14 Hours of Love Twitter Giveaway


Fourteen hours of chances to win a set of minted’s personalized valentines, not too bad a way to start the week right? Things kick off right now and go through 10pm CST tonight, I’ll be randomly choosing one winner an hour and notifying them via Twitter. Good luck!

To Enter the Giveaway:
1. Head over to Twitter and share the giveaway with your readers. Be sure to include my handle – @designcrush – and the hashtag #14hoursoflove along with a link to this post. Example: I just entered the #14hoursoflove giveaway on @designcrush!
2. Share a link to your tweet in the comments section below.
3. You can enter once an hour.

Terms of Entry: Open to US residents only. One entry per person per hour.


What I Learned: Alt 2012

PHOTO: Justin Hackworth

This is my last Alt post. Promise. But I told you all I’d share what I learned, so here it is. If you’re unfamiliar with the format of the conference, there are several hour long sessions throughout the day. During each session you have three panel options to choose from, I chose to attend the ones that I thought I could get the most out of professionally. And while it’s impossible to attend all of the panels, you can search #altsummit on Twitter and get a pretty good idea of what went down in most of them.


Bri Emory, Danielle Krysa, Joslyn Taylor, Victoria Smith

• it’s okay to say no
• find someone with similar aesthetics, but who brings fresh eyes and a new perspective
• honesty and communication are key
• manage conflict with integrity  and grace
• know what you want out of the collaboration up front and communicate that
• even good partnerships come to an end
• it’s okay to walk away if you’re not getting what you need or pulling your weight
• don’t air your gripes online
• it’s human nature to want to share
• make the most of chance encounters
• reach out locally
• don’t be afraid to take it offline
• make it easy for the other person to say yes
• all someone can do is say no


Erin Loechner, Danielle Wiley, Meg Keene, Sarah Stringfellow

• it’s possible to do it yourself
• have a media kit readily available
• people you want to work with will work with you
• you’re responsible for creating something for yourself
• figure out and meet your community
• know your brand and your value
• advertising is about you
• test the waters – use trial and error and your moral compass
• sponsors should only be adding to your site
• always ask for what you want, be proactive
• the crazier the pitch, the better
• consider your complete online presence
• give brands something to get excited about
• follow up
• consider legal obligations
• have a debriefing sessions afterwards
• send snail mail thank you notes
• picture where you want to be in two years and create the building blocks to get yourself there
• look into media training, it’s highly attractive
• read contracts over carefully
• understand what doing something for free means for you
• build relationships that last
• clean layouts are important
• focus on your content, what does it say about you?
• facilitate authentic conversations
• know your CPM, CPC
• mobile sites are an important piece of the puzzle


Pilar Guzman, Deborah Needleman, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan

• online currency = views and legitimacies
• very few companies do both well
• there is no easy transition
• they’re not mutually exclusive


Heather Armstrong, Nora Abousteit, Kelly Walters, Sarah Bryden-Brown

• pretty pictures aren’t enough
• build a personality through your words
• use your voice honestly
• create a platform to succeed
• use WordPress’s Buddypress


Tracey Clark, Danni Hong, Kal Bartestki, Sarah Wert

• “Intellectual Property” is a broad term – it includes photography, art, music, words, poetry, recipes, etc.
Link With Love
• commenting shows appreciation, don’t promote yourself or your giveaway
• if you’re monetizing, you need to ask yourself what using a photo is doing
• giving credit benefits you, pay it forward
• don’t air your dirty laundry, settle things in private
• original content is safest
• add a disclaimer
• create awareness, set standards, it has to start somewhere
• pause before you post, don’t just grab and do
• create a community that words together


Nicholas Wells

• copyright use: remember that online does not mean “public domain” – ask permission, give credit
• copyright infringement: when someone uses your materials without permission start with a call or email, proceed through DMCA takedown notice and/or use of lawyer if that doesn’t work
• website legal terms: have them, keep them up to date
• trademarks: protects your business and gives you a defined legal asset, also use other brands correctly and with credit where due
• advertising law: follow the FTC guidelines for bloggers
• contracts: use written contracts with sponsors and contributors
• employment law: be extra careful when it comes to using paid help, use written agreements and file all tax documents
• corporate law: the bigger you get, the more you need to plan ahead
• giveaways: check state laws against private lotteries and have official rules easily available


Camille Styles, Cassandra LaValle, Hunter Sebresos, Jasmine Star

• position yourself uniquely
• everything you put out defines you
• fine a niche
• lay the foundation to get paid
• write a branding statement
• checklist: business cards, consistent visuals, get social, headshot
• showcase who you are more than what you do
• own who you are
• love me or hate me, make people feel something
• perfect your elevator pitch
• educate your readers, keep them in the loop
• trust your instincts


Jordan Ferney, Kelly Beall, Nicole Balch, Maggie Mason

• original content is key, if using someone else’s put your own spin on it
• a clean and polished look is necessary these days, it’s your starting point
• looking bigger than you are is important, dressing for the job you want applies
• being part of a community helps build your readership
• consistency in posting is key
• blogging is an ever-evolving experiment
• your site’s design should be intuitive and user friendly
• don’t focus on your stats, put your energy elsewhere
• go with your gut
• meaningful commenting is a good tactic
• write in your own voice
• if you have a great idea, put it out there in a minimal way just to get started
• say thank you if you contribute to someone else’s site
• investing in your blog is incredibly important
• stop treating it like a hobby
• track + participate in the conversation you’re creating
• don’t neglect Facebook, many people use it as their RSS reader
• handpicked related posts at the bottom of each post increase traffic
• know the way people engage and cater to them

Nicole put together a great collection of tweets from our panel right here if you’re hungry for more. 


Ashley + Justin

I don’t normally share life events here, but the marriage of my friends Ashley and Justin is an exception. Not only did I get to watch their relationship develop and instantly know they were meant for one another, I also got to design their wedding invitations. Such a huge honor, as any designer knows.

Sometimes working for friends or family can end up being a nightmare, something else many designers are aware of. Ashley and Justin were the complete opposite, dream clients is the only term that pertains. The day they got engaged Ashley let me know they wanted me to create their invitations, and my mind started churning. I created a few mood boards and after a brief meeting with Ashley two versions came into being. They chose the one that I’d already fallen in love with –BONUS. After a few minor verbal changes, I followed up with designs for a small RSVP card (they opted for an email to save money) and an envelope label.

The ceremony and reception took place at Fort Reno, a historical military camp completely out in the middle of nowhere by my standards. There’s a small church on the grounds that looks straight out of Pulp Fiction, and also gets the best light I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. The interior is completely wood-lined and lined on two sides with beautiful tall windows.

Everything about Ashley and Justin’s wedding day suited them perfectly, right down to Justin’s TOMS. This one’s gonna last.

 All photos copyright Stella Shot Me, with the exception of the first through third which are by me using Instagram.


Alt 2012 in Review

To start off I’ll tell you something you didn’t already know, Alt Design Summit is/was amazing.

After two prior years of flying in at the crack of dawn, I smartened up this January and took a (direct!) afternoon flight into Salt Lake City. Let me tell you, totally worth the extra $30. I’d somehow managed to cram five days of necessities and a queen-sized air mattress into my carry-on and personal item and was ready to roll when my Alt-sponsored ride swung up curbside and took me to the Grand America.

I settled in at the hotel for a luxurious thirty minutes or so, then it was off to Dinner With at J.Wong’s Asian Bistro. That’s me in the very back!

After a few hours of chatting, spring rolls, chicken lo mein, and a few ginger mojitoes it was off to Christophers for a cocktail party for the speakers. I love these limited edition, hand numbered coasters that were waiting for us on the tables. (PS: I do!) The wine was flowing and it was so loud with hellos and old friends, so much fun!

Thursday morning started with room service (Irish oatmeal!) and signing in at the registration desk, where I was presented with my name tag as well as a sizable and seriously heavy box of swag. I didn’t say no.

The day was full of some of the best panels I’ve sat down to in three years of the conference. I learned a bunch and I promise to share it with you all, in detail, later in the week.

Lunch was sponsored by Cargoh, and all 500 of us sat down to a gorgeously packaged surprise at our place setting. I later learned that each one had been hand wrapped and stamped! The keynote that followed was by Ben Silberman of Pinterest fame, and was easily one of the best talks I’ve ever been privy to. I think everyone walked out of that dining room with a little bit of a crush.

Thursday evening was the much talked about Winter Wonderland Party where everyone was asked to wear white. And did they ever. Outfits ranged from prom dress-worthy to simple tunics.

I wore a 60s-inspired sleeveless number that I’d picked up this past summer. Carina wore awesome.

Friday my panel – Growing Your Readership – was up and the room was packed!

As in standing/sitting room only.

Jordan, Nicole, Maggie, and I had a great banter going on and I was thrilled afterwards when people told me how much they’d gotten out of our talk. (I’ll be sharing notes later on this as well!)

It was a pleasure to speak with ladies I have the utmost respect for! After a few more panels, a fantastic lunch keynote by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Deborah Needleman, and Pilar Guzman, and an ending keynote from The Happiness Project‘s Gretchen Rubin IT WAS TIME TO PARTY. Again.

The ceilings and lighting were my favorite parts. As were the swag bags my roomies and I conquered like Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving. *blush*

Aaand just a small sampling of the photobooth whorage that took place. (NOTE: No, I did not chop my hair off. It’s just pulled back.)

Saturday was my only free-ish day. I went to a sponsored brunch and took a calligraphy class before having a completely relaxing dinner with three friends. Sunday brought about a morning flight home and my body catching up to the meager hours of sleep I’d had.

I’ll be back later this week with specifics that I learned as well as my favorite business cards!

Photos: Justin Hackworth, b.a.d. photography, moss + isaac, and Smilebooth
You can view the entire Alt 2012 flickr stream right here.