The Empty Book Part 2

For this project I ended up taking my initial sketches and running with them. I chose to focus on The Survival of a Red Shirt title. I wanted it to look like a retro sci-fi poster, or at least give that vibe. I focused on iconic graphics and primary colors – also the same colors as the shirts on Star Trek. I also kept everything fairly two-dimensional.

I played around with the placement of the graphics and text a little. My initial idea had the title up top, but I didn’t like how unbalanced the front cover felt that way. I also chose a fake author name, the name of the first female red shirt to die on Star Trek, according to the internet.

I also ended up adding a texture to the initial comp. The grungy, painted, sponged on texture really gives it that old school, retro feeling without being too over the top.

I chose the Alierons typeface for the title and author. It has a subtle sci-fi feel. I gave the title a gradient to keep the feeling of movement and emphasis the direction of the graphic. The back cover copy is in the Droid Serif typeface, and I ended up going with all caps for readability.

I’m honestly pretty pleased with how this turned out. I went back and forth about adding stars to the background, but in the end I left them out. I didn’t really feel like they were necessary.

As always, feel free to tell me what you think in the comments below!

The Empty Book Part 1

This project was the conception and design of  a book cover for a book with intentionally blank pages.

I had a lot of fun with this one, and once I got going, it was surprisingly easy to come up with title ideas. My favorites include: “The Survival of a Red Shirt,” “How to Train Your Cat,” and “Creative Motivation: A Workbook.”Other ideas included and origami book, and one about Storm troopers hitting targets.

I haven’t decided on which one I’m going to do, but I’m leaning toward the “Survival of a Red Shirt,” because it’s more fun, graphically. I’d really like to do the creative motivation one because I would get to be hilariously pretentious about the whole thing.  I’ll probably stick with the red shirt one, though.

Any ideas? Tell me below!

Vodka Label Part 2

The pecan pie vodka label is finished!

I have to admit, I’m not ready to let this one go yet. It’s not what I want it to be yet, so there may be more of this to come if I can figure out what will improve it.

I really love the way the pattern across the bottom came out, and I like the typeface I chose, but I’m not sure they’re meshing well. I also like the idea of the pie icon, but I’m not thrilled with the way the elements have come together. So, it needs a little work, but I’ll get there!

Feel free to leave any constructive criticism in the comments below!

Vodka Label Part 1

For this project, I had to design a label for a pecan pie flavored vodka from a local distillery. As a professional bar tender who is going into design, this project is right up my alley.

I approached this project as a redesign of their current packaging. I did some research into the distillery and checked out all the labels of the vodkas I work with on a daily basis. I also tried to think of all the things I want in a label as a bar tender. You want something easy to read, recognizable, and distinct. The last thing you want to have to do is check the bottle when you grab it to make sure it’s the right vodka. You also want to be able to see the level of liquid in the bottle at all times for backups and inventory.

Here are my initial sketches for this project. I’ll update next week with the final product!

Pantone Postacards

For this project, I was to create a series of postcards using tritone Pantone spot colors only. They had to reflect both my style as a designer and advertise Pantone. I created a series of postcards that used a watercolor background and a quote about color.


I’m pretty happy with how these turned out.

They took a lot of fiddling with the levels to get the colors to show up. I’m still not thrilled with the orange one. They are nothing like the initial designs that I had, but I like them. I chose the white rectangles to echo the Pantone white at the bottom of the page.

Let me know what you think!

Real Problems, Real Solutions Part 2

After a lot of trial and error, and going back to the drawing board (quite literally), I finished my Real Problem, Real Solutions project. Hurray!

I took my initial ideas and ended up expanding on it, by designing a logo for the project and working that in to my overall design. I wanted the logo to be modern and appealing, because all the literacy logos out there felt very public school to me.

I stuck with black, white, and red to make a dramatic statement and created some merchandise to use in conjunction with local libraries.


Let me know what you think of the project!

Real Problems, Real Solutions Part 1

It’s school project time boys and girls!

For this project we had to choose a social cause that we felt passionate about and build a campaign around it. I chose Literacy in America and immediately got started doing some serious research. A lot of research. Way too much research.

Literacy seems to be mostly handled at a local level. There’s quite a bit of information at a National level, but not much in the way of a campaign for changing it. Literacy is also something people don’t like to talk about – it’s embarrassing and there’s no obvious victim that you can point at and say, “that’s an illiterate person.” I felt that both of these things needed to be addressed in my campaign.

I also wanted something related to writing for this campaign, so my brainstorming included things like paper, books, journal, typography, etc. Sketches came next.

Please excuse my terrible drawing skills. My quick sketches are never pretty.

I was thinking about doing typography portraits, but they are difficult to read normally, so for the cause of literacy, they might not have been the best idea. However, I really wanted to give a face to the cause, because that is something that everything I looked at seemed to be missing.

Ultimately, I decided on a series of posters that focused on dramatic typography over a portrait photo, a bus stop ad with a mirror where the normal photo would be, and a tote bag that could be sold in partnership with libraries or bookstores. Stay tuned for the final project next week!

Are you interested in any social causes? Tell me about them and your ideas for campaigns in the comments!

Welcome Back!


Photo via unsplash

It’s been a while, right? Well, new year, new semester and that means I’ll be back to blogging! I’ll be updating this blog with the things I’m working on for class – mostly branding projects. I’m also going to be writing some posts with my own personal projects, my continuing experiments with drawing (I’m so terrible), typography and font love, and living a creative life.

It’s going to be a great, busy semester and I look forward to seeing you there!

What are you up to this year? Any goals, plans, resolutions you know you’re going to break by February? Let me know in the comments!

You Can Work From Home


If you’re anything like me, any time you sit down to work on a blog post or creative project your brain starts. You know what I mean. I really should throw in a load of laundry. I was going to watch that documentary on Netflix. Did I get the mail this morning?  And boom – you’ve lost your momentum and you’re not getting anything done. Sometimes I just have to get out of my place just to get some work done.

Whether you’re a freelancer, student, full-time designer, or someone who’s working your side hustle, there’s one thing we all know – working from home is a serious struggle… and the struggle is real.

I recently came across a blog post by blogger and designer Erin Flynn on just this topic. 5 Tips to help you stay focused while working from home. Erin gives her top tips for dealing with distractions at home. Here’s the breakdown:

1. Erin says you should create “office hours” with an in time and and out time to help you stick to your schedule. You can do the dishes after work.

2. Even if you don’t have a home office, Erin encourages having a work space where that is all you do to help your focus.

3. Either literally or figuratively, Erin believes that keeping distractions out of sight is keeping them out of mind.

4. Just like at a 9 to 5, Erin says to take breaks for whatever (cough coffee, Pinterest cough) so you’re less likely to do things you shouldn’t while working.

5. If all else fails, Erin says to just deal with the dishes that are making you crazy. Once you’ve dealt with the distraction, you can focus on getting work done.

So, what do you do to keep your focus when working from home? Share your tips!

Read Erin’s full post here and check out her website here!



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Hello! Welcome to Amber & Ink Design. I’m Kalie, a designer, photographer, creative thinker, and constant student, currently studying graphic design and advertising. This blog is all about the things I love most – learning about modern design and being creative. If you’re a freelancer, modern designer, photographer, or a lover of lettering and blogging, then this is the place for you!

Have any questions? Just want to chat? Feel free to shoot me and e-mail or tweet me. I’d love to hear from you!