Posts in DESIGN

I decided not long ago that something I'd like to focus on with Caliya is the journal, or blog. I'm not normally a big writer or 'sharer' lets say, but I've always had a thought in the back of my mind that it's something I'd like to do, so, this is it. I'd like to begin with a post about my design work, and with that, start a little series where I breakdown the process of some of my projects, and show how my ideas develop into final pieces.

I recently worked on a project with my friend Meaghan, the owner of Norde Bridal, on a re-brand of her independent wedding dress shop here in Ottawa. She wanted to take her original brand (The Handmade Bride) in another direction, and I was lucky enough to be able to travel there with her. First things first, a logo. But before the logo, Meaghan (I'm sure) spent hours upon hours pinterest-ing new imagery that she felt more closely represented her re-invented brand, and from that we were able to get started on some logo designs.


This was my first series of digital 'sketches'. Meaghan is someone who has very strong artistic visions, and really had a clear direction for the brand so I really wanted to do it justice. Meaghan's mood boards had lots of moons, minimal modern & muted details, and a Scandanavian & raw artistic inspiration. Which of course I loved. I had this idea that with the name NORDE BRIDAL, and us being in the great white north, that I wanted to play off of that northern feeling. So, I started to work with different graphic elements that felt nordic to me, like arrows, triangles, evergreen trees forms, and clean lines. I always like the idea of a soft watercolour wash, so naturally I had to throw in some watercolour washes. I found a wash that I had already hand-painted and digitized, and after working with it a little I realized that it was pretty close to the shape of Ottawa, so I actually formed it to have a shape similar to our capital city. Another element that I really wanted to play up was the minimalism, and I thought an interesting way of doing that might be with the letter forms. I tried taking away parts of letters that I didn't see as 'necessary' to be able to read the word, and let your eyes fill the rest in on their own. I played with different ways of doing that, but in the end I really liked having negative space in the R's and D's. 

I took these drafts to Meaghan, and it turns out I didn't nail her vision (totally okay). She had seen a motif with two moons that she couldn't forget, so we ended up moving more in that direction. We stripped down the details, kept it approachable so that it wasn't too 'trendy' and didn't artistically exclude parts of her target market. She wanted a logo that she wouldn't get sick of in a couple years, one that was a bit more classic.  



These are versions of the final logo we ended up on, and a monogram design.

After we worked on the logo, Meaghan quickly realized that she was going to have to produce new imagery for her website if she wanted to have her re-brand be cohesive. So, cue me, stepping in to bring her mood board to life. I had never really worked in this way on a scale bigger than a school assignment or an instagram post. So I was excited! Meaghan gave me more general brand inspiration, and I could see her vision very clearly. I quickly whipped up my own mood board to communicate the feeling I was going for. From there I began sourcing props, pulling together styling pieces, planning the different shots we needed, and thinking about the different ways we could play with light and composition. All keeping in mind the core values of her new brand.


I used this moodboard as inpiration for a lot of the elements that we included in the shoot. I even created some custom paint swatches, a few fashion croquis, and included some of my own materials

The day we shot was so much fun. I always love seeing visions come to life, and in this case we had so many ideas and they ended up coming together so nicely. The photographers that were shooting this project also shot my wedding, they're just my absolute favourite, and I think they really captured our vision so well. 

shoutout to @jonathankuhnphotography (love you guys)


(also, in true throwback handmade bride fashion, I also modeled for the project) 

here are a few of the final pics

It was such a dream project, and I was so happy to have the opportunity to create a logo AND help build the brand even further with curated imagery. I also loved being able to collaborate with a few of my favourite creative minds.

Thanks Meg! 

Check out @nordebridal on insta and also their website for more info about how awesome they are







This month I'm inspired by abstract art, minimal floral sketches with charcoal, the playful compositions between light and shadow, music, and blush. Always blush. 

I feel like this month will be a little darker and gloomier than the last, but I'm excited to be getting into creating some christmas gift commissions and holiday stationery. 

"One cannot create or achieve anything, if they cannot imagine it first." 

#SOTM - Stargazing (ft. Justin Jesso) - Kygo

Have a great month everyone!





Welcome to the launch of my little company, Caliya Design Co.

This is something that I've been working on for almost a year now, so it's been while, and I am finally ready to share what I've been upto. 

Caliya has been a passion project of mine ever since I got engaged in the fall of 2015 and started planning my wedding. It had been a tough summer, due to having spent 4 months unsuccessfully job searching after graduating from my degree in Fashion Communication earlier that year. Soon after the engagement, I started my first office job in marketing at a health and beauty company in Toronto. I spent six months there before my now husband, Ken, and I decided it would be best for us to move back to Ottawa. He is an electrician by trade, but had just graduated from Kinesiology, and we had plans to move to Florida after the wedding to pursue an opportunity given by a family friend. We thought it might be best for us to move back home to Ottawa to live with family to save money for the wedding and the upcoming big move. But, we're still here in Ottawa, patiently, but anxiously, awaiting the completion of the process that will allow us to start our new adventure in Miami.

When we moved home I started working with a local bridal shop, one I had worked with previously while I was in school, where I worked in branding and marketing for their line of bridesmaid dresses. I spent almost a year there, while I planned the wedding and started work on Caliya. I'm very thankful for that experience because it allowed me to learn so much about the wedding industry and small business, encouraged my creativity, and supported me in my life outside the shop.

I quite enjoyed the wedding planning process, which as a bit of a control freak, I did almost solely by myself (by choice). Soon after I got engaged, my mind went a mile a minute with ideas around design, styling, decor, and of course, stationery. I knew that I wanted to hand make my own paper, but I had never really done anything like it before. Around that time I came across a small calligraphy course that I found on instagram, called the Modern Calligraphy Summit. So, I decided I would buy all the supplies and take this course so that I could learn some basic skills for the wedding invitations. Our wedding was on August 27th 2016, and it was the most beautiful day. 

When I decided to do the calligraphy course, it introduced me to this world of modern calligraphy that I had never really known was there. The deeper I got into it, the more inspired I became, and the more ideas flourished within me. And although my job wasn't an 'office job' in the traditional sense, I imagined a life where I could spend my days working from my own private studio, creating beautiful pieces all day. At the beginning of this year, I was presented with an opportunity that would allow me to work on my passion project full time.

As I started to really focus in on taking the ideas and vision from the artistic mess in my head and make it into something real, I found it difficult to sustain motivation with only myself to be accountable to. I had never thought of myself as an entrepreneur or a boss before, and wasn't equipped with the mindset to lead myself on this journey. It took many months of questioning, doubt, and insecurity to finally come to a point where I was ready to actualize what I had been dreaming of, regardless of whether it would be successful or not. I still feel all of those things every once in a while, but the farther along I get, the more I'm learning that it's normal to feel that way sometimes, and how to better handle it. I know now that it's never going to be easy, it's always going to be changing, and to enjoy the process. I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be one day, but every day I'm getting a little closer.

Hopefully in this experience I can inspire others to explore their creativity, in the way that I am constantly inspired by all of the talented artists I've come across along the way.

"to love beauty is to see light" 


side note -- this is the first time I've ever written or publicized anything personal like this, so if you're still here, thanks for reading, and feel free to follow me on this journey.