UX Research Report: PM&J

It’s here – the final UX report that I’ve mentioned in several previous blog posts!  For the past few weeks, I’ve been researching different effective UX methods for evaluation of a website in preparation for a redesign. The company’s website that I chose to research is PM&J. They are a vendor for large retailers that […]

Usability Testing

This last week, I conducted usability testing for a UX report that I’m creating (coming soon!) for a company’s website, called PM&J. Usability testing is one piece of the big puzzle, but one of the most essential ones. So, I’m writing an entire post dedicated to the process! Usability testing is a technique to understand […]

Designing For Desirability

In my last two blog posts, I explained UX methods that I’m planning to conduct for a UX report. This week, I’ve gathered details about another method that’s ideal for visual design and aesthetic appeal. This method is called desirability studies.  Desirability studies are informative for designers to launch an engaging look for a new […]

Concept Modeling For UI

Concept modeling is a visualization that shows the relationships between all elements within a subject region, in an abstract way. The idea is to find connections – both apparent and less apparent – between each relationship of the users in the region. Then, in this case, apply those connections to a user interface.  Once these […]

As-Is and To-Be: A Visual Comparison Worth Doing

I’ve always been a visual learner. Explanations or exercises with words alone has its place and need, but depending on the situation, visuals may be so much more effective.  An as-is and to-be analysis is an excellent example of this.  What is this analysis and when is it useful? As-is and to-be is a comparison […]

Design Is Design Is Design

Product design is a broad term for designing items for an end-user. In my own experience, there are different types: the type that I know and love so well – non-digital physical items, and then there are digital spaces like software or the product that holds digital space itself, like smartphones.  Technology is ever-changing – […]

Animated Newsletters… A Journey It’s Been

Let’s take everything back to about seven weeks ago when I’d started thinking about the endless possibilities of creating content. A question came up for me… What isn’t content? Where do I draw the line on what I can or can’t do when it comes to content?  I’m still not even sure the answers to […]

Production: Ladapaw Letters – Mutts, Purebreds, And Their Roles in Rescues

And here it goes, the last newsletter of my seven-week dedicated time for developing Ladapaw Letters. This one is all about rescues, purebreds, and purebred rescues.  To help me develop the outline, I put together some valuable questions to ask myself when looking through the research I’d already gathered. Then, I could decided if I […]

Production: Ladapaw Letters – Rescues

Newsletter number two! This one is all about rescues – focusing on what they are, their missions and purposes, different types, and funding.  Here are some questions that helped me to gather the corresponding research: What are rescues? What do rescues do? What kind of animals can you adopt from rescues? What are their processes? […]

Production: Ladapaw Letters – Pet Adoption

Just like that – newsletter one is in the works!  After completing and distributing a survey during pre-production, I found my first three topics for each newsletter. Topic one is all about pet adoption. While pet adoption is broad, I narrowed it down to the main generalized features about it. Here are some questions that […]

Pre-Production: Ladapaw Letters

When I began my design career, I was surprised that creativity wasn’t the center of all of it. Being technical is a large part of the process, if not to say at least half of it.  Pre-production is technical. It’s the gathering of research, planning, and organizing that makes the project come to a whole. […]

To Plan or Not to Plan

Throughout my life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with planning. I’d try to plan my future, and it’s not an exaggeration when I say that nothing turned out how I thought it would… To be fair, attempting to plan something that’s ever-changing – like your LIFE –  it’s just not always going to happen how […]

Creating Content: Ladapaw Letters

If you were asked, “what is your dream job?” Do you have an answer?  I’ve been asked this question many times, and I think I’ve followed my answers as much as I possibly could throughout my life.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be everything and anything – an artist, a doctor, a […]

Advanced Motion (Module Seven)

This is it! I’ve learned the basics of motion design, and it’s time to continue advancing with more projects. This week, I’ve decided to experiment with something I haven’t quite tapped into yet. Risky, right?  Yeah, it is. But there’s only one way to keep building skills – and I decided to challenge myself. Well, […]

User Interface Animations: Stitched & Sable Living (Module Six)

There are many opportunities to use animations effectively, and one important thing to think about is the user interface and experience. If you’re designing an app or a website, animation can help move the user from one section to another with ease, or help them to complete an action.  This week, I’ve continued working on […]

The Logo Stinger: Stitched & Sable Living (Module Five)

If you’ve been following my blog, you know it’s no secret that I love my pets and focus a lot of my projects on them.  A few months ago, I designed a logo for a brand that I developed, along with its web presence. This week, I had the chance to animate a logo – […]

Stop Motion Animation Pre-Production (Module Three)

Stop motion animation is one of the earliest, if not the earliest ways to animate. It’s tedious, as the process involves taking incremental photos of a subject so closely that when played in order, it looks like a moving video. Today, stop motion is still widely used because it’s so effective when done the right […]

Designing Cinemagraphs (Module Two)

I asked my other half if he knew what cinemagraphs were, and he responded with, “are those like the moving paintings in Harry Potter?” Well, not quite, but it was a good guess. Cinemagraphs are a moving picture, but a hybrid between photo and video – typically most of the image is static, while one […]

Animated Storytelling with GIFs (Module One)

You’re having a text conversation with your best friend, and they ask, “do you want to go to the state fair today?” and there’s no better way to respond to that question but with a GIF. Particularly in the world of instant messaging, GIFs help to show a certain thought, feeling, or emotion that you […]

Zee.Dog Social Media Strategy

Zee.dog is a brand that designs and sells fun, urban, and trendy pet products. The business began through the founders’ personal experiences with mass retail pet products, and how they aren’t “cool” enough.  “Zee.Dog was founded with one major purpose: to Connect Dogs and People. We design and build products of expression, ones that help […]

What’s The Deal with Paid Ads

I’m trying to remember a time when I’d be able to scroll social media without sponsored ads. And I can’t think of it. I mean, I know there was a time when social media advertising was more organic than it was paid, but when? I don’t know. Let’s Google it.  2011. Facebook introduced the option […]

Brands Building Community

To build a community is to share impactful experiences between members. Brands can build communities through their website and social media channels to provide those interactions with members, advocates, and owners of the brand, creating overall positive encounters.  Chewy and Lego are two brands that have a great built community through their social media and […]

Opportune Auditing With Social Media

I know what you’re thinking – AUDITING?!  Right, but not a financial audit, a social media audit – it’s different! Social media audits examine network accounts of different company brands. And the reasoning behind them is to find opportunities to raise engagement, resulting in better sell-through with products or services.  Within the last week, I […]

Social Media: Its Functional Use

Who remembers Myspace? I do! It was my first social media experience. And at the time (approximately 2006 to be exact), I had no idea what social media was. We were just within the first decade of the widely accessed internet, with little comprehension of where that would take us.  Now, social media essentially IS […]

Infographics: The Why And How

Have you ever viewed an infographic and thought WOW this is so cool, I never thought this subject could be so interesting! Maybe you have, and there’s no judgment here. Because that’s just it – infographics WORK by adding visual detail that keeps a viewer more interested than if they were to simply read about […]

Unethical Influences in Visual Storytelling

Storytellers have a ton of power. They can alter perspectives by showing their viewers only what they want from behind a camera screen or by creating misleading visual data.  With images, the photographer can capture exactly what they intend to, and how as long as it’s possible. Then, the photo most likely goes through an […]

Stop! The Zebra Mussel Spread: The Power of Infographics

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes (ppssst, the real number is actually 11,842 lakes). If you follow my blog, it’s likely you already know that this is my home state. And with all of the freshwater here, we as residents need to be wary of invasive species that can negatively impact them. […]

How to Create an Effective and Compelling Infographic

Data visualizations have been booming for the last five plus years. It’s true, we used to find out all of our information from reading it or hearing it in detail, but with the growth of technology comes the growth of graphics, and we’ve been able to present information in newer ways.  With that, there are […]

Transformations Happen: A Photo Essay

Throughout this pandemic, all of us have experienced change in some way. Something that I’ve noticed happening for me is the transformation of my work attire. Like many of those who can, I’ve been working mostly from home for the last year. So, of course, I haven’t had much of a necessity to dress business […]

Visualizing Data

I’m a visual learner. Let’s be real here, there’s a lot of information out there that uses words, but forgets the infographics to accompany them. Do I really want to spend my time searching for answers by reading statistics? No, not really. Adding visual data helps back up the story, and answers questions. While including […]

Identifying Perceptions and Emotions in UX Design

Every kind of design has something in common. You have to think of the end user. It’s true, really, designs are made for a purpose, and that purpose is for someone or something! So, how do you design to take a customer to action? Having a brand that’s perceived as intended, and evokes strong emotions […]

Telling Stories Through Images

When scrolling through Instagram, do you like a post because of the photo or because of the caption? Or both? For me, I always thought that I liked a post because of the image, and a great written story with it is an added bonus.  “Instagram is not about photography; it is about visual communication.” […]

Mini Documentary: Production (Module 7)

I’ve done it! Made a mini documentary, that is. I chose to document the story of our family cabin being built, told best by my dad. As my last audio and video design project, I can confidently say that I’m glad it ended this way, and I definitely used everything I’ve learned throughout the last […]

Developing a Mini Documentary to Tell a Story (Module 6)

People tell stories all the time. But that doesn’t always mean they’re good stories. OR, maybe the story is a good one, but the way it gets told might not keep listeners interested. That’s why the story, how it’s told, visualized, and produced is essential if you want people to pay attention.  This last week […]

Continuity: How To Hard Boil Eggs (Module 5)

How-to videos have become increasingly popular with the growth of digital access through smart devices. It’s so easy to pick up your phone and search “how to …” at any given time when you need that information. They can be for any subject, such as “how to fill a tire” or “how to fold a […]

Northwood Park: Montage Production (Module 4)

This week, I shot and edited my first video montage. I was able to explore the park near my home with a camera, which was something I’ve never done before – besides using the one that’s on my phone.  Readings: To prepare for editing this video montage, I read Chapter 10: After the Shoot – […]

Visual Composition (Module 3)

It’s time for me to begin the video design process! A process that, like audio design, is completely new to me. But, never fear, because that’s why I’m here – to learn and develop some new skills.  In preparation to make a video montage of a location with subjects of my choosing, there have been […]

Unpopular POVcast: Production (Module 2)

Last week, I developed an audio pre-production plan – you can see it here, in this blog post – of what I have now produced as a podcast!  Readings: Before developing my podcast – Unpopular POVcast – I really needed to dig more into what makes an effective one. I read two articles, 7 Secrets […]

Planning a Podcast: Pre-Production (Module 1)

Audio design and the concept of creating a podcast are COMPLETELY new to me!  This week was the first time I’ve had the chance to experiment with audio – and I dove in. I ordered a USB microphone and pop filter mask to ensure nice quality from the get-go. Along with that, I downloaded audacity, […]

Welcome to Minneapolis! A Travel Brochure for Your Visit

Have you ever been to Minnesota?! To be more specific, have you ever been to Minneapolis, Minnesota? Whether you’ve been here or not, you’ve probably heard about how cold it is. Well, sure, it is cold in the winter – which seems to last about eight months out of the year some years.. But, that’s […]

The Web Page: Stitched & Sable Living

Once you have a brand identity – a purpose, core values, goals, strategies; with the visual aspects like a color palette, typeface, and a logo – it’s time to think about the website. The site is not only necessary for a one-spot hub to show your product or service according to the brand, but to […]

Advertising: Stitched & Sable Living

After developing my brand – “Stitched & Sable Living,” it was then time to think about how to advertise in a way that communicates to my target audience the purpose of the products, and why they should buy them.  In my previous blog post, “Brand Identity: Stitched & Sable Living” I talked about the underlying […]

Brand Identity: Stitched & Sable Living

If you’ve ever thought: “I’ve got a GREAT idea for a new brand!” Well, that’s awesome! Follow your intuition, and start growing that brand.  I’ve just spent the last week attempting to develop the brand I’ve been wanting to for some time now, and let me tell you – it is NOT easy! It’s not […]

Esmeralda’s Wish: Creating a Fictional Movie Poster

At first glance, what do you think this movie is about? Let’s grab the obvious: there’s a dog, a cartoon-like bird, fencing in the background, and there must be a wish from one of the characters, since it’s in the title. The colors are bright and playful; it looks happy. But what about the fence […]

A Glaser Rendition to Learn More About Design

The album, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits featured an iconic poster, designed by well-known graphic designer, Milton Glaser. The artwork of Bob Dylan became so famous, that the style has been heavily reproduced by others. It was about time that I followed these footsteps with my own rendition! Getting into it: Structure: For this rendition, the […]

Designed Typography for Visual Communication

Typographic design may come more naturally to some, and less naturally to others. For me, I’ve always chosen text that I like without thinking about the design behind it.. But, that’s not what typography is about. It’s an extremely important element behind compositions, and should never be an after thought because it’s all about communicating […]

Visual Storytelling Through Different Images

You’re vacationing with your loved ones on a camping trip – hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking – the whole works. Throughout all of the fun adventures, you decide to take it all in at this moment. While kayaking down a creek, towards your campsite and happy family, you feel complete.  Seems like a happy story, right?! […]

A Visual Design Experiment: Abstract Painting in Photoshop

I always thought that abstract artists just create anything they feel in the moment. Well, they do… However, there’s a lot more that goes into the composition than just placing paint onto a canvas. There’s a sort of freedom that comes with abstraction – the style and approach is completely up to the artist; but, […]

Creative Essence: Getting Clicks for My Long-Form Article

I didn’t always know my creative essence. Creativity has been a center in my life for as long as I can remember, but it’s been a long journey for me to know why I make what I do. Using this as a premise, I wrote a long-form article on understanding your creative essence, based on […]

Context Over Content

It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday. You just got home after a long day of work and decide to sit on the couch and scroll through Instagram as a mental release. There, you see a post made by your friend Dave, who briefly expressed his day at the golf course with a celebration beer.  Moving […]

A Writing Paradox Worth Considering

Have you ever written something that you genuinely didn’t enjoy? Think back to when that was and try to dissect why you struggled with it. Was it the way you wrote, the mood, the subject, the intended audience? Ironically enough, this post you’re reading now is one that I grappled with. While what I wrote […]

A Writer Am I

Background: As a young child, I had already begun the search for my creative identity. My love for art trumped all other subjects, despite that early grade school was heavily visual-based for all anyway. Still, I learned to thrive with creative art activities and quickly identified that I like to communicate visually, only advancing as […]

A Reading Experience

There are many ways to become a stronger writer, although an often overlooked tool is by analyzing what you read. While learning to become a better writer, I’ve taken this approach by finding examples of what makes for good writing versus poor writing and examining why. As I advance in my ever-changing design profession, my […]

Finding Meaning in the Distraction Economy

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right?  Well, sure. But also, when life hands you ever-changing, vastly advancing technology, you must adapt. Without adaptation and understanding of what the changes bring, we’re at risk of losing our individuality and other necessary things associated with our lives and personalities: satisfaction, meaning, motivation, etc.  The attached […]

Why Is It So Hard to Follow Through? A Case Study

So many ideas, so little time. Personal project after personal project and I can’t get myself to start – or if I get started, so much time goes by that I lose interest and move onto the next task or new idea (flawed decision-making*). Why can’t I follow through? Whenever I identify a new project, […]

Boredom Strengthens Your Mental Muscle

Last week, I was designing silhouettes and prints/patterns for a fabric repeat for pet beds. I found myself very much enjoying the creative process – identifying the target market and researching past common trends, understanding my direction, and diving in from there. While in the midst of creating pattern repeats with their correct pantones, I […]

Working Deeply: The Philosophies

My workdays go as such: Wake up at 5:45 AM Shower/get ready Go for a walk with my dog Make a cup of tea Work on personal projects from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM Begin the professional workday at 9:00 AM – from home Break at 11 AM – eat lunch, spend time with my […]

Help, I Need More Time! A Discussion on Project Management

Imagine this: you’ve decided to make a courageous and ambitious decision to start a side hustle, to design and sell products via an e-commerce based website. You’ve heard time and time again from others “starting a business is not easy!” and “most startup businesses fail, you need to have a plan and work hard,” which […]

My Facebook Detox

Throughout the past five days (today is day six), I’ve been enduring an experiment where I’ve learned that social media is addictive, distracting, and not as necessary as I may have thought before.  Here’s my journey on proactively attempting to be impotent on using one of the most popular and influential social media websites and […]

Individuality – Don’t Let it Disappear

Media is a diversion. While most of us love the escape it creates – the flight is typically unnecessary and often overused. There are also questions on if what we view through our smart devices is real or not real – and does it matter if it sustains our brains for just a little bit? […]

Is Shallow Work “Normal”? Capacity Building in Terms of Deep Work

Having the capacity to complete tasks is essential, there’s no doubt about that. This goes the same whether you build your schedule or are in a “normal”* 9-5 setting with many peers. In my experience, capacity is hard to make; however, not unachievable.  We’ll start by assessing business-type capacity, then move onto building capacity for […]

Creating for Others in a World of Cynicism

Cynicism can be described as a general lack of trust or belief in those inspired by ambition.  As described in another blog post, Keeping up with Your Ambitions, deep work needs to be involved to achieve them in an elite way. Those with ambitions desire to accomplish something through hard work. With growing initiatives in […]

Keeping up with Your Ambitions

Having ambition – whether it be for self stimulus or an audience – is common among creators. However, this isn’t always easy. As a creator myself, I often find my brain going in all sorts of directions. The ongoing projects that snag on my mind keep me motivated; however, if I focus on all at […]


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