Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Design’


Should I “DIY” my Wedding Invitations?

February 10, 2017

As couples work through their list of wedding plans, they often find it necessary to pick out certain items and projects to tackle on their own. Understandably. Perhaps because they can’t find what they’re looking for, or more so, because after awhile it becomes WAY too expensive to purchase every little thing “ready-made.”

So what about your wedding invitations and stationary?

As a graphic designer, I work with bride and grooms all the time who come in wondering about professional invitations vs the process of DIY. Because I’m a designer AND a crafty person ((who LOVES to DIY)) I can usually help them sort the pros and cons pretty quickly. This short blog is the process I go through with my clients to hopefully help YOU decide your best option, as well!


The very first question I ask couples is what their weekly schedules are like. If you’re someone with a full time job, lots of hobbies and\or a busy home life then “DIY invitations” are likely not for you. Like starting anything from scratch, it takes up a ridiculous amount of time. So if you can’t do the time, don’t do the craft!

Even with a light – moderate schedule it’s important to consider the amount of time you have before you need to SEND your invites. Typically invitations should be to your recipients no later than 3 months before your actual event. Decide if the amount of invitations you can get done {daily\weekly\monthly} will produce the amount you need and still be done in time to mail.

If you only have a few months to produce 100+ invitations it’s probably best to leave the designing and printing to the pros, and focus your attention on other details. That close to the wedding it’ll be nice to have extra time for “emergency planning” situations that may arise, instead of still worrying about such an important aspect of your event.

Before I start any craft, I like to consider my attention span and patience. If you need more than 100 invitations ((plus RSVPs, ceremony programs, or additional stationary for wedding info)) the process of creating them is going to become monotonous, boring and even frustrating. Resulting in the potential of your invitations becoming sloppy, in-cohesive, or worse, not done! Save yourself the frustration when the quantities become very high and avoid DIY.

Sometimes we like to fool ourselves into believing that DIY is always going to save us a buck. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Buying all the individual materials can quickly stack up your bill! Especially because you’ll want good, “sturdy” materials to keep them together. So the next thing you know you’ve spent $150 on craft items and a new $200 printer, when you could have potentially found a professional option for less than $100 and no hassle.

Before you dive in, list out all the materials you’re going to need to buy to get the job done RIGHT. Not to mention, the real possibility you may make a mistake at some point and have to redo something – requiring extra materials and money. Compare the cost of materials vs. the cost of having them professionally made. The outcome may just answer your question for you.

Lastly, I like people to consider how much of a “perfectionist” they are, as well. That sounds silly, but it goes two ways.

One, depending on the style of invitation, it’s reasonable to guess your 80th invitation may not be as perfect, or as exact, as your 1st. Which may just drive your OCD over the edge.

Two, on top of inconsistency, it’s important that your invitations don’t fall apart before your guests get them. Which means no cutting corners when you’re getting burned out, or run out of glue, so you start using tape. If they fall apart, your money’s down the drain and your chairs at the wedding are empty.

In the end it’s a commitment that must get done. If you’re up for the challenge gather as much help as possible and get started as early as possible! If you’re not up for the challenge (IT’S COMPLETELY OK!!) just put the craft scissors down and walk away!


Did I get you towards your decision, or are you still unsure? Whether professional or craft questions, drop them in the comments and I’ll give it my best!

If you enjoyed this post, remember to follow me here on WordPress by blog or email. Plus, hit “LIKE” on the Facebook page for a regular feed.

On the off chance you now need invitations, check out my online store (more designs on the way) by clicking here —> {SHOP} OR contact me to start a custom project! Until next time…

Happy Creating!



What the Heck is Graphic Design?

November 1, 2016

Many people know me for the photography side of my business, so as I opened my studio last week, my open house brought up the subject of the other half of what I do: Graphic Design.

I got a lot of odd looks until I started to explain, but in all fairness “graphic design” is not a real descriptive title. So, “What the heck is graphic design!?” What services can I provide to you with this half of my job? It’s simple, but quite diverse!

Website Logo © Noel Photography and Design

Website Logo © Noel Photography and Design

Graphic design is basically the artistic side of media, or creative ways to get information out. We work with both typography, imagery and other graphics to make a wide variety of work. Often graphic designers are seen in the advertising world making: logos, brochures, signs, magazine\book layouts, business cards, packaging material, social media graphics and other marketing materials. However, our diverse skills allow us to do other types of graphic work like wedding and event invitations, stationary, t-shirt designs, posters, book covers, photo books, and other personal media. Some designers, whether with a coding partner or solely, even design websites.

Save the Date Design © Noel Photography and Design

Save the Date Design © Noel Photography and Design

With that kind of list it’s difficult, even as a designer, to put a label on us. The combination of typography and imagery makes the sky the limit in what a graphic designer can do. My favorite part about having both photography and graphic design in my business is the fact that the two overlap. My skill and interest in both helps me to be better at both my jobs. Plus offer more functionality and creativity to my clients.

So, whether you’re getting married, starting a new business, or somewhere in between my services can apply to you! Now let’s get designing.


More questions about graphic design services? Drop your questions and comments below. Thank you all for reading! Follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, and be sure to give the Facebook page a “LIKE.”

Happy Creating!



When to Self-Print vs. When to Professionally Print Custom Invitations

June 28, 2016

It’s no surprise that weddings, or really any planned party event, can quickly become expensive. It’s also no surprise that invitations are one of the required expenses in order for people to show up! I always have clients looking for ways to make sure their invitations look amazing, while not having to sell the house, car, or labra-doodle to do so. But where do you draw the line?

Invitations come in so many options today and can be presented in about 1000 different ways from informal to formal. Regardless of your style, invites shouldn’t have to break the bank. After all, while they are definitely high on the list they are not the only important expense. Obviously, in the end it will be up to the host to decide where to spend their budget and how much they are willing to spend to get what they want. However, from a professional designer, here’s a few general tips on where to open the wallet vs. where you might save a buck:


Image and Design © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image and Design © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY



YES! Hands down, always professionally print the invitation. An invitation, no matter what style, is formal by nature and should be treated as such. Often it will be kept by your close friends and family, or at the very least, displayed on their fridge\message board for a significant amount of time. Plus, it has all the most important info your guests need: who, what, where and when!  Plus, most (not all but most) professionally printed items add a “coating” over the printed side. This helps make the invite resistant to scratches, scuffs, spills and etc. All things that could effect how the item reads if something happens. So plan to spend the money to make sure they are quality pieces that will last and withstand being mailed.



The RSVP is equally as important as the invite, but this time it needs to be able to get back to you in one piece. So again, plan to have this professionally printed. You will be expecting your recipients to respond with their answer in order for you to effectively plan your event. Like the invitation, professional printing will help to ensure your paper is quality to go through the mail (twice) and still be legible when it gets back to you.



Typically I urge these to be professionally printed if they contain a photo. However, this can be a coin toss for the host.

If there is a photo, often times your recipient will keep it! After all, you chose a design that incorporated an image for a reason. It might as well look nice and be durable. On the other hand, while save the dates definitely serve their own purpose, it doesn’t have ALL your event’s info so it will likely get tossed once the invitation arrives. Making this is one of those budgeting decisions for the host!

Save the Date | Product Photo & Design are © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Save the Date | Product Photo & Design are © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY



Don’t feel guilty if you skip the professional printing here. Unless you have an extremely unique invitation set that can only be matched by your professional’s set up, it’s a great idea to print hotel info, reception directions and registries yourself. These items are meant to be functional rather than a formal keepsake. More than likely your guests will be stuff registry slips in their purse or wallet to go shopping, hotel info will be reiterated to them once they book, and most will likely transfer addresses\directions to their personal devices for future reference. Therefore, these items serve a short lived purpose. So whether they are professionally designed, or your own creation, save a buck and print these simply and efficiently!


Thank you all for reading and please drop any questions, concerns or comments below! Follow Noel Photography & Design here on WordPress by blog or email, and be sure to give the Facebook page a “LIKE!”

Happy Creating!



You’re Hiring a Graphic Designer…Now What?

January 12, 2016

Let me start off by saying, “I LOVE working with clients.” I love the people who drive me, give me opportunity for success, and most importantly, make my job……well, a job.

So while in many ways sharing this information does help the designer, my intention here is to further the client’s understanding of the method behind the madness. To really put your mind at ease about what will come next when you choose a professional designer, (besides greatness of course!) I mean, let’s face it. Hiring a designer for the first time can feel like an expensive gamble!

While I can only guarantee the following content is what goes down after hiring me for a job, I’m sure many designers will be, (or if we’re being confident about it, SHOULD BE) similar.

Alright, so you’re going to hire a designer, here’s what’s next:


© Noel 2016



I put this first because it’s something both parties need through the entire project process. Simply put – design is hard! Have you ever played the game where you draw on paper what another is describing with your eyes closed? That is what being a designer is kind of like. It sounds terrible, but don’t get me wrong, designers LIVE for those types of challenges.

We just have to ask for you to be patient with us, and we will do the same for you. Like the game mentioned above, we are trying to make a masterpiece from a mere “thought pebble,” or trying to extract an already completed masterpiece from your head and put it on paper.

Talk about a challenge! Which brings me to my next client tip…



It’s not as scary as it sounds! This may actually go down multiple times throughout a job. Usually once in a consultation before the project starts, and again after each draft, or before the final. Either way, its not a test! I can assure you these are questions you will know, or at least have an opinion about.

After you’ve given your description of the project, an artist may still need more to build the picture in your head for ourselves. The more questions you allow us to ask, the closer the drafts will be to what you were imagining. Often making for fewer revisions and faster completion. These are just a few questions you may hear along the way:

  • a) Any color schemes you’d prefer?
  • b) Size specifications?
  • c) What styles\themes do you like?
  • d) On your examples, what parts do you love? What parts do you hate?

The list goes on and on, and will change throughout the process. If you just plain don’t know on some of the questions – that’s ok too. After all, as the professional we are here to help. Most the time the questions you don’t know will quickly become apparent after the first draft.

There is only one tip I have for clients with absolutely no idea on what they’d like for their project:

“If at all possible, allow a little extra time and\or money to make room for trial and error. It isn’t a matter of IF we can create something you’ll love, but when there are no guidelines, design concepts and revisions could literally be endless.”

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image



My only end goal is for you to walk away happy, with a quality and successful finished project. Plain and simple. To achieve that, however, expect nothing less than honest communication – from both of us. You likely hired a professional for one main reason:

“You wanted/needed help , and you’re looking for someone with expertise to do so.”

As a client you will want to give your honest opinions of my work, which I need and appreciate. Likewise, I will need to be able to speak to you honestly about your ideas and concepts. It is never my intension to be rude, mean, or talk you out of something you love. Rather, I will always give feedback about your ideas because its my job.

It is my job to try and catch any “red flags” before, or during the design process. If I can be open with you about it, it prevents problems, design flaws, or even costly mistakes. In the end, the famous line I tell every client is,

“I will give you my professional advice, because its what you’re paying for, but its up to you whether you take it to heart, or with a grain of salt.”



Every company and freelancer operates with their own process, so it is here that I speak mostly for myself. First, in general terms, all companies have a “design, revise, deliver” set-up of some sort. Often with their own regulations on money deposits, how many concepts and revisions they offer, how they deliver the final work, and of course, final payment.

For me personally, I like to keep things as simple and clear cut as possible, while still meeting all the needs of my client. Often this means providing different service options with various “price points.” Allowing clients to choose a budget and design process they feel works for them.

Public Domain Image

Public Domain Image

Like all companies, I have rules I follow for payment, delivery and such, but I try to make my services flexible enough for any potential prospect.

Now I ask, does hiring a professional designer seem as scary? I hope not, because we rarely bite. If anyone has any questions they can think of about hiring a designer, I would love to give you my best input. Just comment below!

To get more updates from Noel Photography and Design, follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, and be sure to hit “LIKE” on the Facebook page for posts, offerings and everything creative!


Happy Creating!



Meet Your Noel Photography and Design Artist in 2016!

January 1, 2016

2016. WOAH!

As an artist, I am completely psyched about this particular year, due to all the new changes for Noel Photography and Design really coming into effect. Two of those included a state-to-state move (yes again), and the decision to start 2016 as a completely full-time, independent, graphic design and photography artist.

Again, WOAH.

A couple years ago, some may remember the “New Year’s Resolution” list I had made for myself. A large majority of my list I completely nailed, but there were a few parts I floundered on. (That’s typical right?) Small failures aside, I have FINALLY accomplished the most important task on my list. Hence the reason for my super psyched-ness. (Not a word, but too excited to care!) Here was the goal:


Find a career path I truly love, that really uses and pushes my abilities.

In some respects, WHY was I really thinking I would accomplish that in just one year? So if I’m being completely honest, it took me almost two years to get everything in place to jump in as a full-time artist.

Since so much has been changing for myself and the business, I decided January 1, 2016, was the perfect time for a little meet and greet of yours truly. So allow me to introduce myself…


Yes, literally, let me first introduce myself for those who don’t know.

My name is Jen Noel, and I am a 25 year-old artist of photography and design, living in the wonderful midwestern state of Nebraska. I am super crafty, bold, a little random, but totally awesome at what I do.



For four very busy years, I attended Morningside College in Sioux City, IA. Accomplishing a Bachelor of Arts, with three majors including graphic design, photography and advertising. A title of which is a mouthful, but has been completely worth achieving.



While the decision to become a full-time artist was recent, I have never, not been working in my field. Previously, I was splitting my time between part-time graphic design and photography, and other various types of customer service positions.

Much of the experience from those other jobs have provided the solid foundation for my outstanding and quality service. In fact, August of 2016 will mark my 7th year of working in the graphic design and photography field!!!



Trick question! I honestly don’t favor one more than the other. Here’s why:

I chose to pursue both fields, plus advertising, because there is A LOT of overlap between them. All three are quite similar in education, skill, technology, uses, and the actual workplace. Actually, it’s almost as if they feed off of one other. In a nutshell, I LOVE what I do from A-Z!



It took me many years to be able to answer this question clearly. I’m so eclectic, and many things catch my attention that can set off my creative mind! (A little A.D.D. if you will.) But…

In a broad terms, I am inspired by contrast. In everything. Have you heard the phrase, “opposites attract?” That’s often the style of my work.

Sometimes it’s a literal contrast of rich colors, light and dark, or black and white. Other times it’s a concept. Perhaps of vintage and modern, beauty vs. unsightly, or edgy mixed with delicate. The list goes on and on. Those are the things that often grab my attention because they are so bold. For those who have already met me, this comes as no surprise, since I myself am quite bold. 🙂

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

That all being said about my style, I’d also like to add a side note. I don’t like to achieve the bold looks by over editing in post production. While I occasionally get wrapped up in the abilities of technology, there’s something wonderful to be said about the purity of a photo. Therefore, not all, but a large majority of my images, the editing is kept to a minimum.


In graphic design it’s a bit different. Mostly because I’m not typically designing for myself, but rather for the client and their needs. While all my work has an underline tone of my style, my eclectic side comes in vary handy for design. It allows me to connect to a project despite what the subject matter may be. Giving me the ability to create quality design work for any client.



I’ve always been a “jack of all trades,” but here, I am guilty of having some favoritism.

a) As for photography, since the first time I picked up a camera, I have always been a sucker for nature. It actually wasn’t until college when my passion for portraits really began to grow.

There is something so mysterious and calming about the natural beauty to be found all over the world in nature. It becomes addicting to travel, and do your damnedest to be at the right place, at the right time, camera settings ready, with your finger on the trigger.

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

I quickly realized that portrait photography can be quite similar. Again, I became addicted. Like nature, you’re waiting for the right moment, the right expression, and sometimes the right light. Portraits have the ability to capture someones character, emotion, passion, and sometimes the most raw form of themselves. It’s no surprise the human body, as a part of nature, has the ability to speak in many ways that are non-verbal. Personally, I think that is amazing.

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY


Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

Image is © Noel Photography and Design | DO NOT COPY

b) For design, my favorite part is much more technical and generalized: Composition. Remember when I said there was a lot of overlap between my fields? Composition is one skill that comes in handy in both photography and design. While I’m great at and love the devil in the details, I like to think “big picture.” (Again with the need for contrast.) Layout designs require planning, thinking and strategy. It’s almost like an artistic mind game. I love that.



I never stop creating, and my friends and family often tease me about it. I guess I just like to be busy. I love trying alternative photography processes, scrapbooking, crafting, sewing, painting, cooking, and up-cycling vintage furniture, frames, and other items.

Outside of creating, I am very family oriented. I have a close relationship with everyone in my immediate family, so the time I get to spend with them is important.

When my schedule and bank account allows me, I love to travel to new places. Usually to take pictures and go antiquing. Yes, I said antiquing. Vintage camera, frames and other random things have began to take over my house.

Lastly, when the weather allows, I enjoy getting outside. Hiking, biking, boating and playing with puppies make my outdoor adventures quite enjoyable. 🙂

As you can tell, my personal life is quite eclectic and random as well.



Now that I am officially a full-time artist, I could not be happier! My most important resolution for early 2016, will be finding the right design office and studio space. Ideally, an inviting area to accommodate a wider variety of clients throughout the whole year, in addition to the year-round outdoor sessions.

Not to mention, I look forward to joining in with my new community. A new space will provide opportunity to better connect with clients, and other local businesses of the Thayer County and surrounding area. Which to me, sounds like a blast!




Ah yes, secret time. I’m a little OCD, I hate spiders, I love to sing in the shower, and the numbers on the toaster are minutes. 🙂

Alright folks, I feel I’ve covered quite a bit of the Noel in Noel Photography and Design. If you have any questions you think you’d like answered, comment them at your own risk!

Don’t forget to follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, and also on Facebook. Most importantly, if  it hasn’t happened already, I look forward to meeting everyone in my new area, and hope YOU will be one of my 2016 photo or design clients!


Happy Creating!


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