I’ve got the perfect anecdote to the craziness of the holiday season; a very fun interview today with Lauren from Palm Papers! Lauren shares how she recently found her passion and made a big career switch, as well as dishes on letterpressing, wedding logos, and being an Apple convert.
How does an accountant become a stationery designer?
I was always creative growing up, but never thought much about an artistic career. When I went to college (at Texas A&M University), I thought the business school was the best place to figure out what I wanted to do. I was leaning towards a Marketing degree, but when it was time to choose a major, accountants were in high demand and I actually ‘got’ the whole accounting thing (and nerd alert: I kind of enjoyed it), so I went that route. After 5 years of school, I graduated with my masters, got my CPA license and started working for an oil & gas company.
When my husband and I got engaged, even though people thought I was crazy, I decided to take a stab at designing my own wedding invitations. From there, I designed for some friends and opened an etsy shop, but it wasn’t until I started designing for Minted that it become much more than just a hobby. I have really found my passion and can’t believe how my life has changed in the past 2 years. I learned so much and just transitioned into designing full time. In November, Palm Papers became a full-time invitation studio!
How would you describe your style?
I would probably describe my style as simple and elegant. I definitely have a ‘less is more’ mentality when it comes to my style in general, so I definitely see that in my designs.
What is your normal workflow or process like?
I usually start with a specific concept or idea, but since I suck at sketching, my notebook is more jotted notes than drawings. I really spend most of my time on the computer, working with ideas and playing around with different concepts. I am the opposite of Kristen Smith and Rachel of Althea and Ruth. Instead of having a lot of designs in one file, every concept gets their own file. It get’s a little out of control sometimes, but it works for me!
How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
It definitely depends. Sometimes designs are instant and are never changed. Some designs I am never really done making changes, and that’s when the challenge’s critique phase comes in handy. I wish I could have that on every project that I did.
What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
My favorite tool is my new iMac. It took me a little while to bite the bullet, but I’m officially on Team Mac now. (and I am sure I’ll never go back) As far as mindset goes, I go through times when I feel really uncreative, and I can get easily frustrated. With a full time job and limited time, I always want to be creating when I have the time to sit down at my computer. I feel like I need to always be achieving something. I’m learning to shift gears to work on the business side of things or just take a break from the computer completely. I’m a work in progress.
What are the easiest and the most difficult aspects of the design process?
The easiest part for me is visualizing the design or concept. I have a lot of ideas in my head, but it’s the execution that isn’t always easy. Being self-taught, there are so many techniques that I want to learn, so it’s a little frustrating sometimes figuring those things out. I love the thread that Megan (of Inkblot Paper) started on the forum, for everyone to put their favorite tools or tips. Those little things really do change your life!
I know you recently have gotten into letterpressing. What would you say are the best and worse parts about letterpressing as compared to flat printing from the design perspective?
Yes. This summer when I was in Chicago, fellow Mintie, Kimberly of Sip Studios, invited me to her studio and taught me about printing on her Vandercook press. Learning about the prep and printing in this environment was so fun and Kimberly couldn’t have been sweeter or more generous with her time. But one thing I took away from it is that it is a LOT of work! I have a huge respect for printers – because it really is an art form.
The best part is obviously the gorgeous finished product. To me letterpress is the most beautiful form of printing. I think that the hardest part is learning what works and doesn’t work with each style of printing. With each design, I’m learning more and have been lucky to work with printers who have been willing to teach me with each project.
How did you hear about minted?
I just stumbled upon Minted via a blog and was instantly hooked. I just watched for a while before feeling brave enough to submit. I am so glad I did, because I really credit the challenges and the other designers for what I’ve learned and the success I’ve had. The biggest validation for me was learning that so many of my favorite designers, like Amy Ehman of Design Lotus, were self-taught as well. I just assumed everyone had a design degree, and learning that gave me a boost of confidence that I didn’t need that to be good designer.
Favorite design for sale on minted and why you like it?
I think Palm is my favorite, because it is exactly the feeling I wanted to have for my wedding.
Beachy elegance. If I could go back, I would probably send it myself.
Favorite design challenge to date?
I love designing photo cards, so my favorite challenge is the holiday cards. The competition is tough for those but I could design them all day. Also, it pretty much allows you to be in Christmas mode most of the year, which I can’t help but enjoy.
You just completely excelled at the international challenge… Any guesses as to why that might be?!
I don’t know! I almost didn’t participate in the challenge, but I had the idea for ‘Henna’ and did a little research on Diwali and then I just enjoyed learning about the different celebrations and was inspired to design for each. I definitely used some brighter colors than normal… I tend to use a more muted color palette, so it was a nice change, and one I should probably try more of.
Your Vintage Carriage design is a personal favorite. I fantasize about having an actual pram just like the one pictured!
Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with the design? Did you come up with “Vintage Corset” (which is a personal favorite — I used it for a wedding shower I co-hosted over the summer, picture below) at the same time? And were they at all inspired by “Palm”? They almost seem like a series!
Thank you. I love how you used the’ Vintage Corset’ as inspiration for your whole shower. You have no idea how happy that made me. That’s exactly what I want each of my designs to do for someone’s wedding or party.
Palm was definitely the inspiration for the others. I loved the ribbon with the vintage illustration, so I tried it again for ‘Vintage Carriage’. From there, I decided to try a little series, which I hadn’t done before, and I love how they turned out. The vintage illustration makes for a more sophisticated feel then you normally see with those types of showers.
Congratulations on being married for two years! What was your wedding invite like?
The actual invitation was pretty traditional with a little shell graphic. I get asked all the time if I would do anything different if I were to design it again. The honest answer is I would use better fonts and better paper! But I still like them and am pretty impressed that I don’t mind showing people the first thing I ever designed.
What were the favorite parts of your wedding?
I loved at the end of the ceremony, my husband’s brother announced us as ‘Mr. and Mrs.’ instead of the officiant. Also, right at sunset, our photographers stole us away from the reception and we took photos alone on the beach. It was a great moment to be alone and they are photos that I was so worried I wouldn’t get because we had torrential storms the morning of the wedding. Turns out, it just made for a beautiful sunset.
A stunning sunset indeed. This photo is beyond! What do you wish you had known then that you know now about the planning process?
I actually loved the wedding planning (and good thing because we were engaged for a year and a half), and I honestly think it’s because I had a destination wedding and a good wedding planner. Having someone to work with, to ask endless questions, and to run the day, made everything relaxed and enjoyable for us.
I loved the wheat logo you did for the wedding featured on Style Me Pretty. What are your thoughts on logos for events and how they work with invitations?
Thanks! This feature was such a fun surprise because I had no idea how she ended up using it. I love this wedding because she used it on a few reception items but it wasn’t overdone.
I like logos for weddings and they can really inspire the feel for the whole event as well as the invitation. Minted has some great invitations with great monograms/logos. I love these.
Do you have any other fun suggestions besides the beer mugs, popcorn bags, and totes the bride you worked with came up with?
I love these images with little food flags and containers, napkins and drink stirs. It’s really an opportunity for brides to be unique and get creative.
What advice would you give a new designer?
Watch what designs are winning and being chosen to sell, but only to the point that you understand why it is a good design. Then just design what you LIKE. If you do that and stay original, you’ll never go wrong. The best part about Minted is that there is a place for so many different styles, so find yours and have fun.
Thanks so much for taking the time to let us get to know you better Lauren!! For all of your wanting a little more Lauren in your life, be sure to check out her awesome and frequently updated blog.
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