VENDOR HIGHLIGHT: TARA PETERSON of STUPENDOUS DESIGN
Hi friends! I am so excited to share with you the very first post in a new series highlighting some of my very favorite vendors that you should know about! These are jewelry makers, graphic designers, bakers, crafters and more. I hope to be able to share with you variety of amazing and talented people, giving you a small glimpse into their own world.**
To kick off this series, my own designer, Tara Peterson, has agreed to share with us a little bit about herself. (To say I am in love with my website is definitely an understatement) I couldn't be happier! A woman of many talents, Tara's portfolio is definitely broad in it's scope! Web design, marketing materials, invitations, and more, Tara can design it all:)
So without further delay, let's meet Tara:
DZP: Hi Tara! Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself?
Tara: I'm a born and raised farm kid from central Minnesota-free range (meaning I was free to run a muck everywhere and anywhere I wanted), which allowed much mischief and imagination to run wild, there was never a dull moment. I always wanted to be some kind of an artist, as long as I can remember. I used my mom's make up many times to draw art on the walls, but never on myself, and created a farm newspaper with my cousin, amongst other things, haha. I have one sibling, a younger brother by three years, who is a foot taller than me, and plays trumpet professionally. (We sometimes wonder how our parents feel about raising two artists, but love that they support everything we do). My brother and I get mistaken as twins quite a lot, and he means the world to me. I've lived in many places, Milwaukee, Orlando, Minneapolis, and Boston...not sure if Boston is the last stop, but for right now it serves me well, but there are days I miss home and the farm horribly.
DZP: How did you get into graphic design?
Tara: Funny story actually. I was a media communications major and art minor at Bethel University, I always wanted to major in art, but the art students scared the crap out of me, they were all so cool and chill and unorganized. I wasn't that at all, so I figured I wasn't supposed to be an artist, hence I minored in art..along the way I took a few design classes, and when I look at the work I did then, it was HORRENDOUS!! But I keep it to remind myself of how far I've come and developed in this trade. (I'm also slightly blaming it on the fact that was during light tables still and photoshop version one was the new trend...I've just dated myself haven't I? haha) I worked for a few years after graduating, and got a job at Tribune Media Services editing and proofing magazines, which is also funny cause I told them before they hired me that I was awful at spelling! Along the way they gave me a few small design projects, and thus began my unhealthy obsession with font and type. So I decided to move back to Minnesota and go back to design school. I worked 40 hours a week, and went to school full time, and for the first time in my life I was getting straight A's and no sleep...but I didn't care. I LOVED it!! And from than on, I hate to say this, but design has become a lifestyle for me. I'm constantly looking and studying EVERYTHING to how it's done, how I can do it better, what kind of paper was used, or code...that sounds so egotistical, but I feel that's how a person learns, well that's how I learn anyways, studying it and implementing. It's my life, some days I hate that I can't shut it off, but I'm wired to be this way. I mean, I knew how to program the VCR when I was five because I wanted to know, and I also wanted to record the California Raisons.
DZP: What inspires you and your designs?
Tara: Everything around me inspires me. Everything is designed by someone, even down to a blade of grass to an ant, to all road signs using Helvetica. Bad design even inspires me. When I went to France a month ago, just going to all the museums and seeing all the amazing art and buildings was inspiring. I used to be obsessed with Victorian design, carnival and circus design and their excessive use of type. I like vintage, modern and contemporary. I'm a huge fan of it all. I'm currently obsessed with letterpress, and am dying to take a class at a near by art school. When I need some kind of inspiration I usually go to Creative Review or Smashing Magazine, or the closest book store, or even grab Vanity Fair. I think it's important to keep on top of what's going on in the design world. But I think what inspires me the most when I take on a new gig, is getting to know the client and what makes them tick, researching whatever I can find about them and what they do. People are very fascinating to me and being able to figure them out and design something that makes them sing makes me happy.
DZP: What are some of your favorite things to design?
Tara: Being that I am kind of a newbie in web design that is probably my favorite thing right now. It becomes incredibly frustrating at times, but the challenge is good for me, and I learn so much every time I take on a new project. Honestly though, I love designing everything!! I haven't had the opportunity to do any package design yet, except for in school, but I love designing logos, branding, business cards, letterheads, websites, marketing emails...I love it when people respond "Oooh, that is AWESOME!!!"
DZP: What do you think are the most important things to remember when designing?
Tara: Always....ALWAYS go with your gut!! I don't how many times I've designed something and my gut was like YEAH!! and than I second guess myself and don't send it to the client. But, I eventually will throw that gut piece at them on a whim, and they end up loving it! BREATHE is probably the second one. Take breaks, go for a walk, find something creative to do that isn't designing, so you don't burn yourself out. And my number one thing I've learned in the past few years is: you can't force out an awesome idea. I don't know how many times I've been banging my head against the wall, in the wee hours of the morning, trying to design something, and nothing comes...it's like designers block. I take my mom's advice on this. Put it away, and go to bed. And sure enough my brain figures it out while I'm sleeping. I now keep a notebook near by. One more thing, it's okay to say no. :) but also don't be afraid to say yes, when something new and scary comes along. Getting out of our comfort zones help us to learn and become better at what we do, plus it's just a healthy thing to do.
DZP: Outside of graphic design what are some things that you enjoy or enjoy to create?
Tara: I enjoy music...BIG time. I have a very eclectic variety of music, and I like to thank my parents for that. I need to listen to it everyday, and get depressed if I don't. I LOVE to travel when I can afford it. But, I also love being at home. I'm very much a home-body. Which usually consists of reading, watching movies, or playing Wii. If I had a piano I would play that. I enjoy taking photos or painting. Sometimes I design something just for me. My next project for myself is revamping my website. I can't stop creating!
DZP: Would you mind sharing some of your favorite pieces of work?
This was for my branding, and it took me a long time to get to this stage for myself. I think it's really hard being your own client. But I was really pleased with how it turned out. And I LOVE my business cards SO much.
My mom was my very first client! She owns an alterations shop, and she is ALWAYS VERY busy. She works more than I do!
Lisa Slotsve Photography was my first REAL freelance gig in Minneapolis. And I had a blast working with her and branding her senior photography site. Because it was punk, grungy and trendy all at once.
I did this site for my cousin Anthony and his business of painting bikes and frames. Anthony is an awesome person and quite the character, so I really wanted to capture him in the website. Plus bikers kind of have that kick ass mentality, so I wanted that feel as well. I did his logo and business cards as well. http://ap-paints.com/
Tara, thanks so much for sharing your love of design and zest for life! You are an amazing artist!