LockBox Hair Studio logo and business system

I designed the LockBox logo last summer with Kris sitting next to me, so I just kept clicking through font samples until we were both like "oh, that's nice." And then I found some scissors. Once he supplied me with an image of the building, I found and altered another cutting design for the other window.

Now, the trouble with choosing a "distressed" font is that I had to make a clean version for it to be cut out of vinyl for the windows.

I say "business system" because that's what we called it in Ms. C's class. Back then, a business system would be like a logo, letterhead and maybe envelope design. HA! These days, you need a website, social media icons, Facebook cover page, etc. But people still use business cards:

For the website, I picked a clean template and filled it with LockBox imagery and info:

Build A Better World logo

(Yeah, okay, this post was supposed to be LockBox stuff but that one will take forever and it's this or no update for the whole month!)

This year's Summer Reading theme is Build A Better World. Jaimie needed a one-color design for some stuff the Rainbow City library will get printed. She sent me some sketches of what she had in mind. I said why don't we start with more colors (she can use the full color version on the internet & in stuff she prints in-house) and then pare it down to one?

Logos & Layouts

So I'm not doing stellar with the blog updating. How about a periodical roundup? Here's a logo/FB cover/icon for Poetry In Motion. Because I like the sharing the process of how things come to be, these were the requests:

needs a logo and likes very clean, modern lines. Black, Grey and possibly Royal Blue...she originally said Navy.

She liked the idea of incorporating an ink pen. Fonts she likes are Arial, Lucida, and Grande. Fonts she hates are American Typewriter, Apple Chancery, Brush Script.

(You are never in danger of Brush Script or Apple Chancery with me, jsyk. But I do sometimes like the retro appeal of Typewriter fonts, so fair warning!)

This was another option I sent:

Haha, speech bubble, get it? (You get it.)

Rainbow City needed a logo for their recycling program & here is what I sent them:

They ended up using something else so I don't know what the final choice was.

I was stoked that I got to lay out the current issue of the Field Trip Field Guide. When Tami started that project, I wanted to be the one to do it but I was still with the City.

I've recreated some logos in vector, but there's no reason to share those and I did a business card design that it turns out the client wasn't allowed to use, so let's not put that out there. Waiting on a couple of things to be printed in order to share those better and hmmm, Lockbox should get its own post! Next time.

Gabbiano Designs

Karen Owen has been making these great diffuser necklaces for essential oils/perfumes. The problem she found was that people didn't know what they were, so she printed up a description but it was unwieldy for attaching:

So we met to see if I could design something smaller. I suggested a front and back business card size with room to punch a hole in the corner. When looking at her contact info, it was an email address and phone number. I asked her if she'd considered a Facebook page so she'd have somewhere to upload photos of her creations. (So now there is!)

I asked if she had a logo and she showed me these business cards she'd had made:

So I looked for that font and a similar feather and voila!

GIT'M and such

Three months? That's how long it's been since I updated? Sheesh. Okay, here's a little logo I made for the Geniuses In the Making Club.

Here's a sticker I made for a friend's production of Tartuffe.

Fanbows assembled a book of Rainbow Rowell fan art & she asked if I wanted to make something new to go in it & I'd never really made anything for Midnights, so...

Also in the past three months, I made my mommyblog private (the kids' friends are getting old enough to Google each other and Ben was like "how come my baby pictures are online?"). I went to the Advancing Women conference and while listening to presenters talk about work-life balance had to admit that mine was no longer super in sync. (This really kicked into gear in August once we had kids in two different school systems.)

A photo posted by Laura Catoe (@damecatoe) on

So. NEW VENTURE. I quit my job with the City so I can be, as Ben puts it "a home mom" or as Kris and I put it "self-employed." I can make my own hours doing graphic design from home and not worry when a kid is sick or two school systems have their spring break ON TOTALLY DIFFERENT WEEKS.

Huh, I think the first graphic I made for this new change is kind of appropriate then:

My last day with the City was December 1, so I will be home for the holidays. Which means I won't be at the Library for the Harry Potter Holiday Extravaganza that we'd cooked up and I that I had WAY TOO MUCH fun making buttons for...

I am a button-making menace #Fawkes #timeturner #maraudersmap #muggleborn

A photo posted by Laura Catoe (@damecatoe) on

Last round of Harry Potter buttons I swear #hogwartsismyhome

A photo posted by Laura Catoe (@damecatoe) on

Maybe it won't be another quarter of a year before I update? We'll see.


I started my job at the library exactly as the director went on a Disney vacation. But I figured she'd want me to do what I had at the Museum: beef up the social media presence. Well, then of course I'd need something to use as an icon across platforms!

There's a scripty GPL design from years ago. While it's nice and flowy, it looks more like a theatre company logo. And Brandy was working on a logo redesign, but I'm not sure it was done. It was only in black and white and I could never find the book imagery that went with the letters.

So in Amanda's absence, I went looking for fonts that had good Gs and pestered Jacob and Myron into installing them for me.

Klinic Slab comes in a lot of weights (excellent for a hierarchy of information!). I made two designs: one that was very obviously book-oriented and one that was less so. When I got to show them to Amanda, she was awful. She liked them both.


So we went with the one that's a little more abstract. It has three bars of color that could be books. Really, it represents the three branches of the library: the main branch, Alabama City and East Gadsden.

The colors are lifted from the Gadsden city seal since the library is part of the City.

I haven't finalized what I'd consider an actual logo for the library. I just keep using the elements in whatever shape fits my need.

And yeah, next up was redesigning the website.

Art show postcards

Ha! I bet you thought that nearly two months in to my job at the library, this ol' portfolio would reflect something I designed for the GPL. But no, I'm just that behind. These are the final promotional postcards I did for the GMA. (Actually one of them I did from the library.)

All I had was one promo image for the Sarah Dunn show. I had never met her. I didn't know what the rest of the show would be. Didn't have the artist statement. I didn't know what kind of font Sarah should be!

But as I played around with options, I liked this thin one. It echoed the strands of hair. And I loved the way Cadence could intersect with her name.

For the Juried Show, Rebecca sent me a zip file of oodles of submissions and said the GAA (who is responsible for the show) liked the one I made for the Shelby County Camera Club. (I used several images in a strip across the front.)

Prime opportunity to pay homage to my Hexagon Fandom:

I missed this opening because it was on a Sunday.

Next time, something GPL-related!

Patriots Association rack card

Since I just made a rack card for the Museum, one of the GMA volunteers asked me to do one for the Patriots Association. We condensed their trifold brochure.

5th Street Market

The City is working toward having its Farmers Market hosted indoors. This was one of the first projects Eric started working on when he came on with the City in March. In order to brand the project, they needed a logo. This was the sketch Eric did for me:

I went and picked out a bunch of 5s. But when it came time to pair the text, I needed a shape. And when I went looking for a shape, I found one that reminded me of streets on a corner (like where the 5th Street Market will be: at the corner of 5th & Locust). So here's what I sent:

I used non-colors because I thought they'd want it to match whatever they planned to do with the building. The little underline was supposed to be a subtle reference to the train tracks on Locust.

After me, it went over to the sign shop. (They augmented it a little. The allusion to the tracks is now stronger and some eyes felt the 'th' needed to stay closer to the 5.)

And hey look, now it's up on the building! Go, sign shop!

GMA website

The new is live, hallelujah!

From the moment I started at the Museum, we wanted to tackle a site redesign. The old site was fine for when it was uploaded, but it hadn't changed with the times. Some screencaps:

From those, you can sort of see what we could and could not change. Like, I could update the Pages/Posts (hence new things like Night of Jazz and the Origami Class) but I couldn't remove pages like Things To Do. (We did get them to remove "cool links" and update our logo, but it got squished!) It too was using a WordPress platform, but I didn't have access to the theme.

It took ages to figure out who was hosting our site, who owned the url, etc. In the meantime, Jacob set me up a WordPress build on my computer and I began the redesign. And then it sat around for weeks, waiting until we could upload it. But look! IT'S UP!

Rebecca wanted a mostly monochrome site where the color came from the photos. Done.

The theme is Unite.

Southeastern Plein Air Invitational logo

So the Museum has an annual Plein Air festival. (I shot photo galleries of it for the Times and have attended the openings.)

We needed a logo for promotional stuff; this was the first thing I got to design in vector when we got Illustrator on my computer. The logo needed to have the full name of the event, but I emphasized “Plein Air” since that’s what everybody knows it as.

When I typeset the whole thing in a serif or sans, Plein Air got lost. I went with a scripty font that looks painted. The flourish is supposed to be a sun, pulling in an element from the previous year's logo:

That logo says outdoors and fun, but to me in a more music festival type way. (But full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Hobo font.)

... the HOBO font is a simple, humble font. A sign written in this font may be suitable for a sandwich store, but it cannot define a luxurious restaurant. (x)

One of my first attempts used a sun element but it looked too 90s:

And one was too Summer Camp to be the logo, but we are using it as an element to accompany festival stuff:

GMA's Night of Jazz

My first week at the Museum and it turns out I have Photoshop but not Illustrator and DO NOT get me started on the font situation. (We're working on it.)

But it's so nice to get to design things! Promotional postcards, etc.

The Museum just had a lovely logo redesign by Karyn Bowen, so I've been applying it to all materials. It's clean and classy, but I didn't think it would show up as our icon for social media. I asked if there was a color we associate with the GMA and the answer was "not really."

So... I'm thinking our motto is "To inform. To Educate. To Inspire." How about the color wheel? It's artsy, all types of artists use it, not restricted to one medium. So this is now the icon for posts by the GMA:

Faux book covers for modern Les Mis AUs

The Subtle Grace of Gravity

Okay, so. Over the course of this year, I read one bazillion Les Misérables modern alternate universe stories. (You're like "what???" Take Victor Hugo's student revolutionaries and place them in a modern setting – or space! or Hogwarts! — and you get stories about social justice with lots of puns, pining and found family dynamics. I AM SO THERE.) I am consistently blown away by the talent of this fandom. They write whole books, good ones, and put them on the internet for free. I just. Never getting over it.

Anyway. I was chatting with one of the authors last week about Hamilton, visited her tumblr and saw where she had ordered a quilt kit named Gravity. (Because she wrote an Amis in space tale — The Subtle Grace of Gravity.) I remembered being super impressed with her story — medusa in space! With computer hackers and searching for a new world! I decided to make a faux book cover for her.

Filed under: *muffled screaming* you GUYS LOOK AT THIS LOOK AT HOW AMAZING IT IS there is so much though that went into this I am beside myself perpetually in awe of people who make things inspired by my words

The photo is from NASA, taken by Apollo16 (that's a nerdy reference to one of the Les Mis characters often being referred to as Apollo) and the diamond pattern is to mimic the Gravity quilt. (Yeah, you thought I'd go with hexagons, didn't you? I KEEP YOU GUESSING.)

Her friend Nell reblogged the cover, which made me go "oh! I should make one for one of her stories..." She had one I really liked the world-building of — a whole gods and goddesses thing – called Silence is the Speech of Love. Aphrodite played a large role in the story, so I did an image search to see if anything caught my eye...

Tags: look at this!!!!! the little home-shrine set-up with APHRODITE this is so lovelyyyyyyyyyy sometimes i write stories and sometimes people make WONDERFUL THINGS based from them the mythology au

...and then Myrmidryad reblogged the covers and SHE wrote this Pacific Rim fusion which was perfect but I didn't have time to properly track down imagery to make a cover that would look like a movie tie-in, so I made one for her story set in a bowling alley:


I gave up on this one midway. The background was too busy and the title was so long! But I pulled it out of the trash instead of letting it best me. Absolute favorite part: the subtle blue/purple drop shadow.

Separately, I had told another author that her story made me cry (this is what happens when I read fanfic at 4am) and I couldn't help but go "well, what would I do for a cover on that one?"

Now of course I kind of want to make more of these. But these were all born of the stress of MY LAST WEEK AT THE TIMES, where I needed a creative outlet to not implode.

(Resisting the urge right now to see what I'd come up with for the one set on a Christmas tree farm...)

Rainbow Rowell bookmarks and such

Rainbow Rowell bookmark set (print size)

I made this set of bookmarks for Lesley who runs The color scheme made itself. It's a quote from each of her books and her short story in an anthology — mostly in publication order. I swapped Landline & Fangirl to have Cath adjacent to Carry On. And of course Midnights needed to be the indigo color!

Aside from the fall issue of Gadsden Style (which just feels boring by this point to make posts about), I think all my most recent designs have been Rainbow-related. Like the cover art for my Carry On fanmix.

cover art for my Carry On fanmix

And I had another friend read Eleanor & Park, so I made another graphic using a quote from the book...

Quote from Eleanor & Park

Then just because I was downloading a space photo for something else, I made something with the quote about stars from Carry On...

the stars feel close enough to touch