Posts in Design
Fall Moodboard
 
 

Wanted to show you all a fall moodboard!

x Sarah


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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!

xoxo, 

Sarah



 

Follow Us on Instagram: @sarahgrossdesign 

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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.

xoxo

Sarah


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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.

THE POSSIBILLITIES ARE ENDLESS.

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.

why i use progreate for my ipad pro2.JPG

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. 

why i use progreate for my ipad pro.PNG

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

why i use progreate for my ipad pro1.PNG

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.

xoxo

Sarah


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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 :)

xoxo

Sarah


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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 Lyna.com 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)

Read:

  • 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!!!

Xoxo

Sarah


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Make An Anthropologie Inspired Lookbook
 
 

Lookbooks are probably my favorite thing to design. Giving a theme to each section of pictures & being able to layer on different textures/fonts is just so much fun! I've always gotten so much inspiration from Anthropologie and Free People catalogs, but it used to feel so impossible trying to get the right balance in layout/layers.

While making this cute lookbook for my lovely boss Emily!! {you can find her on Instagram @emilyluciano <3}, I finally found a system that really worked well for me! 

So I will list my steps below of how I create, from start to finish, this lookbook!

Step 1 // Gather supplies

Gather together all photos that you plan on using for this lookbook & print them out. I recommend not printing them a full 8.5x11 size, but making them around a 1/4 of a page size. Then get just regular white 8.5x11 paper. You will also need scissor, glue, and a pencil.

Step 2 // Outline on Paper

I find it EXTREMELY easier to create cool Anthro inspired cookbooks when I brainstorm/do everything by hand at first. So, now I will group all my printed photos by a theme {In my example, you can see the 4 different set-ups we have & how I’ve labeled them.} 

Then I place them on the pages how I want them & put notes in /sketch in how much of the page I want each photo to take up.

Step 3 // Write In Details

After I’ve layout / taped down everything,  I will go back and start to map out the type of details I want to add like background photos, imagery, text, etc. BUT, I don’t start with the cover page, I have that one for last. That way you make sure that it encompasses the feel of the entire cookbook. Ya know?

So now everything is laid out on paper and you have a pretty good idea of what you are imagining this book to look like. Which I think is the KEY to making one look amazing. You aren’t scrambling to find a theme or place things correctly, you already did that without the computer. Genius!! {genius is my new word ;)}

Step 4 // Gather Digital Assets

 Now is the fun part. Gathering or creating all of the different design assets you were thinking of when planning. I like to use more abstract photos as background, look on vecteezy.com for vector art, use my iPad to draw some stuff, etc. Put these in one folder & create an Indesign file with spreads also in that folder.

Step 5 // Create Your Digital Copy

6- Now you can use your planning as a reference & your folder of assets to put your vision onto the computer. Don’t be afraid of adding tweaks to the online file or change up some stuff if it doesn’t look right. But also remember that the collage you did on paper of the size things are going to print out, so your proportions there will most likely be more pleasing to the eye than how it looks on the computer. Does that make sense?

Step 6 // Print & tweak & repeat.

I do this probably 4-10 times whenever I’m working on print items. It’s impossible to tell how something is going to print when it’s on the computer! So you have to print & tweet & repeat!!! 


I hope sharing my process will help you in creating your own perfect cookbook whether you are doing it for fun or for a business, this is the process that has really helped me the most & has created such amazing outcomes in a faster time period!

I wish I had saved my taped together & sketched out draft for you guys, it was a mess. Ha! But I think it came together in the end :)

Comment below your thoughts! I would love to hear them.


how to make an anthropologie inspired lookbook.jpg

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Travel Watercolor Kit
 
 

Eeep I'm very excited to share this! Anyone else find it hard to travel with watercolor supplies? 

If I try to take my watercolor tubes through security I ALWAYS get questions/get my bag checked. I mean it does look very suspicious having 15 tubes of something in you bag....Or you have to carry your huuuge mixing palette which is just annoying to try to shove into a backpack or bag. 

This summer I wanted to bring my water colors with me on all my vacations, since watercolors are my favorite painting medium! And I knew I would need to find a solution to make this traveling easer!

So, I am so excited / happy to share this mini, pocket sized, water color palette I found on Amazon. The palette has bricks of every color that you need, which means so awkward tubes. It also has a mixing palette on the top of the box which also has a removable palette for you to use, so you have have 6 mixing spaces! Finally, there is a mini brush included in the set, which is the perfect size. It can cover larger spaces, but also make thin lines.

So, all you need to bring with you is water! I think the best way to do this is a water bottle and an empty container (so you can just pour the water into the container). 

I also love to get post card sized paper, easy to carry around and you can write something on the back and mail it to your friends/fam!

xoxo

Sarah


watercolor supplies travel kit
watercolor supplies travel kit
watercolor supplies travel kit

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Botanical Illustrations
 
 

I looove cute drawings of plants and leaves and with summer around the corner, I wanted to give you all a fun downloadable file full of these cute botanical drawings!!

You can download the .psd file or a folder with regular .png images! And put them anywhere you like, get creative with it. That's what this while blog is about.

Tag me in any pics you put on Instagram, hope you love!!!

xoxo

Sarah


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History of Color: Violet & Seafoam
 
 

OooOO I am so excited to start sharing this! I started reading "The Secret Lives of Color" by Kassia St. Clair and knew I would have to start sharing her findings!

The book goes through the process of indexing the rainbow of colors and giving the historical context surrounding each color. I thought I would start by sharing your favorite colors! It was requested to write the history about deep purple and seafoam green!

That translates to violet and verdigris! See below for some cool & fun facts. 


violet2.jpg

Famous artists and painter, Manet, describes the true color of the atmosphere as “violet”. He says “fresh air is violet. Three years from now, the whole works will work in violet”. 

Violet is also known as the color of the Impressionists. You might wonder why though, it's not exactly a prominent color in most of their paintings. 

The first reason it is named this is because of the way the Impressionists use violet in their paintings of shadows. They were the first group of artists to believe that shadows of objects were not just grey, but included color. They used violet because it was the complimentary color to yellow which was used in a majority of their paintings.

In addition, violet was the color of the Anonymous Society of Painters, Sculptors, Print Makers like Degas, Monet, Cezanne, etc.

I mean it's so cool to think that violet has such deep roots in the history of art and how such principles carry over into today's art making! 


sea_foam2.jpg

To produce this color, manufacturers had to re-create the naturally re-ocurring that forms on copper + bronze when exposed to water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, or sulfur.

This is what what has turned the Statue of Liberty it’s famous green color ~ which took around 30 years!

They used to have to wait this long to get this amazing green color, but eventually learned that they could speed up the process to just two weeks!

Another cool fact is that Verdegris is french for "green from Greece" & in German it's name is "Grunspan" which means "Spanish green". 

Learning where all these colors are from brings new meaning to them in the context of how you use them in today's world! Hope this brings more thought to your work and gives you an inspiration boost today 

xoxo

Sarah


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Small Business Branding: Insta Highlights
 
 

Today I wanted to talk about highlight covers on Instagram. Why they’re important, a client example I created, and how you can do it yourself!! 

I personally believe as a graphic designer that companies (especially small companies) should take every opportunity to brand themselves. And highlight covers are not exception. You might think that they are something small, but they can have a huge impact on your Instagram page. Let’s get more into why I think they’re important and how I make them for my clients + how you can DIY it!

 

Why is branding your highlight covers important?

  1. You are showing your brand’s personal style, so people will immediately know if their personal aesthetic goes with your brand

  2. You are seen as a more legitimate influencer, company, etc because you page will look extremely more professional and polished

  3. You are given the opportunity to make your profile more unique and stand out against the crowd. Using icons that aren’t the same as your competition will set you apart.

 

Client Example?

I think highlight covers are different for each client based off of their brand’s style and aesthetic. It is important that the highlight covers go seamlessly with the rest of their products/blog/company/photos.

When given the opportunity to create highlight covers for @emily_luciano I studied her brand and decided that hand drawn was the right course of action! 

To do this I used Procreate on my iPad to hand draw each of the covers. I tried to give them each a unique flair that other cover I saw didn’t have. I also kept the background to her brand colors. 

Below is a video of how I created the “house” cover, hope you like it! Below are my tips on how to do it yourself, sans iPad!

instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers
instagram highlight covers

How can you do this yourself?

If you are really on a tight budget and are unable to pay someone to create these for you, I’m here to help! Of course, if you would like to use my services you can, but I get the hustle, so here are my tips to making your own highlight covers!

First, make an account on Canva. This is essentially a free online and simple version of Photoshop. Here you can select the “Instagram Stories” template or create a canvas that is 1080 x 1920.  think if you want to have a more “icon” look or a “hand drawn” look. I have tips for both!

For hand drawn:

Option 1: I would look up inspirational photos online and print them out.   Then lay a blank piece of paper over this photo and put them both on a window with a lot of sunlight coming through.  This will create a light box effect, so you can trace over the photo you printed out. Then you can scan this using your iPhone and send to your email. You can plop the image onto your Canva template and this will create the right size image. 

Option 2: If you want to get fancy, you can use Illustrator to trace your photo and export it as a .PNG. This way you can put a different color say our background.

Option 3: Use Procreate app on the iPad Pro

For icon:

Option 1: Use Canva’s icons! There are free ones and ones that cost $1, so it is really easy to find something on a budget! 

Option 2: If you want a more “icon” look with clean lines, my favorite service is vecteezy.com. There you can search for vector images that are free to download and customize! All you have to do is attribute the website on your image, which you can do very discretely at the bottom!

I download the .ai file and try to get just the outline of the image that I want, then you can change the color and put it on different backgrounds to create your own personal style.

Comment below if you have any questions!

xoxo

Sarah

 


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