outside of the Metro area. Detroit is also a good place to visit. It’s a unique area with a unique history. The ‘People Mover’ is Detroit’s version of an above ground subway (on a super small scale) and it runs on a circular track around the heart of the city. A few years ago, my dad and I rode it around seven times in a row just to take in all of the old architecture. There are so many beautiful buildings downtown – my favorite being the Art Deco style buildings, with gorgeous tiled murals lining their interiors. There are a ton of attractions and fun things to do in and around Detroit – the Detroit Institute of Arts has an impressive art collection, including two huge wall murals painted by Diego Rivera. There’s also the Motown Museum, Detroit Symphony Orchestra (no longer on strike!), the Heidelberg Project, lots of small independent art galleries and studios, Fox Theatre, Pewabic Pottery, street fairs, concerts, Lions, Tiger, and Red Wings games, and ice skating at Campus Martius Park in the center of the city (my favorite)!
Where do you go for design inspiration?
Everywhere! Just about everything is a source for inspiration. I carry mini notebooks around with me in my purse, so I can jot things down as I see them. I often look to other designers for inspiration, especially in the way they approach a particular challenge. Whether it’s a magazine layout, website design, or business cards – unique and functional approaches to classic pieces really resonate with me.
What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
I am a huge fan of Design*Sponge – Thursday ‘Before & Afters’ are my favorite. Green Wedding Shoes – a lot of out-of-the box approaches to design. Also: Oh Joy!, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Mint, Colossal Art & Design, Freelanceswitch and Designspiration.
(Above, Hailey’s web design for Oxyjen.)
What designers do you really admire?
There are so many. MANY are Minted designers. I’ve grown so much since my first Minted design challenge – in large part because of what I have learned from my fellow Minties. I am so grateful for the entire Minted community. Other designers I admire include: Shepard Fairey, Alphonse Mucha (the inspiration for our cat’s name), Saul Bass, Orla Kiely, The Silent Giants, Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., and the list goes on…
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