Mini Portfolio. Industrial and retail catalogs.

March 22nd, 2016  |  Published in Design,MY PORTFOLIO,Professional Marketing

I’m available for hire to art direct, concept, design, present, and/or produce both industrial and retail catalogs. My complete portfolio is available for review by appointment.

Industrial Catalogs. The bigger the better!

National Seals

THE TIMKEN COMPANY. National Industrial Seals® 12-page and 680-page catalogs.


Timken Manual

THE TIMKEN COMPANY. Timken® 592-page Housed Unit catalog.


Retail Catalogs. I do those too!

Kay Christmas Final

KAY JEWELERS. 24-page Christmas catalog. Mailed 3 times with 3 different covers.


JBR Mother's Day lt

J.B. ROBINSON JEWELERS. 20-page Mother’s Day catalog.


Ivey's Bedroom towels

IVEY’S. 24-page Home Sale catalog.

Call Me. When it has to be right.


Catalog Design: 2nd in a series where I pick my favorites & explain why they work.

February 15th, 2016  |  Published in CATALOG DESIGN,Fashion

I was inspired when I received my first Soft Surroundings catalog this past summer. It was the “Indian Summer Collection” catalog, and it had pages that used both augmented reality (AR) and scented inks. At first, I carried it with me everywhere. I showed it at board meetings, client and vendor meetings, and lunches. I may have been a little extreme, but AR, combined with scented inks — that really gets me excited!

Komjati SS Spring Fall 2

Why the Soft Surroundings Catalog Works

It Arouses the Senses

Touch. The pleasure of touch is not only reflected in the merchandise and it’s accompanying copy, but is a thread that runs throughout. We’re subtly reminded of this by the use of torn paper backgrounds, photos with Persian rugs and natural textured props, and an occasional furry cat or dog.

Sight. Alluring photos, shot at romantic locations, and supported by creative copy. Together, from cover to cover, they weave enticing stories designed to be experienced vicariously.

Smell. The use of scented pages gives us a chance to actually experience the perfume. Pleasurable experiences increase desire.

Sound. Augmented Reality was used on three pages in the “Indian Summer Collection” catalog. By using the Blippar interactive app and a smart device, these pages come alive with both video and sound!


Komjati Design SS Spread

One of my favorite spreads from the “Early Spring” 2016 online catalog is shown here. To see AR in action, download the Blippar app and try it out on the Aya Blu perfume photo above. Let me know what you think!


What Would I Recommend?

Nothing is ever perfect, and there’s always room for improvement in everything that we do. I have a general rule that a customer should never have to hunt for anything in a catalog. One thing that I would do differently in the Soft Surroundings catalogs is move the “Softness Ratings” key. This is the guide that explains the different “Softness Ratings” of 1, 2, or 3, that are listed as icons on each page. At present, this “Softness Ratings” key is buried deep inside the catalog, I recommend keeping it on page 3 or the back cover.


CATALOG DESIGN: 1st in a series where I pick my favorites & explain why they work.

February 8th, 2016  |  Published in CATALOG DESIGN,Food

I’m going to just go ahead and admit it – I’m a little obsessed with catalogs. Not only because I create them, but because I enjoy looking at them. My home and office are overflowing with my favorites. Since my childhood, they’ve taken me on adventures, ignited my senses, and inspired me to dream – and all from the comfort and safety of my sofa.

Cheryl's Cover

Why Cheryl’s Valentine’s Day Catalog Works

Beauty. This is food photography and photo styling at its very best. Minimal text on the cover allows the photo to sell the story.

Emotions & Memories. The gift boxes, cards and bows aren’t only props, they come with the cookies. They also serve as subliminal reminders of how happy we feel when we give and receive gifts.

Desire. Many of the cookies are shot at actual size (or larger) to show lots of delicious detail. This helps to create the desire to have one…or maybe two.

Color! The whiteness and brightness of the paper this is printed on complements the color in the photos. Together they make the buttercream frosting look fresh!

Easy to Read. Much of the body copy in the descriptions is smaller than what my age group normally prefers. However, since it’s not condensed and is a san serif font with ample leading, it works — just barely.


Spread 10-11

Here’s my favorite inside spread – very crisp and clean.


And, just in case I had been putting off making my purchase, Cheryl’s sweetened the deal by following up with this clever email. The cookie actually disappeared before my eyes, bite by bite, to reveal the amount of my discount that’s shown in the last image below – fun!


Komjati Heart 1

Komjati Heart 2

Komjati Heart 3



June 30th, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
Design Mascot
Photo by Diana.

A morning ritual of mine (since 7th grade) is to put on my makeup. Even if I know that I won’t be leaving my home office that day, and that no one will see me except my husband, I still do it. I find it to be a huge morale booster as the day goes on.

My office desk serves as my vanity, and my cat, Casper, likes to help with my makeup. He complains that on some mornings it’s much more work than others. He may be right.

P.S. If you enjoy reading my posts why not share them with your friends? Did you know that you can subscribe to my RSS feed by clicking the orange chicklet at the TOP of my website? 


June 22nd, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
July 4th
Photo by Diana.

With Father’s Day barely over, a July 4th holiday ad arrived in my email this morning informing me that my favorite Ohio cookie store, Cheryl’s, has a Patriotic Gift Tin that is 50% off – a very tempting offer.

Can anyone tell me if “Christmas in July” is a real holiday? It’s not listed in the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants 2015 Retail Promotions Calendar. In addition to Independence Day, their calendar does list plenty of other reasons to celebrate in July.

Here are just a few:

July 19 National Ice Cream Day

July 26 Parents Day

July 30 National Chili Dog Day

Plus, the entire month of July has been designated as:

National Grilling Month

National Hot Dog Month

National Ice Cream Month

Summer in Ohio is just too short for me to have full-blown celebrations for all the holidays. My plan is to narrow it down to just a few, and then do my best. Of course, July 4th, Independence Day, is 1st on my list. And since ice cream has been given it’s own special day and is being celebrated all month, National Ice Cream Day and Month are my 2nd and 3rd picks.

What about you, which July holidays do you plan on celebrating?


P.S. Find an interesting marketing promotion for any of these retail holidays? Send me a link, I’d love to see it. Please share this post by using the social media buttons BELOW. Did you know that you can subscribe to my RSS feed by clicking the orange chicklet at the TOP of my website? 



Isn’t it time to discover what REALLY motivates you?

June 16th, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
Photo by Diana. Lake Erie shore.

My back began to protest after many years of sitting at my computer for hours at a time (when I’m in the “creative zone” it’s hard to stop). With several years of chiropractic adjustments behind me, it seemed that my problem wasn’t going away, if anything it seemed to be getting worse. I knew that I had better do something quick, because unfortunately, I wasn’t getting any younger.

So I did.

Six months ago I joined the local recreation center and began a strength building program. I’d belonged to fitness centers before but for some reason had not been able to stick with it in recent years. This time it’s been different.

On some days I will even leave my home office in the middle of the workday to exercise for an hour or two – something I’d never allowed myself to do before – and I’m doing it now guilt-free!

What changed?

My motivation.

I changed my way of thinking about exercise. When I was younger, I exercised because of vanity, I wanted to look good (I admit it). Now I do it to stay pain free and mobile, and this reason really gets me motivated, so much more than the other.

Isn’t it time to dig deep and discover what really motivates you?


Please share this post by using the social media buttons BELOW. Did you know that you can subscribe to my RSS feed by clicking the orange chicklet at the TOP of my website? 


June 3rd, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
Dark Forest
Photo by Diana. Wolf Creek Environmental Center, Medina, Ohio.

Last week I did something dumb. I changed the settings in my RSS feed. You know that little orange RSS chicklet that most blogs have somewhere on their page? Mine is at the very top of my website, to the far right of the social media icons. It’s job is to automatically “feed” my updated blog to your RSS reader. That is, if you have subscribed to my feed by clicking on it, and you have, haven’t you?

When the chicklet is clicked, a box opens and displays the name of my blog. This is where my trouble started because I wanted to edit my blog title. So I rolled up my sleeves and went to work — how hard could it be? The guys who usually help me with this sort of thing aren’t rocket scientists, and anyway, it was just a little tweaking.

I searched my WordPress settings for the text that needed changed and carefully replaced it with the new text. Next, I went into FeedBurner and did the same, plus some technical blah, blah, blah stuff that I thought would be helpful. Then I clicked on my chicklet (I was so very pleased with myself), and up popped the message “There has been an error of some kind. Ack!”

After two hours of trying more technical blah, blah, blah stuff, I knew it was time to quit. I emailed my friends over at Sanctuary Marketing Group for help, and the following day my RSS feed was working again. Apparently they do have rocket scientists working there!!


May 28th, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
GraciePhoto of Gracie by Diana.

It recently dawned on me that many people I encounter daily are lazy and they don’t even know it – and I find that really annoying. But maybe the real reason behind my annoyance is that I secretly envy them and their ignorance – or is it their freedom?

All my life I’ve been a perfectist. It has made me work harder, longer, and worry more than most people. From simple household chores to complicated client projects, for me they must all be done perfectly. My keen eye for detail, which serves me so well creatively, is also my enemy. Most mornings I immediately focus on the cat fur on the carpet and dust on the furniture. I could let it derail my workday, but I’ve learned to prioritize, so I squelch the urge to start each day by cleaning house.

Most of the pitfalls of freelancing from a home office aren’t as obvious as the urge to do housework. Nice people will reach out to you in emails, phone calls, Facebook, and meetings, using snippets of your time that you’ll never get back. Some of them are lazy like those I mentioned earlier, and they will steal your precious time and drain your energy. Learn to recognize those time wasters and start prioritizing your day. You will save yourself time, energy and stress.

I’ve gotta go. I’ve a new Epson printer that’s sitting here just waiting to be unpacked today. Let’s cross our fingers that I can get it up and running quickly. First though, I think I had better change out of my PJ’s – looks like my prioritizing skills still need a little work.


May 27th, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer
Photo by Diana.

I recently took a course offered by the United States Postal Service and became certified as a Mail Design Professional. Never mind that I’ve been designing direct mail for over 25 years, now I’m officially certified. What this means is that I’m up-to-date in many areas that worry us direct mail designers. Things like how many seals or tabs must go on a folded piece and why the fold must be at the bottom or right side of the piece, no matter what the client wants. I was given several hard templates to take home that are very useful in determining the correct dimensions of a piece. Check them out in the photo above.

Inside Scoop: A seminar may be held in the fall for direct mail designers in the Akron/Canton area. I can’t say any more about it now, but I’ve been asked to supply a list of mailpiece design topics that designers would like to know more about. So, would you like to be as smart as a Mailpiece Design Analyst, or almost? Let me know what topics you would like to have covered and you may get your chance!


May 26th, 2015  |  Published in Not Your Average Designer


Photo by Diana.

Years ago, while working and stressing at my last full-time gig, I would often think about what life could be like if I were a freelance designer. I imagined that most of my days would be spent doing fabulously creative work. I could see myself at home, sitting on the back porch, working leisurely at my laptop and sipping a margarita.

Now, 15 years later, instead of sipping margaritas on the back porch, I’m working upstairs in a setting very similar to the one I left. I discovered that I can’t concentrate outside on the porch while sweating and swatting bugs, and I wasn’t brave enough to add a margarita to the mix. And you know all that fabulously creative work which I had also imagined? In reality, only half my time is spent being creative, the other half is spent using the creaky left side of my brain doing paperwork. There’s work to record and bill, quarterly and yearly taxes, mileage to track, receipts to file, plus – software and hardware to update, augh!!!

AND THEN there’s Errors and Ommissions Insurance. What’s that, you might say? I know that’s what I said anyway, the day a client informed me that I needed to have it. The agency had a new policy they told me, and all their freelancers needed to provide proof that they were insured up to $1,000,000.

I have it now, and it’s not cheap, but I do sleep well at night, and some mornings I even wake up…feeling like a million bucks!