illustration

experiments, illustration, color, typography

High Five

As you might remember, I've been participating in The 100 Day Project for the past couple months(!) by sketching daily card designs and concepts. Needless to say, it's been predictably quite a challenge for numerous reasons, but since we recently passed the halfway mark, I thought it'd be a good opportunity to post my top five favorite pieces from the first 50. These aren't necessarily fan favorites, but my own personal picks:


5.

A photo posted by Dorothea Lee (@farthermore) on

At the encouragement of some of my lovely friends, I tried to stop putting so much pressure on myself to create something "marketable" and lean into whatever it is that appeals to me. I didn't really know what excuse there was to send a card textured with the spines of books, but I love these objects, I love experimenting with colors, and I enjoy the subtle variations that somehow make bookshelves so nice to look at. It doesn't always happen, but I felt rewarded for chasing freedom and pursuing my own whimsical interests.

4.

A photo posted by Dorothea Lee (@farthermore) on

I've been enjoying hand-lettering for awhile now, and it's always a fun challenge to play with size and placement while ensuring the words are read in the correct order and maintain their legibility. I also love adding in little details that add to the meaning, such as the abstracted infinity symbol from the "t" in "Celebrating" and the magnetic attraction between "kind" and "found."

3.

A photo posted by Dorothea Lee (@farthermore) on

In addition to hand-lettering entire phrases, I also enjoy examining individual letters in various fonts to see how elements have been altered and what aspects seem essential to the character. My play with this "random love letter" stemmed from the idea of B for Bee, and how love can be sweet. 

2.

A photo posted by Dorothea Lee (@farthermore) on

Beyond the "Mom" message, I intentionally stepped away from the expected colors of pinks and purples for females and florals in this card to create something I still think the average recipient (or giver) could appreciate. I feel that we're often pressured to create what has already been established as good or working, but why not explore a void or differentiate from the many voices that came before us? I just think, I can't possibly be the only one who likes other colors despite being female! 

1.

A photo posted by Dorothea Lee (@farthermore) on

Although this one took me a long time to make, it exhibits something that I've been returning to repeatedly as of late: the importance of interpreting an experience in one's own voice instead of merely documenting it. For this one in particular, I had just visited the American Museum of Natural History's Gem and Minerals exhibit and translated the details that I noticed and photographed into the letterforms for the G, E, and M.


It was tough to narrow them down, but those are my favorite five. I'm curious, what do you think? You can also take a look at the full roster of #100okasions thus far, and tell me which ones stand out to you the most. You never know what future may be in store for these once the 100 days are done! =)

illustration, throwback, experiments

Turtles + Tigers + Bears, Oh My!

I've had a complex relationship with illustration. In school it often seemed to be something that should never mix with graphic design. My zine had "too many" of them and therefore I should be looking into switching majors. Alternately, it's said to be impossible to achieve for graphic designers; they simply "can't draw." Now that I'm a professional designer, however, I find it's actually been incredibly helpful to be able to draw on some level, especially when the client can't afford a full blown professional illustrator and graphic designer.

Case in point: an infant clothing start-up that was supposed to benefit endangered species approached me to illustrate a sea turtle, polar bear, and tiger. Here are a couple full sets I submitted:

other sketches

Do you have any favorites? Let me know what you think!

throwback, illustration, typography

Bears + Gerbera Daisies

With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm going through my box of past projects and posting a love-related piece every day this week. This is Day 3 of 5.

Leslie + Anthony are a great couple who share an eclectic group of interests and wanted a wedding suite that would incorporate that, yet also stand the test of time (no trendy "Jack Daniels" typography was an example they used). For their wedding, they were getting married in a colonial venue and using gerbera daisies in honor of Meg Ryan's You've Got Mail quote. After getting to know them better, I also discovered they have a running joke with bears. Taking inspiration from colonial era books and other traditional American prints and documents, I designed a suite with a custom illustration of two bears holding gerbera daisies in a style that would appear engraved. We used a 100% cotton paper to add some texture and weight to it, customized a font, and incorporated the navy blue wedding color.

The suite incorporated invitations, RSVPs, a double-sided program, table number cards with alternating illustrations, thank you cards, and name cards (not shown) also with alternating illustrations that could be printed on a home computer. A lot of pieces to "brand" and a lot of fun!

It was such a pleasure getting to know this easy-going and quirky couple and working with them on creating something that fit their relationship and special event. It makes me wish we had more to work on together!

Side bonus: I discovered an extra love of my own in the process. Lee's Art Shop is a great printer that can handle challenging papers and small runs such as this with excellent customer service that goes above and beyond. And no, they did not pay me to say this—it really is true love = P.

throwback, experiments, illustration, sketchbook

Victim of Love

With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm going through my box of past projects and posting a love-related piece every day this week. This is Day 2 of 5.

Not interested in love right now? Hate it? We've all been there, and this Valentine's Day post is all about that sentiment.

Around the time I was starting out in graphic design, I was also working my way out of a toxic relationship and found myself turning to visual art for the first time. Turning my obsessive thoughts into something more constructive helped me move on from them, and eventually I was able to turn my negative feelings into something a little more humorous and digestible as well. A few relics from that period are below:

  "Lovefool" is  a pattern inspired by my mom's retro laundry basket. It started off with a bird's life cycle, but I ultimately changed the kissing pair into a broken hearted dialogue, with one bird professing love while the other called it a fool. Very emo. Still enjoy the pattern though!

"Lovefool" is a pattern inspired by my mom's retro laundry basket. It started off with a bird's life cycle, but I ultimately changed the kissing pair into a broken hearted dialogue, with one bird professing love while the other called it a fool. Very emo. Still enjoy the pattern though!

Cheesy and somewhat misandrist (hover over the image if you have trouble reading them), but by the time I was done with each sketch all the negativity was gone. How can you possibly be this ridiculous and take your situation seriously at the same time? Maybe there's a sympathy card or two for a similarly broken-hearted friend in these silly sketches somewhere...

Well, I think I've embarrassed myself enough here =) For those in the same boat right now, I hope you got a chuckle or two, or at least a little Amen, Sista! hehe

illustration, throwback

Falling In Love

Continuing through my box of projects and realizing Valentine's Day is less than a week away, I thought I'd post a love-related piece every day this week. This is Day 1 of 5.

If you think about it, designing custom wedding paper suites are surprisingly similar to creating a brand identity, so needless to say I love it!

For Mbong + Mark's fall wedding, they wanted an aesthetic that would reflect the season and match the "spicy, exotic" hues of their wedding. Mbong also noted she likes leaves and flowers and was drawn to horizontally oriented invitations and textured papers she came across in her preliminary search. These qualities were to be balanced by more classic wording and layouts to reflect their identities and venue.

After some experimentation with colors, leaf shapes, and fonts, this was the final result, with varying density and framing of the leaf motif to give each piece a distinctive look when received together:

 Top to bottom, left to right: invitation, info card, RSVP card, directions card.

Top to bottom, left to right: invitation, info card, RSVP card, directions card.

Dark browns and greens may be unusual for weddings, but I really enjoy how it all came together—hope you do too!