26 November 2013

giveaway: office weave print

Every year, San Francisco-based design studio Office creates a limited edition art print for the holiday. This year, the print is hand-woven in three different papers and stamped with a metallic reindeer. The piece has a hint of shimmer and is a modern take on a timeless folk art craft. Measures 9 x 12" and is packaged in a glassine envelope for easy gift-giving. A $35 value.

What's great is that the kind people at Office haver generously supplied a print to gift to one lucky reader this holiday season! All you have to do to be entered is leave a comment on this post with your name, email address and your favorite thing about the holiday season. US readers only. Deadline is Wednesday, December 11th and I will randomly choose a winner then! Thank you and good luck!

You can also purchase the print for yourself here.

[Update 12.13.13: This giveaway has ended. Johnny is the winner. Thanks to all participants. ]

17 October 2013

target: city love

I'm a little bit obsessed with this recent Target Canada campaign. Target made geo-targeted posts to let people know that Bullseye the dog was new in town and was looking for activities to do over the summer. They collected the responses and showcased a few as custom illustrations. See the whole campaign here. Illustrations by the ever-so-amazing Lab Partners.
[ Above: Smoked Meat Bagels, Montreal / Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres / Whale Watching on Grand Manan Island, Saint John / Mont-Megantic Observatory, Richmond ]

12 September 2013

2014 calendars

It's getting closer to fall and even though it's a little early to be thinking about next year, I can't help it. One of my favorite things about this season is the amount of great calendars that start to pop up. These are a few of my favorites so far.
[ Above: Color Composition Calendar, $25 / Gem & Mineral Calendar, $28 / Travel America Calendar, $26 / Herbs & Spices Calendar, $18 / Secret Garden Calendar, $26 ]

30 August 2013

foodie pack for studio app

Studio is a new iPhone app that allows users to create and share designs with friends in a new, fresh way. The app includes over 600 free elements that can be used to overlay your photos or to create your own designs. I was able to create a food-themed icon pack for their marketplace (these packs are 0.99). To test it out, I threw the fish over a photo I took in Wyoming earlier this summer. I like to keep it simple! This app is fun and allows you to be a bit more creative than other photo/design apps out there. Download it here.


When I was attending a yoga class about a month ago, my cousin brought along a Bkr water bottle, which I became a little bit obsessed with. Bkr (pronounced beaker) is a San Francisco company founded by two friends who share the belief that beauty can inspire real change. The bottle is inspired by what they love, some of those things being modern art, design in Tokyo, Italian furniture, the perfect t-shirt, the small, the pretty, the cool, the calm, the bright and everything translucent and clean. Their main goal was to create a green product that could be functional, creative and something you would want to carry. I think they accomplished that because ever since I saw my cousin's bottle, I've wanted one. I love how they are made of glass (that means pure, tasty, clean water) and are surrounded by a colorful silicone sleeve (which offers protection and grip). I finally got my own in the color Pool (a bright cerulean blue) and I can't wait to bring it to all my yoga classes now. A bottle retails for $28.
[ Above: Kitsch, Betty, True / Space, Rocket, Candy, Jet, Julep / Bubble, Fog, Pop, Ripe, Pool ]

02 July 2013

signs of summer

Well, it's officially summer. Despite the extreme heat here in Utah (it's been up to 105°), there's something so great about grilling and being outside (I might be able to bear the heat if I can eat a popsicle after). This piece above depicts some of my favorite things about summer and what I think embodies the season. I'm also excited because it's somewhat of a sneak peek into a project I've been working on recently, one which will be released in a couple of months! I'll keep you updated on it then, but the sunglasses and flamingo will make another appearance soon.
 [ Above: Illustration by me, see valeriejar.com ]

05 June 2013

the indigo bunting + paris wedding invitations

Erin Jang of The Indigo Bunting designed this incredible invitation for a couple's wedding in Paris. The double-sided accordion folded piece reflects all of the culinary adventures scheduled for the weekend, along with details about the event and an RSVP. The invitation feels so special. I love the tone of the whole thing: the black and gold make it elegant, while the bright blue and Erin's iconic food illustrations add a freshness and modernity to it all. Such a perfect balance. Screen-printed by Mama's Sauce.

25 April 2013

beverage cards

These new beverage cards were added to my shop today! Maybe it's just me, but I'm always thirsty and these cards depict a few of my favorite drinks of choice. The cards are blank inside so they're perfect for sending anytime: as a friendly hello, thank you, or anything you might choose. Available as singles or as a set here.

One of the things I was most excited about when going freelance was being able to design for me again, so I'm super glad that I have the opportunity to do these side projects that I enjoy. There will be more paper products coming this year (including calendars again, I hope!).

09 April 2013

help ink + cherry shake

A couple of months ago, the kind people at Help Ink invited me to create a piece of art for their site. Help Ink is a collaborative project that uses the sale of premium and exclusive art to help charities in an exciting way. A portion of all product sales go to a selected cause and I'm happy that I was able to be a part of it. My piece, Cherry Shake, was released earlier this week and is available to purchase as a print, wall art or notecard here.

01 April 2013

available for work

Just a quick announcement! Regular readers of the blog will know that I recently decided to go freelance full-time, but for those of you who are new or stumble upon the blog, I wanted to let you know that I'm now open to take on new design and illustration projects. If you'd like to work with me, or have a project you want to talk about, I'd love to hear from you! Please feel free to send me an email.

31 March 2013

jack hudson

The work of London based designer and illustrator Jack Hudson. I especially love his use of color and how expressive his illustration work is, as seen in this series he created for a Global Blue iPhone app, featuring various shopping districts in Frankfurt.

22 March 2013

julia marco

Well, it's been nearly two weeks of being a full-time freelancer and being my own boss. In that time, I've become a registered business and am learning how to manage my time in the best way. One thing I didn't expect was how busy I'd be. You'd think with going freelance, you'd have more time to do other things you enjoy, but I find myself just as busy, if not more. One major thing that I didn't expect was how many emails I'd be writing. A portion of my day is spent responding to and writing them. I wouldn't say it's a bad thing, but an aspect I'd never really thought about.

I can't really complain though, especially when I receive emails from people like Julia Marco, who wanted to share these gorgeous handmade bags and pouches she's introducing this season. If anything has geometric shapes on it, you've already got me. I love how clean these look and think they'd be perfect to carry this summer. Her bags and pouches are made from organic cotton and retail for $50 and $20, respectively. Shop for them here.

 [ Above: Bag II / Bag IV / Pouch I ]

04 March 2013

change of plans

So guess what? I quit my job.

I finally feel like I have the time to sit down and dedicate a post to it, just to share what's going on. For the past couple of months, I've had a feeling in my gut. Every day, I'd wake up and go to work, but knew it wasn't the place for me anymore. I had grown out of it.

A huge sense of urgency came over me. I had an immediate feeling that I needed to change things in order to make them better. I took on a bunch of freelance design and illustration jobs which caused me to work every weekend for the past few months, and sometimes I'd get back from my 9-to-6 job and work some more. The weird part is that I enjoyed it. The projects I was doing outside of work made me feel good. They made me happy when I worked on them and completed them. My thoughts turned into the idea of starting my own business, something I've always wanted to do. I took a workshop on that subject and it only pushed my ideas further. Starting a business requires a lot of hard work and effort, a lot of research and learning, but it's also something that I think I could be good at. The questions started to run through my mind. What if I don't have enough money saved up before I quit? What if the time isn't right? What if I regret my decision? What if I fail? And you know what, no matter how long I stayed at my job, those are questions I'd never have an answer to. The longer I waited, the longer those same questions would linger. I just wouldn't know unless I took the risk. So last Wednesday, I decided to quit playing the "what if" game. I gave my notice. My last day is this Friday, in four days.

Even though I'm leaving, I have a big appreciation for what that job has done for me. I've been at Struck for close to five years and I can say without a doubt that it's improved and bettered me, personality and ability-wise. It's helped me become the designer and the person I am now, and for that, I feel grateful. I was 20 when I first interned there in college, 21 when I graduated and started working full-time, and I'm coming out of it, 26, wiser and less afraid (but I'll admit, still a little afraid).

So now, I'm going to freelance full-time. I'm starting my own business and teaching myself how to run and operate it. It's going to be a learning process, but I'm ready for it. This means I'm going to be posting here a lot more. I want to share the journey with you guys, if you'll have me. Let's see where it goes from here.

[ Above: Illustration by me, see valeriejar.com ]

09 January 2013

luis monteiro + tatler balloons

Fun, colorful photos from an editorial shoot for Tatler. The images have such a lively energy to them. Shot by London based photographer Luis Monteiro.
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