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    KLO Blog



    5 Custom Portfolio Book Examples for Designers We Love

    It can be a daunting task when it comes to creating your portfolio book.  That final vessel that houses all of the work you’ve meticulously edited, re-edited, and then edited some more!

    We’ve created tens of thousands of beautiful custom portfolio books for designers just like you and want to share a few of our favorites.   We hope it’ll lend you some inspiration so that you can create something that truly represents you.

    Begin creating your own custom portfolio book or give us a shout if you have any questions.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

    Ivory Stain Gains

    Michelle opted for our hand-stained ivory bamboo portfolio book with an engraved color fill in copper.  Once the bamboo is engraved, it creates a rich texture showing the lines of the wood which can either be left as is or color filled.

    Ivory Stained Bamboo Portfolio with engraving treatment Large

    graphic design screwpost portfolio book with engraving and color fill

    UV Print Pattern Galore

    Rebekah chose our matte black acrylic portfolio book in the 11 x 17 landscape size for the canvas of her rad design.  She opted for our full cover UV Print & Cure treatment which allows us to seamlessly print intricate designs right on to any of our materials.  Can you spot the clever geese design within her pattern?  Genius!

    Matte Black and UV Print portfolio

    Matte Black UV Print Portfolio

    Triple Threat Treatments

    Furniture designer Chad Manley incorporated an engraving, engraved color fill, as well as a UV Print & Cure treatment for the photo realistic image of the flower in between the calipers.   The final outcome perfectly illustrates how combining different treatments can create a tactile portfolio book that will grab anyone’s attention.  Chad opted for our 8.5 x 11 portrait caramel bamboo portfolio book.

    Bamboo Chad Manley III

    Bamboo Chad Manley

    custom bamboo portfolio book

    Engraving and Pattern Duo

    Gabriela complimented her graphic design portfolio with a full cover UV Print for the colored areas and an engraving for her text.  She chose our white acrylic material in the 8.5 x 11 landscape size.  We love this sassy yet classy design!

    White acrylic portfolio with uv and engraving

    White acrylic portfolio with uv and engraving II

    Marble Acrylic Madness

    Did you know we create our own marble acrylic in-house?  Exclusive to Klo Portfolios, this is one of our favorite materials since it has the richness of marble with the lightness of acrylic.  Nicole chose an engraved color fill in gold for her 11 x 17 landscape interior design portfolio.  You can’t go wrong with this timeless marble and gold combination and we absolutely love it!

    personalized marble acrylic portfolio book

    marble acrylic interior design portfolio book by klo portfolios



    Choosing the Perfect Material and Treatment for your Custom Portfolio Book

    We pride ourselves on having the highest quality and largest selection of materials for your custom portfolio book (25 and counting!) and we also know choosing the best one for you can be a daunting task. The good news is that it’s the fun part!

    You can choose just about any combination and permutation that suits your branding and design and we’ll bring your portfolio book to life.  What treatments work best with which materials?  How do you decide between a matte black acrylic or an ebony stained bamboo portfolio book?

    We’ve outlined some helpful tips below about our most popular material and treatment and combinations along with some examples to lend you some inspiration.

    klo photo

    Custom Acrylic Portfolios

    Our most popular material comes in glossy white, matte black, frosted clear, blue, green, and red.  Our concrete and marble portfolio books are also popular choices from our patterned collection.

    White Acrylic

    custom portfolio book for grpahic designers

    Our white acrylic custom graphic design portfolio with an engraved color fill treatment

     White acrylic allows the most flexibility in terms of the treatments you want to add.  Engravings, cut-outs, UV Prints, and engraved color fills all look smashing on this material!  Many of our customers opt for a combination of treatments of their screwpost portfolios such as an engraved color fill and a cut-out.

    Opt for the white acrylic if you:

    •  are including a metallic color fill
    •  have a multi-colored design you’d like UV Printed & Cured
    •  have a minimalist style and prefer a white on white engraved look
    Klo Portfolios- Matte Black ACrylic Portfolio Book

    Our matte black acrylic graphic design portfolio with an engraving treatment being assembled.

    Matte Black Acrylic

    Our matte black acrylic material has a shiny interior and a matte exterior so you get the best of both worlds.  It’s a breeze to clean and doesn’t show fingerprint marks as easily due to it’s matte surface.  This material is also extremely versatile since you can’t go wrong with black.  Our matte black acrylic portfolio books are a popular choice with graphic designers, photographers, and architects.

    Opt for the matte black acrylic if you:

    • are worried about fingerprints and surface scratches
    • are including a metallic or white color fill
    • want to achieve a black on black look with a UV Print & Cure or a simple engraving

    Frosted Clear Acrylic

    best personalized fashion design portfolio books

    Our frosted clear acrylic fashion design portfolio book with an engraved color fill treatment

    This material is semi transparent so you can see the first page of your portfolio book through it which allows you to create an interesting visual.  What sets the frosted clear apart from any other material is that it can be fully UV Printed & Cured with any design, pattern, or image which be seen throughout the material because of it’s transparency.

    fashion design portfolio book made custom by klo portfolios

    Our frosted clear material has been fully UV Printed to create a new material for a fashion design portfolio book!

    It’s like creating your very own patterned or colored portfolio book!  Our frosted clear acrylic portfolios are a popular choice for photographers, interior designers, and graphic designers.

    Opt for the frosted clear acrylic if you:

    • want to create your own colored or patterned material
    • prefer to have the first page of your portfolio showing through the semi-transparent cover
    • Have a gold, black, or white engraved color fill treatment

    Marble Acrylic

    personalized marble acrylic portfolio book

    Our personalized marble acrylic interior design portfolio book with an engraved color fill treatment

    One of our favorite portfolio book materials!  Our marble acrylic is exclusive to Klo Portfolios and made in house so you won’t find it anywhere else.  It’s got the light properties of acrylic with the beautiful marbled pattern of the stone and looks dashing with an engraving, cut-out, or engraved color fill.  Our custom marble acrylic portfolios are popular with fashion designers, photographers, and interior designers.

    Opt for the marble acrylic if you :

    • love the look of marble stone
    • are opting for an engraving, cut-out, or engraved color fill in a metallic tone or a bright color
    • want to standout with a material choice that is unique and limited

    Another popular choice is our bamboo portfolio books which come in 5 options including amber bamboo, caramel bamboo, tiger bamboo, and hand-stained ebony and ivory options.  Let’s explore these options!

    Caramel and Amber Bamboo

    Custom engraved caramel bamboo portfolio book

    Our caramel bamboo portfolio book with a full cover engraving treatment.

    Our caramel and amber bamboo portfolio books look great coupled with an engraving or cut-out treatment or a combination of the two.  If you prefer a more subtle and natural material, this one’s for you.  Popular with food photographers, interior designers, and eco-friendly brands, you can’t go wrong with one of these earthy materials.

    Custom Student Bamboo Portfolio Book Display

    Our amber bamboo custom interior design portfolio with an engraving treatment

    Tiger Bamboo

    custom tattoo portfolio book in tiger bamboo

    Our tiger bamboo material used for a custom tattoo portfolio book

    The most dense and heaviest of them all!  Our tiger bamboo is a beautifully striped material that carries its weight in gold.   Because of its condensed grain, this material can’t be cut-out so keep this in mind if this treatment is a part of your design.  We recommend an engraving, engraved color fill, or a UV Print & Cure with this material.

    Opt for the Tiger bamboo if you:

    • prefer a heavier material
    • like pronounced wood grains in a 2 toned combination
    • have an organic or eco-friendly design or business

    Hand-Stained Ivory and Ebony Stained Bamboo

    Custom screwpost portfolios by Klo Portfolios

    Our ivory stained bamboo portfolio with a vivid UV Print & Cure treatment

    Hand-stained in our studio with either an ebony or ivory stain, the final result of these bamboo portfolio books is stunning.  whether you opt for an engraving which reveals the natural color of the bamboo or you go with a vibrant color fill, the final result is an exquisite portfolio book that will turn a head or two.

    Klo ebony stained and color filled portfolio book by Klo Portfolios

    Our hand-stained ebony bamboo portfolio book with an engraved color fill treatment

    Opt for our bamboo material if you:

    • have an earthier or eco-friendly design aesthetic or business
    • prefer the look and feel of wood but want a black or white backdrop to the customization of your portfolio book
    • have a lot of cut-outs on your portfolio book.  Because our bamboo material is much more dense, it”ll work better with more fragile cut-outs.

    Brushed Aluminum Portfolios

    Custom brushed aluminum portfolio by Klo Portfolios

    Our brushed silver aluminum portfolio with an engraving treatment

    The lightest material of the bunch, our brushed aluminum custom portfolio books offer a modern and polished look.  Because we use different machinery to make and customize these portfolio books, they have more limitations when it comes to engraving and cut-outs.   If you have super fine lines and smaller cut-outs, we recommend opting for our acrylic portfolios instead.  The brushed aluminum works great with full color UV prints or larger engravings and cut-outs.

    The black polyethylene core of the material is revealed once it’s engraved, giving it a tactile touch since you have feel with your fingers the raised areas that now make up your design.

    Our silver burnishing  adds an extremely elegant touch to a brushed silver aluminum with a “silver on silver” look.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can opt for a silver burnishing on our brushed gold or aluminum portfolio books which has its own charm and uniqueness.   Our engraving, burnishing, and UV print treatments on the brushed aluminum portfolios is another  Klo Portfolios signature look.

    Opt for our brushed aluminum material if you:

    • prefer a lighter material
    • have larger engravings and cut-outs for your design
    • would like to integrate color with a UV Print & Cure treatment

    We hope this helps you create the perfect presentation book!  You can see a lot more examples of custom portfolio books and as always, give us a shout if you have any questions.  We’re always happy to help.




    Client Spotlight: Photographer Shekinah Shazaam

    Shekinah Shazaam is a stellar photographer who has an eye for layout and the perfect candid shot. Not only is she a photographer supreme, she adds a twist to her work through the use of unique costumes and color schemes. We love how she experiments with different materials and color palettes to create a photo you can’t take your eyes off of.

    Shekinah’s photography caught our attention when she ordered a custom portfolio book from us, we had to ask her more about herself and her work.

    Custom Marble Screwpost Binder Photography

    custom marble acrylic photography portfolio book

    How did you get into photography?

    I actually studied design in college (it was a more viable field than fine art.) One of our required classes was photography, so in that I was able to learn more and found that being able to take my own photos for projects was really helpful.

    I used my camera more for vlogs when I first started, but a few years ago, I began shooting more avant-garde style portraits and I fell in love. There is something so fulfilling about communicating an idea through image alone, that I can’t imagine not doing it now.

    Photography Portfolio Portrait

    Portrait Photography Portfolio

    What tips do you have for other photographers?

    A few tips I have for other photographers or designers would be to be persistent, avoid doing work you don’t love, & always be open to learn.  During a portfolio review years ago, a couple mentors told me to continue doing my conceptual shoots.

    Even though my particular location doesn’t have a high demand for these, they are what I love the most, and that passion is really seen by others.   Sometimes you have to compromise by taking work you aren’t 100% set on to pay the bills, but never lose your true vision or sell out to be something you aren’t.

    Photography Portrait Portfolio

    What tools or avenues do you use to promote yourself?

    In terms of marketing myself, I’ve found that consistently blogging and posting to social media has been quite helpful. People see you constantly in their feed and they will remember you as a photographer in the future (which will lead to referrals).  Collaborating with other creatives has also been great.  Not only can you gain inspiration from them, you can also use this as a networking opportunity to further grow your business.

    Shekinah Shazaam Photography Portrait

    We love hearing the stories that make up the contents of our customer’s portfolio books.  Often years of hard work are made tangible and shared with others and we couldn’t be any happier to be apart of it.

    Create your own custom photography portfolio book and start your journey!



    Client Spotlight: Graphic Designer and Photographer Gabrielle Bégin

    Gabrielle Begin’s work is bright, optimistic, and includes a plethora of quirky illustrations.   She is a lady of many talents, including hand lettering, graphic design and photography.   Gabrielle graduated from the graphic design program at Collège la Cité, in Ottawa, where typography and hand lettering caught her attention.

    hand done lettering typography

    Her work appears fluid and organic,  so much that we had to get to know more about Gabrielle.  Check out her story and work below!

    Graphic Design Illustration Hand Done Flowers

    What is your favourite project you’ve worked on?

    This is a though one! Honestly, being a graphic designer and photographer, any project that combines both photography and design gives me the opportunity to get 200% involved in the project and to add a personal touch. I also enjoy projects where my imagination can go off limits.

    Graphic Design Book Design layout Illustration

    graphic design book cover typography illustration

    Magazine Layout Design Graphic Illustration Magazine Layout Design Graphic Design Layout Magazine



    What’s one item you can’t live without?

    Definitely my camera. Whether it’s my professional camera or simply the camera on my phone, I think inspiration and beauty is everywhere around us and I rarely go somewhere without taking tons of photos.

    Male Portrait Photography

    Man Head shot Photography

    Portrait Nature Photography

    Woman Portrait Nature Photography

    Has having a physical body of work helped you?

    A lot. Freshly graduated from college, having my printed work in a physical portfolio book really impresses employers.  Also, the customization of my screwpost portfolio with Klo shows important attention to details. It also helps with my confidence since I’m always proud to show off my design portfolio at interviews or when I meet a client for the first time.

    Custom Matte Black Screwpost Portfolio Book

    Graphic Design Screwpost Portfolio Book

    We love hearing the stories that make up the contents of our customer’s portfolio books.  Often years of hard work are made tangible and shared with others and we couldn’t be any happier to be apart of it.

    Create your own custom portfolio book and start your creative journey!


    Client Spotlight: Photographer, Filmmaker & Adventurer Matt Baldelli

    When it comes to difficult, demanding and dangerous photography, Matt Baldelli is your guy. Being an adventurer himself, Matt has a precise eye for the most astonishing outdoor shots. Whether it be from hanging off cliffs in Moab, Utah or inside a climbing gym, his photos capture an intense story that personifies the thrill of being an athlete.

    Matt’s talent has been used by well known brands such as Nike, Red Bull and Reebok, to name a few.  Being an avid outdoors-men, Matt also finds it important to give back and is a supporter and multiple organizations that help preserve the outdoors.

    We’ve had the pleasure of working with Matt’s for the build of his custom photography portfolio book more than once and his work has always stood out to us. We caught up with Matt to learn more about life as an outdoors photographer.

    Custom Engraved Bamboo Screwpost Portfolio Book

    Rock Climbing Nature Outdoors Photography

    What is your favorite project you’ve worked on?

    Skiing back country in the Northeastern Region of Iceland has been one the most amazing projects I have worked on to date.  I was invited to join 8 back country skiing guides from Northeast Mountaineering (based in New Hampshire) to help build an advertising campaign of photography and cinematography for their company.  The week long project was built around getting great images with a lot of early mornings and late nights to get the perfect light. This was my first time skiing in another country off-piste as well as skiing from summit to sea, just an unreal experience!

    Outdoor Skiing Sports Photography

    Outdoor Night time Photography

    What are the perks and challenges of being a freelance photographer?

    My favorite perk of being a freelance adventure photographer are the locations I travel to and having the flexibility to build my own schedule. There are not many professions that will pay for you to travel to amazing locations and allow you to capture your experiences. If it wasn’t for being a freelancer I wouldn’t have traveled the world as much as I have.

    The biggest challenge I face is balancing all the different hats as a business owner – less than 25% of my time is actually spent taking photographs, the rest of my time I am emailing, bookkeeping, advertising, editing & retouching, as well as traveling.

     Outdoor Active Sports Photography

    What tips do you have for other aspiring photographers?

    The biggest tips I can give any aspiring photographer is to follow your passions, and constantly keep learning. After graduating from photography school I wanted to be a commercial studio photographer, but after going down that road and starting down a few others that weren’t the right fit for me helped me find my way to adventure photography.

    The biggest tool in the toolbox is my curiosity to keep learning, whether it is a new photography technique, new equipment, or a new activity that isn’t related to photography, it helps you see things from a different perspective and keeps things fresh.

    Kayak Outdoor Nature Photography

    Ready to create your own custom photography portfolio book? We can help!  Choose from the highest quality selection of materials, treatments, and sizes and have your portfolio book custom-cut, treated, and hand assembled the Klo way.  Need advice or help putting your design together or choosing the best portfolio book for your project?  We’re always available via email or via phone.


    Client Spotlight: Product and Portrait Photographer Manuel Flores

    Manuel Flores lives for capturing beautiful moments when his subjects least expect it.  Most of his portrait photography takes place on location with natural lighting because mother nature comes equipped with the best flash.  He’s highly trained in studio work too and this is where the shoots product photography for his clients.


    His radiant and artful style caught our eye when Manuel came to us for the build of his custom portfolio book and we were curious to find out more.

    How did your passion for photography come about?

    For the most part, I’ve always been attached to a camera, back then when it was Polaroids and disposable cameras, you would always find one in my hand.  I love being able to capture a moment and having that forever in a form of a picture.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.42.32 PM

    Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.43.09 PM

    I think it’s so special to be able to look back at pictures and relive all those awesome moments you capture with a camera.  I remember the day I wanted to become a photographer, me and my younger sister would never miss an episode of America’s Next Top Model, on this show I was always mesmerized with the photographer Nigel Barker, I loved everything he would do when it came to putting together photo shoots and the way he made magic with his camera.  To this day I would say he is the reason for my passion for photography.


    Whose inspiring you as an artist right now?

    Nigel Barker will always be my inspiration. I’ve also been obsessed with Kyle Murphy.  His work is so amazing and I look up to him in so many ways.  My dream is to take a road trip with him and learn everything he has to offer and create some amazing art together.  I also get very inspired by my close photographer friends, I’m always amazed by them and their work, seeing them work hard and produce cool projects, makes me work harder and push myself to become better.

    Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 4.28.40 PM


    Has having a physical portfolio book to showcase your work helped you?

    Yes!  Social media and online portfolios are huge now and days, but I also believe in a physical portfolio book, I think people rely on touching, holding, flipping through pages.  When you have a physical book, the client connects with you the artist/photographer.

    Photography Custom Portfolio Book by Klo Portfolios

    Klo Portfolios Screwpost presenetation book for photographers

    I think having a physical portfolio book is way better than just having a URL.  For me, it was also a closing chapter in my life.   My first portfolio means something special to me and  having a physical body of work that shows all my hard work, sleepless nights, and stressful days of school means that I did it, and I kicked butt!

    Now I have something physical to show employers, and other artist which I’m so proud of.  I want to thank Klo Portfolios for helping me create something that represents me in every way, my portfolio is something I’m very proud of and I could not have done it without you guys at Klo thank you for making it happen for me.

    Ready to showcase your photography work in a beautifully hand crafted and custom made portfolio book?  Build your own screwpost portfolio book with us!


    Introduction to Color Theory for Designers

    Color and typography are the two most important elements of design.  Color in design is used to attract attention, add contrast, convey a meaning, trigger an emotion and group related elements.  When used correctly, color is the cherry on top of design.

    Fun fact: Color activates the right side of your brain, which is the side responsible for your emotions. This is why choosing the right color for your design project is one of the most important aspects and will influence how the viewer feels.

    To help you out with choosing that killer color scheme, we’ve laid out all our hot tips on color and what you should know.

    Learn the Color Wheel

    The color wheel is your best friend when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of color combinations.  Every color is made up of the primary colors: red, blue and yellow.  From these colors, we have the secondary colors: purple, green and orange. The secondary colors lead to the tertiary colors: yellow-orange, yellow-green, blue-green, blue-purple, red-purple and red-orange.

    Once you understand the breakdown of the wheel you’ll want to analyze more into complimentary, triadic, split complimentary, and analogous color schemes.

    Complimentary is two colors directly across from each other on the wheel.  These colors contrast each other and create a vibrant look. They are used to make something pop and catch the viewer’s attention.

    Colour Wheel Combination Scheme Design Art

    Triadic is three colors that are evenly spaced out on the wheel.  Even with unsaturated hues, this color scheme tends to be vibrant.  Triadic colors schemes work best when one color dominates and the other two are used subtly.

    Colour Wheel Combination Scheme Design Art

    Split complimentary schemes use one base color and the two colors adjacent to it’s complimentary.  Similar to complimentary colors schemes, this color combo has a high contrast although it is slightly more muted than complimentary color schemes.

    Colour Wheel Combination Scheme Design Art

    Analogous colour schemes are made up of colors that are next to each other on the wheel.  Analogous schemes are great for relaxed and serene designs.  They are best used when one color dominates, the second supports, and the third is used as an accent.

    Colour Wheel Combination Scheme Design Art

    Learn more about the use of colour in logo design from our logo blog post.

    Explore Color Psychology

    Colors are sectioned off into two groups – warm and cool.

    Cool colors are blues, purples and greens. This group expresses calm, trust and professionalism.

    Cool color scheme combination ideas design

    Cool bathroom colour palette via Apartment Guide

    Warm colors are reds, oranges and yellows.  These colors are associated with passion, energy, comfort and happiness. Each individual color conveys it’s own emotion and we’ve broken it down below for you.

    Warm Colour Palette Scheme Design Wheel

    Warm living room colour palette via Reader’s Digest

    Red is known for it’s intensity and expresses war, danger, passion, love, confidence and courage.  To sum it up, it is the color that expresses all the most extreme emotions.  Red is easily visible and will draw attention, which is why it’s used in stop signs, buttons and traffic lights.

    Orange is a combination of energy and happiness. It reminds us of healthy foods and can increase appetite through thoughts of fall and harvest.  Orange relays enthusiasm, happiness, joy, creativity, fascination and success.

    Yellow instantly reminds us of the sun.  It is a great color to draw attention although it should be used strategically and minimally.  Yellow draws out feelings of joy, happiness, wisdom and intellectual energy.

    Green is easily recognized as the color of nature, which is why it symbolizes growth, fertility, hope and freshness.  In North American, where money is green, it is a symbol of wealth and riches. Green conveys healing, stability, endurance, harmony, safety, life, and well being.

    Blue is associated with the sea and sky. It creates a calming effect, which is why it’s beneficial for your body and mind. Blue is related to trust, loyalty, wisdom, intelligence, expertise, confidence, stability and depth.

    Purple is often connected to royalty and extravagance.  It’s used to express wisdom, dignity, independence, creativity, mystery, and magic. Purple can be seen as artificial and is rarely seen in nature. 

    Understand How Colors Change Based on Their Surrounding

    Contrasting colour wheel pop design art

    Vibrant Colour Scheme by Kimberley Coole

    As size and background of a shape change the color within will change as well. When designing it’s important to keep in mind how the colors and shapes are affecting each other.

    A thin line and a large rectangle, filled with the same color on a white background, will appear slightly different.  The color within the line will look darker than the rectangle since it’s surrounded by more bright white space.

    When you pair a tint and shade of the same color with each other, the tint will look lighter and the shade will look darker.  For example if you have created a light green frog, placing it on a dark green background will cause the frog to appear lighter.

    Large background colors will effect small areas of color on top. This one is fairly straight forward.  If a yellow circle is placed on a black background it will pop more than a white background since there is more contrast between black and yellow. This is important to understand so you can add focal points to your design.

    Adding a darker outline to a shape will enhance the color within the shape while a lighter outline will reduce the strength of the inner color.  This is a handy trick when designing text or a graphic that you wish to pop off the page.

    Consider Your Audience

    Different colors schemes and combinations will attract different audiences. It is important to understand how color affects each gender, age and culture.

    Colour Meanings Different Cultures Emotions Symbolism

    Purple Temple in Thailand via Admella on Flickr

    It’s important to be educated on the cultural significance in different countries, to avoid offending anyone.  For example, purple is the color of mourning in Thailand although in Western culture it represents luxury and wealth.  In Western culture black is the color of mourning and would be poor choice on a poster about celebration.

    Blue is considered to be the safest color choice around the world and has many positive associations.  In North America and Europe it is associated with trust and security and emits calm and soothing feelings.  In other countries blue represents healing and evil repellent.  Eastern cultures relate blue to immortality, while in the Ukraine is reflects good health. 

    Some other examples of how color varies through culture are:

    • White is the color of mourning in Japan and black is associated with honor.
    • Red is the colour of purity in India, good luck in China, and mourning in South Africa.
    • In Japan yellow represents courage, mourning in Egypt and hope in the West.

    You can use your knowledge of color in culture to your advantage, to attract different groups of people to your designs.

    Our last tip about color is to use online sources when creating your color scheme.  There are many at your disposal and we’ve grouped them all in our 101 Essential Online Resources for Graphic Designers post.

    How will you incorporate color in to your custom portfolio book?  Whether you go with a subtle and minimalist look or a full cover-full graphic one, we’re excited to see what you come up with!



    Client Spotlight: Illustrator and Designer Chris Nurse

    Chris Nurse Illustrator and Graphic Designer

    You can’t help but feel immersed in Chris Nurse’s vibrant and distinctive style.  Sometimes bold and bright, other times muted and realistic with a dash of humor, Chris evokes strong emotions from those who come across his art.  Currently pursuing his Masters in Design, Chris’ early career includes teaching Arts and Crafts to inner City youth and freelancing various projects from logo design to album artwork.

    He caught our attention when he came to us for the build of his custom portfolio book and naturally we wanted to know how he gained his eclectic style.

    Chris Nurse Artwork


    Flower Drawing Portfolio Illustration

    Portfolios Customer Feature Illustration Graphic Design

    How did you get into illustration and graphic design?

    I’ve been into illustrations and designing as far back as I can remember. My dad’s job involved sketching for building layouts and at home he would always do these cool little cartoon doodles to make me laugh so I started doodling on my own and kept at it getting better with more practice.  I started enjoying the process of creating a unique piece from scratch.

    Boxer Illstration Black and White Portfolio

    black and white drawing illutration portfolio

    What is your favorite piece of work you’ve done?

    I’m a huge Tarantino fan so when a client wanted a Pulp Fiction movie scene illustrated I automatically knew it would be my fave.

    Pulp Fiction Illustration Drawing

    Whose inspiring you as an artist right now?

    Right now I’m currently doing studies on Caravaggio from the baroque period and his work has me extremely obsessed with shadow, lighting and human anatomy. I’m probably going to be drawing naked people for the next couple months.

    Pencil Crayon Drawing Art Illustration Portfolio

    We love hearing the stories that make up the contents of our customer’s portfolio books.  Often years of hard work are made tangible and shared with others and we couldn’t be any happier to be apart of it.

    Create your own custom portfolio book and start your creative journey!


    Client Spotlight: Illustrator and Story Teller Alexis Moniello

    Alexis Moniello is an illustrator and story teller extraordinaire!  She has a passion for creating whimsical and fun drawings for children’s books and we spotted her talent when we came to us for the build of her custom portfolio book.

    Alexis is the illustrator of the activity book series Everything Butt Art which was distributed internationally by IPG, named Finalist for the IBPA’s Bill Fisher Award for Best First Book, and is featured in iPad Art in Education for Dummies.  She’s  also done work for the Phoenix Zoo and the NFL Players Association.   We asked Alexis about her work and how it all began.

    Illustration and story telling screw post presentation binder

    Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.38.00 PM

    Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.38.14 PM

    How did you get into story telling and illustrating?

    As a kid, I devoured books, and was always creating.  So much so that I was often in some kind of trouble for staying up too late with a flashlight and a book, or, for failing to maintain the cyclone of paper bits, colored string, paint, etc that seemed to always trail me.

    After college, I convinced an ad agency to hire me, then hoodwinked my way into their creative department.  There, I had the honor of working under Creative Director/Wizard Bob Case, who saw through what I thought I wanted to do straight to what I LOVED to do.  With some thoughtful nudges from him in the right direction, I refocused on illustrating and storytelling. After that, I landed a gig with Brian Snyder and created the children’s media brand, Everything Butt Art (step-by-step drawing starting with a butt shape… seriously). From there, my fate was sealed.

    Portfolios Custom Feature Illustration Story Telling

    Screw Post Portfolio Book Pages Illustration

    What does your work space look like?

    My work space is a tiny disaster on the 6th floor of a walk-up in Alphabet City, NYC. Its really the small second bedroom of our apartment, bright and sunny with a great view of the Empire State Building! We have tons of books. TONS.  So, I keep all of my kid’s lit and picture books in the studio. Its a fun little space, and, really, the perfect space to settle in with some strong coffee and colored pencils.

    Freelance Illustrator and Story Teller Work Space

    llustrator and Story Teller Work Space

    What’s your design process like?

    Oooh, my design process.  Assuming I have a process, it ranges from knowing EXACTLY what I’m going for and nailing it, or, meandering around for weeks in creative torment until it clicks into place.  I’m most creative during a run, or, after, usually in the shower (what is it with shower ideas? They’re always so good!), so, I try to get a quick run in before studio time.

    A good “junk” pile… let’s call it a compost pile, actually… is always a good thing to have – ideas or halves of ideas that can be cleared out of your mind to make way for fresher ideas or that can be integrated into something else later.

    Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.43.00 PM

    Childrens Book Illustartion Portfolio Book

    We love hearing the stories that make up the contents of our customer’s portfolio.  Often years of hard work, printed in to a physical manifestation that is often just the beginning of great accomplishments.

    Create your own custom portfolio book and start your creative journey!


    How to Create a Stellar Logo for your Brand

    While some logos may look simple, the process of getting the perfect icon typography combo takes a lot of time, thought, tweaking, and trial and error.  Every new designer is in the pursuit of creating that perfect logo to represent their unique design style.  To help with this process, we’ve created a breakdown of what makes a great logo and how to accomplish this.

    A couple of other useful resources you’ll wan to check out are  101 Essential Online Resources for Graphic Designers and Five Place to Boost Your Creativity Other than Pinterest.

    Research, Strategize & Brainstorm

    Logo Design Development Process Sketch

    A show stopping logo won’t come in a matter of a couple hours. The first step is to be open to all of your own ideas and interpretations.  Seek different resources for inspiration, concept ideas and style, both online and offline.

    Comparing Your Design to the Competitors

    When starting the logo design process it’s important to look at what’s already been done.  A designers worst nightmare is creating a logo that resembles another.  This can be easily avoided through extensive research and the analyses of other logos.

    Researching your competitors will allow your logo to standout.  Once you’ve seen what’s out there, you can design your logo to overpower the competition.  You’ll want to draw inspiration from aspects of your competitors’ logos that relate to the target market, although the best logos think differently and contrast trends.

    Exhaust All Options

    Now that you’ve gained a solid understanding of what’s already out there, it’s time to start sketching! Grab your sketchbook and draw out anything and everything that comes to mind. Think of the brand concept and what you want to convey through this logo. How do you want people to feel when they look at it?  Does it convey your brand’s personality?  It’s easy to get stuck on one idea and keep illustrating slightly different versions of this, although we suggest that each sketch is different.

    After you’ve drawn out everything you can think of, it’s time to narrow it down to your top 3.  From there you can continue to tweak and iterate until you’ve found your favorite. This process is an important step to assure you’ve looked into every possibility and what you’ve chosen is the best.

    The Logo is Part of a Bigger Thing

    It’s important to remember that branding consists of more than just a logo. With this in mind, you’ll want to think about how the logo interacts with the rest of the brand experience.  Take into account, the website, packaging, signage and stationary.  When someone discovers a new brand, the logo is not necessarily the first aspect they’ll encounter as all customer touch points are equally important including your website, social media,  and customer interactions through phone and email.

    Icon & Symbolism

    Logo Design Inspiration Symbolism Icon Negative Space

    When used properly, an icon in a logo can help convey your brand’s story and be memorable.  An icon may be simple, although there are many aspects to take into consideration when designing.  We’ve laid them out below for you.

    Is It Memorable?

    This is a question every designer should ask themselves when designing a logo. There’s a video on Youtube of a 5 year old expressing their first impressions of famous logos.  This video emphasizes which brands have successfully created a memorable logo, that even a 5 year old recognizes.

    When designing a logo, you want to think to yourself, “If someone looked at this logo, then looked away would they be able to draw it from memory?”  Of course, the drawing won’t be perfect, but will they be able to convey the general shape.

    Is It Timeless?

    When designing your logo, you want to avoid being sucked into any design trends that could be replaced within a year. Your logo should be effective for at least 5 years so you’ll want to consider how times will change and if your logo will last through these changes.

    We suggest researching examples of logos that are and aren’t timeless and the aspects of each. Overall, think of how much time you put into designing your logo.  You don’t want to be doing this every couple of years.

    Test it Out in All Sizes

    A logo can be placed anywhere from a large billboard to pens and envelopes.  This means it must work and be powerful in all sizes.  Most logos will work large, although it’s the small areas like on pens that will be challenging.  The best way to double check this is to print the logo out small.  Based on the print you can refine the logo so even the smallest details will be seen when printed on smaller items such as stationery or business cards.

    Multiple Meanings

    The most effective logos will take 2-3 messages and wrap it up into one. Think of the 3 most important values of your brand and how this can be conveyed through an icon.

    Having multiple meanings in your logo will add interest and give it the “ohhhhh!” factor. This is another great way to make the logo memorable.  People will be talking about a logo that cleverly combines 3 aspects into one beautiful symbol.

    If you’re stuck on how to do this, we suggest playing around with the negative space. You could use these areas to create a shape that will stand out and highlight your message.

    Always Get a Second Opinion

    One of the scariest aspects about creating a logo is the potential for it to be misinterpreted as something that looks inappropriate. Once the logo is complete, you want to triple check that it isn’t offensive to anyone.

    This is where your friends and family can be extremely useful.  You may have looked at this thing a million times, but a fresh set of eyes will see something that totally flew over your head.  Better safe than sorry!


    Wordmark Logo Design Inspiration Font Typography

    The word mark can be easily forgotten, although it is equally as important as the icon. Text is another opportunity to slip in your message and make the overall logo a memorable one. Although you may be exhausted after creating your perfect icon, it’s important to spend time tweaking the word mark as well.  We’ve added some helpful tips on creating an eye catching word mark.

    Tweak the Typeface

    Once you’ve scoured the internet for the perfect typeface, don’t be scared to play with the letters and make it your own.  We suggest adding character to the text rather than simply downloading a typeface, typing out your brand name and calling it a day.

    The best logos will have a word mark that they’ve added personality to and convey a solid meaning that reflects the brand.

    Consider Hand Lettering

    Can’t find what you’re looking for online? Why not draw it out yourself?  Often times you may have a specific style of lettering in mind and the best way to express this is through your own hand lettering.

    Hand lettered word marks are no doubt unique and won’t be found in any other logo. This is a great way to reassure your brand will stand out from it’s competitors.

    Tracking & Kerning

    Setting up type perfectly can be tedious, but in the end it’s worth it to create an eye pleasing word mark. It’s important to take the time to adjust the space between each letter. The word mark should read smooth and seamlessly.  After all, this text will be everywhere so you want the typesetting to be perfect.


    Logos Colour Combinations Inspiration Design

    Your color scheme can play a huge role in conveying your brand’s message.  Color is a great opportunity to add feeling to your logo and persuade the viewer’s emotions.  It’s important to explore all color schemes and narrow it down to the most effective combo.

    Understand the Color Wheel

    This may be something you learned in kindergarten and now it will come in handy! When designing your logo, you’ll want to take into account complimentary, triadic, split complimentary and tetradic color schemes.  There are many great color scheme resources out there that we’ve listed in our 101 Essential Resources for Graphic Designers blog post.

    Be patient when deciding on a color scheme since it could take longer than anticipated. Once you’ve got it,  you’ll know and will be stoked to show it off.

    Use Colors to Control Moods

    Whether you realize it or not each color subconsciously affects your mood and conveys an emotion. To understand the meaning behind colors, you can research into each color and how it effects our feelings.

    Once you’re knowledgeable on the topic, it will be easier to pick the perfect color or colors for you logo and branding.

    Test Out Your Logo in Black and White and Full Color

    Your logo will be placed on all different color backgrounds, whether that be dark or light.  It’s important to have a logo that is equally as powerful in black and white as it is in color.

    Ask yourself if your message can be conveyed through the symbolism and shape alone.  Although color is another important layer in communicating your brand’s message, your logo and word mark need to be strong and relatable to your audience even without the use of it.



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