Holiday Cards


Our Christmas cards this year are from Artifact Uprising, a company I’ve loved and patronized for years now. I feel conflicted using design templates sometimes; I feel like I should use it as an opportunity to make my own. But they make it just so damn simple and convenient. Even easier is that we got real live family photos taken by my pal Cody KartarikIt was such a great shoot and I felt like I had to do one of these multi-photo cards.

2017CARDS-52017CARDS-1I love the Artifact Uprising designs because it feels like something I would do. They’re so simple and type-driven. They make it easy to give up control, and it takes like 5 minutes to put together. They’ll even address your envelopes if you’re so inclined. 2017CARDS-6

Bonus: Artifact Uprising is a cool company to make photo gifts for people. I’ve given my mom a little calendar the last few years. They have a big sale today and you should go check it out.

(p.s. it sure looks like this is a sponsored post, right? well, it’s not! I just think Artifact Uprising is neat).

My new design logo


A little while ago I was in the throes of obsessively updating my portfolio and creating some projects for myself while I get ready to go back to work, usually in the hours between Alex’s bedtime and mine. One night I was like “maybe I should make a new logo for myself.” Whoa! My old design logo was one I’d had since 2011, before I graduated from school:


It’s not bad, really, for how shoddy my illustrator skills were at the time, but it’s pretty far away from who I am as a designer now. Then I was an obsessive anglophile and I loved royal history and crowns. Didn’t have much to do with my design, though. Still, I hung onto this identity for a long long time.

While trying to devise something new, I wanted to make sure I went minimal, and probably more type focused. I searched around for the inspiration to hit, and I started thinking about trees. The kicker is that I used up a bunch of good ideas in my blog logo. I’m still not very good at saving my process so I don’t have any to show, but I eventually arrived at this super simple tree/chevron design:CRD_IDENTITY3CRD_IDENTITY4

I love that it’s very much “me”. It’s minimal, it’s bold, it conveys nature and design simultaneously, and it’s a standalone icon as well as part of a wordmark. I love when design can do double – or triple – duty.LOGO_2017

I’m mulling over the eventual consolidation of both my design and photography businesses into “Caroline Royce Creative” or something, but for now I think this bridges the gap nicely. CRD_IDENTITY

Exercise 2 | Wolf Like Me


I’ve been doing a lot lately in preparation to go back to work soon. While my resumé and portfolio site are as up-to-date as they possibly can be right now, I’ve taken on a lot of personal projects to stretch my legs/learn new skills/sharpen up old ones. Last night after Alex went to bed I decided to try to some photo illustration. I mean, I’ve done this kind of stuff before a little, like when I worked for Totino’s and even a few times with But this felt more like doing design for design’s sake. It’s an incredibly enriching process. Even though I haven’t had a real design job in over a year, I actually think I’m better than I ever was before.

(it probably sounds ridiculous, but I did a ton of maintenance on my Pinterest boards over the weekend and now I have like 8 boards for different facets of graphic design instead of one big massive one; like “Art Direction” or “Packaging” or “Typography.” IT was kind of like a light switch off when I created them all and I now feel inspired to just create).

What’s cool about having these self-initiated projects is that a lot of them are good enough (in my mind) that I stick them in my portfolio. Recently I had an almost job offer (ha!) for a designer who can also do food photography. I started the food photo project basically as something fun to do while being a full time stay-at-home-mom and in the process, picked up some skills that are valuable to a potential employer. That’s cool!

With these photo illustrations, I mean, it was just messing around (I made these in InDesign), but who knows, maybe some art director from some magazine someday will be like “Hey I like these, do you want to do something for this magazine?” And I’ll be like “Yeah”. So anyway, with that all said, here’s a few photo illos I did for fun and practice. I began by searching for hi-res photos on Creative Commonsnot really knowing what I would do, and it went from there. I just kinda dig the wolf and winter aesthetic. I think 100% because I am excited about Game of Thrones being back. WOLFLIKEMEWOLFLIKEME2WOLFLIKEME3

Branding for SNFAS

LOGOThe other night I was fiddling around with some stuff for this website and realized that I’ve never taken the time to brand my blog. It never even occurred to me to do so! Logo design has never really been one of my things; I am much more of a layout designer. But the exercise felt valuable and necessary. And it actually reminded me of the time I did a personal project to Brand Minnesota. It was fun to get back to that form.

Initially I was just going to do some sort of little type treatment against a series of neat backdrops, but it evolved into this whole logo with a few layers of significance. “Strange News from Another Star” is a song by Blur but also originally a collection of stories (that, full disclosure, I’m not really familiar with). I mainly chose the title because I liked it, and I never pass up an opportunity to reference song titles.


The three little trees represent my little family (and Alan’s and my wedding logo was two trees, and now we have a third one). The middle tree doubles as an arrow (I have an arrow tattooed on my wrist; I also like it for its vague medieval-ness) and points North, towards the Little Dipper and Polaris because Minnesota is the North Star State 😎.



Now the header of the blog has a rotating series of headers (either with some of my landscape photography or some textures I have in my arsenal) with my tagline; “Design, Photo, Motherhood, Cabins.” All told it took only a few hours to make this thing look mad legit, and I like it so much I added it to my portfolio! What do you guys think?


Exercise 1 | Gradient in Nature

GRADIENTSA new series I’ll be undertaking on here exploring moods and themes in photography and design. Today I’m looking at gradients in nature, which is something I’m often gravitating towards whether it be on Instagram, Pinterest or [cough] REAL LIFE. Particularly at dawn or dusk, gradients found in the sky evoke a real nostalgia for me, whether for something real or fake (these lines sometimes get blurred in my mind).

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