The aspens will soon be changing to gold in New Mexico, and I’m already missing the short season of green we had here. With lush landscapes on the brain, I thought I’d share a few pictures from a trip I took to Romania this spring with my husband. The leafy mountainsides, leggy evergreens, and winding country roads gave us one of the greenest journeys I’ve ever seen. This was my first time in Eastern Europe and it was such an experience; culturally, I loved the rural areas in the northern region, which felt like stepping back (way back) in time.
Here we have:
A man shepherding his sheep in a beautiful field backed by rich jade hills (above).
The most adorable grandmothers ever, selling farm cheese and sheep’s yogurt at the market. This was my mainstay snack on our hair-raising drives through unbelievable traffic and twisting highways.
Typical walking trail through the woods, ferns, and wildflowers in Transylvania (!).
The Merry Cemetery, with hand painted art and unique folk poems honoring each life, decorating hand-carved wooden headstones.
Corner construction on the primitive wooden churches common throughout the countryside.
Europe’s oldest running narrow gauge steam train.
A Maramureş wooden church, typical of the high timber constructions we saw all over stunning meadows like this one.
Just one example of the incredible hand-painted vernacular artwork covering the walls, floors, and ceilings of the churches.
View from Bran Castle, one of the original inspirations for Dracula!
Streetside in Transylvania; more amazing murals.
One of the lovely bedrooms in the charming old hotels where we stayed—which always featured old-Euro style separate duvets.
Leadlight windows in diamond patterns of red, white, and blue.
Sun hitting a rainbow of pastel homes on a cobblestone street.
My favorite, perfect wildflower meadow.
Clock tower in a historic village, with moving medieval figures who appear upon the chime of the hour.
Rural cemetery in the forest.
More wooden churches, with original frescoes and antique pennants (my husband is an architect so these ancient buildings were big on our sight-seeing list).
Horses and carts, the preferred mode of transportation in the north country, including for families taking children to school—so much fun to see.
Red poppy field.
More extraordinary paintings.
Lighting positive intention candles in the cave below a convent.
A visit to writer, activist, and Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel’s home in Sighet, Transylvania.
A quiet street at night, from the window of our hotel.
The town plaza, with pigeons.
An arched yellow arcade, peeking out onto the town square.
We are delighted to share one of our recent branding projects—from stem to stern—for Akumal Weddings, an event planning service located on the gorgeous coastline of North Akumal, Mexico, in the Mayan Riviera. We go into more detail about the project in our portfolio, so we thought it would be fun to share a few behind-the-scenes glimpses here that ultimately led to our final logo design and website design for this slice of tropical paradise.
When we begin a new branding project, we first put together an inspiration packet filled with images, mood boards, sketches, and typefaces that we believe embody our concepts for the new aesthetic. This is a really important stage in the logo design process in particular, as it ensures that we (the designers) are on the same page as our clients—and creates an essential roadmap for the next stage of development of our designs (after all, what we are hired to do!). It’s always a pleasure to work with an amazing client who has beautiful professional photos already on hand, and of course if your business takes place on the Caribbean ocean, even better!
Step one in this kind of project is for us to comb through our ever-growing inspiration library of beautiful patterns, fonts, and logos to create the mood board aspect of our initial concept package. This will include bits of branding from companies and designers that we admire, a variety of color swatches to compose a palette, and sample graphics that we find compelling. The point of this collection is to share with the client several different design directions we feel we can take their branding. We stress that we will not duplicate any of these elements, and that they are used strictly as inspirations, like a photo collage to get the ball rolling. Honoring other designers’ work is really important to us; we understand how many hours went behind each logo and design discovery and give credit where credit is due for any found inspirations. We love sharing ideas and seeing other great work on dribbble!
We gather fonts, and present different options to get an idea of what feeling our client is looking for: hand-written, serif, sans-serif, cursive, playful, clean, caps, and more.
Once we receive feedback from our client, we put together the next packet, developing custom design elements, narrowing down font choices, and building several variations of logo concept drafts. Here are a few of the alternate logo designs we created for Akumal Weddings, but didn’t end up using:
After reviewing the initial logo concept sketches, we push things just a few steps further, and voila! the final logo design comes to fruition. After that, focusing on the beautiful photography provided by our client, our Akumal Weddings website design came together using our final logo package as a guide, sprinkling custom graphic embellishments throughout the site layout, and taking cues from the branding decisions we arrived at with our client.
Read more about Akumal Weddings on our portfolio, and visit Akumal Weddings online to see some of the beautiful weddings they’ve been part of celebrating. A huge thank you to Heidi and her team for working with us on the branding, logo design, and website design. Booking a trip to the sandy shores of Akumal is definitely at the top of our wish list!
– Jackie & Kristin
Last fall (oh my! where does the time go?) we were invited to host a design Open House for the American Institute of Graphic Artists‘ New Mexico chapter. It was a lovely evening to gather with friends and clients, new and old, at Kristin’s sweet home in Santa Fe. As fall is around the corner again, we are reminded to take time to stop and enjoy all of the people we have met in the last year and to thank our clients for being, well, the best. It was such a fun night; we’ve been talking about hosting another one later this year – we’ll keep you posted!
The snow outside made for a cozy night by the fire and let our spiced apple cider be the perfect companion. Martha Stewart (and Jackie’s mom, the true hostess with the most-est) guided us toward delicious platters of appetizers (because we’ll take a table of apps over a full dinner anytime) and growlers of Santa Fe Brewing Co‘s finest ales aided in sparking conversation between new friends.
Thank you to AIGA for tapping us to host, and a big thank you for all the continued support and love from our friends and clients. We admire you all! Only wish we could have more parties to celebrate.
– Jackie & Kristin
Oh beautiful succulents. You don’t seem to like winter in Washington, and at this point, I’m not too sure about it either. Gray, gray, and more gray. So I’m living in a Texas fantasy today and hoping your green will seep through my screen and into my body chemistry because no matter how many mushrooms I eat (someone said they are a good vitamin D supplement, and no not the medicinal kind), I still have the winter blues.
I’ve been really into filling the office with lots and lots of plants, perhaps it has something to do with everything outside being dead and gray (did I mention gray?). But I’m always on the lookout for sweet planters and pots to house new greenery, and what gets more charming than a little face and a baby succulent? Love these guys from the sweet Etsy shop Atelier Stella London (plus, anything called Atelier makes me feel fancy).
Reminiscing about a warm day spent visiting a succulent farm in west Austin last summer with my dear friend Christine. Lots of symmetry, lots of Texas cacti, appropriately. It was kind of magical. Hoping a little magic finds its way to you during these winter days.