I’m just back from a wonderful holiday in Marbella and feel refreshed, relaxed and renewed! That won’t last long We stayed in a beautiful place, a bit off the beaten track and the weather was just amazing. However, one big disappointment for me was the standard of the beaches in the local area. What a let down. Our nearest beach had dirty grey sand, was very grubby and in dire need of some TLC. Thankfully we had 5 pools in our complex so the beach didn’t have to be a factor, but coming from the wilds of Donegal we do like our little bit of sand walking (especially when the sun’s shining, blimey we don’t get much of that in this neck of the woods). Just before I left for my hols I was working on a website for a wonderful place call The Red Door. Now if you want to see spectacular views and beaches, you should go see this place! We did the photography on the hottest day that Inishowen has seen in a long time and the photographer was in a helicopter to do the aerial shots.
People sat outside having Afternoon Tea and glasses of chilled white wine whilst admiring the vast views of the sea and golden beaches. I’m telling you – it beat Marbella hands down! The restaurant is amazing, the accommodation is luxurious and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. You can tell that I like the place! Anyway, it was a joy to work on and a beautiful place to photograph. Marbella beaches? Naw, give me Inishowen any day of the week.
When I was living in London I remember watching a documentary about a girl who had emigrated to New York, spent 10 years there and then went back to her hometown in Scotland to set up a design studio. It showed her walking along the beach with her dog, splashing about happily and she admitted that she had never imagined she would be fortunate enough to be in this position. A great life and a job she loved. I watched it at a time when I was commuting 2 hours each way morning and night. I had a job that I loved and financially I could do pretty much anything I wanted. But when I watched that documentary I thought “I want to be on that beach, splashing in the waves”. Growing up in a beautiful seaside town in Donegal I didn’t appreciate what I had when I had it. Faraway hills looked greener etc etc. But after over 14 years of living away from it all I realised the time had come to go back.
I’m working on a tourism project at the moment promoting the local area and am fortunate enough to have photographers providing beautiful images for the project. When I look at these photos I realise what an amazing place I live in and how much I missed this when I was away from it. Recession or no recession, Donegal is the place to be! I was on the beach the other day and it suddenly occurred to me that my life is now very similar to that girl in the documentary. Funny how things work out. So I just splashed a bit more in the waves and enjoyed every minute of it.
Photographs courtesy of Danny Bradley (top photo) and David Porter (above) of Buncrana Camera Club.
If there’s one thing I love it’s seeing people who are ambitious and ready for a challenge. Setting up a new business during these turbulent times is certainly a challenge but at the same time it’s a great time to do it. I recently met a girl who has done just that and she has great ambitions for where she wants this business to go. Her name is Martina Doherty and she has started a business called ‘Inish Lettings‘, which is a property letting and management business specialising in property rentals in Buncrana, Carndonagh and all over Inishowen. It makes good commercial sense when you think about it. At the moment people are not buying property, they are sitting tight and waiting for the storm to pass (god help us all in Ireland, it could take many’s a year for that to happen!). In the meantime they need places to live and so the rental market is booming. As well as that, because of the growth in emigration, there is more property to let. And of course there are all of those empty developer properties which are crying out for tenants. So it is essentially a win win situation.
Martina is a very committed and talented individual and I have no doubt that she is going to do well. I’ve recently done her branding and website and she was great to work with. The website is on a wordpress platform so it is easy for Martina to update herself. WordPress is such an intuitive CMS system and it is getting better all the time. Its ideal for those who want great looking, extremely useable websites that they can do updates on without breaking the bank. And in terms of search engine optimisation they can be fine tuned to be extremely effective.
I do love it when someone says “and make it look fun”. Fun is great. I love using colour and images or illustration that make people feel happy because there is way too much misery in the world at the moment.
I worked on this branding and website project a while back for a leading inflatables company in Mayo and it is very much aimed at children. Lets face it, a parent may check a website to see what to book for a child’s birthday but it is the child who will ultimately choose the product, so it has to be attractive to them.
Of course the products are also amazing for grown up parties also. Although stiletto heels are not advisable so might be best to leave the Manolo Blahniks at home that day
Published February 16, 2011
Graphic Design , Photography
One of the wonderful things about working as a designer is the variety. You just don’t know from one week to the next who you will be working for and the type of businesses you will be involved with. I relish that variety as it keeps things fresh but the other positive side of it is that you meet such talented and interesting people. One of these is a woman I met in October last year called Anna Doherty. She has a lot of experience in business and marketing and last year started up another venture called “Anna’s Natural Sauces”. These are exactly as the name suggests, totally natural cooking sauces that are handmade by Anna.
I had the pleasure of working on the branding of Anna’s new business and also designing the labeling for her first 5 sauces. It was a really enjoyable experience as Anna’s visual taste is very similar to mine so we blended well. The photoshoot was art directed by me and shot by Mari of letspose photography in November. Anna’s house is perfect for this type of photography, the colours, lighting and props worked well.
I used pattern and vibrant colours as backgrounds to the labels as it suited the homespun, eclectic effect that I wanted to achieve. I really like the labels and I think the designs and photography will lend themselves well to other medium also. Oh – and one of the best perks of the job – we got to eat the gorgeous food that was cooked on the day of the shoot…..hey, it’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it!!!
I am bowing my head in shame…. :-/
I work with people all the time who I help to develop their social media marketing including setting up their blogs. My mantra to them is “you must update your blog regularly otherwise it will be out of date and a bad reflection on your company”.
And what did I do? I didn’t update my blog for almost 2 months!! Yes folks, practice what you preach is the lesson learnt this month
Anyway. I’ve been up to my eyes with lovely projects for the past few months (not to mention being up to my neck in snow for almost a month) and I have loads to blog about. But today I wanted to mention a great group that I am working for. They are called Donegal Designer Makers and I’ve just set up their website along with their full social media package (which is not yet linked to the site but will be soon).
I really like working with this group as they have great passion for what they do and of course their work is outstanding. Check out the website and I’ll post a few photos from the photoshoot in the next few days – breathtaking pieces. Promise I’ll be back soon xxx!!!
Published September 25, 2010
Graphic Design , Photography
At Ruby Rose Creative we are rather partial to a bit of Christmas festivity but it comes rather early in the design world as all Christmas advertising and designing tends to be done in the summer and early autumn. Whilst everyone else is contemplating moth balling their t-shirts and tentatively checking out last years woolies we are setting up Christmas trees and hanging baubles whilst the sun shines outside (this can be rather cumbersome, trying to make a shiny hot day look like winter, and an Irish winter at that). One of the Christmas projects that I have been involved in is the holiday edition of Irish Quilt & Craft magazine (cover pictured above). It was fun to do and looks really good. When it hits the shelves in the early Winter in the US everyone will be getting into the festive spirit. The one thing that always amazes me is that although I have been involved in doing Christmas projects in July for many, many years, it still doesn’t inspire me to do my Christmas shopping on time…I am a bit of a ‘lets sprint around the shopping centre in the last week and get stressed’ kind of christmas shopper. Oh well, there’s still a few months left, maybe I’ll do it early this year.
Published February 26, 2010
Craft , Craft Fairs , Graphic Design
You know the old saying ‘If you want something done you should do it yourself’? Well that’s what I think I’m going to do with regard to the fabrics for my personalised toy range. A year or so ago I was in contact with a fantastic company called Spoonflower, who are based in the US. They’ve set up a super eco friendly textile printing service but the key factor of this company is that there is no minimum order. Most fabric printers insist on a very large minimum order which puts it out of the reach of small producers and designers, like me. But recently I started thinking again about Spoonflower and I figured that it would add another unique touch to my little people (personalised toys) if I used customised Ruby Rose Creative fabrics that I had designed. So I think I’m going to bite the bullet and do it. It is a long time ambition of mine to eventually release a range of fabric and wallpapers (don’t tell anybody ) but in the meantime I’ll print a few yards to use on my design works and see how it goes. I’ll keep you posted! Some samples of beautiful Spoonflower fabrics below.
Published February 21, 2010
Craft , Graphic Design , Interiors