Today we are lucky enough to have Rachel Simonsen, the creative genius behind Alethea and Ruth with us today. I know you’ll love learning about her close relationship with her sister, how she’s breathed fresh life into florals, how the Minted community helped her claim first prize in our most recent wedding invitation challenge, how she’s inspired by outfits, and what she does during the day. That’s a long-winded way of saying Rachel is truly incredible so enjoy your time with her!
Let’s start with names, How did you come up with the name Alethea and Ruth?
My sister and I started a blog under the same name, and while I’ve done all of the designing for minted thus far – she’s a huge part of where I find inspiration and is my sounding board for mid-project questions. Alethea and Ruth are our middle names.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I think since I was little and couldn’t stop drawing – even when I shouldn’t have been. I always answered the question of what do you want to be when you grow up I with something art related. Specifics ranged from interior designer to computer animator (toy story was very powerful to my small self) – I loved computers, so graphic designer was just sort of the natural progression of my passion for art.
Do you have any formal design training?
Yep – I have a BFA in graphic design
How would you describe your style?
Funky, whimsical, full of lots of color and pattern
What is your normal workflow or process like?
I’ll brain storm – talk with my sister – who is also an artist, look through sketchbooks, maybe doodle a few ideas and then start working on the computer. I start with a single illustrator document and work on a bunch of ideas at once – it gets crazy messy, but it’s all in one place and I can everything better that way. Then I edit by pulling the best parts out on separate documents and fine tune them.
How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I think it’s different every time – some designs just work right away. But on a whole for every design I finish, I have three other ideas, sometimes related – sometimes not –that don’t make it off that first ‘idea’ document. Either they weren’t strong enough, or too similar to other better designs, or I just ran out of time to work it out.
What tools, techniques, and mindsets do you find absolutely essential?
Hand drawing things first, a scanner and my wacom tablet – I love my wacom pen.
What are the easiest and the most difficult aspects of the design process?
Easiest is brainstorming – Hardest is editing.
Your flowers are awesome! Banners and Branches and Celebrate Florals are amazing. How do you go about creating them??
Thanks! I’m a compulsive doodler – constantly drawing on one of my many sketchbooks / moleskins / paper stacks. And I love florals – they’re what I draw when I’m not even thinking about what I’m drawing, so I always seem to have a bunch of ideas to start with when it comes to flowers. I have a few illustrator documents of wacom tablet drawn flowers that started in my sketchbook. I’ll pull those up when I’m working on an invite that needs flowers.