A Girl & Her Uke

The other day, Rama pointed out that it's been a while since I'd had an actual factual hobby. Before I had kids, there were a lot of things that kept me occupied, like arts and crafts, going to shows, keeping a sketchbook, and even learning how to make a web site.  But these days, making web sites and designing has become my job, and my sketchbook is mainly used for exploring ideas for other people's passions. I realized I needed to carve out some time for creative pursuits just for me.

So I picked up the ukelele Rama gave me for our anniversary earlier this year, and I hopped on to YouTube in search some instruction. I found the best gal with a simple tutorial and got playing.

When Rama came home that evening I was so excited to play for him what I'd learned, a super simple version of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds. It was just three chords, and my fingers stumbled over them, but when I sang along, it almost sounded like I knew what I was doing. 

Illustration by Rama Hughes

Project Peek : Blaze + Wander

The stars aligned when I got to design branding for blaze + wander, a new children's fashion and lifestyle company started by Sarah Yasukochi. Sarah says: "blaze + wander was inspired by my kids, Ty + Ayla. It’s what I wish for them and what they and all young adventurers ignite in me: To blaze trails with intention and purpose, while always taking time to step off the beaten path, to breathe and get a little lost along the way." 

A little bohemian and a little bit modern, blaze + wander's mission immediately sparked in me about a zillion ideas. I zeroed in on branding that emphasizes the adventures and journeys that the young bohemians take. Whether basking in the sun or guided by stars, blaze + wander is there with its customers every step of the way. 

The blaze + wander business cards and packaging tape make good use of the iconography I created. Sarah also does an amazing job with the business's instagram.

If you'd like help designing your business's branding or creating a new product, please get in touch. Telling your brand's story would be my pleasure.

Branding designed by Darling Studio for Aeolidia

Just My Type : Salomé Stencil

Didone typefaces are a favorite in fashion and design for good reason: The thin and thick lines are bold and seductive. Salomé is especially glamorous, and of the seven fonts in the family, Salome Stencil is my personal favorite.

Put a Face on It!

I've been seeing faces pop up all over the place in home and fashion design, and it makes me inexplicably happy. It's as if they are secretly alive, and saying to me, "Hi! Let's be friends." And truth be told, I'd take these guys home with me any day.

Highlight Reel : Simple is Sophisticated

Where did spring and summer go? It's still 90 degrees here in LA, but the kids are back to school and I'm definitely feeling fall. As I get back into the swing of things, I thought I'd show some branding projects I completed in the spring and summer. 

Wishbird is a box of quotes or sayings to offer encouragement, say I love you, make someone laugh. Aeolidia pegged me to create the budding brand's identity, collateral, packaging and the quote cards themselves. It was quite an endeavor, and I'm so happy with how everything turned out. Above is an order insert that arrives with every shipped package, and below are the business cards. 

Photographer Jenna Coughlin has been on the Sonoma wedding scene for several years now, but it was time for a brand refresh. I redesigned Green Nickel Photo's logo and collateral with a modern-meets-rustic feel. The business cards and stationery—in print production now—has a luxe feel with gold foil and letterpress details.

Lastly, Jill & Co. Events is a wedding and events planning business that specializes in beautiful, modern celebrations with a little edge. Jill Remy's updated branding features foil calligraphy, geometric patterns, and a solid dose of charcoal gray. The juxtaposition of dark and light, soft and refined, reflect Jill's work well. The website I designed will be launching soon.

If you'd like help designing your business's branding or creating a new product, please get in touch. Telling your brand's story would be my pleasure.

Strawberry Season

As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the most wonderful times of the year in Southern California: Strawberry Season. Since today's Earth Day, here are a few photos from my daughter's school field trip to a local farm, where we got to pick perfect, red, ripe strawberries to our hearts' delight.


Few things make me happier than bowls full of berries at the ready, and I know my kids agree. They can eat a pound of berries in 5 minutes flat! 

Just My Type : Chocolates

Like all designers, I am type obsessed. One of my favorite parts of the branding process is the hunt for the perfect font. There are thousands of beautiful ones out there, though, and it can get overwhelming. So I'm starting a new series here featuring a font that I've seen and liked. Here's the first, Chocolates. Ain't she a beaut?

The Story Behind the Silhouette

There are some famous photos in our family. You know, the ones that everyone remembers—the ones that reveal an entire history. The photo above is a famous one. I look at it, and my childhood comes flooding back to me. 

As many creatives know, branding your own business is sometimes the hardest task. When I went freelance over 10 years ago, the name Darling Studio just stuck. And when it came time to pair the name with a logo, the idea of a silhouette just fit. They weren't so trendy back then, and the aesthetic matched my sweet design style at the time. Plus, I had this family history. 

People often think that the silhouette in my logo was drawn from a childhood photo, but I was actually 29 years old when I traced it! I was still wearing my hair in pigtails. 

I have been tracing our own family's history and progress with silhouettes. These Thank You notes were drawn when Henry was about 3 and Maira 1. The rubber stamp below was updating a couple of years later. Now that my kids are nearly 7 and 5, it is probably time for another update. 

The Write Stuff

I'm a sucker for handwritten letters. I still write thank you notes, I send postcards when I am away from home, I pen the occasional love letter to my husband, and I like to mail notes just because. As much as I love technology, I will never grow tired of putting pen to paper, and these are a few of my favorite tools when I do.

This month, two of my favorite stationery companies, Egg Press and Hello Lucky, are urging people to write 30 letters in 30 days. I'm urging you to shoot for one. Trust me, you will make someone's day.  

1. Rifle Paper Co. Floral Pencil Set | 2. Tokketok Happy Notes | 3. Paper & Type Letter Ledger | 4. Sugar Paper Brass Stamp Holder | 5. Klizia 97 Stapler | 6. Little Owl Workshop Heart J'Taime Stamp | 7. Izola Letter Opener | 8. Midori Brass Bullet Ballpoint Pen


Love Fools

Happy 49th Anniversary to my parents, who were the first people to teach me about unconditional love. I still catch them looking at each other like they are in this photo sometimes, and it melts my heart.