Awards from #FCA2016

Warning: Not so humble brag below…

I’m very excited to share that some of my work created for Pi Beta Phi’s quarterly magazine, The Arrow, was awarded at the 2016 Fraternity Communications Association (FCA) Annual Conference. They submitted two features I had designed for them. The first, about philanthropy, was awarded second place for design of a feature article. The second, a feature on real life lessons, won first place for story packaging for a feature article (meaning the best of both and design). I’m so pleased and honored to have the stories honored, and congrats to the Pi Beta Phi team, led by editor Constance Gibbs!

You can see the 2 features below.

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Pantone or PMS colors

Design Speak: Pantone colors

I realize that sometimes it seems like graphic designers (and printers) have their own language. I’ve started the Design Speak series here on my blog so I can help clarify some of these terms you may hear, but not totally understand.

Pantone started out as a printing company in the 1950s, and nowadays when you think about Pantone or hear the term, you think about colors. There’s always a Pantone Color of the Year or your brand might have Pantone numbers (like PMS 102) associated with your main colors. So what is it, really?

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. Pantone colors are standardized ink colors you use to ensure the color is consistent at all times. Normally, when you print something on a standard printer the colors you see are a combination of 4 standard inks: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. Printers can vary a bit, so Pantone colors make sure your brand color is consistent every time.

That said, sometimes it isn’t cost effective (or possible!) to print with your Pantone, but its still helpful to know it. Each Pantone is associated with a CMYK breakdown and RGB breakdown, so identifying you color as a specific Pantone has just become the way colors are often defined in the graphic design, marketing or advertising industries.

Pantone or PMS colors


Design Speak - Type As Outlines

Design Speak: Type as Outlines

I realize that sometimes it seems like graphic designers (and printers) have their own language. I’ve started the Design Speak series here on my blog so I can help clarify some of these terms you may hear, but not totally understand. 

Today we’re talking about a phrase designers and printers might say from time to time. Drumroll please…. type as outlines! (I guess I spoiled that in the headline.) You may also hear people say fonts as outlines. This is the same thing.

If you convert your type (or fonts) to outlines, it basically takes all the text and makes it a graphic instead. So rather than being a font, each character is now an individual shape.

The great thing about this is that if you use a font not available on all computers, and then send the file to a printer or another computer that doesn’t have that font, the recipient will still see the graphic as it looked for you and be able to print it. (Worth noting that some file types and software programs embed fonts, so it won’t matter. But some design and printing software does not, which is why designers and printers run into this issue.)

So why don’t designers just save every document with type as outlines? The downside is that since the text is converted to outlines, it is not a font anymore, and it is very difficult to make changes to the text.


Design Speak - Type As Outlines


Design Speak: Kerning and Leading

I realize that sometimes it seems like graphic designers (and printers) have their own language. I’ve started the Design Speak series here on my blog so I can help clarify some of these terms you may hear, but not totally understand. 

First up: Kerning and Leading.

Kerning is the space between individual characters in a single word.

What is Kerning?


Leading is the space between the lines of words.

Leading is the space between lines.

For whatever reason, when I was in school I used to mix these terms up. The way I got myself to remember is that leading is lines, and both of those words start with an L. Kerning, meanwhile, is characters. And while kerning and characters they don’t start with the same letter, they sound like the do, so it still works.


Turn Timeline

Client work: TransStates Turn Timeline

I’ve been helping out the marketing team at TransStates airlines for about 6 months. TransStates flies on behalf of United Airlines (as United Express) and American Airlines (as American Eagle), so while I didn’t realize it at the time, I’m sure I have (and maybe you have!) been a passenger on one of their flights. Since we starting working together, I’ve helped them with design for everything from web banners to photo editing to brochures, and just recently wrapped up the Turn Timeline, an infographic poster.

The poster illustrates the roles and responsibilities of different staff members during the 24 minutes a flight is at the airport. The previous version was in black and white and it wasn’t user friendly. (You can see it below.) I used color coding and separate rows to make it clear which crew member was responsible for which task, and when each crew member had a break. Additionally, the colorful piece is now much more eye-catching, as opposed to the before version.

The Turn Timeline is used for both American Airline and United Airline flights, so we intentionally didn’t use the logo and branding from either one. The poster will be displayed in crew areas so it can be easily referenced on the go.

Turn Timeline Before

Turn Timeline Before

Turn Timeline

Turn Timeline for TransStates Airlines – the final design.

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management FY 2015 Annual Report Cover

Client work: The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management

I got a chance to team up with The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management this fall for a couple fun projects. The organization is an alliance of leading American business schools and businesses, working together to enhance diversity in business education and in corporate leadership.

One of the projects we just finished up was the design their 2015 Annual Report. It celebrates their biggest accomplishments in FY2015 and includes a list of their donors. Initially it was planned to be a primary online piece, but they ended up choosing to print some copies as well. Flip through it below!

WUSTL Spring 2016 Course Catalog Cover

Client work: WUSTL Course Catalog

I recently teamed up with the WUSTL University College staff to help them with their Spring 2016 Course Catalog. For years, this piece was a boring, black and white catalog printed on newsprint. As University College is primarily adult learners and continuing education opportunities, the staff was ready to come up with a fresh new design that would stand out among the crowd of other continuing education institutions.

We opted for a full color piece that utilizes a new color palette I established for them earlier this year. WUSTL staff report feedback including “terrific,” “striking,” “looks great,” “good work,” and “awesome.” You can flip through the (digital) pages below!

Vector vs. Raster

Vector vs. Raster: What is the difference?

Not too long ago I had a client ask me how to tell the difference between vector and raster files. She’d heard the terms plenty of times, but didn’t actually know what it meant. So in case you’ve been wondering too, here is the scoop:

A raster file is made up of pixels – hopefully hundreds or thousands of them. Each pixel is a different color.

A vector file, on the other hand, is made of lines and curves.

So why does it matter? It matters when you try to print or view your file at a larger size. A raster file has a finite number of pixels, so if you try to print that file at a significantly larger size, you are going to start to see those individual pixels (aka, the image will be pixelated). A vector file, meanwhile, can scale up without any issues. It actually uses mathematical formulas (yuck!) to retain a sharp and crisp appearance at any size.

How do you know if your file is vector or raster? Here’s a handy list to help you out.

Vector vs. Raster

Print Isn't Dead

JTT isn’t dead. And neither is print.

The other day, I saw a story about how Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 30. I saw his name and thought to myself, oh yeah, I remember that guy. So, he isn’t dead…. but no one is talking about him anymore.


You’ve probably heard someone say print is dead. But guys, it isn’t. Print is like Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Its just that no one talks about it anymore.

I think people say (and possibly think) that print is dead because they are so excited by new technology and the rapid changes in digital design and marketing. But just because there are new and exciting opportunities to market your brand doesn’t mean that some of the old tried and true techniques are no longer effective. In fact, I’d argue the opposite – in a marketing landscape with so many new and exciting ideas, its important to have a good foundation for your brand, which includes some print. Customers know that anyone can throw up a website in an afternoon or sign up for a Twitter account. But, a brochure or catalog, or even a business card, requires more commitment and more effort. It shows that your business isn’t fleeting.

So when building a multichannel marketing plan, don’t forget about print! It isn’t dead. And neither is our favorite 90s hearthrob, Jonathan Taylor Thomas.

If you could use some help getting some print (or digital) marketing materials created for your brand, send me an email at I’d love to help you out!

Print Isn't Dead

Yes, your data can be converted into an infographic.

Yes, your data can be an infographic.

In the past couple years, infographics have exploded all over the web.

But they’ve been around long before that. Infographics are simply visual representations of data. That includes everything from maps to graphs to the weather icons you see in the newspaper.

So can your data be an infographic? Yes, the answer is always going to be yes. If you’ve got information to share, you can represent it visually. Here are just a few of the possibilities:



  • Pie graphs or line graphs are great for when you’ve got numbers, like percentage breakdowns or other growth.
  • A flowchart is often used to answer a question by giving the reader choices.
  • A timeline is used to display chronological data.
  • A map shows locations.
  • A venn diagram or charts shows a comparison.
  • A list can be used for tips or a step-by-step.

Even if your data doesn’t seem to perfectly fit into one of the examples above, you can still present it visually. It’s called a visualized article, and you use combinations of icons, illustrations or images to break and article into easily understood information. Since the brain processes images faster than text, getting your point across ASAP is ideal.

Here are a few infographics I’ve created for clients. If you’d like to work together on an infographic project, send me an email to learn more at