design Society6

FKP + Society6=happy

The Little Man
Little Man at the drafting table “helping” with new designs.

It’s the New Year and I am feeling renewed interest in creating art. All things ebb & flow right? You just have to go with it.

Part of the inspiration has come from some client work I am doing, with someone who actually likes the art I make, and has bought a few different versions of my products on Society6. How cool is that?

I am illustrating a book cover for her life story which will be released on Balboa Press. It will be done in the style of watercolor and ink that I really enjoy doing. We started with a conversation close to a year ago where she explained what she was envisioning. We talked again this December and I got the green light. I remembered our conversation really well because the image had started forming in my mind right away.

I started by sourcing images, online and from magazines, to create a rough mock up in Photoshop so that she could see and decide if the basics were looking and feeling right. She gave me her feedback and I moved to creating a rough, working sketch. This starts to take it toward what the final image will look like. We went back & forth a little on some nuances and now I am working on the actual painting.

I can’t wait for her to see the final version and as soon as she gives me the ok to go public with it, I will post images of the whole process.

Til next time, imagine beautiful things and let the universe deliver.

Feel like shopping? Click and have fun!



5 Key Considerations When Hiring a Designer

(OR “Your price seems high, why should I hire you?”)

Have you heard this one? Fast, Good or Cheap: Pick 2

Fast + Good= $$$$$
Fast & Cheap= Lousy
(Personally, will not do)
Good & Cheap= Will take a while
(it’s worked in after everything else on our plate)

It’s been said a millions times but it is true. What you get for your money with a designer can really vary. A low cost designer is not always the best pick. The old saying, ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly rings true here.

1. Reliability/Communication

I have had clients who have come to me unable to even find their previous designer!! Some have trouble getting their designer to make site updates on a timely basis for them. Some have had enormous trouble communicating with their designer. Or they are just plain unhappy with the results of a poor choice.

At least one meeting with a potential designer is important, if not in person, at least a lengthy phone conversation. Can you talk to this person? Do they listen to you? Are they credible/established? Meaning, can you at least see some legitimate prior work on their website or a portfolio link?

LuAnn is a detail-oriented Web Designer who listened to my objectives, understood my passion for fabrics and color and delivered, on a very timely basis, a very professional and happy website. Check it out – —Barbara Hanson, August 17, 2011

2. Education/Experience

I have a history with my clients and have had most of them for 5-10 years! Why is that? I continue learning about my industry constantly, so in turn I always have something new to offer my client base. I spend an enormous amount of my time and money staying on top of the latest standards and practices so that I can give my clients the best their money can buy. I am able to educate and inform them on what makes sense for their particular situation.

Does your designer have any formal education in the field? Sure, learning how to build a website is possible without going to college, but good design and an ability to provide an aesthetically pleasing AND functional site or logo comes from spending time analyzing design history and theory.

It is always a pleasure to work with LuAnn. She handles the pressure of deadlines by producing great work while maintaining a terrific sense of humor. Quite often I consult with her on “how to” software questions. —Austin Metze, Metze Publication Design, February 21, 2009

3. Results

I have had a few clients come to me needing a boost in their search engine rankings when a prior provider did not get it done. I can take a site, given a few key criteria, and change their Google site ranking within 2-4 weeks, from obscurity to page one or two, guaranteed!!!

4. The Intangibles

When you hire someone, you are investing in yourself. What are you worth? What does your business mean to you? Do you want to cheat yourself of getting the best you deserve? Hire someone low cost and get a site that screams cheap? It certainly will not help your business!! First impressions are crucial.

If you receive a high quality site, logo or promotional materials, your business will reap the rewards, not just once, but over and over again. This is part of what is built into the price of a good designer who values what they do, knows what they can deliver and is truly a professional, meaning you get everything mentioned here.

5. Trust

Lastly, what price can you put on trust? A web designer often has access to many of your passwords and accounts. It is crucial you can trust the person to whom you are handing over that kind of information!!

Whether you are in need of a logo, a website or print collateral, take the time to plan. Research what you want and the type of person you would like to work with. It will pay off in the end!!

design PaperGirl random stuff spirituality

PaperGirl 2011 begins with Glasgow

fkp is getting busy with PaperGirl once again. The art of giving art. This is one of the best collaborative projects going, and it is growing exponentially. Several new cities are joining in this year and between my regular workload, the plan is to submit to as many PaperGirl distributions as possible. If you are not familiar with the project you can read more here, here and here. : )

Posters are my passion, I’ve been making and appreciating them in one form or another for as long as I can remember. When done effectively, an image and a message marry to form an unforgettable union. So here’s my first for this year:

Hand pulled print with silver ink and hand detailing, 10″ x 12.5″ on 130 lb. Burned/Road Neenah stock

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Hysterical Design Humor

I couldn’t resist. A friend forwarded this to me and I have not laughed this hard in I can’t tell you how long!! It’s long but it’s worth it!! Enjoy!!!

Hilarious mail exchange between a secretary and a graphic designer that work in the same company.

From: Shannon Walkley
Date: Monday 21 June 2010 9.15am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Poster
I opened the screen door yesterday and my cat got out and has been missing since then so I was wondering if you are not to busy you could make a poster for me. It has to be A4 and I will photocopy it and put it around my suburb this afternoon.
This is the only photo of her I have she answers to the name Missy and is black and white and about 8 months old. missing on Harper street and my phone number.
Thanks Shan.

From:David Thorne
Monday 21 June 2010 9.26am
Shannon Walkley
Re: Poster

Dear Shannon,
That is shocking news. Luckily I was sitting down when I read your email and not half way up a ladder or tree. How are you holding up? I am surprised you managed to attend work at all what with thinking about Missy out there cold, frightened and alone… possibly lying on the side of the road, her back legs squashed by a vehicle, calling out “Shannon, where are you?”
Although I have two clients expecting completed work this afternoon, I will, of course, drop everything and do whatever it takes to facilitate the speedy return of Missy.
Regards, David.


Layers Magazine Design Makeover

Layers_webI am happy to have been a part of Layers Magazine’s most recent issue. I was one of 3 designers selected to rework a book cover for the magazine’s Design Makeover column. The client was author Joseph Blondo, for his book, Caught Between Cultures: A Story of Milton Wan and Viet Nam. Design Makeover writer Jake Widman provided the original cover, comments from the author, some images and a synopsis of the story.

After a difficult childhood in 40’s & 50’s Saigon, Milton Wan escaped on a tramp steamer, to join his sister in Seattle. Not long after, Wan returned to his homeland, this time as an American soldier. Hard to fathom really and one can only imagine the incredible feelings Milton Wan had to face.

So how was I going to approach the enormity of this story in a single image meant to drive customers to pick up this book and buy it? I felt the original cover was missing the human element. The silhouette of a lone soldier came to me immediately and I went with that. I created the picture in my head by piecing together various images and then rendering the final art from that. It remains to be seen if the author will choose any of the 3 redesigns from the magazine, but I enjoyed the process all the same.

Original cover
design spirituality sustainability and the environment

The Haiti Poster Project


I have been invited to participate in the Haiti Poster Project and I am very excited about being able to contribute something that will help out the region. Limited edition, signed and numbered posters from designers around the world are for sale on the Haiti Poster Project site and all money will go directly to Doctors Without Borders to support the continuing efforts to help the people of Haiti. It’s a great way to get some cool art for your pad while helping the people of Haiti.

My limited edition set will be 25 posters printed on French Paper Co. Speckletone True White, 80 lb. cover stock, recycled with visible flecks and shives. French Paper Co., by the way, rocks. Family owned and operated since 1871, they have been using recycled paper since 1955 and have been hydro powered for almost 100 years.

There are 2 ways to help with this project:

1—Buy posters on the Haiti Poster Project website, mine or ANY!!

2—Contribute to the cost of printing for my edition if you like. I have purchased my paper stock from The French Paper Co. and will be printing through a local vendor here in Beacon. My total costs will be around $100. You can contribute via my PayPal button at the top right of the blog. Your contribution will be noted on my poster if donations are received by April 22. Any money received above the price of paper & printing will go toward shipping or donated directly to Doctors Without Borders. I will be happy to post your name and a link to your site as well here on the blog.

The organizers of this project, Leif Steiner of Moxie Sozo, and Josh Higgins have also created The Hurricane Poster Project in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, raising about $50,000 and in 2007 for the So-Cal Fire Poster Project, which continues to be a relief fund source for fire victims 2 and a half years later. They and countless others are making it all possible once again.

I will be posting my design here with a link as soon as it is available for purchase.

Many thanks and may your day be peaceful.

If you are an artist and would like to participate, follow the Haiti Poster Project link at the  top to find out the details, the deadline is May 1.

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Stefan Sagmeister shares Happy Design

I’ve been super busy lately and that, of course, is a good thing, but it’s left me little time to contribute much writing on design. Often while I’m working I will either listen to music, or podcasts and interviews. I came across this on and definitely wanted to share it. If you do not know, it is a great forum for talks and discussions on many diverse topics, as the tagline says: ‘ideas worth spreading’. Enjoy and be funky…


It’s a New Year and a New Look

Check out the brand new look for funkykittyproductions website.

It’s always good to change things up. As I have been working on this redesign for my own site, I have been getting client requests for new looks as well. Kind of like a brand new suit, it feels good to have a new look that reflects your own growth as a person and as a business.

design random stuff sustainability and the environment video

Choosing A Green Printer: 5 Key Considerations

Green, green, green. Eco, eco, eco. Have to say I’m sick of the words myself, but I am not sick of what they represent. The possibilities of living sustainably always bring excitement and innovative thought along with unique challenges and opportunities.

design random stuff

Miami Signage


Just back from holiday in Miami and I had a blast shooting some of the signs. Three architectural styles are predominant in Miami Beach — Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and MiMo (Miami Modernism.) Read more about the styles here.