Stamp Kits for VidCon: Concept to Kit

One of my favorite things about the Creative Residency so far is the opportunity to create swag for upcoming events. As a designer, I’m a swag critic and hoarder myself (admit it, designers — you will never say no to a free postcard, tote bag or notebook, especially if it’s well-designed!) so getting to actually have a hand in what constitutes as freebies is so much fun.

I’d say that one of the more unique physical things I create are clear stamps, and it’s always top of the list for swag to design. The only thing is, clear stamps aren’t as self-explanatory as a screen printed tote bag or blank journal. Scrapbookers are super familiar with what they are, how they work, and even what to use them for, but non-scrapbookers can be pretty clueless in the beginning, often asking me how they work and ultimately, what to stamp them on, but they’re usually quick converts when they see how cool and easy they are to use.

Brainstorming + Design

When Libby first asked if I was free to design a stamp kit for the upcoming VidCon conference, I said yes right away — yay, another chance to work on a swag kit! Dread started to kick in after a few minutes, though. VidCon? A conference for YouTubers? What will they possibly need stamps for, and will they even care, since they’re always on camera or on their computers?

I immediately thought of the icons that vloggers and YouTubers are most familiar with — the play, share, and replay buttons. After I finally ran out of ideas, I ran to fellow Creative Resident and vlogger extraordinaire Sara Dietschy for some phrases to use. “We’ll fix it in post” was my favorite of her suggestions, and I included a stamp that said, “BRB I’m editing”, remembering how, during our week to launch the Residency program in NY, Sara was running all over the place and usually busy editing the videos she shot that day.

A page from my Residency sketchbook where I wrote out the phrases with a brush pen and took a photo with Adobe Capture to vectorize 'em instantly!

A page from my Residency sketchbook where I wrote out the phrases with a brush pen and took a photo with Adobe Capture to vectorize 'em instantly!

Ta-dah! Instant vectors!

Ta-dah! Instant vectors!

I finalized the vector art for the icons on Illustrator, and got to use Adobe Capture for the brush lettering sections — instant vectorizing and the Send to Illustrator feature is the best. ;)

I was a bit stuck on what vloggers and YouTubers might possibly use the stamp set for. If they’re usually making videos on the computer, how can stamp sets come in handy? After much back and forth with Libby, I figured that YouTubers at VidCon are probably swapping information and channel usernames, and this set could be a great way to get their channels out there.

Proposal + Final Design things

I put together a little document to show what would go inside the kit, as well as the final design for the stamps that I had decided on and presented it to Libby and Heidi. Thankfully they loved the idea and we were off to make them real!

A double sided card with instructions + silly ideas on what to use the stamps for :)

A double sided card with instructions + silly ideas on what to use the stamps for :)

I designed a card to include instructions on how to use the stamps, as well as a few ideas on what to use them for! During our Residency dinner, I had made a similar stamp set but only included how to use them. A lot of the attendees were really amused and tried stamping them on some pads of paper that we left on the tables, but Ryan Essmaker (one half of the amazing duo behind The Great Discontent), seated at our table, went on to stamp on himself. I had to laugh out loud that he found a new use for the stamps: instant temporary tattoos!

We had two designs for these perforated cards, but I packaged them like this — looks like FOUR designs, eh?? Right? Right? ;D

We had two designs for these perforated cards, but I packaged them like this — looks like FOUR designs, eh?? Right? Right? ;D

I also included several blank cards that were perforated for quick stamping and sharing during the conference. These were so much fun to make, and I was excited to use bright colors and gradients to match the energy at VidCon.


I set up a little assembly line at home to stamp on all the outer sleeves for the stamps. This Creative Residency stamp that says "Create Something Today" has definitely gotten good mileage with all the swag we’ve made with it!

I made these little kraft sleeves by trimming a standard #10 Open End kraft envelope. Conveniently, they're what's left after I cut the kraft envelopes to make sleeves for my regular stamps — see that packaging here.

Thankfully, for the actual assembly of the kits, I got Heidi and Libby to help me. I also kinda loved that we were putting them together at the Adobe office and so many people stopped by to see what we were working on — I think the neon color explosion got their attention!

Our assembly table at Adobe — six hands are better than two! Thanks, Libby and Heidi! ;)

Our assembly table at Adobe — six hands are better than two! Thanks, Libby and Heidi! ;)

Final Kit

I really kinda love putting little kits like this together — it’s good practice for how I eventually want to package my stamps for a wider audience. It’s also a good chance to think about how non-scrapbookers can use these and what other activities I can think of for people to make stuff around it!

Stamps went in a kraft sleeve. Loose cards included an instruction card, and four cards perforated into four for them to stamp on the "Subscribe" stamp and trade with other YouTubers. Also included a clear block and mini neon ink pad.

Stamps went in a kraft sleeve. Loose cards included an instruction card, and four cards perforated into four for them to stamp on the "Subscribe" stamp and trade with other YouTubers. Also included a clear block and mini neon ink pad.

In Use!

Check out the video above to see how YouTuber Karen Kavett used my stamps to design her own notebook covers — I love it. Thanks, Karen!

My Five AHA! moments from 99u

The first week of my Creative Residency was definitely a highlight (already!) — the wonderful folks at Adobe sent the Residents, past and present, to this year’s 99U. I’ve always wanted to go, so that was pretty exciting. First off — the fun swag bag. Gotta love swag. (Can never get enough swag!) I’m also loving the colors they picked this year — I’m all about bright colors, and can totally get with the teal + orange on everything. My favorite thing from this year was the awesome pin by last year’s Resident, Becky Simpson. Not to mention attendance includes a year’s subscription to the 99U magazine. Whee!

Fellow Resident Syd Weiler surprised all of us with illustrations of ourselves — love it. No one's ever drawn me before! Also included the packaging for the stamp set giveaway I did for our Residency launch dinner the night before.

I’m a big conference note taker (I wish I got into sketch notes, actually) and based on the notes I managed to scribble, here are my favorite takeaways from this year’s conference. It’s so interesting to note what my aha moments are — they usually reflect where I am in my creative journey and the lessons I need to hear. ;)


1. Invite yourself to the table — create your own opportunities without asking for permission or waiting for an invitation.

Kristy Tillman's talk was super inspiring — it was all about making your own opportunities and not waiting for permission. She talked about the Detroit Water Project and how she took this problem of people having their water cut off because of inability to pay bills and thought up of a solution for it by getting donations to shoulder these bills. So inspiring that she had the initiative to think of ways to solve problems that I’m sure other people would’ve just chalked up under “well, that’s just the way it is!”

She talked about inviting yourself to the table — sometimes a hard thing to do for an introvert like me — because you owe it to the world to liberate your ideas in the face of rejection and dissent. (In my case, it's self-rejection! Haha!) There is no pre-defined path to success, she explains, so really, there’s no reason to not take a leap of faith. It’s all about action. And once you’ve finally found a spot at the table, make space for others. I love this, the idea of empowering others and sharing the same opportunities that others opened to you. We’re all interconnected, and the world is a better place if we’re all helping each other succeed.

2. Be mission centric and medium agnostic.

Another design personality I was happy to finally see speak in person was 99U & Behance founder Scott Belsky. His masterclass, aptly titled, An Ode to the Journey In-Between: Insights from Start to Finish was all about the journey we embark on while making something new — from excitement to self-doubt to failing or succeeding. A lot of lessons here about creating products — but my favorite insight was when he talked about how he started Behance. He said that throughout starting Behance he decided to be mission centric and medium agnostic. His mission was finding ways to help creatives make their ideas happen. This single mission had several different expressions: ActionMethod notebooks, the Behance platform, even 99U the site, and later, the conference. He focused on the why first, and the how later.

This super inspired me to think about my main WHY for my Residency project. I keep focusing on what I’m going to be making (journals! kits! all the paper things!) but I’m slowly realizing now that once I get my mission locked in, it can be all sorts of things, physical or digital. And that sounds pretty exciting (and super daunting!) to me.

3. Move towards what you don’t know — the path to attempt to understand will bring out your most significant work.

This tidbit was from a short clip played in between talks, one that featured design legend Milton Glaser. (You can see a longer interview with him on the Adobe Create blog here!) It’s so easy for artists and designers (and everyone, really) to just stick to what they’re good at. So, so, guilty of this. But once you get good at something, it’s easy to get comfortable and complacent. You stop growing. He also mentions that it's in the “sense of jeopardy” — the struggle that comes out of figuring something out and trying to get good is where your breakthroughs come from. 

Also loved how he defined his job as a designer: “I move things around until they look right.” Hahaha, sounds about right.

4. Life is just time and how you use it.

Scott Belsky mentioned this in his talk and it totally felt like an aha moment. It’s so true, isn’t it? Once time is gone, it’s gone. And he talked about how products are created to either get you to spend time, or save time. It made me think twice about all the time I’d been spending trying to figure out SnapChat… ;) (That’s a whole different blog entry!) But really, it was a reminder that a lot of online apps and services today (hello, Facebook and Instagram!) are constantly finding ways to get you to spend time on their apps. Kinda good to take a step back and realize that (and not get stuck in the time-suck that is the endless scroll...)

5. We can’t do it all.

Jennifer Daniel’s talk was so hilarious and raw and real — don’t think I expected to see a childbirth scene (flashback to that traumatizing video they made us watch in high school… to curb teenage pregnancy, perhaps?!) But absolutely loved how real she was about how we show bits and pieces of our lives on social media. Everything looks so manicured and perfect and we’re expected to be everything all the time and do all the things. Her point was so simple — we can’t do it all. No one can. No use struggling to be something you aren’t or trying to check all the boxes. I completely agree — no sense getting pressured by highlight reels on Instagram (or super fun Stories on Snapchat...)


The folks at 99U have a great lesson recap article — check it out here.

Hello, Adobe Creative Residency!

Sometimes the Universe sends amazing opportunities your way, and no matter how scary it is to jump in and put yourself out there, you have to say yes to learning and growth and being thrown out of your comfort zone. ;) That being said, I'm absolutely honored and excited to announce that I’ve been chosen to be one of the four Adobe Creative Residents this year.


Adobe describes the Creative Residency program here, but in a nutshell: they’re giving all of us full-time support to work on a personal project for an entire year. (AN ENTIRE YEAR!) In return, we create, share our process, ask for feedback, learn from amazing mentors and creatives, and put ourselves out there. Amazing, right?! 

My personal project will be an exploration around the ways we document our lives, and how I can get more people exploring and documenting their lives in more creative and meaningful ways. We’re putting so much of our lives out in social media, and I like bringing it back to the essence of why I love scrapbooking so much — gathering the bits and pieces of life, taking a step back to reflect, and using photos, words, and actual stuff, to get creative.

My big goal for the Residency is to build out a series of products (mostly physical, maybe digital) that get people excited to document their lives. I’ve already started doing this by designing my own stamp sets and journals — this Residency is going to help me reach a wider audience (non-scrapbookers, I’m looking at you! ;)!) and get better feedback on my work (yikes) and improve my process.

Those who know me well and know my journey know that this means the world to me, and having Adobe’s support is a wonderful affirmation that I’m on the right path. See, I’ve always had this internal struggle: I love design, and I love scrapbooking. In my head, they didn’t go together at all. In the past, I’ve had friends make fun of my love for scrapbooking (jokingly, but jokes can cut deep, too — please remember that), and over the years I’ve learned to not share it too openly, in fear of people calling my scrapbooks cheesy or a “mommy hobby” (hey, what’s wrong with moms? Moms are cool.) Especially in design school — I’d never dream of mentioning my love for scrapbooking, lest I not be taken seriously. I’ve had a professor snarkily make fun of scrapbooking in a passing comment, and I made a mental note to never mention it. 

See, the big struggle was that I wanted to be designing for this space. I wanted to be in the craft AND design world. I didn’t want to work at a design studio drawing logos or mocking up packaging. I wanted to be designing Project Life cards, stamps, journals, and aaaaalll the paper things. But I felt it didn’t really fit into being a legit “designer”, especially when I started comparing my work to the amazing designers who worked for big tech companies here in the Bay Area. I liked color, lettering, crafty things vs sleek and polished logos. I didn’t know how to design websites, apps, and knew basic icon design. Then, the identity crisis. The shoulds and musts and the internal struggle. Finally, I decided to just own it, and worked towards creating my own stuff and my own business, leaving my design side to the occasional client work, hoping to transition to my own business full-time this year.

Talking about my love for scrapbooking to the bigger design community has always gotten me a little anxious. So you can just imagine my face when I got the call that Adobe was interested in my work and wanted to know more. Me, talk about my scrapbooks, to all the big folks at Adobe? (Hahaha…. oh no.)

Turns out, this fear and overthinking was just all in my head. I got nothing but interested nods, encouraging words, and excited suggestions when I talked about documenting life and traveling and all the stuff that excited me creatively. I hadn’t even gotten the Residency yet, and already there was so much creative encouragement. Knowing that the wonderful folks at Adobe have my back and my best interests in mind is just about the best nod of support and encouragement for me to keep going. Owning the things that excite me most about making stuff, and hopefully being able to share it in a way that inspires others to stick to what excites and inspires them the most. My biggest lesson this year has been just that: when you’re doing work you’re truly excited about, it’s pretty easy to get others excited about it too. 

Here’s to an amazing, creative, waaaaayyyyyyy outside my comfort zone year. 

Follow along with our creative journeys at #CreativeResidency. I’ll also be posting updates on this blog, on Instagram, and a monthly newsletter. (Stamp enthusiasts, don’t worry — stamps will continue, but most of my efforts will be towards my Residency project. Make sure you’re on my newsletter list so you don’t miss any product sales + announcements!)

Also: huge shout out to the awesome Libby, for the brainstorming & idea-refining, support, and constant encouragement. Huge shout outs too to the other three amazing Creative Residents — Craig and his amazing light pieces, Syd and her incredible illustrations, and Sara with her super fun videos. It’s such an honor to be making alongside you guys, and so glad we get to go on this journey together.