Guest Posts

Holiday Cover Photo Spotlight: Graphic Designer Susannah Haines Talks Shop

By this point, we hope you have already heard that Graphic Designer Susannah Haines is the winner of our holiday cover photo contest! We have been proclaiming it from the Facebook rooftops, and we are so excited to feature her insight and work on our blog. OFP has a long history of design excellence, and it is so fun for us to learn about others in the creative community. We hope you enjoy Susannah's perspective and aesthetic influence--we certainly have. What was the inspiration behind your Facebook cover photo design?

Like many of my projects, this design was inspired by nostalgia. My design was based on one of my favorite holiday songs, “There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays” by Perry Como, and my own memories of childhood holidays spent making cookies, unwrapping presents, and playing in the snow. I wanted to incorporate a feeling of childlike simplicity and joy, something relatable that would trigger positive memories.

How did you come to be a graphic designer? Is this something you went to school for, or did you find it in a more roundabout way?

Graphic Design has just always been something that I felt I wanted to do. I think my obsessive compulsion for organization and clean lines combined with my need to create designed spaces drove my decision to go to school and really apply myself in the design field. I went to Savannah College of Art and Design and I dabbled in other majors (such as Illustration, Metals & Jewelry and Fibers) and I just always felt like graphic design fit.

What is your number one design principle?

My number one design principle is hierarchy, I want the viewer’s eye to be led through the design.

What is your number one design pet peeve?

My number one pet peeve is the use of bad fonts. A designer’s choice of fonts determines how the audience and consumers perceive a company or a brand. I wouldn’t give my money to a bank that uses Comic Sans.

Which software do you prefer—Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop?

I work in Illustrator or InDesign most of the time, but lately I’ve been assigning myself small side projects to push my skills in Photoshop.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a designer?

I think that my biggest challenge as a designer (and as a person) has been self-doubt and fear of taking huge risks. I’m starting to get over it.

What’s your opinion of Helvetica?

Helvetica is like air- it’s everywhere but you never think about it. I don’t dislike it- its clean, simple, and easy to read, but I think it should be used very cautiously and only when it is the very best answer, otherwise it can be perceived as a lazy choice.

What kinds of projects do you gravitate to?

I love doing packaging, and I love working with brands that have a vintage or retro feel.

What design publications, groups, media, etc. inspire you? Are you a member of a local ad group?

I find my inspiration in Print Magazine and Communication Arts, but I get most of my ideas browsing Pinterest and Behance. I’m a member of AIGA which is another great source of knowledge and inspiration.

How do you envision your future as a designer? What would be your “dream job”?

I really enjoy freelance work because your work is never the same from project to project, and the opportunity to work on different brands is really fun. My dream job would be designing at a small firm in a big city.

Do you have samples of work that you would like to share with us?

I recently did the logo and packaging for Blind Bettie’s Famous ‘Shine, a brand of moonshine and gourmet cocktail mixes. The design has a homemade and heritage feeling and all boxes and labels feature hand stitched details.

One of my most recent projects was done as part of an intern Random Acts of Kindness initiative. My fellow intern Jennifer DiMenna and I created a series of small notes with compliments and posters with tear-off compliments to take. We hid the notes and posters in corners and cabinets in the office for our coworkers to find and take as they needed.

Additional examples of Susannah's work can always be found at http://www.behance.net/zannahaines

Author Chooses Orange Frazer to Publish her Custom Book

 

I asked one of our custom book clients, Nadine Huffman, author of  "A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas," what inspired her to write her book and why she chose Orange Frazer to publish it. Here is what she had to say.

I wrote A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas because I believe no other city “does Christmas” like Cincinnati:  Our Christmases are filled with family, traditions, and the incredible generosity of Cincinnatians. I had two specific sources of inspiration for the book. First, on an out-of-town trip, I happened to see a book about Christmas in a certain city. The book seemed dull, caricatured, and lifeless. I leafed through it and thought, “Cincinnati Christmases aren’t like this at all – they’re heartwarming and special, and I could write about that.” At the same time, friends of mine were in the process of adopting a long-awaited baby girl from Guatemala, and I imagined what it would be like if she came home on Christmas Eve. So through these two events, I developed a storyline linking the unique qualities of our city’s holiday celebrations with a story of amazing love.

I published A Cincinnati Night Before Christmas for several reasons.  It seemed to have market potential. There was nothing else like it, and as far as we know, it’s the first children’s picture book about Cincinnati. I also thought it would be a great way to showcase our city, which sometimes gets negative press, but is actually a wonderful place to raise a family. And by giving all the proceeds to adoption charities, it was a great way to give back and leave a legacy to my adopted hometown.

My friend, illustrator Marilyn M. Lebhar, partnered with me on the project from the beginning. We decided to publish with OFP because our goal was to produce a beautiful, keepsake gift book. With the high quality of Marilyn’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations, we knew we had to be selective in entrusting them to a publisher. Plus, we knew we needed book design expertise. Seeing OFP’s catalog of books, particularly Dayton Air Show – A Photographic Celebration and Beauty in the Grove, convinced us that OFP’s creative vision and standards were as high as our own. And OFP could manage the entire production process, from design to finished product warehousing, thereby freeing us to focus on the marketing and business aspects of the book.

Our experience with OFP has been, in a word, superb. The wonderful folks at OFP made the book of our dreams come to life through their design talents. They also gave us the knowledge, encouragement, and insight we needed to make our project successful. They always met deadlines, and sweated every detail. They were patient when we asked ignorant questions, and understanding when we had to push back our initial timeline. Most importantly, they are people of honesty and integrity, which shines through everything they do. The fact that they’re genuinely likeable, bright, and enjoyable to work with is a delightful bonus. We’ve been blessed to work with them.