Keeping Busy with Design

Earlier this year I mentioned that I began taking courses on Udemy and how much I was enjoying the process. That’s still the case! I have finished the Photoshop Essentials and Advanced courses, and moved on to both the Illustrator and InDesign Essentials courses by Daniel Scott.

And for being a person who was using InDesign and Illustrator CS6 on a daily basis for work last year, I’m surprised at how much I have learned about both programs in just the Essentials courses alone. I didn’t consider myself an expert, but felt comfortable in InDesign especially. And while I was competent in the program, I had (and have) so much more to learn not only about working more efficiently but also the real capabilities of the program itself.

And we haven’t even touched on the interactivity in PDFs yet.


My goal of late has been to create more recent graphic design work for my portfolios since much of what I have done in the past has been proprietary. It is fine if I am pitching to those who have seen my work but, alas, most have not.

Taking the courses on Udemy has been really good for building the portfolio, and it’s part of the reason I chose to check out Daniel Scott’s courses: he lists that there are many real-world projects for just that purpose.

And that’s just what I need.

Creating brochures, flyers, and booklets isn’t hard work but, like anything, it’s easy to procrastinate when there’s paid work to do. (Or Final Fantasy XIV, if I’m being honest.) With the courses, though, I now have the encouragement (and accountability) to actually get these things done and share them. And it has been a lot of fun creating, designing, and searching Pexels or Unsplash for the photograph that’s just right for what I have in mind.

To keep things interesting, I decided to invent a company and create various promotional and marketing materials for them. Just like any other company would do to garner interest from customers.

I present to you the fictional Green Acres Home & Garden Center.


For the first task, I came up with a logo to reuse as needed, though I actually created it in InDesign first. And then I remembered what program I was in and that’s not what InDesign is for. So I moved it into Illustrator instead, because vector-based logos make more sense.

I have seen it becoming more common, at least around where I live, that garden centers have restaurants or cafes attached to them. So, the idea didn’t seem odd or feel out of place to create a flyer for a restaurant within a garden center.

Considering what that would mean for a cafe, I tried to find some photographs that would feel “breakfasty” as well as give the impression that the fruit is fresh and literally from the garden. Karthik Reddy had the perfect photograph on Pexels and I knew it was the one at first sight.

Would you like to make a reservation? 😉


So we have this fictional company Green Acres Home & Garden Center, and they have just finished promoting their new breakfast menu for their cafe. Now, they would like additional marketing materials prepared for their customers, to keep them updated and engaged, to be released on a seasonal basis.

And now I get to do the really fun stuff.

Brochures and booklets of any kind are always interesting. I love working with layouts and magazine spreads and creating a cohesive design that works well on multiple fronts. (Such as being visually intriguing, promoting the cohesiveness of the brand, and combining both function and design so that one doesn’t undermine the other.)

In this layout, we have a front and back cover with three spreads in between. The Spring issue features articles about growing and cooking with herbs, the best way to encourage butterflies to your own garden, and the natural locally-grown foods available in the garden center’s cafe. It’s short and to the point, and full of visuals.

Now, the body text is actually just a bunch of Lorem Ipsum. It’s just a jumble of Latin words mixed together to mimic actually copy. The only “real” text in the document is in the Headers and sub-headers, which I wrote myself. There’s sub-headers full of puns and catchy blurbs. Which you’ll have to trust me on, because the images are too small to read for the most part.

For the final image, I put together another cover for the Summer issue of the brochure. This way I get to show off the cover design, and how easily the photograph and layout colours can be updated to suit the new release.

Want to see more? I have these projects and others up on my Behance profile. There are larger photographs there, too, should you want to zoom in and take a closer look! 😉

Resources: Mockup templates by Janalfred Barclay. Photographs used in design are from Pexels.

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