Posts in Design
Instagram Story Advertising Design Trends 2019
Instagram stories design trends

Instagram is a huge advertising business these days. You see ads in your stories around every 3 people you scroll through. As designers, we have to stay current on what the competition is doing and what is popular in this space. I loved over the past month and a half putting together a list of these design trends so that you can just look through and be knowledgeable about the topic! Scroll through to see what trends are happening on Instagram stories today.

Instagram advertising trends - stories

Picture with text and “See more…” / Mimicking influencers stories 

For this trend. I’ve seen so many brands throw a photo on Instagram and put paragraphs of text. It almost mimics Instagram influencer’s stories and I think that’s the point. They want it to look more organic showing up between your stories so you are more likely to swipe up. As a designer, I don’t think it’s the most aesthetically pleasing, but if it’s the most effective way, then I would consider it.

A photo with layers and simple text

Here we see a lot of brands putting high quality photos with simple text. A few even add in more of a collage element that likely looks like their other digital advertising (i.e. email marketing and website designs). This is definitely a little more appealing of a trend and I would be curious to know if it is more/less effective.


A lot of brands are using GIFs in their advertising and not just video or photo.

Simple video with no words

{Sorry for the low usability here, I am limited with-how I upload videos on Squarespace}

All of the video advertising on stories that I have seen are all just simple videos of the clothing/products the company is promoting. A.K.A there isn’t someone talking in these stories. Also, as shown in the Cult Gia advertisement, they add in multiple videos in one to maximize the time allowed in the stories by showcasing more than one product.

I would love to know if anyone has seen any other trends, or if you have any thoughts about these?! Let’s discuss in the comments below.

What I Want My Blog To Be In 2019

As I was thinking about my New Year's resolutions I tried to picture what I would want my life to look like a year from now. I thought about how I feel now, January 5th 2019, and how I want to feel sitting in the same position January 5th 2020. 

I thought about how much of a process it's been for me to learn graphic design and figure everything out by myself by reading text books (yes really I read textbooks), watching thousands of videos online, and learning through trial and error. Then I thought about how I have no role model to look up to you and to learn from. I never had a mentor or anyone that could really offer me any advice on a career path in graphic design or offer criticism on what I'm doing wrong, etc. 

I’m only 23, so I have A LOT MORE to learn, but I want to take everything I've learned so far and put that out into the world. By sharing my stories, my trials, and how I've gone through for my career so far I hope to set an example for what not to do and what to do for the people who are younger than me and are trying to build a career in graphic design. 

I want to give a shout out to two people who have really influenced me through the years. One of them being Cassie Dulworth. She has no idea who I am, but she has really shown me how to create a holistic idea of design and how to be your own boss. She has shown me to believe in myself and my style and that you can make a career out of this.

In addition of Fabulous Fete has really influenced my style and shown me that you can make a career out of what you really love. She went through trial and error to create her hadn’t lettering style and I hope to do the same with my deign.

But when I think about it, there isn't really a person out there who's showing you the ups the downs how hard it really is to go through the creative process on a daily basis. So I want to share my knowledge and everything I’ve learned so far. I hope that it will help some young designers in 2019 and you all can watch me grow and learn. So be excited for content surrounding design. design trends, and advice. Think of me as the Carrie Bradshaw of graphic design. 

DesignSarah GrossComment
What I've Learned This Year As A Graphic Designer
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Well it's actually been such a long time since I've written a blog post and it's something that I've really been missing for a while. I wanted to start off the new year with a blog post about everything I've learned about graphic design from 2018. It wasn't exactly my favorite year, but I think I've learned a lot and I'm really excited to share my knowledge with you today. Let's just get into some of the lessons that I've learned this year.

Lesson 1 

Don't be offended by other people's criticism.

I think sometimes as a designer we have the tendency to really put our heart and soul into everything that we create. We spend a really long time on something and it sort of becomes your baby. Then when you have to present this work to a team, boss, or client you can get really down on yourself if they don't hundred percent like it.

One of the main things I've learned this year is that just because I put everything I have into something or I think that it is the best version that I can be, it doesn't always mean that the other person is going to think that. Their perception is always going to be different since they're a different person than you. I think it's really important you understand that you should not take their comments as a comment on if you're a good designer or not, but as a way to help them get what they want from you. After all, design is 90% subjective, so one person can love something you do and one person and hate it. 

Lesson 2

You are not an artist you are a defender of the user.

As someone who has been an artist their entire life, I love the creative process. But, going from creating art to being a graphic designer was a complete 180.  What drew me to graphic design was being able to make everything look better, but for a purpose and as a way to support myself in the "real world". What I didn't know was really how different graphic design and art are. Art is an expression of yourself of your interpretation of the world and it's completely personal and every decision is based off of what you think. For graphic design, you have an end goal and your design work has to meet this goal. Once you once you realize that graphic design isn’t supposed to be an expression of who you are it also makes it a lot easier to not take things personally like how I mentioned in my first lesson.  

Lesson 3

You can't please everyone. 

This one I'm sure you have heard so many times just about your everyday life and not even about graphic design, but I think it's probably one of the most important lessons that I've learned this year. I always thought that I need to be able to do everything to be desirable to a company/brand. What I've learned this year is that what you really need to do is focus on the things that bring you joy and that you think are great design. I think the main reason that I figured this out is through applying to jobs. I saw that some people really loved what I was doing and some people told me I needed to fix something. However, if I listened to their advice, someone else always ended up not liking it. So either way someone didn't like what I was doing and I compromised my opinion and thought on the subject matter. The moral of the story here is to do what you think is right and if you really trust someone else's opinion and do you agree with what they said then I would go ahead and follow their advice.

Lesson 4

Design is not a competition

I’ve seen a lot of competition among designers in just my year and a half as a designer. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in trying to be better than another person and let that rule your thoughts as you are designing. However, I feel like whenever I am designing in this midset that everything tends to become a competition and I always end up feeling bad about myself. I have learned to not compete, everyone is different, so there is no point in competing. Try to see your fellow designers as a resource for you to ask questions and to get advice from, not someone who you are trying to be better than. I swear you will learn so much more in the process and come out a better designer than before.


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This Weeks Moodboard & Color Story
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This week’s moodboard comes with a full color palette. When making a moodboard, I try to have balance in the proportions of everything, but also in the colors. I worked with complementary colors (blue & orange) this week, and wanted to show you how all of these colors work together in a color palette.

All of the background illustration is by me as well! I thought it added a little more texture to the overall board. Hope you love!

x Sarah

Image Sources: Audrey, record, house, person (instagram), background photo (Luis Domingo), lettering, cans, bowl.


Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

Blogger Branding: Sivan Ayla

As some of you may know, branding is my #1 love. It really makes me happy seeing beautiful branding in the form of packaging, business cards, Pinterest pages, you name it.

In the blogger world I’ve definitely seen some people take advantage of how they brand themselves, and Sivan Alya (@sivanalya) is the queen of this. I’ve recently started following her and have been captivated by how well she has branded herself.

I wanted to break it down and talk through some of the different things she does that WORK and work really well.

Created her own tagline

Her tagline “+ Lux Unfiltered” is seen almost everywhere that Sivan is associated. Insta bio, Pinterest page, and just in the way she acts and what she posts about. She’s really made it clear that she likes to make everyday life the best it can be and she’s never going to sugar coat it. It’s an interesting take on blogger branding because you see tag-lines used with large corporations and Sivan used that practice for her brand as well. Genius!

Created her own hashtags

She’s also added her own hashtags to her Insta bio. These are very Instagram specific, but are a very interesting way to create a sort of members only club atmosphere. It sucks you in as a reader because you want to know what #sivanin60seconds is and what it means.

Customizes each platform

As you saw in my first section her tag-line includes the “+” symbol. And she uses the EVERYWHERE. On her blog branding, Pinterest page, Insta bio, etc. She takes every platform she has and tries to customize it to her branding. And the + sign is one of the main ways that she does that. It’s almost like a sub logo that she uses to let people know that it’s her brand. Her website is unique, as well as the fonts she uses, and her images she pins to Pinterest. A lot of how she presents her self on each platform is carefully thought through, so it matches her style and brand to perfection.

Keeps it consistent

This is the age of practice of branding. If it’s not consistent in your logo, fonts, colors, attitude, etc. your audience is going to get confused. It’s okay to re-brand or change things here and there, but when you do, you have to make sure it’s consistent on every single page and I think she does a great job at that.

What branding do you all admire? Let me know so I can go stalk.




Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

Fall Moodboard

Wanted to show you all a fall moodboard!

x Sarah

Image Sources:


Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

Almost Fall Moodboard

I wanted to create a moodboard this month, to offer some inspiration for the transition between summer and fall. I love how neural and warm everything in this board is, and how clean and simple each photo is individually.

The warm colors remind you of fall, while the green is a small reminder of the lusciousness of summer. I also added in pictures of more fall clothing, with some soft and comfy beige knit sweaters. I think that's what I'm most excited about for fall, being in cozy clothes and drinking tea without sweating ;)

I leave for labor day tomorrow, and thought that this was the perfect moodboard to put out right before the official end of summer. As always, this moodboard is downloadable for you to print and use for your own personal use!




Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

Opening My Etsy Shop!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day today! I have some really exciting news to share about something that I have been working from behind the scenes.

To start, I have always been a person who loves art and beautiful things, but also loves being an entrepreneur and working the business angel of things. I’ve always had my own small businesses, not even to make money, but just as a way to create & share. I’ve grown a lot since my starburst bracelet selling days (I used to sell them to people in high school – big business guys), and finally think I have enough business skills to go onto something bigger.

Today, I am finally opening an Etsy shop that I hope to keep open and grow as time goes on. For my first release, I am starting with the Botanical Collection. This collection has 5 different post card variations (3 post cards in each pack) and 2 different thank you card variations (5 cards in each pack). They are all hand drawn and one-of-a-kind!! I wanted to start with simple botanical illustrations since they are the backbone of my branding and versatile in their use. 

I love the thought of someone using one of my postcards to send to a friend who they haven't seen in awhile. Or sending a loved one a note.

Shop the collection

My reasoning for opening my Etsy shop is because I want to not only be able to create meaningful brand experiences through my design services and serve as a source for beauty, fashion, and design inspiration on my Instagram page, but also bring design into your life. So you can expect a lot more coming from my store in the coming months!

I am hoping by being able to offer high quality items in my shop, created by myself, that we can make the world a little bit more beautiful!

I cannot thank you all enough for reading my blog or just simply liking an Instagram photo, it really means the world to me that I am able to have an online platform, even if no one chose to read it.

If you would like to look at my shop here is the link!

Thank you for your endless support <3 I hope to bring a little happiness into your life.



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The Best App For Your iPad Pro If You're A Graphic Designer

One of the biggest investments I’ve made so far is my iPad pro. I’ve always been a person to paint and draw, but in today’s day & age, you need to be able to make things digital! Well, to everyone out there who is better with a pen & paper rather than digital products…

You need Procreate for your iPad pro.

Downloading Procreate is $10 and that’s all you need! There’s nothing else in the app you can buy and no annoying spamy ads.

So why is it such a great investment & why do I love using it?

You can paint & draw like paper, but it’s going digital! And that is key for me. You can draw on paper and take a photo, insert it into the app and trace over it. Then, send it to photoshop or create a JPG, PNG, or SVG file.

I also love just going digital! Like looking up inspiration images off the internet, inserting them into the app and then being able to trace, erase imperfections, and rearrange the sizing of everything. You can even imitate all different types of painting brushes, lettering brushes, textures, etc. It’s an endless supply of every art supply but all in the palm of your hand.


Sorry, getting a little too excited over here.

More ways I use the app:

Create brush pattern background textures. It’s such a great way to create high resolution images.

Add textures to mood boards

Create time lapses of me drawing to show my process {just hit the record your screen button on your ipad}


I created this little drawing of flowers to illustrate one of the ways I use this app.

Let me take you through the entire process, start to finish!

First: draw on regular paper { here are some random sketches I did in my notebook}, take a photo, & airdrop it to your iPad.

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Step 2: Open the Procreate app and insert the photo into you board.

Step 3: Choose your brush & trace over your drawings! I chose the fine tip pen, but if you look below, you can see all the categories & choices you have. **Make sure that the layer you are drawing on is a new layer overtop of the photo. 

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Step 4: Take away the photo layer and you are left with what is below!

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Step 5: Rearrange everything to the way you like it using that weird ribbon thing on the top left & the arrow tool. {video is on my instagram feed}

Step 6: Once you will end up with a final product you like, just export it however you want! For this little challenge, I downloaded it as a JPG and then airdropped it to my computer. So easy!!

why i use progreate for my ipad pro3.JPG


But if you are new to graphic design and are coming from art, this is the perfect app for you! I learned about this app from a blog post, so I thought I would write about how much I love it as well & how I use it to hopefully help someone else in return.



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My Current Moodboard

I haven't posted a moodboard in awhile, but I made this one recently to get inspired about my brand & the things that I have loved the look of for SO long! I.e the Gisou logo, tortoise shell, something navy, and the pink-y peach-y color in the corner.

It's sometimes nice to pull everything you love to look at together & to see a visual representation of your style & I feel like that is what this moodboard does!

It's a more fall-inspired moodboard though, so expect to see things related to this board stating in sept/oct. 

Hope this gives you a little inspiration for the coming months :)



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How I Taught Myself Graphic Design

It makes me SO extremely happy to say that I am now a Junior Graphic Designer for SpotX {my day job} and I can finally write this post!!!

Most of you probably don’t know that Graphic Design was not my major, I was a Marketing Major. Which is such a great degree to get, but something that I was never super passionate about. I realized I should’ve done graphic design around Junior year of college, but alas, it was too late to change majors and still graduate…and this is where my journey of starting to teach myself design started!

I wanted to share this on the blog today bc sometimes life doesn’t work out perfectly and you gotta work hard and figure out yourself how to reach your goals. So, if any of you out there want to learn graphic design yourself,  I’m listing below how I taught myself everything I know!

I kinda did all these things over a period of 3 years & it’s definitely been a slow progressions bc I was so used to just drawing or painting, and learning to put it online & how to translate it into print has been a huge learning curve.

Learning Adobe programs:

Well to be a graphic designer this is pretty much the main skill you need & that is on every job application. The first program I ever learned was Photoshop & it was the weirdest thing when I first opened it. But now I would say I am extremely proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign, but also have a lot to learn (there are an infinite amount of things to learn in all these programs)

But how do I get to this point?

1.     My first experiences with these programs were in college. I took 2 classes in college to learn about the Adobe programs. Which I highly recommend. It gives you a general overview and jumping off point to work with.

2.     I also learned a lot on my own though. My college had a subscription to which is an online learning resource. This had sooo many online courses to take with video after video of how to learn each program. Each one was around 5 hours each….I finished a few and quit some after a few videos, but still learned so much. Side note: later on I found a different online place that is a lot cheaper called Skill Share (which I recommend, but they don’t have courses). But ask your teachers or google your college and online learning because most colleges have this resource.

3.     I would say I learned the most though by just giving myself fake projects & being in each program. By just trying new things, clicking on buttons, & playing around, I learned the most. If I was trying to complete a project and couldn’t figure something out, I would youtube or google it and try to figure it out.

Takes countless hours of makes errors and figuring out what each button and slider means to really be able to make what you want in each program.

Learning Design

I didn’t make this title “Graphic Design” for a reason. Design is all the same principles/values. It doesn’t matter if you are an artist, graphic designer, interior designer, space designer; it all comes from the same basic principles of balance, harmony, contrast, texture, etc.

But how do you learn such a skill?

The main thing I did was READ A LOT OF BOOKS.

Like I read actual graphic design text books. This really helps you learn the basic principles of design like harmony, balance, space, etc. If there’s one thing you need to learn it’s these principles that you probably learned in art class in high school. It gives you information about layout type composition etc. Which I’m assuming is what graphic designers learn in all their classes in college?? IDK!! If you are a graphic designer major please LMK.

Anyway, here are books I’ve read & books I just ordered (bc the learning never stops)


  • White Space Is Not Your Enemy
  • Graphic Design
  • The Brand Gap
  • Design – The Ground Breaking Moments
  • How To
  • Designing: An Introduction
  • The Secret Lives of Color
  • Graphic Design Thinking (Design Briefs)
  • I’ll Drink To That (not design, but a good read on following your passion & never compromising your style)

Going to Read:

  • Leadership: Best Practices and Processes for In-house creative leaders
  • In-house design in practice

I also studied  & took notes on everything in each book, which leads me to my next point:

Stay ontop of Trends & Always Be Learning bc

Your design is a compilation of every visual you see throughout your life.

Your “style” or “aesthetic” is a mix of everything you have seen that you like. Does that make sense? You see sooo much in your life, but what you look at and like is what you will make in the future & what you work will resemble.

The more different books, articles, photos, podcasts etc you look at will give your work depth and breadth because you will be able to have a wide range of styles and textures and layers to your work that aren’t just 1 style, but a mix of all of the things you like!

It’s such a hard conscept for me to explain, but that is why I read so many books!! I also look constantly at Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance, and design agency work to get inspired by new ways of making things look & new solutions to design problems that I haven’t thought of before.

Here are my favorite things to learn from:

Real Life Practice

 I actually did ANYTHING anyone wanted me to do that included design.

And a majority of it was for FREE. At all the marketing internships I had, somehow they always found out I had an eye for design & I ended up putting stuff together. Or in my sorority, I became VP of Communications, so I could design FB banners t-shirts, invites, etc. If a friend asked me for help with decorating their room, I helped.

And through doing all of this I a) learned the adobe programs b) strengthened my design/problem solving skills c) built up my resume with design related accomplishments

I eventually built up enough confidence and skills to land a Graphic Design internship where I worked FOR FREE and had to commute an hour each way my LAST SEMESTER SENIOR YEAR of college. At the same time I had another design job for our school newspaper where I helped the sales team with collateral {because I needed to makeup for lost time all other graphic designers already had}. And I also worked an odd job for our business school to make some $$.

Actually think about that for a second. 3 jobs my last semester of college and 1 was unpaid and an hour commute each way. Plus a full 5 classes and a social life & a long distance boyfriend…. You could say I was overwhelmed most of the time , but I was DEDICATED to make this happen.

So, that is how I learned design!!

I genuinely hope that this helps even just 1 person who is starting their journey of graphic design. It’s a long road and hard most of the times {not gonna lie lol}, but for me it was worth it to changed my Linkedin job stat from Sales & Marketing Coordinator to Junior Graphic Designer J s/o to SpotX.

I remember when I first started out it was just a hobby. But, mostly bc I didn’t think it was possible to have a career in this bc I didn’t have it as my major and there were so many people out there who were better than me.

But I am proof that any regular gal can do it!! If you’re reading this and thinking that you aren’t good at design (even though you probs are) and want a career in it then WORK HARD & DON’T GIVE UP. If I can do it, I think anyone can do it.

Love you all!!!



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