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Archive for Starkville MS

Small Pond Graphics Earns Two American Graphic Design Awards

wiI am very pleased to announce that Small Pond Graphics has been awarded two American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine in its annual design competition. Awards in more than two dozen categories were judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. Small Pond Graphics received honors in the Marketing Collateral Campaign and Logo Development categories for projects completed for the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Thomas Urology Clinic. If you need help with citation services for any projects try Yext alternative and get what you are looking for. It’s such a privilege to have the opportunity to work with great local clients, and it’s exciting that these recent projects have been recognized nationally.


Small Pond Graphics earned American Graphic Design honors in the Marketing Collateral Campaign category for a series of five culinary maps created for the “Savor Starkville” marketing campaign launched by the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau. Maps in the series included Starkville Favorites, Artisan Breads & Sweets, Pizzas & Italian, Starkville After Dark, and Made in Starkville — each featuring watercolor paintings of some of Starkville’s top local restaurants using the right theme for showcasing. In addition to the watercolor painted maps, Small Pond also contributed campaign concept development, copy writing, as well as digital and print design for advertising, brochure, and other marketing materials. The “Savor Starkville” multimedia campaign, which also included award-winning video and event elements, recently received the 2016 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Tourism as “Promotion of the Year”. We collaborate with many sites and campaigns to produce the best results on marketing and design, one of this collaborators is softwaredevelopment.com web design.



Small Pond Graphics also received an American Graphic Design Award in the Logo Development category for a branding package created for Thomas Urology Clinic, which opened in Starkville in 2015. Dr. Kenneth Thomas wanted the logo for his new practice to include imagery reflecting the state of Mississippi, but not necessarily in a traditional way. Small Pond chose the mockingbird, Mississippi’s state bird, as inspiration to create an identity that would convey overall health and wellness.



For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards, with the American Graphic Design Awards being it’s flagship program. According to GDUSA, nearly 10,000 entries were received in this year’s 53rd annual competition, with only the top 15% recognized with Certificates of Excellence. The Awards program showcases outstanding new work in print, packaging, point-of-purchase, internet, interactive and motion graphics. NYC-based GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.

Small Pond Graphics also received three American Graphic Design Awards and an American Web Design Award through GDUSA competitions in 2015.

Small Pond Graphics Earns Three American Graphic Design Awards


I was very excited to learn last week that Small Pond Graphics has been awarded three American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine for projects promoting Starkville events! I’m so very honored to have the opportunity to work with the Greater Starkville Development Partnership to brand and promote the Starkville community through their on-going programs and events, and it’s exciting for three of the projects to be recognized nationally.

Small Pond Graphics earned two awards in the “Posters” category and one in the “Point of Purchase” category for illustrated print pieces created for the 2014 Starkville Community Market, the 2014 Starkville Christmas campaign, and the 2014 spring unWINE Downtown event. The events are part of the annual calendar of programs produced by the Starkville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Starkville Main Street Association as vehicles for both increasing shopping and dining traffic in downtown districts and promoting the area as a tourism destination.

For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards, with the American Graphic Design Awards being it’s flagship program. The awards are judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. According to GDUSA, nearly 10,000 entries were received in this year’s 52nd annual competition, with only the top 15% recognized with Certificates of Excellence. The Awards program showcases outstanding new work in print, packaging, point-of-purchase, internet, interactive and motion graphics. NYC-based GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.






oh happy day . The Summer Jar


Friday is here, and I’m finally getting back to my Oh Happy Day! Gratitude Project posting series. I started it as a way to remind myself to make gratitude part of every day, every week. Thornton Wilder wrote that “we can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures,” and beginning with gratitude is the best way I know to live aware of how blessed we are.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that blessing over the last few weeks as we’ve been finishing up the school year and getting ready for summer. This spring, I devoted some time to thinking through the direction of this blog, and by extension, my business. And, I guess, by further extension, my approach to work and how it integrates with the rest of life. As an artist, so much of creating and exploring new ideas is an on-going process that isn’t necessarily confined by the typical workday. As a single mom, dealing with the loss of my husband and the changes that has brought to our lives, I’ve also grown to understand that for me, it’s very important that what I “do” in my work and how I spend my days creatively be meaningful and inspiring.

As I was thinking through some of my blogging topics and inspiration-focus back in March, I wrote a “creative map” and lots of notes about various aspects of the creative life. For my “living” category, I wanted my thinking, writing and creating to reflect a “quiet, authentic and conscious life” — there is that word “conscious” again. My goals for some of the writing and sharing settled on three things…

  • to talk and “be” about real things
  • to be a good steward of time and blessings
  • to infuse daily life with beauty, creativity and celebration

The concept of being deliberate and conscious in what we’re doing isn’t easy sometimes. Being that “good steward” can be difficult when faced with all the mundane activities required in working, mothering and home-keeping. And, of course, busy-ness can be our enemy as we get stretched and pulled in lots of different directions. We often start to lose the joy in whatever we’re doing and begin checking items off our calendars and to-do lists.

I want to stop that cycle in my life. I want, as Emerson said, to “finish the moment” — each moment — and to make the most of each opportunity represented in that moment. I think I’m particularly more motivated in that commitment as I see my children growing at what seems like an exponential pace at times. As they become more and more independent (and just physically bigger), I find the desire to grab onto each fleeting moment with more of a white-knuckle grip! And, I suppose, summer offers it’s own impetus to slow down. Our schedule slows down, and we have fewer commitments as a family, but how will we use that freedom? I don’t want to get to August and say “where has the summer gone?” We’ve had an unprecedented build-up of excitement anticipating the start of summer, and I’ve been determined to put every effort into taking full advantage of it.

Enter the Summer Jar.

The children and I decided to create a list of things we wanted to do this summer — experiences big and small that would help us have memories and joy to show for the time spent this summer. We decided to put them in a jar that we could pull from to plan for activities or to surprise ourselves with fun experiences. Baby Girl decorated the jar with her special brand of summery illustrations, and we have it front and center on our dining table with a pen and sticky pad ready to add more experience suggestions. We’ve included things like our normal trips to the farm and to the beach, but also things like building our train set and a lego city, getting yogurt or ice cream, going to the library, eating outside on the picnic table, swimming, game nights and more.

None of the activities are earth-shattering, not all of them require “going” somewhere, and most aren’t new experiences. But, the power comes in the intention — the conscious choice of experiencing and “finishing” each moment. I want to recognize the joy and to take time to celebrate it in my heart at the end of each day. I suppose that’s the essence of gratitude. And, I want our summer jar to encourage us to embrace the beauty and wonder in some of those mundane activities that weave our lives together between the other fun experiences. I hope we can have a healthy mix of going and simply being together in those moments of someone sitting in my lap, working together to cook dinner, reading together at bedtime, playing games and sharing the same space.


We started some of our “summer jar” experiences yesterday with a trip to Denny’s for pancakes for breakfast and a visit to the MSU Library to see the Kinsey Collection on exhibit there. I’ll share more about this remarkable collection of African American art, literature and historical documents in a later post, but today, I’m so thankful we had the opportunity to enjoy it together and have it as one of our memories of the summer of 2015. It is open in Starkville through June 20 at the John Grisham Room of Mitchell Memorial Library, and it’s well worth the time in experiencing some little-seen aspects of our own history.





On this “Oh Happy Day,” I’m also so, so grateful for the opportunity to build my work life on my own terms with the freedom to organize my days so that these types of experiences with my children are possible. It’s never easy to balance family and work responsibilities, and I’ve become more and more mindful of the blessing I have as freelancer to set my own schedules. It’s a true gift I don’t want to squander or take for granted in these seasons when all my loves are together under the same roof.

Oh Happy Day!


client work . Spring Poster Projects

Posters are some of my favorite types of design projects, and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do quite a few of them each year, especially for area community events. Over the last few months, I’ve been able to use watercolor illustration for several poster projects, so I thought I’d share a quick recap of some of the pieces. Plus I’ve included glimpses of the behind-the-scenes paintings used to create them.

For this annual spring event series for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, I painted backgrounding and an illustration to represent each of the four events. The Savor Our South series poster included all four illustrations, and I used the bowl to create the event poster for Souper Bowl. I got my marching orders last week for the King Cotton Crawfish Boil, which (I think) will use this crawfish and corn illustration. I’ll be sure to share that poster when it’s complete.




I was so pleased to be asked to create the 20th anniversary poster for the Market Street Festival in Columbus, Mississippi this year! I decided to create illustrations of some of the iconic images from Downtown Columbus, where the festival is held. For this one, it was also fun to hand-letter most of the text for the event specifics and used a few Free SVG Files to make it more vivid!



Many times when I do posters or even stationery designs, I create a lot of individual illustrated images and use Photoshop to put them together — just like the process I shared recently for my lettering practice. For this holiday poster I was asked to create last fall for Starkville, however, I wanted to do an illustration of Main Street, so I created more of a true painting using watercolor and some acrylic paints. Then, I hand-lettered the text to add on top of the painting. This poster is one of my favorites!





Public Education: Why I Believe One Means All


Usually when you come here, you find some painting or photograph I’ve taken, some bit of design work I’ve done for a client, or some interesting piece of paper or illustration that inspires me this week. Today is a little different.  The graphic up there is one I’ve been working with for Parents for Public Schools of Starkville as we advocate for a successful consolidation this year, and I have to admit it’s a very passionate effort for me. So friends, I hope you’ll permit me a more local-centered and current-event-charged post on an issue very personal to me… I’m a product of public education. In more ways than one. I went to public schools and my parents are also 30-year veterans of work in public education — a high school principal and a 3rd grade teacher. It’s just how I was brought up. I was the kid riding on the high school cheerleader van as my parents chaperoned them to every (yes, every) varsity football game. I grew up seeing my dad shuffling what seemed like hundreds of legal-sized sheets of paper on our dining table as he step-by-step created the schedules of every kid in the next year’s eleventh grade class. And then checked by hand that they would match graduation requirements. Because that’s how they did it then, before the school office had a computer, now a days they are reading freshly updated guide‘s on the newest monitors. I grew up watching my mom sew Uncle Sam costumes for her 3rd grade students to wear in the class play she wrote, and cutting out various pieces of seasonal bulletin boards on our den floor. This was during all the “free time” folks say public school teachers have once they’re finished with their jobs at 3 p.m. It was our phone that rang at 6:00 a.m. when a teacher was sick and needed a substitute. And occasionally, it was our front yard that was littered with toilet paper when someone got a little too excited about graduation finally arriving.

I was a public school kid. It’s why I make myself engage in what’s happening in the public schools in Starkville, and it’s why the upcoming consolidation in our community matters to me. That, and the reality that MY children are public school kids too, and they’re being shaped by this new endeavor. If you want to know why giving opportunities to ALL the children in Oktibbeha County matters to me, and why I support our local funding measures, I can only tell my own stories…

My mom went back to work when I was just a few months old. She wasn’t planning to, but a job opened at Southside Elementary School in the spring of 1970 because Mississippi schools were finally truly integrated, and the burden of “separate but equal” gave way to a truer burden of simply “equal”. My mom tells me school happened in shifts then to allow the facilities and teachers to accommodate so many new students. Now, I can’t be sure the facts and the dates are accurate, the supreme court decisions or the state legislation. It’s just how I remember the stories in my family, and I don’t really want to research the history this morning. In fact, I’m not sure why I’m adding these details except to say that the burden of One Means All isn’t new. The process of offering the same opportunities for all the children under our charge isn’t new. It isn’t the first time it’s required sacrifice or extra effort or long days. It isn’t the first time we’ve had to provide for kids that aren’t “ours” only to learn that yes, they ARE all “ours.” It’s not the first time we’ve had to adjust our vision of “equal opportunities.” It’s not the first time we’ve realized the quest to offer those opportunities needs more work.

I’m an artist and a graphic designer. Lots of folks tell me I’m kind of good at that. It’s how I make my living and provide for my family. But, back when I was in public school, there were no fine art classes. I graduated from high school in 1987, and my school offered band and choral classes, but no art. I didn’t learn drawing or painting or sculpture or photography or art history. Not in any formal way, at least. My first opportunities for art training and my first exposure to a real “commercial artist” (as graphic designers were called back in the day) came through the work of a public school teacher. And it was outside her job description. Elizabeth Bailey, my gifted teacher (that was new then, too) knew of my interest in art and used her community contacts to find mentors — a working artist to offer me a few lessons, and the opportunity to visit a few times with a commercial artist in the marketing department of Bryan Foods. I guess Mrs. Bailey found mentors for all of us. For me, it was the first time I had the chance to see that you could actually work as an artist. That someone might actually hire you to do those sorts of things. It was kind of a new idea for me — one that’s worked out pretty well, I guess.

Today, my children have art teachers. They go to art class every week. They’re trying mediums and learning about artists I didn’t hear about until I was in college. They have an opportunity in their public school that I never had. Because the giving of opportunity isn’t a done deal. It grows and expands. Just like it expanded in 1970 for so many Mississippi communities. Just like it expanded for me in the late 1980s. And just like it continues to expand for my kids through new curriculum and technology. It’s a work in progress, and that progress demands taking steps forward. For me, it demands that One Means All. One district for our community means All the children of our community are “ours.” And all should have the opportunities that new schools and new computers and new books and new horizons can bring. I’m thankful that my children are growing up with those opportunities, and it’s not right that children on the other side of our county don’t have them. That’s what it boils down to for me. Opportunity must continue to grow and reach every child. And we must be committed to funding that opportunity as an investment in our own future.

To learn more about local funding, visit:
How Local Funding Supports Public Education: A Tax Breakdown By The Numbers

To learn more about the work of Parents for Public Schools of Starkville, visit:

client work . Downtown Block Party 2014

I wanted to share a little client design work this week. I’ve been excited to work on a few new projects this year for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and one is the design suite for the annual Downtown Block Party. The event serves as the kick-off the Fall football season and includes a pep rally, so we wanted it to have a bit of a “fan” feel. It was fun to use a photo of the Mississippi State University cheerleaders I had taken at a previous block party and convert it to a more “posterized” look similar to the New South Weekends campaign. [It was also kind of fun to sneak a little hot pink in with the typical maroon around here :)]

Enjoy! And, if you’re in the Starkville area, I hope to see you at Downtown Block Party this Friday night!



client work . Starkville’s New South Weekends 2014

No, watercolor painting is ALL I’ve been doing this summer! I thought it might be good to share some of the client work that has recently launched. This is my fourth year to have the opportunity to design the New South Weekends design suite for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Fall series centers around annual Friday evening events held during Mississippi State University home game weekends.

This year, I wanted to design something that had a very “college football” look, but also a little edgy to follow some of the flavor of the Starkville brand we’ve established. I went on a search for vintage football imagery for inspiration – very fun. I ended up taking an illustration from a 1938 Amhearst College football program that I found in the public domain, and giving it a more maroon (go Dawgs!) and modern feel. Here’s a look at the vintage illustration and a couple of the 2014 New South Weekends pieces. I hope to see you in Starkville this Fall for some of the great events!


[1938 Amherst College Football Program]


[2014 New South Weekends Poster – Starkville, MS]


[Mobile Site Graphics]


summer of water . monday 072114


I’m about ten days away from the end of this summer painting adventure, and I’ve stumbled across so many ideas I’d like to explore further. For now, enjoy today’s sketch from some photographs of the Cotton District!

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Another building in the Cotton District in Starkville

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Corner of University Drive & Maxwell Street in the Cotton District — Starkville, MS

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