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:


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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.


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."


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. 


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! 


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!


100 Day Project

Several weeks ago, I came across the 100 Day Project on The Great Discontent and thought it'd be a great exercise to explore something I've been interested in but am not already good at, and practice discipline at the same time.

Designing cards that commemorate an occasion—from the typical calendar holiday to obscure life events, appealed to me because I've also been thinking a lot about connection, how we benefit from it, and how I can help increase it. I only have a couple ideas so far on what those 100 cards' contents will be, plus I have to consider exploring possible styles, so I'm definitely open to (read: please feel free to suggest) ideas!

You can follow my daily progress on my art & design instagram @farthermore, #100okasions, and see other people who are participating at #the100DayProject. I promise you it will not all be pretty (at least mine certainly will include a couple fails—I'm only human!), and while it's scary even for me, I love the idea of a judgment-free zone to experiment and try it in community. Please consider joining—it starts exactly one week from today. I'd love to see what you've chosen for yourself and what you're up to, so if you do decide to participate, let me know your IG handle and 100 Days hashtag below or on my facebook page!

experiments, sketchbook

Playing By The Book

Among the possible hobbies one can think of, making books is probably not one of the more common ones. Personally, the idea of a book as a hand-made object was long forgotten until I took a bookmaking class in college. Since then, I've just never been the same.

Bookmaking perfectly combines my love of paper goods, storytelling, working with my hands, and the challenge of thinking dimensionally. Even when I strip it down to the simplest forms, such as with my sketchbooks, I still like to play around with the binding, materials, or content. I also find it especially satisfying when I can be a little greener by repurposing random materials into pairings that work or add interest.

Here are a few that do just that:

Covers: vintage wrapping paper front, leftover gold paper back. Endsheets: random blue papers I found tossed out in art school (yes, dumpster diving is a legit skill you learned to do in my college). Instead of evenly spaced stitching I extended the horizontal lines from the front.

From "Eden" in W Magazine's Nov '06 Art Issue, a collaboration by Richard Tuttle and Mario Sorrenti. I cropped and scattered the images throughout for bursts of color and composition inspiration.

Vintage marbled endsheets used as a cover, with a vote-elected spine color from aged construction paper. In keeping with the "old-as-new" theme, the interior endsheets are also vintage papers featuring a wedding party from the '47 Broadway show Brigadoon. I liked the color tones as a compliment to the spine, and who doesn't like a dance party? Filled with repurposed paper from a giant sketchbook and finished with a diagonally sewn spine.

Bonus round:

I hate waste so I took the remnants of my cut pages from the sketchbook above and made a smaller book out of them. Cover is with the same remnant gold paper as the first sketchbook posted, paired with more glossy magazine cuttings I have laying around. Endsheets are hand-marblized paper from my college years. If you're wondering how extensive my hoarded collection of materials are at this point, I'm working on it for the sake of my husband, that's all I'll say!

I feel like each of these have a completely different feel to them and can imagine each of them belonging to a different type of person. Do any of these appeal to you more than the others?

experiments, throwback, typography

Like PB+J

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 5 of 5.

It may sound a little strange at first, but I view my relationships with my clients a lot like dating relationships. If a one year mark rolls around, I like to celebrate our One Year "Anniversary" to commemorate a successful collaboration that I appreciate. This is the inside of a card I gave to a client a few years ago that I'm in the process of revisiting:

Left: "We work great together," Right: "like peanut-butter & jelly"

Left: "We work great together," Right: "like peanut-butter & jelly"

This one pushes the limits of legibility a bit, but I had fun experimenting with type. Lately I've also been finding making little cards very relaxing. Sometimes I consider opening up a small shop. We shall see!

Well, that wraps up the flurry of posts and love-related projects for now. I was surprised there were so many! Have any favorites of the five? I'd love to hear it! =)