Friday, December 4, 2009

★ Creative at Heart Card Layouts

I love being a print designer! There is so much more to design then just putting elements together on a screen or throwing out some sick concepts to a client and getting it approved, there is a final product. And the quality of that final product shows your skill, technique, creativity, and ability to take a project from start to finish. Print design is tactile and the substrate's weight, texture, finish, and embellishments all play a part of conveying your message.

Below are 3 card layouts that I designed for my studio to hand out to clients, perspective clients, and anyone else who I wanted to leave a special impression on. The 3 very different designs pull together nicely as a set with elegant euro flap envelopes, quill penned quotes, and an eco friendly kraft paper wrap around to enhance the prestige.

I hope you enjoy : ).

Creative At Heart ★ Minimal Design
Creative At Heart ★ Urban Design
Creative At Heart ★ Cultural Design

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

★ 5Qs with Inka Mathew

Rob: Today I was reading a blog on The New Yorker's site when suddenly my eyes locked onto their header. A classy man with elongated proportions, nose pointed upward, and an eye glass in hand stands on the left with the THE NEW YORKER title directly in front of him. As I sat there marveling at this wonderfully conceived concept, the faint flutter of a butterfly consumed my interest even more. Whoever designed this is not just a good designer, they are a great designer! They didn't just design a logo, they designed an Identity. They created a symbol that moves the viewer into the world they skillfully created. When I came across the work of Inka Mathew, I realized that she is one of the great designers. With skill and purpose, she creates designs that will inspire you over and over. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing her.

Q1: Tell me a little about yourself?

Inka: My name is Inka Mathew, a freelance graphic designer. I'm originally from Indonesia. I live in Sugar Land, Texas (near Houston). Before that, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 10 years. I've been designing for about 12 years now. I love graphic design, especially logos and branding. My background is print design, but now I do web design as well. My company is Green Ink Studio ( I also have a small logo collection for sale at (

Rob: I can't decide if I love your identity or packaging work more! The Tino Vino, Michael Bautista, Red Bike, and Tiny Bird identities are all masterpieces. But then I remember the Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Marshmallow Packaging design and I am torn! Then, when you throw in the packaging you did for the Shrek products, it makes the decision even more difficult. I think I'll just say that your work is beautiful! Besides that you do custom invitations as well! So talented.

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Inka: I loved drawing since I was young. I wanted to be an architect since I thought that's the only profession that would allow me to draw. I was doing really bad at perspective drawing, and figured there's no way I could be an architect! Only much later on around the end of high school I heard about Graphic Design and thought to myself that this is exactly what I want to do! I also found out that the US had really good schools for that field. So I braved myself, and I flew to the US to study what I loved. I went to Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Awesome school. They gave me really good grounds for my love of identity design.

Rob: This is what I love about interviews-hearing the stories behind the work and in this case, the stories behind the artist. That's great.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Inka: I listen. I also pay attention to the psychology/mental aspect of a client or a company. Who are they really? And how can I bring out their best and present it in a brand identity? At the end of the day, your design is to help your client evoke emotions from their customers, to help their customers feel that they can trust your client, and feel confident in their product and services. Branding is a part of marketing, and a good brand identity is supposed to shout out the best of your client and what they can be to their customers. My job is to design based on that thinking.

Rob: Inka, you do a fine job in helping your clients present themselves in a memorable way.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Inka: I'd like to be known as a good graphic designer, especially in doing what I love, identity design. I'm saying good, not great, because to me great should always be an aim. I always believe, that no matter how good you are in what you do, there is ALWAYS someone else who is much better than you. That way, I'll always be open to keep learning, and push to be better than I was before. The journey should never end. You shouldn't think that you're "there" because that's your dead end if you think that.

Rob: Fine. You are only a good designer. I'm just kidding. You are right. The journey should never end. When I look at some of your designs, I think, I can learn a lot from her work and hopefully someone out there can learn something from my work. I may not be the best, but everyday, like you, I aim to be the best and because of that I become stronger in my craft.

Q5: Why Green Ink?

Inka: Well, green is my favorite color of all time. You should see my closet when I was young. I used to go to church wearing green from top to bottom! I used to get looks from people, and not in a complementing way, ha ha! So I have to have "Green" in my company's name. "Ink" is a short version of my name, but also to indicate my background as a print designer - you do printing with ink :-).

Rob: I love your thought process. I am honored to chat with you today and I am thankful for the knowledge I have learned from it. That's all for today, but follow my blog or click the RSS feed for more 5Qs with the Best in the Industry!

★ Innovative isn't the Word!

Recently, one of my friends on Twitter retweeted this link and after viewing it, I found myself floored by the imagination that created this genius use of sound and technology! The intellectual giant's name is Darren Solomon and I suggest you click here to step into the musical world that he has created; a world of various sights and sounds that you can play individually or together to make a fascinating arrangement similar to one that you would hear on secret agent radio. Personally, I love playing all the vids together, but mix and match as you like.

Monday, November 2, 2009

★ November's design freebie

This month's freebie is a Design Pack of NYC. The hybrid mixture of Raster and Vector Art will give you the flexibility you need to make it your own. Click here to download the zipped folder or here to visit If you find this freebie useful, show some love, retweet, or post a link to it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

★ 5Qs with Michael Clayton

Rob: I love the Internet because it enables you to connect with people all around the world. That is how I discovered Michael Clayton. Michael Clayton is a unique designer from Scotland. Tonight I had the opportunity to find out a little bit more about him and his work.

Q1: Tell me a little about yourself?

Michael: Hey there, my name's Michael Clayton, I'm 27 and I'm a designer (and soon-to-be blogger) from Scotland in the UK. At present, I work both full-time as lead designer for a local design studio and independently under the name End of Generic. I love typography, music and analogue photography and I'm getting married in June! You can see some of my recent work at and follow me at

Rob: Congrats on your engagement man. Marriage is great! To all my readers, you have to check out his work. I love the Allan McKinlay piece you did and my fave is the Executive Rockstar Logo. ; )

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Michael: Prior to being a designer, my creative outlet was playing in bands. I've been playing guitar and/or singing in bands since I was 17 and I got a lot out of that, good times. Whenever we would release a demo or when Myspace first came on the scene (man, I feel old!) I would design the CD covers and logos for them and realised I really loved that whole process. At the time, I was studying Music and Audio Technology and after I graduated I went straight into a Graphic Design course where I achieved my Diploma. I've been loving designing in it's various forms ever since, and learning every day.

Rob: It's funny how creativity kicks down your door when you least expect it.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

I really enjoy logo design and branding, this is where I feel my strengths lie. Although saying that, I do such varied work for both print and web, that it's hard to pinpoint a niche area. I've only recently begun my journey into web development and I'm thoroughly enjoying learning more in this area, even coding, which I never thought I would do! Funnily enough, my most recent independent work has been web design so we'll see how that goes.

Rob: You can see that you love identity and branding. Personally, I love marketing campaigns. I love designing all the different pieces and how expressive it can be individually and as a whole.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

I guess being great at what I do, being honest and transparent and willing to help others in any way I can. I fully believe that we 'reap what we sow' and enjoy giving away knowledge as much, maybe even more than, as I enjoy receiving it.

Rob: That is every designer's dream, and it should be. Only the strong survive in this market and we all need to reach for the stars and bring our best to every gig.

Q5: What is your favorite creative hobby?

Michael: Creativity covers such a broad spectrum of things and it's built into everyone in some way or another, but as far as hobbies go I love a bit of shoot-from-the-hip photography and have a collection of Lomography cameras like my Holga. I just love the look and feel of analogue photography with all its lo-fi, grainy quirks. Gotta love light leaks :)

Rob: That's so cool. I don't know anything about analogue, but it sounds like fun. I always love chatting with some of the best in the industry. More 5Qs to come.

Friday, October 16, 2009

★ Good Morning Inspiration

Generally people love my work, (some hate it too, but this is my ink pad so we won't focus on my haters) and they wonder what sparks an idea in my head or how am I able to create what they envision? I answer these questions by saying inspiration. God is my first inspiration and the second is my beautiful wife, Gina. Gina always believes in me and has always taken time over the years to tell me keep going, one day you're gonna reach the stars! When I hear her voice, see her smile, or look at the gleam in her eyes, I feel like I can do anything. I feel like Biggie must have felt in 1994 when he taped his first music vid and rapped the immortal words "It was all a dream • I used to read Word Up magazine • Salt 'n' Pepa and Heavy-D up in the limousine." At that moment he felt like he had made it; he became something- like he was living his dream. Even though I still have a long way to go, everyday I see my wife and think "Good Morning Inspiration" and I am ready to face the day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

★ RJS under the microscope

At RJS we take great efforts to flawlessly serve the creative community and deliver top-notch design to clientele, every time. In the past year, we have received many kind words complimenting our talent, creativity, and technique. But the compliment that we aspire to receive from all of our clients is a referral. (which we are happy to say is 95% of all our work)

Today I would like to give the public an opportunity to put Rob Jelinski Studios under the microscope by posting reviews about RJS, feedback on our work, and what kind of an impression we have left on you as a client, fellow designer, or even just an innocent bystander. You can comment directly on this post with Google Connect or tweet it, post it on my wall or drop me a line at and I will paste your copy into this post verbatim. I can't wait to see all your responses.

Rob Jelinski

Monday, September 28, 2009

★ October's design freebie sneak peek

It's almost time to start a new month and launch a new freebie on Starting October 1st, the creative community will be able to download the image above for personal and commercial use. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

★ 5Qs with Chris Spooner

When you are a designer, you are used to coping with tight dead lines, creating and revising artwork, and then revising and re-creating artwork to satisfy the needs of every one of your clients. Somewhere in the grind, you find yourself in need of resources. You launch Safari and type in design freebies, photoshop tutorials, or CS4 tips and tricks and when you hit the return key, you find listings of tons of designers who you now feel are your best friends. Chris Spooner is one of those people- a designer that just wants to give back. Today I had the chance to ask him the 5Qs.

Rob: Hey Chris! It's great to talk with you today. All of your freebies are great. One that really caught my eye was your "Vector Doodles and Sketches." Then when I saw your "Hand Drawn Icons," I realized that I had to interview you.

Q1: Tell me a little about yourself?

Chris: Hi, I'm Chris Spooner. I'm a designer from the UK who's pretty crazy about all things creative. I work for myself as a designer/blogger earning a living with a mix of client work and writing about design subjects on my websites Blog.SpoonGraphics and Line25.

Rob: Work is fun when you love what you do. I've never heard of Line25- I'll have to check it out. I bookmarked Blog.SpoonGraphics the first time I visited it and I'm sure I'll be marking Line25 too lol.

Q2: When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

I wanted to be a designer from a pretty young age. I can't remember exactly how I picked out the career of Graphic Designer alongside Astronaut and Secret Agent, but I managed to go through school, College and University following this aim. I landed my first job in the industry as a web/designer designer for a small local studio where I worked for two years before heading out as a freelancer.

Rob: I should have become a Secret Agent lol. I remember loving to draw when I was young and my parents showcasing my art at parties with family and friends, but I didn't decide that I wanted to be a designer till I was 18 years old. It's great that you were so focused.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Chris: I'm lucky to find myself the type of person that tends to pick up new things quite well. I must have quite an analytical brain. This has proved handy in my career when it comes to learning new software applications or coding languages, so I guess this would be my strongest asset.

Rob: Learning fast is definitely a strong asset.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Chris: By offering design tutorials on my blogs I've developed a name for helping people out, which in turn has given exposure to my own work. I'd like to keep up this image of being someone approachable that's always happy to offer advice and tips.

Rob: Two things that people remember in this industry is talent and the willingness to help. Every designer has their work cut out for them and when someone (esp. someone who is talented) is willing to pause their work flow and help you out, you never forget that.

Q5: Why Spoon Graphics?

Chris: It's nothing too complex really, basically my surname is Spooner, so a twist on the word Spoon creates both a fancypants company name while having a personal connection :-)

Rob: That's cool and fitting for your goal of being down to earth. Thanks for your time Chris and keep up the good work!!! Keep checking out and "My Ink Pad" for more 5Qs.

Monday, September 14, 2009

★ Vintage Stamp Template Tutorial

RJS is proud to announce our September freebie, a vector vintage stamp template that can be downloaded on all this month. With Adobe CS, a nice head-shot, and the proper stylizing, this template is very easy to use. But just in case you are a little unsure of how to achieve the same result as I did, I will take you through the process step by step.
Step 1. Find a nice head-shot of your subject. It doesn't have to be a fashion shot, just a pic with good composition and lighting. I used a snap shot of my boy Magellan, aka Seth Thomas, from his FaceBook® Profile.
Step 2. Pull the pic into PhotoShop and do a sepia effect in the menu under Image> Adjustments> Hue/Saturation. (Command + U) Then check the box that reads colorize (otherwise everything will be neon) and adjust the sliders to your liking.
Step 3. Cut your subject out from the background. I always prefer to use Illustrator for this step because I want all edges to be really clean, but you can do this step in PhotoShop as well. (If you do use Illustrator, make sure you mask the image, export it, place it back in Illustrator and then use live trace).
Step 4. In Illustrator, Select the placed image and hit the live trace button at the top. Then set the preset to "Color 16" and the Min Area to 0 px. From there, you can tweak the blend to your liking by adding less or more colors in max colors field. Once you are satisfied, hit the expand button next to live trace. Now, use the white arrow and select the white background. Then, from the menu, choose Select> Same> Fill and Stroke and delete the white so that the background behind your subject will be removed.
Step 5. Open up " and unlock the layer called "Picture." Delete the illustration of me and paste the illustration you just worked on. Resize it however you would like and then mask it. You will notice that the "Cover" layer has some scribble and a blur to fade out the image. You will probably need to tweak this slightly for every image. Also, there is a layer called "Sketch Detail" which has a few thin lines that will give the picture a feeling of a real sketch. Use your judgement. If the sketch lines add to the layout, then add them.
Step 6. Finish your design by selecting the "Name Plate" layer and updating the Name.

Step 7. Hit up my boy Magellan's site at or click here to find him on iTunes. His jams are CRAZY!!!

I hope this tutorial was helpful and that you enjoyed my "Vintage Stamp" template.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

★ Creative at Heart Ad

Recently I stumbled over a wonderful find on This san-serif beauty called "Champagne & Limousines" has the style and poise of famous fashion fonts such as Avant Garde and Futura, yet it has a unique quality that stole my heart. After test driving the font, I decided that I had to use it for RJS's marketing! So I contacted the talented typographer, Lauren Thompson and made a donation to her work in exchange for rights to use Champagne & Limousines commercially. Above is the first of many ads and promotions for Rob Jelinski Studios that will use this sleek typeface. Click here to visit Lauren's dafont page or here to visit her blog. If you are a fan of my "Creative at Heart" ad or of Champagne & Limousines, leave a comment and show some love.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

★ 5Qs with with Ryan and Kelly Portnoy

What is your definition of a brilliant photograph? Crisp clarity? Perfect Lighting? Witty angles? A great photograph must have all of these, but a brilliant one must captivate your sight, mind, and imagination. The photography by Kellan Studios is nothing less then brilliant! Ryan and Kelly Portnoy capture the personality, emotion, and mood of each model and their surroundings with skill and ease. It's no wonder why their work has been featured on Weddings Unveiled and the Bride's Cafe. Now, I have the pleasure of bringing you this exclusive interview with these two master-minds.

Rob: Ryan and Kelly, it is so great to talk with you today. You recently photographed my friend, Chrissy Romine's wedding (the fashionista pictured above) and ever since I have been a huge fan of your work.
(Click on the links and see more pics from Chrissy's wedding! You won't regret it.) Click here for Wedding Shots of Chrissy and Jay or Click here for the Day After Session)

Q1: Tell me a little about yourselves?

Kelly: I'm very short at 5'2" while Ryan is very tall at 6'6". I prefer sarcasm while Ryan is a gold medalist in puns. I can organize, categorize, and color code just about anything while Ryan prefers to "organically" organize his possessions.

Ryan: Kelly is a technology leper while I have technology autism. Kelly prefers watching E News while I would rather spend my time watching ESPN. She could eat gourmet meals every night while I prefer the more refined pallet of mac and cheese, chicken nuggets and hotdogs.

Kelly: I own a Britney Spears CD while Ryan would rather pluck his nose hairs one by one than be caught dead with a Britney Spears CD.

As different as our perspectives can be both figuratively and literally, it is the very essence of what makes our photography tick! We see the world uniquely, the masculine and feminine, the structure and composition, the details and the big picture. We are a virtual Venn Diagram. Our differences make us unique and we overlap in the middle to produce the images that you see here. We love photography. We love being photographers together. We love laughter, romance, fashion and irony. We love our clients and consider it a supreme privilege to capture life's greatest moments as they happen.

Rob: I see that you paint a vivid picture with your words as well as film. Like I said before, I am a huge fan and l can really tell that you both love what you do. Not everyone can take the kind of pictures you guys take.

Q2: When did you both realize that you wanted to do this?

Ryan: Both of us have had an interest in photography as a hobby.

Kelly: I took a film/photography class in highschool where you process everything by hand. It definitely ignited the desire to capture art. Ryan started in college with his first purchase of a Canon Rebel XTI. He mostly took pictures of events and friends to start out with. You could say we both have a natural ability for composition, but it has taken years to refine the post production side of our photography. When Ryan and I were dating, a friend asked him if he would mind taking his cousin's wedding pictures. They were having a small/casual wedding and so Ryan agreed. After we got married, four years ago, somehow photography got brought up and the idea of wedding photography. I am a total girly girl and love the romantic side of photography. I also have a business minor so I knew I could handle the business/marketing side of things while Ryan is extremely technology savvy so he holds down the fort with album design and our website.

Ryan: We both shoot and both edit. Three and a half years ago we got our business license and shot our first wedding together in April 2006. Things naturally took off from there as we began to get better, upgrade equipment and market ourselves.

Kelly: We never dreamed we would be where we are today in such a short time. We are definitely blessed.

Rob: I can't believe your studio was established only three years ago. Your photographs and over-all style look as if you have been doing this for years.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Kelly: Definitely being a husband and wife team. Brides and grooms like the fact that we shoot both perspectives. It also gives us the advantage of me hanging with the girls while they get ready and Ryan with the guys while they get ready so we never miss a moment. Not to mention, we have been there ourselves. We know all too well what goes into planning a wedding so we are sensitive to the process and realize that we play a MAJOR role on a wedding day. I feel we bring confidence and calmness to what it typically a stressful day.

Rob: The husband and wife combo is definitely a big plus! Who can tailor the perfect photo of the bride and groom better than a couple who has been their themselves and knows all about the precious moments?

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Kelly: We would loved to be known for creating images that sweep people into a different world. One full of romance, beauty, fun, a bit quirky at times....REAL. We want people to get to know complete strangers stories without us saying anything. The images tell the story or their love and relationship as well as their personalities.

Rob: When I look at your photography, I see individuality, infatuation, security, and love flowing out of the couples, almost as if I was viewing a film reel with music, words, and movement instead of a still photo.

Q5: Why Kellan Studios?

Ryan: Kelly is the "Kell" in Kellan, Ryan is the "an" of Kellan. Yup folks, it's just that simple! We didn't want to pick a name that is too trendy or cliche about photography...we figure our names aren't going anywhere...let's stick with what our mama's gave us.

Rob: I love how you bring your own flare to the industry in your profession. No wonder why you can bring that same tone to your work! Thanks Kelly and Ryan. I really enjoyed this. Keep snapping those shots we all love! More 5Qs with the best in the industry coming your way.

Click and become their fan on FaceBook

Monday, August 17, 2009

★ Kill at Design

For four and a half years, I worked white collar design jobs in which I sat, smiled and nodded at bosses that cared more about getting the project finished and billed then about giving the client the creative edge they needed to stand out amongst the competition. (Please don't misunderstand me; I know there is a balance between the two). I have also witnessed people download some eccentric fonts, throw some "art" together and call themselves a designer. As if that wasn't enough, in the past year we have seen a decline in the Design field. So, I was overjoyed earlier this year when I launched Rob Jelinski Studios. RJS accepted these challenges as a time to conquer and change the industry... "Kill at design or be killed by the best."

Our first challenge was to design a website and a promo packet- our way of telling the World what Rob Jelinski Studios is all about. At first glance, this undertaking was intimidating. Other visionary studios had full flash sites and phenomenal press kits, both of which we couldn't afford, and the "other" studios had, at best, a clean corporate feel. While RJS can design for the traditional and sleek, they are not our target audience. We are reaching for clients that may not always have millions, but are determined to leave a lasting impression with witty angles and clever executions. We used that same approach for our marketing launch: a balanced mixture of clean and textured fonts, a palette of smooth, muted colors for backgrounds and patterns with pop colors to add emphasis on links, bullets, and important info, illustrations to give the photos an artistic edge, rounded corners and dashed lines to add the "sleek" factor, and old-time elements such as iron cast frames, diamonds, and florets to add a vintage fancy. On the promo card, we even added a layer of depth and class with spot varnishes ;)

When I handed the promo card to one actress, her response was "WOW!" Then she continued to examine the design and detail for a few moments, as if I wasn't even there. When I asked her what made the card stand out from others, she said, "Other people have marketing, but this card makes me feel like I'm looking at the album cover of my favorite rapper." Music Producers, Promoters, Musicians, Actresses, Business Men, Personal Trainers, Dancers, Writers, Designers, and average people all agreed that our fist marketing launch "killed at design."

Are you determined to leave a lasting impression with your marketing? Contact us for your next project or click