Fresh Off of Winter Break!

design, design inspiration, galleries, invitations, Uncategorized, weddings

I don’t know about you all, but my winter was consumed by being a hermit. I cannot express how excited I am to see the light at the end of the super cold tunnel! Wedding season is getting into full swing and I’m working on some amazingly fun projects this spring! I can’t wait to see what else 2014 holds for me. How are y’all doing? I would love to hear what exciting things you have going on this new year!

I can’t believe it’s been since before Thanksgiving that I’ve written, but it was a much needed break, and I’m getting into a serious routine over here. I’ve begun graduate school at University of New Orleans in the Arts Administration program – a goal I’ve had for years, but have only just acted on. So far, it’s fun, if busy, but I’m enjoying every minute and soaking up every bit of information I can. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you in life, it’s when an opportunity presents itself, you need to take it!

Other than school, I’ve been working on a few new projects that aren’t quite to the point of sharing, but they are very exciting. I’ve also been making an effort to get out and see more art, and finally made it down to the Contemporary Arts Center. I also stopped by the Before I Die wall outside the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which is the next museum on my list of places to stop in.

Before I Die Wall

I took a couple recent trips around the Royal Street galleries, and these dioramas caught my attention in the windows of the Antieau Gallery:

antieau gallery

antieau gallery royal street

We took a Thanksgiving trip to Birmingham, Alabama and came across an incredible book store downtown full of vintage maps and advertisements and more paperbacks than you could imagine. The whole downtown has such a specific vibe. It was a really great trip.

birmingham bookstore

birmingham poster

And of course, I’ve been busy adding to the Fried Green Etsy shop and creating custom pieces. Please don’t hesitate to ask about custom work. I am thrilled to work with new clients and help solve your design problems! Also, I’m now on Instagram! Let’s be friends! @FriedGreenEmily

fried green design robot invitation

fried green design cards

fried green design wedding invitation


Stay tuned for wedding tips later in the week! I have some brand new ideas and tricks I’ve picked up to help you prep for your big day!





Something Beautiful Showed Up Today

design, poster, Uncategorized

Today, I got something beautiful in the mail! It is my very own work, but I think it’s lovely! The ABCs of New Orleans poster has arrived and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out!

new orleans abcs poster

nola abcs poster

This 18×24 inch horizontal poster is available on my Etsy site, unframed on heavy, glossy poster-weight paper with a background in either blue, pink or light grey. This is a must-have for every New Orleans nursery – and for many adults too!

Unrelated, but still important: I’m planning a trip across the canal to Tulane University’s A Studio in the Woods, which I have just found out is painfully close to my home. The studio is an environmental preservation and art haven along the Mississippi, with emphasis on nature and fully enveloping oneself in creativity. I can’t wait to see what the studio looks like and all they have going on. I will report back with my findings!

Big Move to the Crescent City


Hello and sorry for the delay! I’ve been missing the Fried Green Blog and all of you! Between packing, relocating and getting settled in (not to mention no home Internet yet!) life has been super busy. I should be up and running again early in the week and I cannot wait!

My last Richmond adventure was the incredible Chihuly glass exhibit at the VMFA with two great friends.



If you’re in the area I would highly recommend you stop in! Much more to come very soon!

Proposal Development Inspiration

design, TEDx, typography, Uncategorized

Hello blog friends, and thank you for your patience during this very busy time in my life. There are exciting things happening all around me. Most notably, my previous post about TEDxHullStreet here in Richmond actually opened a whole new world of TEDx for me. Turns out, a lot of the big thinkers and doers around town have been secretly planning a bigger, badder and more adventurous TEDxRVA event and I have had the pleasure of hooking up with them and becoming part of their endeavor. So, TEDxHullStreet will shortly be defunct and I hope to get my planned and potential speakers involved with this even more exciting TEDxRVA. More details to come!

Beyond the TED world, I’ve been crazily trying to keep up with my proposal load at the day job, which has led me to explore other options for going about designing an interesting and unique approach to the average government form proposal. I’m super jealous of the creative approach the private sector accepts for proposals – and really, architects get to have all the fun. At my job, we have very little room for inspiration, and I would love to share some gems with you, but the internet turns up nothing for creative proposals. Nothing! So why shouldn’t we search outside the box for inspiration?

Livestrong Annual Report

I love the tabs on the Livestrong, very text-heavy document. And the bright splashes of their signature color.

Target Annual Report

Loving Target’s use of bright and easy to consume infographics. I hate, hate, hate a needlessly complicated infographic. I hope that fad goes away quickly.

Volkswagen Vision Publication

VW did a great job integrating modern graphics with throwback typography.

GAP Annual Report

GAP succeeded in getting the important info across without overwhelming the user/reader with too much information. Not overwhelming the user is definitely something to strive for in the proposal world.

There are tons more examples out there to take inspiration from. I’m looking forward to a bit of a revamp on our proposal this time around!

In unrelated news, I’m on dribbble now! Follow me!

Design Competitions, Yea or Nay?

business, design, freelance, non-profit, Uncategorized

I’m havingĀ  a bit of a philosophical debate with myself over the thought of entering design competitions. I’m really on the fence here. Part of me really likes the idea of the exposure, the cheaper-than-advertising self-promotion, and of course the ego boost that comes with placing in a competition. But part of me really hates the idea of not doing proper marketing, filling the pages of a magazine or website by paying them to host my work, and also the fear of rejection. I think of these competitions as a way for the magazine researchers not to really have to work that month. Is it a cop out for the publisher to do competitions? Do I really want my work up against everyone else for critique? Is that the point? If the client is happy, isn’t that all that matters? I don’t know what to do. Anyone had any success in building business after winning or being featured in a competition? These things can add up monetarily, so I would have to be really selective in my competition choice and would hope for a return on the investment. I welcome any comments or opinions on the matter.

Beyond theĀ  industry magazine/online competitions, there are a lot of other competitions that have no real prize other than exposure. I know there’s a big industry debate (and cross-industry debate) over the ethics surrounding such competitions. Charlotte, North Carolina held a competition for their Democratic Convention 2012 poster and only $1 per poster sold is going back to the artist. Presumably, the artist believes in the organization, I guess. That’s better than some though – last year the Huffington Post was bombarded by angry designers accusing them of soliciting speculative work, when they put out a call for people to submit new logo ideas for the online mag. They claimed not to be soliciting design work for free, but this is really common practice and I can’t imagine that all of these supposed non-solicitors are genuine. Techradar has a good article related to free web design. These kind of “competitions” are happening every day in all areas of design. According to most reports lately, architects and other people in art-related fields are the most unemployed in America. Why, then, are we entering “competitions” for free work if there’s no promise of a paying job at the end? Why aren’t we all charging for spec-work? Why do some designers feel it’s okay to partake and others don’t? Aren’t there better ways to build a portfolio? I’m not saying I haven’t done this in the past, but I think we can find a better way and teach the next generation of designers to learn from our mistakes. I would think that if folks in the design industry stopped entering/supplying, then the hosts of these competitions and calls for free work would have to start paying. We would all consider our work to be more valuable. So would our clientele.

While I’m on this rant, I’d like to add that we need to come up with a clearer definition in the design industry on what’s “pro bono” and what’s just working for free. Designer David Airey wrote about how to find pro bono-worthy organizations, in order to help the public good and boost your portfolio. To me pro bono implies that you’d be doing the work for a non-profit, some organization you have a special belief in, etc. But maybe that’s just me. On a lighter note, hop over here to see Jessica Hische’s infographic on “Should I Work For Free?” Hits hilariously close to home.

Branding Your Big Day

branding, business, design, freelance, music, printing, Uncategorized, weddings

Today’s post is of particular interest to me because 1.) I got married two months ago and 2.) I would love to start heavily marketing this portion of my design repertoire. I love a good wedding and I really love it when the couple goes the extra mile to make the day as unique as possible. So many weddings are cookie cutter, with wedding planners cutting time and expense by using the same motifs over and over, but what I think we’re seeing more of these days is the DIY Bride. And in some cases, even a DIY Groom.

DIY is great for the couple on a budget. There are one million blogs out there (message me if you want a list!) from which to extract little bits of creative goodness for table settings, guest gifts, decor and lighting and endless other details. One place I hate to see couples skimp is in the paper products department – but I don’t mean toilet paper. Save-the-date cards and invitations are the first glimpse guests get of the type of wedding you’re going to have and the overall vibe they will be expecting when they arrive. Custom invitations that go beyond the standard “our colors are purple and pink and the script-y font means formal” can really make your invitation stand out among the hoards of other wedding invitations the average 25 year old former sorority girl receives in a wedding season.

I really love the idea of “branding” your wedding, which can be done on a tighter budget than you might imagine. We branded the living hell out of our wedding since I am a designer/marketer by trade and nature. But it wasn’t tacky and we received a lot of compliments on the little extra effort in making it very personalized to us as a pair.


Before I set out to create these materials, I thought long and hard about what it was that brought us together. Among the many qualities I thought of that link us, I found that the root of our relationship was music. We met through music and stayed in touch with one another over the years through live music and we eventually bonded for good at a music event. Scott plays the trumpet, so I went very literal with the music theme. The quote on the save-the-dates was personal for me and people that know me well, thus a mix of our two lives was right there in graphic form. I decided that I could never narrow down a color palette, so we went with many colors which later translated into a beautiful display of seasonal, fresh picked wild flowers for bouquets and tables.

The invitations were next. I decided to make a mini music poster that was revealed when the subdued outside of the invitation was opened. I used actual photos of us doin’ what we do (anyone who knows us knows how I dance and has seen Scott play) and from the photos I drew the silhouettes. We also wanted to cut down on the number of questions about what to wear and would there be dinner and should I bring my dancing shoes, so we put in a lot more text than many people do. This touch isn’t for everyone, but we felt it was necessary for our wide variety of guests.


Beyond the save-the-dates and invitations, I created labels for our guest gifts (soaps handmade in New Orleans by the fabulous Emily owner of Sweet Olive Soap Works!), return address labels, and “mad libs” with a wedding theme for guests to fill out at the tables.

With the outrageous price of cookie cutter invitations, I would recommend to any couple that they should spend the money on good design and personal touches over too many inserts and crazy heavy weight paper any day. We cut costs by using a local printer that gave me a great deal – Wythken Printing here in Richmond. If you cant work out a deal for your items, you can see if your printer will cut the price if you have all the components printed at once. Or you can order nice paper online and take it to your local Kinkos-type print shop and print it yourself.

I designed and then ordered the return address labels at Vistaprint and bought blank envelopes to stick them on. For the send-to addresses, I used my same wedding fonts from everything else and printed them on white labels on my printer at home.

I’m in the process of putting together a customizable invitation package for couples tying the knot – incorporating the individual silhouettes idea, among other ideas. If you’re interested, I’d love to talk!