Category: Inspiration

Things I love: zines

While corporate design is generally full of perfect grids and smooth lines, I am always drawn to the grass roots process of zines.

As soon as I was old enough to travel to the city on my own in my teens, I found the little hub of shops under Flinders St Station – and there was Sticky Institute. With high school thundering towards the shift to digital design (it was new and shiny at that point), finding somewhere that celebrated “doing it manually” with paper, scissors, pens and a photocopier was a complete joy. It was what I needed at the time.

Throughout my life, there has been a constant push towards using computers to aid design. But design is not about a computer to me, it’s about the process. Most times, that process starts on a piece of paper – notes, sketches, ideas. Then that process moves onto the computer to complete what most of you see as the final design. But in zines, the process never reaches the computer – the notes, sketches and ideas turn into typewriter stories, refined illustrations and a whole lot of collage. The technology is the photocopier.

I adore that after all of these years, Sticky still has a space in Melbourne. While I don’t get to frequent the city anymore, Sticky is always in my heart and never far from my mind. I understand why we design using technology, but there is reason in the design process (at the very least) starting on paper. The fact that Sticky is keeping design manual – design on paper – is a very special thing to me.

Photo of outside Sticky, credit:

Revisiting Pixel Art

Digital art has come so far, but I personally miss the simplicity of pixel art.

Maybe it comes from the nostalgia of playing early video games, and having that connection to the past. I always enjoyed the mosaic feeling of creating art, pixel by pixel. It was fun because our screens only had a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels at that time. Pixel sprites now look like ants on newer screens!

Sprites, oh how I loved these. Here’s a terrible but very timely example of a website full of animated sprites. They were SO cute. I learned how to do basic animation because of them. There is a lot of power in a little pixel.

I also remember when pixel fonts were a thing, and created many websites with them. I’d create layouts with intricate pixel designs, making sure all the shading was correct, but still using very limited colours. It was a challenge I forever enjoyed.

Years later (and now over 10 years ago!), I got to revisit my love for pixel art at uni. I created the artwork as a large fold-out poster, visually depicting the song “O Superman” by Laurie Anderson (read the lyrics here and the image will make more sense). I stumbled across this recently, and reminisced of my time creating pixel art. I’m not sure if it will ever make a resurgence, but it would be lovely to see it in the future, if it does.

Metcard ticket designs

When I was growing up, I found design inspiration in all sorts of odd places. Two of my favourites were postage stamps and transport tickets.

In the late 90s when ticket machines were introduced, Metcard ticket design changed from a basic ticket to a card…and this opened up a new opportunity for design. I adored collecting the different designs, especially the early food ones (in the top row of the photo below), and the illustrations of the buildings of Melbourne. They’re probably nothing more than a historical reference now…

Similar to stamps, it’s a small area to make a big impact with. But with Metcards, it was often a card that someone would need to hold onto for a week, or a month. I loved the idea that you could create something for someone to glance at every day. That you could make something that would make someone read, someone smile, someone stop for a moment of their day.

I always dreamed of getting to design my own ticket, someday. While that didn’t happen (we now have boring credit-card style PTV cards, all with the same design!), it was a good motivator throughout high school and beyond. It reminded me that design is everywhere. And no how big or small the design is, it always has a reason to be there.

Common Sans

In my quest for searching for different fonts, I came across this gem: Common Sans.

It’s as common as it gets – until you realise it’s got a hidden message: every time you type the word “refugee”, it replaces the word with “human”. I would have never imagined a font being used for human rights; it’s a wonderful thing.

From the Common Sans website: Being a refugee is a temporary status, being a human is permanent. Humans are amazing. A stamp on their passport should not let us believe otherwise. Rewrite, retype, rethink.

So much love for this.

Designer Kid


I relate to this article so much: I Was The “Designer Kid”: 5 Annoying Realities. That was me growing up, I was definitely that annoying artsy kid. I didn’t have the crazy hair, but I was obsessed with drawings in kids books more than the story, made most of my decisions based on the colours of something, and had an art supplies collection that would even put the local art shop to shame.

I don’t think other kids understood, or even adults for that matter. All I knew was that I wanted to draw forever. As long as I could draw, I would be happy. I wasn’t impressed when my parents told me that I couldn’t make a career of it, but the world has its funny ways and it did happen (not without a lot of hard work, however!).

I think the only people who “got it” were other art/design kids. Not those who were trying to be, but those who lived and breathed art and design whether they wanted to or not. We’re a weird bunch, we think in colours and shapes and pictures – and I didn’t realise this until my teens when I connected with some pretty amazing creative friends who are on the same wavelength. And I’m okay with being weird…not everyone gets it, and when I was a kid I was definitely left-field, but I love my life full of colour and art supplies.

I guess the skills I learned growing up have come in handy now (not the annoying people part, the skill in designing and drawing part…I hope, anyway!).

Colour scheme inspiration: candy stripes

Bright and sweet, just like candy.


Colour scheme inspiration: centre earth

Something a little desert like; a little bit of sun 🙂


Colour scheme inspiration: cherry basket

I love muted tones like these. They look beautiful with flecked and recycled papers.


Colour scheme inspiration: forget-me-not

A touch of one of my favourite flowers, with brown as a background colour. Brings extra life into the pink and blue.


Colour scheme inspiration: cool zest

Bringing you a piece of what the Mornington Peninsula feels like today.


Colour scheme inspiration: garden party

A garden party just missing the cupcakes!


Shop Local on the Mornington Peninsula

I’ve been seeing the “support local business” photos around a lot lately, and wanted to work out what the real benefit to our local economy on the Mornington Peninsula would be.

And it’s astounding – according to the Census, 108,940 people 20 years and above live on the Mornington Peninsula, which at $10 per week per person equates to $57,738,200 per year!!!

So my advice: shop local. It will make more of a difference than you realise.

0998 MAL Mornington Peninsula Economy

Colour scheme inspiration: coral reef

I think these colours would look gorgeous in kids birthday party invitations. I need to get onto that, don’t I?


Colour scheme inspiration: garden fairies

Inspiration with a touch of girly and tulle today.


Colour scheme inspiration: iris posy

Inspiration from irises. Simple today 🙂


Colour scheme inspiration: homely

Just like a little beach house.


Colour scheme inspiration: lavender

I just need to add smellivision to this scheme…remember Willy Wonka’s great invention? 🙂


Colour scheme inspiration: maypole

These colours could definitely become a very pretty wedding invitation…I might have to work on making that happen!


Colour scheme inspiration: midnight moon

Bold colours like this can look quite corporate, but can be softened with using watercolours or pencils instead. It’s not always about the colour, but how you use it!


Colour scheme inspiration: nursery

One for the kidlets today!


Colour scheme inspiration: olive grove

Very rich colours but still with an earthy feel.


Colour scheme inspiration: paint brush

Sometimes being bold doesn’t hurt!


Colour scheme inspiration: peacock

Colour scheme inspiration – birds are beautiful, what can I say?


Colour scheme inspiration: retro spring

The orange reminds me of 1970s wallpaper, but in a good way. There’s something really beautiful about colours that we see as “old”.


Colour scheme inspiration: orchids

Flowers get me every time. You can’t beat nature for inspiration.


Colour scheme inspiration: peaches


Colour scheme inspiration: in the woods

I’ve been inspired by the new colours in the paper range in our store, so I’ve created a whole lot of colour schemes, which I’ll share on here, starting with this one!


New colours in store!

The colour wall in our store has been updated – there’s over 20 new colours!

We can do envelopes, card, and invitation sleeves in any of these colours.

I’m feeling super inspired by the new range, I reckon I’ll begin creating colour schemes based on these very soon.

Design Inspiration: Paper Quilling

Sarah has an avid love of paper craft, and paper quilling is no exception. She had to share these examples of paper quilling typography from the incredible artist Yulia Broadskaya.

Paper quilling is a rather time-consuming art, but it comes up with amazing results. We can only imagine the hours that Yulia puts in to planning, curling and gluing all those pieces of paper to make these artworks.

» Continue reading “Design Inspiration: Paper Quilling”

Google pays homage to origami

Like most of us, I use search engines…a lot. I think it’s gotten to the point where sometimes I’m not even aware I’m “searching”, it’s just an automatic action when looking for information.

I don’t pay too much attention to search engine websites – after all, they need to be simple. But I never tire of Google changing their logo to pay homage to something special from time to time.

Today’s Google logo stood out to me, enough to write an entry: origami.

This logo is a celebration of Akira Yoshizawa, referred to as the “grand master of origami”. He didn’t just fold paper planes and party hats, but all sorts of intricate creatures and objects; almost sculptural. Paper is an amazing material to work with, and not necessarily the easiest – but he really showed you can do beautiful dimensional artwork starting with a flat sheet.

Google change their logo quite often for various celebrations. Which has been your favourite Google logo?