April 7, 2018

A to Z of Design: G is for gutter

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

G is for gutter

The gutter is the space created by the binding of a book or magazine. It is the inside margins of the left and right pages, or blank space between two facing pages.

Depending on the type of binding, the gutter measurement may need to be increased as the viewing area can be reduced by the curvature of the pages.

See all of the A to Z of Design posts here.

September 25, 2013

A book that helped me “make my ideas happen”

Making Ideas Happen by Scott BelskyLast week, I wrote about how Evernote helped me launch my new business, typebaby. Now, Id like to share a book that helped me turn my ideas into reality: Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality by Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of Behance.

This book has been a fixture on my desk for almost a year. When I was preparing to launch typebaby, I read the book in my car while my son was napping. I read a few pages before I went to bed. And I flagged lots of pages.

Here are a 8 takeaways that I found especially helpful:

1. Break projects into primary elements

Belsky calls this the “Action Method” and it involves breaking down your project into Action Steps, References and Backburner items. This was important for me, as I was getting overwhelmed by everything I needed to accomplish prior to launching. I also liked his tip of writing your Action Steps in short phrases starting with action verbs, i.e. “Mock up a sample of…”

2. Create an energy line

I recently wrote a post on the HOW Design Creative Freelancer Blog about creating an energy line and how it was helping me prioritize my projects. This book is where I learned about it and I still update mine weekly.

3. Let go of dead-end projects

“You must be willing to kill ideas liberally—for the sake of fully pursuing other.” As a creative person, I really struggle with this. I have so many ideas and want to pursue all of them. This book made me realize that I couldn’t (and shouldn’t) pursue all of my ideas. But if was really attached, I could just put an idea on the backburner and return to it later.

4. Reduce time spent on “insecurity work”

Belsky says, “Along the journey to making ideas happen, you must reduce the amount of energy you spend on stuff related to your insecurities.” This is a powerful statement. Whether it’s launching a product or writing a blog post, I’ve had insecurities pop up that kept me from moving forward.

He goes on to say, “We seek information to make our anxiety go away.” I know I’m guilty of over-researching. I postponed launching my product line until I felt everything was perfect (according to my unattainable standards). In fact, it was my husband who finally said to me: “just do it, already!”

5. Don’t go it alone

The book emphasizes partnerships. Not necessarily a business partnership, but collaborations with people who have complementary skills to help you move your project along, or like-minded people who can keep you accountable. I found this very helpful and I still reach out to my mentors and accountability buddies.

6. Seek out your competition

I thought this was an interesting concept. Belsky writes, “Ideas often have the tendency to lie stagnant until we are jolted into action by either excitement or fear.” It’s true. Watching your competition is crucial for all small business owners—and it can be a great way to push your idea into action. As Belsky says, “Seek out competition and be grateful for it. By embracing [it], you will stay at the top of your game.”

7. Go public and create accountability

When you feel accountable to your idea, you are more likely to push through and make it happen. I like to discuss my ideas with a few trusted friends who I can count on to regularly ask, “So, how is [your new idea] going?” If I know someone will be asking about it, I am more likely to focus on it.

Publicly announcing your idea also shows your commitment to it. As Belsky writes, “Only after publicly committing themselves did [leaders of new companies] experience full support from their communities.”

 8. Keep perspective and an open mind

Belsky notes how creatives can get caught up in “visionary narcissism.” We get so caught up in our idea, we are unaware of what’s been done before and consider our idea totally unique. Keep an open mind when relating with or following people in your industry—you can learn from them. As Belsky writes, “Not much is entirely new, and yes, we can adequately  learn from the past.”

Have you read Making Ideas Happen? What were your key takeaways?


December 31, 2012

Typography in the City: Volume 1 makes a “best of” list!

Typography in the City: one of the best typography books of 2012

My book Typography in the City: Volume 1: West Loop made Creative Bloq’s list of The Best Typography Books of 2012!

The self-published book features photographs of found typography from my West Loop neighborhood in Chicago, including building signage, street signage and “guerrilla typography.” Typography in the City: Volume 1 is available as a printed book and eBook.

Get a sneak peek

See an online preview of Typography in the City: Volume 1 here.

Learn more

Visit the Typography in the City blog and read the inspiration behind this project. 

November 27, 2012

Typography in the City gets some love, both locally and abroad. #TypeTuesday

Typography in the City book Creative Bloq  Typography in the City featured on ChicagoJournal.com

Hooray for urban typography!

I’m excited to share that my “type-spotting” blog Typography in the City and the related book were mentioned in two places yesterday.

Bill Motchan, writer of the Chicago Journal’s ‘West Loop Wanderings’ blog posted an article about my inspiration for Typography in the City—including a photo of one of my favorite West Loop typography spots. Read the Chicago Journal article.

My self-published book, Typography in the City (based on the blog) was featured on Creative Bloq, a blog that delivers a daily dose of design tips and inspiration. Read the Creative Bloq post.

Thanks Chicago Journal & Creative Bloq for spreading the word about urban typography!

October 24, 2012

Special offer: 40% off personalized gifts from MyChronicleBooks.com (ends 10/30)

Filed under: Creativity,Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 1:42 pm

MyChronicleBooks race car growth chart

As a Chronicle Books affiliate, I’m pleased to share this special MyChronicleBooks.com offer with my readers:

One week only! 40% off Personalized Books and Gifts at MyChronicleBooks.com with code MYCB40. Ends 10/30/12

Click the link and make sure to enter the code.

About MyChronicleBooks

MyChronicleBooks.com offers personalized Books, Growth Charts, Lunch Boxes, Placemats, Wall Art, and paper goods based on their beloved book titles.

Get those kids’ holiday gifts early!

October 15, 2012

Book Review: Mom, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco & Cat Seto

Filed under: Biz Mama,Book review — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

I’m a fan of the “Inc.” series of books (Craft, Inc., Creative, Inc., Blog, Inc.) for creative businesses. Mom, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Cat Seto is a great addition to the series (and my bookshelf).

What’s in the book

Mom, Inc. offers useful tips and information for moms starting or running a business. Ideas such as writing a Mom Statement and finding support networks are useful for moms just started out as well as seasoned biz mamas. I’m part of a local mompreneur group and find it so helpful.

They also talk about ways to balance work and children—which can be tricky, especially for new moms. And if you are a mama-to-be, you will appreciate their timeline for preparing your business for baby’s arrival and after.

What I love about the book

I love the authors’ clear, honest writing style and appreciate them sharing their knowledge and experiences. Both Meg and Cat are not only successful designers and small business owners but also moms, so they are an inspiration to myself and other biz mamas.

I also enjoyed reading the stories from well-known biz mamas, such as Skip Hop’s Ellen Diamant and DwellStudio’s Christiane Lemieux. As a fan of their baby products, I was inspired by their stories of starting and maintaining their successful businesses.

Mom, Inc. is currently a fixture on my desk…marked with many sticky notes!

Read more Biz Mama
book reviews.

October 3, 2012

Book review: Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs by Jill Salzman @foundingmom

Filed under: Biz Mama,Book review,Small Business — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 1:15 pm

Though I’m an experienced small business owner (12 years) I’m still a newbie mom (14 months), so I’m always eager to gain insight from more experienced biz mamas.

Jill Salzman is one of those mamas. She’s an entrepreneur with several businesses under her belt, founder of the fantastic mom entrepreneur group Founding Moms, and recently wrote the book, Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs. Whew!

What’s great about the book

The book details typical small business topics such as taxes and trademarks, however she also discusses things that biz mamas find challenging, such as finding “me time” and getting dinner on the table (prepping meals in advance has become a lifesaver for me!)

The book is a fast read, a must for busy moms. It’s organized into a series of tips, which you can easily go back to and reference.

Most of all, I appreciate the positive (and humorous) tone of the book. Being a business owner and a mom isn’t always easy, but a sense of humor and positive attitude can make life so much easier.

Who should read this book?

Found It: A Field Guide for Mom Entrepreneurs is a useful (and entertaining) guidebook for both new and seasoned biz mamas.

June 30, 2011

Got creative ideas? A few vendors you should know

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 6:17 pm

You have a great idea for a book, tee shirt, invitation, app or other creative project. But how do you make it?

Here are some of the vendors I met with at the HOW Design Conference. One of them is bound to match your creative needs.

Vendors for creative projects

Blurb Books

Are you an author, photographer or designer? Blurb Books is for you. Make your own book using their easy-to-use software or create a custom design. (Designers: an InDesign plug-in is coming soon!) Create a softcover or paperback book—or a hardcover book that can rival any store-bought book. For high-end projects, they now offer a “Proline” that includes premium papers and linen endpapers. I’ve made many a Blurb book…and have several in the works!

My business cards—printed by Jakprints


In addition to printing business cards and other paper goodies—like my super-cool square business cards with rounded corners!—they also print apparel, including allover printed full-color tees.


Moo has developed a cult following among artists and designers for their ability to print multiple back designs on a business card. Go to a craft show and you’re bound to see some Moo Cards. To add to their coolness factor, they are now offering stickers. Yes, you can print multiple designs—and even create a sticker book.

The Paper Mill Store

This is the “candy store” for paper-loving kids. I’m a frequent shopper here, as papers can be purchased in small quantities. Perfect for that party or wedding invitation you may be working on. Specialty papers such as perforated papers are also available.

Uncommon iPhone Cases

You stare at your phone all day, why not have a  case that’s nice to look at? Uncommon lets you create your own iPhone case by simply uploading your artwork.

Felt & Wire Supply

Need blank notecards, twine, rubber stamps, or other goodies for your crafty projects? Check out this new shop from Mohawk and Felt & Wire. I adore the rice paper masking tape.

Method Apps

Have an idea for a mobile app? Their turnkey system makes it easy to create and maintain your very own app. Custom apps also available.


Need to brush up on your art or design skills? Looking to take your creative hobby into a business? Find the books you need here—as well as Moleskine notebooks to jot down your great ideas.

Know other great vendors for creative or artsy folks? Share in the comments!

April 6, 2011

See one of our designs in The Big Book of Packaging!

Filed under: Featured Design Project — Tags: , , — lidia @ 4:30 pm

Yesterday, I received my copies of The Big Book of Packaging, featuring one of my packaging design projects.

Featured in the book is product packaging and a POP display we designed for Justin Blair & Company‘s  line of foot comfort products. (Read more about the project)

Produced by Crescent Hill Books and published by HarperCollins Publishers, the book features hundreds of fine examples of packaging design—not to mention a rockin’ binding with exposed book boards (fellow bookbinding geeks will appreciate this). A great reference for designers and marketers alike.

Thanks to Crescent Hill and HarperCollins for the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new book!

January 6, 2010

Recession Buster: the public library

Filed under: Budget & Finances,Small Business — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 3:55 pm

Have you been to the library lately? For many people under the age of 10, the answer is probably no. But for small businesses, the library can be a valuable resource.

Here in Chicago, the Chicago Public Library offers you the opportunity to search books online and have them transferred to your local branch. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find most of the business and marketing books that I’ve searched for—even new releases. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a bookstore junkie. But this way, I can scope out books before I head over to my local bookshop and plunk down my money.

Live in Chicago? Another Chicago Public Library perk that I just learned from fellow Twitterer Allison Hanlon: you can check out a Museum Passport which give you 1 week of FREE access to local museums (choose from 12, see specifics here). Talk about a great recession buster, especially for families. Have I convinced you yet? Check out the CPL’s online catalog or find your local branch.

Looking for your local library? Search Libweb for an extensive list of public and academic library locations.

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