Jenny Lewis: On The Line badges


Earlier this summer, I had the idea to illustrate some of my favorite lyrics from my favorite records. I thought I’d start with Jenny Lewis’ On The Line, one of the best so far in 2019 (IMO. I’m definitely biased because she is my all-time favorite songwriter + artist, but that’s another post). Shortly-put, this indie-rock record captures heavy grief of both the loss of love (a 12-year relationship) and family (her mother, whom she had a complicated relationship with, passed away from cancer). Despite the heaviness of the last 5 years for Jenny, this album shows that she’s faced these hard truths head-on, and even with a hint of optimism. It’s a body of work I’ve personally been waiting to hear since I wore out listening to her last record, The Voyager (which I now have tattooed on my wrist; go figure).

Jenny’s work is so uniquely beautiful and relatable, and I’ve felt that way since Rilo Kiley (her first band, which was active from 1998-2011). Her lyrics have always had an element of storytelling—both through fictional characters and her own experiences—that move me. But this record particularly hit it out of the park, which is why I decided to create the badges above.

I stuck with a minimal color palette that actually focused on more of the upbeat lyrics and ideas within the LP (you won’t see much darkness in these, but definitely give the record a listen; it’s there). Before creating the badges, I listened to the record on repeat, took notes, doodled, + concepted. That’s when I decided I liked the idea of making them more type-focused rather than honing in on the illustrations. I’m thinking of making these into stickers sometime soon. Hoping to design more from what I’m currently listening to! Jenn'y’s record is below, give it a listen :)

30 Days of Simple Design

Exhale. Day 1.

I've been emphasizing self-motivation since 2015 began, and design is no exception. Outside of my day job, I wanted to work more on personal projects. Earlier this year, I tackled one challenge I created for myself to kick this off: 30 Days of Simple Design.

For one month, I would choose one stock image and design with it and the first word that came to mind. (Exhale, seen above, was Day 1). Only one word was allowed, but design elements such as rules and shapes could be involved too.

This was difficult — I wanted the one word used to be nice to work with + still describe the image well — but I decided that the discipline of doing this quickly was what I wanted to focus on. These words and these images, separately, did not have to be perfect. But together, I was challenged to make them work in a visually appealing, communicative way.

I really think personal projects are important for designers because we're not limited. In any sense. It's easy to get caught up in the aesthetics and demands of a day job, and I don't necessarily want that to always be my focus. Sometimes I just want to design... for me.

Before this project, I also knew that I wanted to complete redesign my portfolio + rebrand myself; my direction as a designer since graduation had changed quite a bit. I started to feel like my portfolio was no longer a representation of me and the type of designer I'm striving to become. My 30 Days of Simple Design project helped me rediscover the aesthetic I was working toward for my new branding + portfolio. More on that in an upcoming post :)

Day 19: Salt.

Personal projects don't always go as planned. For instance... this project took me much longer than 30 days, as I missed some and here and there and had to make up for them over time. For a perfectionist, this was hard to swallow. But I realized that it's OK. Maybe it was an oversight to create a challenge this long. I can take these ideas with me next time.

Here are some collective highlights from the 30 simple designs I created: was an excellent source for stock images, as was Death to the Stock Photo. I pretty much exclusively used these sites when working on this project. I also may use Social Print Studio to make some small prints of these designs and collage them, because why not? Check them out if you can!