Graphic Design mockups

behind the scenes, Showcasing

It has been really interesting for me to see how much the trend of print mockups has been on the internet as a way to showcase your work. Not so long ago when I first was adding portfolio items to behance I was using just screenshots of my files and now I take the time (which is getting quicker and quicker) to make mockup images. They really do tell the story better and are instantly recognisable. It is not until I see the two side-by-side that I realise this is a trend that will not be going away and this is something I am very happy with.

It certainly makes a difference when showing spreads of a book. Previously I felt the need to show the spine and edges otherwise there is no context.

using photoshop photo realistic mockup files to showcase your printed design work

I really do not think the difference is as profound with the cover but certainly, it is more obvious that this is a book cover and not a flyer or something else.mockups2But when showing something really quite big, like a billboard, the mockups are simply wonderful because it is so much easier to understand the scale in this context.

using photoshop photo realistic mockup files to showcase your printed design work


Items for sale on Redbubble

Digital Nomad, Real life, Showcasing

It is amazing what the team at Red Bubble do. I am really impressed with the quality of their service and they make it super easy for people to sell their artwork online. I particularly like not having to worry about manufacturing and shipping the products myself since I am always travelling somewhere. These are the latest pieces I have added to Red Bubble.

red bubble portfolio, print on demand, sell tshirt, t-shirt printing, manufacturing, online, shipping, online shop, pick your favourite design, clocks, books, bags, pillows, scarves, designs, printed, lakazdi, kassandra bowers
If you ever need your ideas brought to live and set up on Red Bubble, just contact me and I will help you out.

Time zones


I love worldtimebuddy for those moments when I need to quickly see where everyone is in the world — to help me prioritise which client work I will start on next. When someone has finished for the day and gone to sleep, I can start on that work a little later in my day. But when a client is a couple hours in front and about to finish there work day it is better to start with their work so it can be finished before their work day. In a couple more hours, someone else might wake up.



Easy Template Design

behind the scenes

While making an InDesign template for a client. I thought of how daunting InDesign can be with all its options and tools. Knowing my client would like the easiest template possible I did certain things to simplify the template. The biggest consideration was to lock anything that the client will not be editing. I set up the InDesign package with multiple cover images so updating the link changed the cover image. Super easy.

The template has the date and company name getting changed in several places each so I have set up find and change terms (find <company> and <date>). This makes it very easy to change all instances. The textboxes which contain these two terms were also made flexibly so if there was to be a long company name, the textbox would adjust.

template terms find replace, find/change indesign template easy for client to edit and change or alter based on input locked layers locking indesign cc

Another item which needs editing by the client is a radial graph. Everything that is not being edited is on a locked layer. This takes out most of the complexity here and creates a less daunting editing task.


Spread number reminders


I am working on a project at the moment where there are a few spreads with names and then a bunch that are referred to by numbers. None of these actually co-relate to the printed page. This means I can’t just scroll to spread 5 when my client is referring to spread 5. To remind myself about which spread is being referred to I have simply placed a “note to self” box in the margin with the spread number. Simple and easy.

indesign trick tip help expert note message to self spreads

Visually moving pages


One of my favourite and simple InDesign tips or tricks involves visually moving pages around in a big document without the need to remember page numbers. I put a coloured box on the page I am moving. And a coloured box on the page before where I am re-positioning.


Then in the pages view, I can easily see the two pages and move them. Put the red boxed page after the green boxed page. Simple.

InDesign trick, document, page, changing, expert, tip, graphic design, pages, layout

Remove the two boxes on the page itself and I am done.

If you are moving a page to the start or the end of the document or if you can remember the page number, it is quicker to use the standard “Move Pages” dialogue box.

InDesign tip, trick, expert, help, move, page,

Freelancing websites


There are so many options of places to go to in order to get freelancers these days. I have signed up to many of these in the past and browsed the many, many postings for experts at minimum wage. Not that my goal is to make hundreds of dollars per hour but I don’t want the world to think that professional graphic designers with decades of experience should have to work for only a few dollars per hour. So I leave before getting a single job.

The platforms that actually do have some good jobs for good clients had me working at minimum wage just to compete with the low end of the barrel. As I am a good, honest worker who loves, and is great at what I do, it didn’t take long to get all the accolades such as Top Rated on these platforms.

The downside with any business, having all your eggs in one basket is never good. What happens if your best client leaves? What happens when that great freelancing website collapses?

To try and mitigate any lose in work when the inevitable happens, I have decided to branch out and today I signed up to TopTal who are another player in this big pond. This website says they are different because they get the very top freelancers. It even has a screening process which does sound promising.

Too many ideas, too little time.

photography, Real life

Sometimes you have wonderful ideas and jump on them right away. Then you remember you have to do other things with your time and that new idea or project falls to the way side. After a while you totally forget about the idea and have had many more since.

Looking over old files on my creativity hard drive I see how my design sensibilities have changed; my personality very little. I also come across files from a time in my life where I had less going on so had more time and jumped on my ideas a little more.

One of my favourite old projects which has been sidelined for years is “We Spoilt It” a photographic book containing wonderfully beautiful and breathtaking images. The catch, there is something ugly and man-made in the frame wrecking a perfectly good photo. I think I took about three images. I think about it regularly though. I found the first of the images in amongst my old files and think: too many projects, too little time.


Evolution of avatars

Branding, photography, Real life

View from right to left.

Seeing how my own internet avatar has not only changed because of my change in personal branding but also with age I ponder.

As a child the only people who had these types of images of themselves were actors, scientists, authors or CEOs. These were people who relied on their face for work or their authority.

Ever since social media, everyone now has an avatar. They might change them frequently for personal profiles but if you looked at their career based image you will see a professional, hopefully. Now these people are not actors or authors. In the most case, they are just everyday people, like me. Yet here they are with professional head shots. I am a graphic designer who never would have had this type of image of myself in the past. There would never have been a need.

Now I see that over the years this image of me has transformed and evolved. In the past on the internet we all wanted a bit of anonymity. I hid behind a random image. That image evolved as my design sensibilities and personal branding grew. Then after some time it was perfectly normal to have a photo of myself on the internet. I took a self portrait of myself, feeling vulnerable. I liked how the picture turned out. I was having a good hair day. Then this image becomes my avatar, an image of myself that others then identify with. Even as my hair grew long and I grew older, this image was the image that represented me.

Once I was no longer in my early twenties I knew I needed to update that image. I was no longer a university student working the musical festivals circuit. I am now a grown up with a career trying to reinforce my professional image as a freelancer. I need people to take me seriously. I wore a nice shirt on a good hair day and took yet another self-portrait. This time there was no vulnerability, I knew my skills and now needed an image that showed I the professional that I am. I remember that day telling my mum about how I have now officially grown older on the internet.

Continuing on with professional development and branding changes, and the need for a more personal, warm photo. The same image from last year is now zoomed in. It is encased in a diamond, the main if only element of my personal branding. When all the other avatars are in boxes or circles I am still trying to be outside the box.

Losing the em-dash

Help, Typography

More and more on the Internet the em-dash (—) is disappearing. This is probably because of a few reasons.

  • Lack of knowledge of when to use them
  • How difficult it is to actually add one
  • Webpages not automatically turning “- -” into an em-dash like Microsoft Word auto-correct
  • How hard they are to find in other software packages
  • Laziness and/or ignorance

In order to add the em-dash to this post I Google-searched “em-dash” and copied and pasted it. Easy. I have a shortcut on my Wacom Tablet that works with InDesign to put the em-dash in—instead of avoiding the long maze through the menu.


InDesign menu to find an em-dash


When I started to notice the rise in “- -” formatting on the Internet I was a little sad because the formatting is wrong. Then I realised that it has shown up in more and more places on the Internet and was now approaching critical mass. I have seen this misuse on blogs about writing blogs.


The “- -” has not only taken over the Internet. I’ve seen it in printed brochures and *gasp* a printed book.

Since it was little effort to place the actual em-dash, and as a typesetter I do this regularly, I do get upset seeing this wrong formatting. I understand it takes a moment and breaks your flow but before publishing, it is always wise to edit and proof your work and this is where a find and replace will pick up this mistake. And yes, it is a mistake.

The “- -” symbol actually does mean something. It is a “decrement operator“.

Remember, there are no spaces on either side of an em-dash. For more advice about proper em-dash usage see Grammar Girl’s article: When to Use—and Not Use—an Em-Dash.

NB: WordPress automatically converts the double hyphen to an em-dash so I have intentionally placed a space between the two while formatting this page.