What's in a shape?

Whenever you're dealing with a new project, one of the first things that needs to be decided on is the size, but before we can decide on the size, we need to think about the shape. What's in a shape, well I'm here to tell you.

The shape of a piece actually sets the tone for the whole design and creates the initial vibe which is then built on by the size, design, materials, color palette, font choice and so on. So let's run through the basic shapes.



This shape is very traditional, it's the most used and it's always appropriate. It can sometimes feel a little stale and boring since it's so common, but it's common for a reason, it works.

Vibe it gives off
Professional, Traditional, Corporate




This shape is less traditional than portrait, it's used for pieces where content needs to be delivered quickly. The short horizontal text makes it a quick read and because it's skinny, it can fit in the palm of a hand, which makes it great a shape for users on the go. 

Vibe it gives off
Playful, Simple, Succinct



This shape is traditional but is the more fun alternative to portrait. It provides more design flexibility and space for second columns and pictures.

Vibe it gives off
Inviting, unconventional, interesting


Horizontal is a nice choice for designs that need to lean modern. This is a tricky shape to design for but if you get it right it looks great! 

Vibe it gives off
Modern, Contemporary, Chic


The Square is one of my all time favorite shapes. It's an easy way to make a design feel exciting and fun. The vibe the square gives off is very strong, so if the situation is not Celebratory it might not be appropriate.

Vibe it gives off
Casual, Fun, Playful, Celebratory

I hope you enjoyed your lesson in picking the perfect shape! Happy Designing!

Where to buy and get free fonts

I LOVE fonts, I have hundreds and am always on the hunt for more. Whether you're looking to purchase or looking for some freebies, these are the spots I go in order to grab some new ones.

If you're looking for freebies:

Da Font

Da Font offers free fonts in a variety of styles that you can search through. They have a little bit of everything: scripts, decorative, handwritten, serifs, san serifs, distressed, etc. With free fonts you have to be careful that you are adhering to their license agreements. If you're using the fonts for personal use (ie. creating a baby shower invitation, designing a wall hanging or chart for your home) you are fine using any of the fonts. However, if your usage is 'commercial', only certain fonts are allowed. To the right of each font, it'll say 'Free for personal use, Free for personal and commercial use, 100% free, or donationware'. To stay on the right side of the law, make sure you adhere to the license agreements.


There are thousands of font foundries (meaning companies who create fonts). You can make a list of different foundries that you like by going to myfonts.com and browsing through different styles. Once you find a bunch of fonts you like, click on the overview and find the foundry who created the font. Go to their website. Many times they offer freebies on their site.


If you're looking to buy fonts:

My Fonts

My Fonts is great for one off purchases; for example, if you just need one weight of a font, you can purchase that inexpensively on myfonts.com. They also run specials frequently, so checking 'Special Offers' in the navigation is a good place to start. If you want to purchase the entire family of fonts (meaning all of the weights of that particular font: light, regular, medium, bold, black, etc.), checking the foundry’s site, which will be located in the ‘overview’ section, might get you a better bundle deal. This is where I buy 99% of my fonts, the site tracks your purchases and if you somehow lose your fonts due to a computer issue you can always re-download and install.


Cloud based fonts are a bit new but if you have an Adobe Creative Cloud membership you get a certain number of fonts included via Typekit. The way it works is you go to the website, log in with your Creative Cloud user name and password and you have access to a certain number of fonts based on your membership level. You 'sync' the fonts you want to use and you are automatically given access to them in your computer programs. 


In addition to occasionally having free fonts, a Foundries main business is selling fonts. Some of my favorite Foundries are Frere-Jones Type, Sudtipos, URW++, Latinotype, Cultivated Mind and FontFabric. Their websites offer many styles and collections for purchase.


5 Ways to Spot a Career Freelancer

There are two categories of freelancers and knowing how to spot the difference between the two will help you make the best decision when looking for some help. Temporary freelancers are just what the name implies, they may be currently transitioning between jobs, trying to make some extra cash on the side or freelancing as a hobby as projects pop up. This type of contractor might not be the best fit for you if you're looking for someone who's going to be reliable and with you for the long haul. The other type of freelancer is the career freelancer, this type of worker is going to be the best fit if you're looking for reliable talent who will be there indefinitely to help you with your business, below are 5 ways you can spot a career freelancer.

1 - They work regular business hours

Not all career freelancers work exactly 9-5, but they should be keeping somewhat regular hours and you should have a good idea of when they will be available. If you're constantly playing phone tag, they're getting back to you days or weeks later and at odd hours, they might not be as dedicated as you are. Asking what their typical availability is should get you the answers you need.

2 - They treat their business like a business

Career freelancers usually have a great website that is a bit more robust than a typical portfolio style site that one would use for getting a job. You shouldn't see a resume, but you should see some recent work, some awards, a great bio, a services page, etc. They will also have some great branded materials, and have a distinct process for how they do things.

3 - They have a lot of experience

You can see from a portfolio the type of work they do, but talking to someone you should be able to get a deeper understanding of their level of experience. Have they been hired by big companies and have a history of challenging and varied work? Have they been freelancing for more than a few months? Have they ever worked on a project similar to the type of project you're needing to have done? How did it go? What were some challenges, how were those solved? A good career freelancer will be able to easily navigate challenging situations and working with difficult clients.

4 - You sometimes have to wait

Career freelancers are not always readily available, especially to new clients. Often times, you will have to wait a week or sometimes even a month for a project to kick off. While this can be irritating, it should be comforting to know they have lots of work and are dedicated to completing their existing projects before taking on more.

5 - They don't take every project or every client

Good career freelancers typically aren't desperate for work. They have a solid list of happy repeat clients and a flowing pipeline of work. They also know what types of clients and the kind of work that's a good fit for them. When you're a freelancer, potential clients propose all kinds of projects, which may be in or outside of your wheelhouse, a good freelancer only takes on projects and clients where they know they can shine and be successful. A career freelancer will be interviewing you the same way you'll be interviewing them, they'll ask a lot of questions about you and your project before saying yes.

Temporary freelancers are certainly great for certain types of work but if you're looking for a career freelancer who will be there for your business a year or 5 years into the future, these are some good ways to spot the differences.