Design Process

By February 26, 2007General

I have received a few questions from visitors and thought perhaps I would post my answers here, some of the responses may inspire others.  If you have a question, please feel free to email me.

I enjoy
looking at your blog daily and truly enjoy your creations.  This is my
question….how do you come up with your ideas?  I see your card and I
think…why couldn’t I think of that.  So for certain blogs that I visit
I am asking how people find their inspiration and/or how they come up
with their cards.  I am awed and envious as I wish I could have an
original and not have to CASE cards.
-Dee Dee

My process has evolved over the years to a routine that works well for me.  The same process might not work for everyone, but I would be happy to outline what steps I take to create.

I always start with a color scheme.  I get inspired in a multitude of ways.  It could be from a piece of clothing, something in nature, a new spool of ribbon (see a previous post about this here) I picked up at the store or patterned paper from a trendy manufacturer.   For this project, I got inspired by the colors in the new Laurel line by Scenic Route that I had used in a recent project for the magazine.  I thought the Petal Pushers set from Technique
Tuesday would go along with my theme nicely.  So I started going
through my ink colors to pull three colors that coordinated with the
paper.  I knew I wanted the same look and vibrancy as the Laurel paper,
without using the paper.  I ended up pulling Old Olive, Cool Caribbean
and Rose Red from Stampin’ Up.  I got inspired by a design used by my
stamper friend
Melissa, on her blog.  I loved the way the three flowers were arranged on the cover of her card.  

I like to pull all of my supplies before I begin, so I also got together some coordinating cardstock.  I knew I needed something dimensional to add to my card, whether it be ribbon or an embellishment.  I organize all of my supplies by color, since that is the language my creativity speaks.  My small embellishments are categorized in these compartmentalized craft boxes and my ribbon is wrapped around wooden clothespins and fastened with a glass head pin.  By organizing in this way I can easily find things in exactly the color I am looking for.  The other thing I like is that it can constantly grow and expand with my collection.  Keeping ribbon on spools threaded onto rods was not working for me, I was running out of space AND a lot of ribbons come wrapped around cards instead. I consolidated over 20 spools and a huge pile of cards into this one jar containing all my pink & purple ribbon.  If it gets too full, I know I can further break it down into two jars, one for pink and one for purple.  It has worked wonders for me.  The embellishments are the same way.  If I out grow one compartmentalized craft box, I can divide the contents into two.

So now that I have all of my supplies assembled, I get to do the fun  easy part, STAMP!  I just utilized the ink pads I knew coordinated with the stamps I knew I wanted to use.  I assembled it according to Melissa’s design and viola, I was done.

For actual layout ideas, I sketch A LOT!  I get inspired by the layouts of ads in magazines, product packaging, tags on clothing, etc.  I have a book I use to contain all of my magazine clippings. When I am in a rut, I can leaf through it and get a fresh outlook on design. 

In brief, color is the main focus for me when working on a project.  Pick trendy colors that will make your project fresh and exciting.  Neatness counts.  Sometimes I make a project twice.  Once to get everything laid out the way I want, a second time to pull it off with perfection.  Organization helps me to perform better and find just what I need without a long search.  I hope this answers your question, Dee Dee!  Good luck in finding yourself and your creative process.

Nichole Heady

Author Nichole Heady

More posts by Nichole Heady

Join the discussion 15 Comments

  • 1

    What a great explanation of the creative process — it IS about finding a starting point and this brings home that may vary based on whether you’re led by color, layout, embellishments. Very thought-provoking answer. Thank you!

  • 2
    iralamija says:

    I just LOVE your WORK!!!!


  • 3
    Melissa says:

    You know I just LOVE your work, Nichole. I am touched that I was able to inspire you just a little. Thank you! 😉


  • 4
    Dee Dee says:

    Nichole –

    Thank you for answering my question. I was pleased to see that you answered it on your blog as I am sure I am not the only one who wonders this question from people, like you, who make paper crafting look easy. The breakdown of your creative process was easy to follow and explained why you would do something the way you did. It did strike me as a good idea to break things down by color. Currently, I have my embellishments grouped by object – all brads together, etc. I may have to think about the color grouping idea. You, and others, have been kind enough to share their creative process which will help me explore what mine is. I have not taken the time to really think about it, but recently it has come to the forefront and I need to explore it. Thus the result of the question I posed to you and a few others.
    Thanks again Nichole! Have a good week.
    Dee Dee

  • 5
    Robin Desko says:

    This is great information on your creative process – I also love how you’ve organized your ribbons and embellishments – I may have to rethink my organization a little.

  • 6
    Juanita (Toni173) says:

    This is priceless information. It would be a great commercial for ?, Mastercard I think. Rubber Stamps – $5,933, storage units – $2,502, being able to find your supplies, PRICLESS, or having a stamp room, PRICLESS! My thanks to Dee Dee for the question and to your for the wonderful answer and ideas.

  • 7
    Deb says:

    Thanks for sharing. You are a great teacher. I learned alot and I am going to sort my doo hickies and doo dads by color.. Be blessed!

  • 8
    Beate says:

    What a fun card. Thanks for sharing with us how you created it.

  • 9
    CMCAnne says:

    What an awesome post, thank you! I love how you literally walked us through your thought path with that card, and I loved the tip about organizing supplies by color. So simple and makes such perfect sense, yet this is the first time I’ve seen that tip! I can’t wait to reorganize and renergize my stamping. Thanks so much!

  • 10
    Gretchen says:

    Great process! You create beautiful cards!

  • 11
    Deanna Shain says:

    Having just written yesterday about how color inspires me, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the same topic! However, I now blame you for the thoughts whirling around in my head and the pile of embellishments now resting on my worktable…experimentally grouped by color! LOL!!! I have always sorted embellishments (other than ribbon) by “like items” instead of color. One drawer for eyelets, one for flowers, one for tags, etc… But after reading your entry I am left asking myself why I never sorted EVERYTHING by color! I think I have to do it! So thanks for the added work….I can’t wait to try it out!!!! -dw

  • 12
    Monika/buzsy says:

    I love this card. Great colors and the 3 flowers look really cool. TFS!

  • 13
    lilybeanpaperie says:

    Hi Nicole—this sweet little card arrived in my mailbox today with some of my lost projects—-I LOVE IT! I’m such a lucky girl to get to hold this thing in my hands—thank you for being such an inspiration—you are one gifted, talented, wonderful lady!

  • 14
    Mrs M Wood says:

    can you tell me please what the tan emboss resist pad is as decribed in the instructions for using a sizzix with the nestabilities.

  • 15
    vyda says:

    i am a ghanaian girl who’s very much interested in handmade cards. i saw your cards today and they are wonderful.
    u really are talented. i’d like to make some for friends this christmas. can you please tell me how i can make the emboss resist pad?


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