Earth Day

This will be a rare post on my blog. But with it being Earth Day, I figured it was the perfect time to share about a little part of my life that I don't talk about very often.

Earth Day // Shaklee Get Clean // brianakapper.com

I found out about Shaklee a few years ago from some friends. I was on the journey to a healthier life mainly with eating habits. Throughout college I had so many stomach issues! The combination of stress, late night fast food runs, and an apparent food allergy, left me super uncomfortable in many different ways. After switching my diet around, I started taking vitamins and supplements from Shaklee. The supplements really helped to clear up my skin and helped me feel better overall. Especially vitamins D & B in winter. (Anyone else get a little down in the winter?)

So when I moved out last summer, I decided to purchase the Get Clean products! I've been so impressed with the quality of Shaklee and their commitment to their products. The cleaning line is amazing. I no longer get headaches when cleaning, I have saved so much money, and they work really well! I believe that health isn't just about what you put in your body, it's about everything around you. Shaklee has the most natural and nontoxic cleaning line in my humble opinion, and I even used to use vinegar! Even just the Basic H2 by itself is great. You can use it for windows, floors, stove tops, as a general cleaner, etc.

Earth Day // Shaklee Get Clean Basic H2 // brianakapper.com

The Get Clean Kit

  • No harmful fumes or hazardous chemicals.
  • Outperforms 20 national leading brands.
  • You would spend $3400 for ready to use cleaners to get the same amount of clean found in the Get Clean Starter Kit! (Based on comparing number of uses as set forth on product labels of conventional, ready-to-use cleaners.)
  • Features Basic H2® Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate - just 1/4 tsp. makes 16oz. of all-purpose cleaner for only 3 cents.
  • And when you purchase the Get Clean Starter Kit you also make a positive impact on the planet:
  • Keep 108 pounds of packaging waste from landfills.
  • Eliminate 248 pounds of greenhouse gas.

Thanks for reading through this and letting me share a story about my health journey! Go to my contact page if you have questions or want to find out more! The free membership with the purchase of this kit is a limited time offer.

Beads for Days

The 100 Day Project is going well! I'm enjoying painting and find it somewhat therapeutic. I think during a somewhat free weekend morning, I'll sit down and start stringing the beads into necklaces, but for now, they sit on my office desk on wooden skewers.

#100DaysOfPaintedBeads

I should probably figure out a better lighting situation for taking photos of the beads. Then again, this is supposed to be a fun project that doesn't take up too much time. Maybe at the end!

A Designer's Bookshelf

Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time and money on design books. A lot of them were ones I needed to buy for class, while others were recommend to me by friends. As a professional designer, I find it extremely beneficial to always be refreshing your basic skills. Books have always been helpful for me to further my education, understand history and purpose, and really just for inspiration in general. 

A Designer's Bookshelf // 9 books to read if you're a graphic designer

I’ve picked out nine books from my shelf to share that I hope other designers will find helpful. Check and see if your local library has them if you do not have the money, but I would recommend investing in building a design library. I've enjoyed referencing some of these books again and again, and am always looking to expand my shelf.

A Designer's Bookshelf // 9 books to read if you're a graphic designer

Thinking with Type, 2nd revised and expanded edition: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Editors, & Students. This is hands down one of my favorite books. It’s a book not just for designers, but for anyone who has to deal with type. Read this book. Learn rules of typography.

Layout Workbook: A Real-World Guide to Building Pages in Graphic Design. I bought this in school, but thankfully I had instructors who taught everything in it. I would recommend this to someone who is a “self-taught” designer, or to anyone wanting to refresh their layout skills.

Type and Typography. I’m just going to go ahead and say this. If you didn’t take a typography class and you are a designer, buy and read this book. It explains basically everything you need to know about type and typography, as the title states. This book is on my “read again soon” list.

A Designer's Bookshelf // 9 books to read if you're a graphic designer

Meggs' History of Graphic Design. A little piece of full disclosure on my part. I somehow got out of taking the graphic design history class in college. One of my professors found out and said, “Briana, you have to read this book before you graduate if you want to be a designer.” So I bought it. I’m still reading it though…oops!

Marks of Excellence: The History and Taxonomy of Trademarks. This changed everything. From an editorial review listed on the Amazon page, “The indulgence of the coffee-table format is combined in this book with an intelligent and comprehensive text to create a reading experience properly saturated with looking.” Yep.

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team, 4th Edition. I own the 3rd edition of this book, which seems to have better reviews than the 4th one, but none the less. I love process so I enjoy this book. Some people would rather check this one out from the library though. If you have anything to do with branding–ranging from building a brand or keeping people in line with a brand–I would say read it at least once. It was helpful.

A Designer's Bookshelf // 9 books to read if you're a graphic designer

Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. BUY THIS EVERYONE. This has singlehandedly been the most useful book I’ve ever purchased, mainly for deciding on freelance pricing. Every time I get a chance to read a bit, I learn something new. Just buy it.

The Leap Year Project: Learning to Risk & Risking to Learn. This isn’t a design book, but it’s so inspirational. Victor’s story is encouraging, challenging, risky, and empowering. I can’t say enough good things about this book and Victor. Peppered throughout the book, is the story of so many people who took a leap in 2012. Click the title to buy the book and to sign up for a newsletter leading up to LYP 2016.

Just Design: Socially Conscious Design for Critical Causes. Not limited to graphic design, but design in general. I just enjoyed reading this book for fun. It ended up being inspiring though–seeing how others think and the solutions they came up with for various projects.

I hope this was a somewhat helpful list. Keep in mind, these are my own opinions about these books. Some of these books I hated the first time I looked through them, and later learned to deeply appreciate. Like I mentioned before, I think it's important as designers to keep refreshing your basic skills. What books would you recommend? 

A Thought On: Graduating College

I've been out of school for almost two years now. Some days, it really does seem like yesterday that I was laying on the floor in the hallway outside my classroom, trying not to have a panic attack about a critique happening that day. (It went fine.) Most of the time, it feels like I've been out of school for yeaaaars. And when I say yeaaaars I mean like 10 years. Almost like it never happened. Time is weird. It just is.

(L-R) My dear friend Katie brought me to our graduation! // Oh look. On the floor. The panic mentioned above. // A group of us towards the end of college. Such a great time!

(L-R) My dear friend Katie brought me to our graduation! // Oh look. On the floor. The panic mentioned above. // A group of us towards the end of college. Such a great time!

There are a few things I wish I had known in my last semester of college, and I'm going to tell my former self that in a minute, but first I want to give a bit of a backstory. College took me 6 years to finish. 1 year at a private Christian school, 1.5 years at a community college to finish an Associate of Arts degree (my credits were messed up so it should have only been 1 year), 1 semester at NIU, 1 semester at a Leadership Institute in Colorado, and then 2.5 more years at NIU once I moved home. WHEW. It's a lot I know. I was due to have a 7th year of school, but some of us only had six classes left and the sequence of them was supposed to be spread over 4 semesters. No. Just no. So somehow they worked it out to put all those classes in just 2 semesters for us, and we were able to graduate a year early. Party! But with that, came a lot of stress, sleepless nights, anxiety, fear, and self-doubt. I love the design program at NIU. I seriously think it was the best education I could have received for what I wanted to do. It was also really hard, and took a lot of time. On top of having a very full course load, I was working at Starbucks–which meant a lot of free coffee and a lot of days working at 4:30am. Pair that with night classes and you have a very messed up sleep schedule. I think I've blocked out most of that last semester from my memory. I know this is just a super jumbled paragraph, but college for me was super jumbled. I lived at home, worked really hard, got good grades, and somehow managed to stay involved at church. That was the year I learned how to be organized. I began to have little patience for people who weren't doing their homework. (Come on guys. College is expensive. Why are you there if you aren't going to work hard? Especially if you aren't working a job during school. Like, what are you even doing with your time?) That's just a rant I've needed to get out for a few years now. ANYWAY. Things I wish I knew.

  1. You will get a job. Even though you go back to Starbucks for a couple months after your internship ends, you will get a job.
  2. Not only will you get a job, but you will have 3 jobs in the 2 years after you graduate, and few additional job offers you turn down.
  3. Freelancing is actually fun! Even if you have a terrible client. You can charge them more. They might actually pay you that additional amount. (And if they email you asking to do another project, you can say no, for sanity purposes.)
  4. You will escape working in advertising, after you have an internship in advertising. (Not that advertising is bad, I just didn't see myself there long-term.)
  5. You will eventually learn about working with pantone colors, print guidelines, and mailing requirements–none of which were taught to you in school. (Did I just majorly miss something in school? Thank goodness for google and patient printers.)
  6. You are basically getting paid to do homework. Such a fun switch from paying to work. (This is how I viewed school towards the end...terrible I know.)
  7. You might actually be good at what you do, and your bosses might actually like you. (This is the self-doubt I was talking about earlier. More often in school, we hear the things we need to change, improve on, or fix. None of those things are bad, I was just worried I would never ever ever get a job in design.)
  8. You will love collaborating with others, learning to work on a team with copywriters, developers, and art directors. (Such a change from doing everything yourself in school!)
  9. Nothing can really prepare you for life after graduating from design classes. Every experience is different, and a lot of it has to do with your work ethic, organizational skills, and attitude.
  10. You will still enjoy learning. You will still love design. You always want to learn more, do better work, and enjoy the process.

I'm not writing this to brag or give myself a pat on the back. I'm writing this to remind myself, and maybe even you, that sometimes things don't happen how we think they will. There isn't this magical combination of steps that will add up to a perfect outcome. I really believe if you work hard at things, there will probably be a good outcome at some point. I'm not saying play basketball for 20 hours a day and you'll make it big time playing basketball. I'm saying, take a look at what you like to do–what you're good at. Make goals, work hard towards them, and be willing to give it all a little bit of time.

#The100DayProject

My friend Laura posted about the 100 Day Project about a month ago. I was immediately intrigued by the concept! Read the post here: "100 Day Project."

#The100DayProject

I thought a lot about what to do for this project. I considered some things involving a computer, but let's be honest. I use a computer 100% of the time for my job and 90% of the time for freelancing. There was no way I could handle looking at the screen for this. After considering doing more handmade type experiments, doodling random patterns, and illustration recipes, I landed on painting wooden beads! There were a lot of good tutorials on the internet, and I felt it was something that wouldn't take up too much of my time, still allowing for creativity and spontaneousness. I just hope I don't get into a solid color rut. Don't let me!

#100DaysOfPaintedBeads

So I went to the craft store and searched online. I found some beads I really liked, some enjoyable paint colors, and then I dug up some old paintbrushes in my art supplies from college. And, drumroll...here is my first day!

#100DaysOfPaintedBeads

Check out that silver metallic paint! I will still need to seal these. I bought both matte and glossy finishes. Like I said, the possibilities are endless! I chose the #100DaysOfPaintedBeads to keep track of my project. Follow along on Instagram! I might post groupings of beads every few days, as to not annoy my Insta friends. :)