Graphic Style Lab: Project # 1


Assignment # 1:

Create an album cover that parodies famous 1920's Russian avant-garde design using a photo of yourself.


I wanted to stick with the traditional colors - black, white, and red because I wanted to take more liberties with adding photographic elements, as well as with subject matter. Russian avant-garde is generally more industrial in subject matter and I wanted to go with a more nature theme since thats more my style. I used the coloring and font to keep the Russian avant-garde 'flavor' to it. I used photographs of trees to create a texture on the triangle tree - to give some natural shapes to the hard lines. What I wanted to do was bring natural texture into play with the hard geometric lines of that avant-garde style.


So this didn't come out quite like I'd liked, and took me way longer than I'd hoped. I was thinking I'd do one assignment a week, but that proved to be a bit harder than I thought. Mostly because carving out time always seems to be difficult, but also because I spent a really long deciding what kind of direction I wanted to go in, then an inordinate amount of time scrolling through Pinterest for a good song quote, but never came up with one that wasn't so cheesy it hurt my insides. Hence why I went with some sweet Neil Degrasse Tyson words. I also would have liked to used more natural photo textures, but honestly I'm just now thinking of that and I'm not going to go back in and change things now that I'm writing it up.

I am trying to think about this like school, like homework. Which also proves hard, because I forgot how hard it is to take a class or two while working full time and attempting to have some semblance of a life. But every week. Like homework. I am going to try.

Graphic Style Lab Project

Graphic Style Lab

It's a new year and like most people I am full of resolutions and ideas. One of mine being that I want to keep up with this blog more often, but for that to happen I realized I'd need actual  design/photography projects and things to post about. Enter Graphic Style Lab by Steven Heller, a design work book of sorts with exercises focused on style.

I bought the book months ago, honestly I thought that if I could work my way through it, I'd post some cool projects, build a following, catch the eye of some awesome design firm, then get offered a dream job. Yeah sometime my imagination really gets ahead of itself. But now I'm really looking at it as a way to take a little refresher in design. My day job and photography side project have kind of taken over the last few months and I want to get back to doing some design-y things.

So my plan is to read it, do each project, post them here with a little recap, post on Instagram - maybe I'll even make myself a hashtag for the project so whomever out there in internet land can follow along. It's almost like being in school again, but instead of grade... My work will be judged by likes? oh god!

oh just a test

Hey yo, just testing out some formatting and chit. hoping to have the new site and blog up but this weekend.

For now here is a stupid little excerpt from my notes. happy Wednesday!

changing perspective

do this because i love it

I haven't been posting a lot lately, and I still haven't finished my website redesign. My focus has really been on 'running' my little etsy shop, and when I say running, I really mean learning how to start a small/side business. Black & Bright has been an interesting adventure and a huge learning experience. I went into this venture kind of just assuming things would fall into place, that if I posted enough on social media I'd start to gain followers, that orders would slowly start to roll in from the Etsy shop, that with a little effort things would happen. That has not been the case, but I'm sure you saw that coming. It has taken a lot of time, effort, and brain power and I haven't seen much in the way of return, let me real, I haven't made a sale yet.

I was starting to get kind of down about my supposed failure. But I was reading this article on the   Great Discontent and I had a realization. I like taking pictures, and I like black and white, and if at some point someone else notices and like it too then thats awesome, but I like doing it so I'm going to continue, because it makes me happy. Shifting my focus from my nonexistent customers to doing what I actually like to do, taking black and white photos, is a lot more satisfying. Plus I feel like I appreciate each new follow, like, favorite, that much more. 

So what I'm coming away with is that starting a passion based side business is a lot of work, and it goes slowly, and sometimes you feel shitty about it because you don't get immediate results. But as long as you keep on doing what you love to do and don't focus too much on the numbers you'll be happy. 

Keep on learning, growing, and doing! Happy Wednesday!

adventuring in the woods

the swimming hole // blog-action // natalie kafader

hope you had a awesome 4th of july and enjoyed that long weekend! i celebrated by heading out to go camping and hiking around the area with my camera. so here are a few shots!

the road is always open // blog-action // natalie kafader
little bridge // blog-action // natalie kafader
the wanderers // blog-action // natalie kafader
on the trail // blog-action // natalie kafader
finding the forest in the trees // blog-action // natalie kafader
hello // blog-action // natalie kafader
the big dipper // blog-action // natalie kafader

creating vs consuming


i saw this picture on instagram from Sean McCabe / seanwes and it really got me thinking. i consume so much media everyday from reading blogs in the morning, to checking instagram and twitter through out the day, to cruising the internet when i get home, listening to podcasts while i do chores, i am even watching netflix right now as i type this!

there are days that i don't create anything at all and all i do is consume. i look at other peoples work and projects and think how cool it is. it's been on my mind lately to scale back my consumption of other peoples projects, lives, work so that my brain has more space for my own ideas. I think that a lot of times we spend to much time looking to other for inspiration when we should be looking to ourselves for the answer.

anyways i really liked that lettering and the message, so just a little food for thought today. happy Wednesday!

out to adventure

photo adventure supplies // blog-action

i'm getting all my camera stuff packed up and ready to go on our next adventure! on friday  i (and the boy, plus my brother and his lady) are driving out to the desert to backpack through paria canyon. i'm really excited to be braking out my old nikon again! i don't think i've used it since i went to south africa a few years ago! 

i am really hoping to get some good shots, and maybe do a whole photo series of canyon photos. plus i love using film for the anticipation of not knowing really what you have until you get home and get it developed. call me old fashioned but i just love film, whatever. it's a little more work (ok a lot) but i feel like the pictures i get with that film camera really come out better than with the DSLR, maybe because you just have to be more conscious of what you are doing.

anyways i am still going to bring my phone for some digital pics too, i wouldn't want to miss out on all that color! i definitely only bought black and white film, because, dude black and white is my jam!

have an awesome rest of the week, and a wonderful next week too!

purple haze

heres a little photo series i did, you've probably seen a few of these photos already. i just thought they were too cool not to use in other stuff! my idea for this series was kind of a magical looking wilderness, forest that look almost real but with a little extra sparkle... or something.

site redesign

so i've decide to redesign my website, you'll notice that most of the tabs at the top are gone for the time being, and theres only one thing on the main page:

under construction

i really am re-imagining how i want my portfolio site set up and what to focus on. if anyone has any tips for squarespace that would be awesome or any cool portfolio sites just to check out that would be cool too. but with a site redesign that means there will probably be some layout changes over here on the blog too, but i plan to keep this page up through it so if stuff starts looking weird i apologize! 

anyways this post isn't super exciting but hopefully you are having a good week, and happy hump-day!

Black & Bright Launch!

my etsy shop selling brightly framed black and white photos is open for business! 

oh man! its been actually around 5 years in the making, which seems silly for something so small and simple, but thats when i first got the idea. I wanted to combine black and white photography with neon. for a long time i didn't actually do anything for it, it was just an idea in my head that i was too poor, too busy, too scared, too everything, to bring into real life. Then about a year ago i sat down and started to figure things out. because i have a love and a deep appreciation for i have taken a lot of actual photos over the years and have boxes of of prints and negatives. so i started going through them, collecting, scanning, cleaning up. it was a serious process.

boat and colored sky // blog-action

but it just wasn't feeling right.

it must have been around the holidays, because i was ordering prints from etsy and i was kind of annoyed that nothing came framed, and that i would still have to go out and buy frames for all the art prints and photos. yeah i'm that lazy. so it struck me that if i was going to sell photo prints i should sell them framed.

Fog & Tree in pink frame // Blog-Action

and Black & Bright came into being.

the shop isn't fully built out yet, i still have stuff to add and product shots to take and about pages to fill out but most of my favorite photos are up and i felt like i was stalling a little bit not announcing it. its scary putting your work out into the world, hoping people will like it, like it enough to pay money for it, but i'm giving it a shot.

check it out at Black & Bright or check the instagram at @blackandbrightphoto

100 days of letters {1}

100 days of letters A-H // Blog-Action

if you follow me on instagram you've probably noticed both an increase in posting and that letters have taken over. my 100 days project is still going strong! i'm enjoying both the challenge and the ease of drawing a letter every day. its been a fun little exploration of things we write all the time. 

i'm also starting to think that i might want to create a font when this is all done, i've noticed that i seem to gravitate towards a certain style...

100 days of letters I-P // Blog-Action

for more letters follow along on instagram, and check out the #the100dayproject!

hops logo iterations


recently did the logo for the san diego hop growers association. they are an group of some awesome farmers growing hops in the san diego area. if you don't know, hops are one of the key ingredients in beer, and a lot of these farmers sell their crops to the local breweries. how cool? i'm definitely of fan all all things local. plus i'm a fan of beer so working with a group who is part of the beer making process was interesting.

here are a few of the iteration i went through getting to the final logo. they actually ended up changing the name of the organization part way through so that why the first draft is different. that little twist definitely posed its own set of challenges. overall it was a fun project and they were super easy to work with.


100 day project // Blog-Action

have you heard to the 100 day project? i stumbled across it on twitter the other day, and it looks like fun! the challenge is making or doing every day for a 100 days to keep the creative juices flowing and actually do something everyday. i am choosing to draw a letter everyday for the 100 days.

i came to the letter idea because i needed and wanted something small and manageable because in the next 100 days i have a few other projects going on plus some travel plans, and i just really like drawing letters.

100 days of letters // Blog-Action

i think one of the coolest parts of this project is that its being shared over social media so anyone can join and follow along. i'll be sharing my letter drawing adventure on instagram and definitely posting updates here my hashtag for the project is #100daysofletters. so if you want to get in on this (and why wouldn't you?) check out 100dayproject for more info. the project starts next week on april 6th, so who's with me?


we're getting a little personal today, FYI.

i have been MIA for a while, i know. but life has seemed kinda crazy lately. I made a sorta major life change which was to move in with my boyfriend. we ended up finding an apartment much faster than i thought we would, the apartment game in san francisco is fierce and after the first apartment we saw that literally had a line of people around the block waiting to see it, i thought it would take months. but no, 2 weeks after deciding to start casually looking we were getting keys and signing leases. i have been in move in mode ever since. 

living room // blog-action

i'm not sure how common this is but since moving in i have been weirdly consumed but decorating and organizing all of our stuff. these things take time i know, especially when combining things with a significant other for the the first time. my goodness we have a lot of stuff and consequently a lot of the same stuff, what can i say my guy has good taste :) we've been in the new place for a week now and its starting to come together, the couch is getting delivered today, i ordered some rugs, and got a little crazy at the container store buying storage solutions haha. i'll be sure to update with pictures once our  furniture is all in and there are hopefully a few less boxes around!

here's some of the decor thats been spinning around in my head.

apartment decor

{kitchen organizer} {planter} {necklace holder} {triangle shelves} {circle pillow} {couch} {chevron rug}

Happy weekend! hopefully yours is tons of fun and doesn't consist of unpacking boxes :)

baking cookies

heart cookies

i got up to some cutesy baking this week over on the Yellow Owl Workshop Blog! normally i'm not a big valentines day person, i waitressed all through college and now will never go to a restaurant on valentines day, plus its always seemed a little cheesy to me, but whatevs. Heart cookies are cute so i can get behind that!

designing for myself

designing for myself is one of the hardest and most infuriating things ever. i get a strange little kernel of an idea, and your brain works on it for  while with out actually putting anything down, when i finally start to get something down on paper it never really comes out how i'd liked or hoped it would, but then the problem is that i've become attached to that idea and have a hard time iterating on it. when designing for myself i also always seem to skip those crucial first steps that i always take in designing for someone else, the steps that help me to understand where the client is coming from, understand what they want from the design, the feeling and message they want to convey. so i find myself starting over and going through the processes of again, in the back of my mind hoping i'll come up with something similar to what my silly brain thought up in the beginning with out any frame or reference, but the case usually is the opposite, but the out come does end up being better because i've gone through the process and the thought behind the design is there.

mood board

my side project needs a logo, which in general is one of my favorite things to design, and after a lot of drafts of what i originally thought i wanted, i'm going back and figuring out what it is i really want, what i want the logo to convey and all that. starting with a mood board really does help, its crazy. now with a bit clearer of a direction to go in, i've got a better idea of what i want and what i need.