Enjoy What You Have (8.31.12)

august 31, 2012

Enjoy What You Have…

Another Birthday (Wednesday, 8.29.12)

august 29, 2012

Another Birthday?

Send this funny birthday ecard!

Send this funny birthday ecard!

Have you ever wondered why birthdays seem to roll around more quickly once you’ve passed the age of 21?  Yes, you may be getting older, but look at it this way—you’re more mature and wiser, right?  Remember, your age is just a number and you’re only as old as you feel.  So, laugh at the wisecracks, blow out all your candles and know that he who has the most birthdays lives the longest!

In the mood board:  Birthday Cake Hazard ecard from American Greetings

Meet the Artist (Monday, 8.27.12)

august 27, 2012

Meet the Artist!

Meet the Artist

It’s all about energy and a fresh perspective when you meet Alex McClelland, one of our newest graphic designers at American Greetings.  Here’s what he has to say:

When did you first realize you are an artist?

I took illustration and intro design classes in high school and loved it. In college, I really started to get excited about design when we got into more fun and conceptual work.

What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?

I am a graphic designer on the marketing production team for American Greetings Interactive. I create emails and landing pages for American Greetings, BlueMountain.com, and Cardstore.com. I’ve been given some other fun projects too, such as designing online products and designing for this very blog!

Could you tell us some more about your work?

My work is always evolving. Sometimes I’ll look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?” I think it’s important to always like what you create, but it’s also inevitable to have your taste and style change from time to time. I’m still learning and one thing I always appreciate and go back to is simple, iconic design. I really enjoy making little characters and graphics out of simple geometric shapes, and I have a recent fascination with color experimentation and hand lettering. Feel free to check out my website to see some of the things that I’ve been working on! www.alexmcclelland.com

What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?

I love looking into the latest design trends through blogs, websites, books, magazines, etc. I love to see new approaches to design and working to see how I can take those ideas and make them my own.

What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?

Some of my favorite designs are logos that I have created. It’s a different way of designing. With posters and books, and even greetings cards, there’s a bigger canvas to convey your message. With a logo, you have one opportunity to sum it all up.


What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?

I love to look at Craig Frazier’s work, and I actually created a biography project about him. He is known for very simple, yet conceptual illustrations and animations. Lately I’ve really gotten some inspiration from “Us and Them” studio, a design agency in Brooklyn. They have a website full of colorful, typographic, iconic, graphical eye candy.

What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated?

I love variety and I love to be busy. I think I do my best work when I know there is a tight deadline or if I’m juggling several projects at once. I get this sense of urgency that fires me up. When I get stuck, I go for a walk or workout…really anything to take my mind off it. Usually my ideas develop when I’m not trying so hard.

Work Samples

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would love to have an idea of where I’ll be in 10 years. I am still learning so much about what I like and don’t like doing as a designer…I know that I love designing posters, logos, cards, etc. I’d like to learn some web design and coding within the next few years to make myself more versatile. I am also interested in packaging design/ 3D design.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Experiment with what you love and learn how to take criticism. Don’t take anything involving your own work too personally. As a sensitive person it’s hard to follow my own advice sometimes, but I find that most times when people criticize it’s because they see more potential. Take advice but make sure in the end it is still your design and not someone else’s manipulation.

What do you do for fun?

I love to play tennis, go fishing, read- mostly fiction, the more imagination the better. I like to play cards and board games and just love to just hang out with close friends and go on adventures.

The Purpose of Education (Friday, 8.24.12)

august 24, 2012

Look Beyond…

Inspirational Quote: "The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."

A New School Year (Wednesday, 8.22.12)

august 22, 2012

A Fresh Start…

Back to School!

As the dog days of summer draw to a close and you can hear the marching band practicing on the football field, you know that a new school year is about to begin. It’s a time when kids get excited and maybe, a little anxious about homeroom assignments, new subjects to learn and meeting new friends  Reassure them that a new school year is all about new opportunities—a  chance to start fresh.  And if they’re still feeling a little nervous, some new fall clothes may help!

In the mood board: Best Year Yet” Postcard , “It is what it is” Blog, “Just Call me Martha” Blog

Back to School (Monday, August 20, 2012)

august 20, 2012

Back to School

Back to School!

Backpacks, binders and buses—oh yeah, it’s back-to-school time! Whether your child starts tomorrow or still has a couple more weeks, here are some important reminders to make life a little easier.

  • Get super organized by using stylish, colorful folders to send all that required paperwork to the school office.
  • Lunches: to pack or buy? If packing, check out these great sandwich ideas; if not, don’t forget the lunch money.
  • Avoid a first day fashion crisis!  Whether uniforms or regular clothes, review the dress code and get the first week’s wardrobe lined up and hung in the closet.
  • When it comes to school supplies, most schools hand out lists, so shop around for prices and deals.
  • Label, label, label! You can use a permanent marker or order fun, personalized labels to last throughout the school year.
  • Gym clothes, sports uniforms, change of clothes—make sure it’s all labeled and packed. Tuck in an extra plastic bag for the dirty clothes and shoes.
  • Summer reading is standard at most schools, so check that the assignment is completed and set to go!
  • Backpack ready? Make sure you know the school requirements as well as the latest fashion trends for this essential item.
  • Get the kids to bed! Summer is great for staying up late, but now is the time to start getting to sleep—and waking up—earlier.
  • Finally, create a printable card at home and tuck it in your child’s lunch or backpack just to let them know you’re thinking of them on their first day.  It will make them smile!

Wrapping up Summer… (8.17.12)

august 17, 2012

Wrapping Up Summer…

Summer Fun

It feels like we were just talking about getting your summer started, and now it’s already almost time to say goodbye to the care-free warm days of this fun season. Although schools will be starting up again soon, and we’ll all be back to busier schedules, there’s still  time left to enjoy summer. If you’re wondering when the official end of summer is – it falls on September 21, so make the most of the next 5 weeks with some end-of-summer fun! Here are some of our favorite ideas you still have time to fit it.

  • Capture Summer Memories

If you’ve been snapping pictures all summer long, now is the time to organize all of your memories and create something fun. Take a day to put all your photos together in a scrapbook – digital or paper. You can even make your favorite summer pictures into personalized cards and send them out to friends and family!

  • Last-Minute Vacation

It’s not too late to squeeze one more fun vacation weekend in! How about a family camping trip, or an adventure to your local amusement park? You may even save some money if you plan these trips into September, and as a bonus you may not have the crowds you’d find a few weeks earlier.

  • Get to the Pool

The weather is still hot and sunny, so soak up the sun at your local pool or water park. Most pools stay open until Labor Day weekend, so make the most of the time you have left!

  • Have a Movie Marathon

Stuck inside due to a late summer storm? No problem! Have a family movie marathon day. Have each member of the family choose a favorite movie, pop some popcorn, make fun snacks, and enjoy a lazy day!

Your Favorite Peeps (Wednesday, 8.15.12)

august 15, 2012

Your Favorite Peeps

Happy Birthday ecards

Here are some fun ideas on how to make your favorite peeps feel extra special on their birthday:

  • Invite them over for a homemade dinner along with a small group of their closest friends.
  • If relaxation is high on their list, book some spa time where you all can go for a gabfest.
  • Make it a movie night – include the popcorn, a decorative bowl, toppings and flavorings and a ‘just released’ DVD.
  • Tickets to a performance, amusement park, museum exhibit–anywhere you know they would love.
  • On a budget—why not do a chore that the birthday guy or gal would rather avoid like mowing the grass or grocery shopping.

Remember, it’s the thoughtfulness that counts!

In the mood board:  Birthday Peeps ecard from American Greetings

Birthday Party Themes (Monday, August 13, 2012)

august 13, 2012

Planning a Birthday Party?

Birthday Party Themes

You’re never too old for a big celebration! Not sure where to begin? Here are some great ideas to make party planning easy.

A retro-themed party is the perfect way to create a blast from the past. Send out personalized invitations so guests know how to dress to match the era. Check out iTunes for music that will get everyone dancing—whether it’s the Jitterbug or the Hustle!  Decorate with old photos of the birthday honoree—guests can contribute these, too—or use the fave pix to make a crazy scrapbook of memories right at the party. You can even create your own photo booth with a digital camera. Use imaginative era-specific accessories to go with your theme, then send guests a photo card as a party favor. Don’t forget those thank-you cards, either!

An elegant-themed party is another way to go, so do it up right with a coordinated look.  Choose a color scheme, then accent your napkins and plates with decorative stickers and appliques from a craft store. Use stencils to add a custom border to a paper tablecloth. Flowers make the perfect centerpiece, so select some blossoms in your color choice and decorate the vase using the stencils as well as matching ribbons.  When it comes to the dessert, use your imagination—you may want to try cupcakes or cake pops vs. a more traditional cake. Finish off the celebration with a toast that lists as many qualities of the guest of honor as there are birthday years. All your partygoers will have fun helping with this one, and it will create a wonderful birthday memory to treasure.

Joyful Thoughts… (8.10.12)

august 10, 2012

Joyful Thoughts…

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