| 5 for 5 | spotlight + giveaway

| 5 for 5 | with emily hamma martin of orangebeautiful

leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win a box full of 
letterpress notecards, limited edition typography prints, journals, buttons, gift tags,
 and a surprise or two ($75 value!). orangebeautiful is also offering readers 
a coupon code for 20% off your entire online purchase. see details below.

OrangeBeautiful is a Chicago-based, boutique design firm founded by owner & principal 
designer, Emily Hamma Martin. The company began in the fall of 2004, when, after 
years of bookbinding, creating art and designing for several other stationery companies, 
Martin finally made the leap and opened her own business.

Was there one moment when you knew something special 
was happening – that your art was to become your career?

 I always knew that I would do something creative for a career.  When I was little, 
I remember wanting to be a cartoonist or an animator.  A fiber arts class I took my 
senior year in high school was definitely the turning point, steering me toward 
a lifelong obsession with paper and printing.  We were taught about stamping, batik, 
paper, textiles and (my favorite) bookbinding.  The tactile nature of printing on paper 
and constructing books really spoke to my meticulous, hands-on nature as an artist.

What inspires your work?

 A common thread throughout my work has always been words, letterforms and typography.  
Whether it be a snippet from a famous song (like in our Lyrical Hip Hop and Love Lyrics prints
or utilizing typefaces as ingredients in our card designs, prints and custom work, 
Type definitely is constant inspiration for me as a designer.

Would you share a bit about your creative process?

 Since OrangeBeautiful functions as both the designer + the producer of the majority 
of our products and custom work, my creative process often begins by thinking about 
both what I want the finished product to look like, but also what the best materials, 
method of production, packaging, etc. will be for that product to be its most successful.  
If I have a client that really loves the tactile, luxurious quality of letterpress, well, I'm not 
gonna design a layout that includes full-color photography or grayscale shadows…  
I'll design something with a lot of line work, something that looks great in 1- or 2-colors, 
something that will show off the amazing printing method that the client wants.

Describe your workspace.

 Chaotic.  OrangeBeautiful's workspace has gone through many incarnations 
over the past 8 1/2 years.  It's been the living room of my apartment, it's been a loft 
studio space in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago, it's been a hybrid 
retail shop/studio in Ravenswood (our current space).  It's been part warehouse, 
part meeting space, part print shop, part design studio.  The percentages of those elements 
tend to shift, grow and decrease depending upon what new projects we're taking on, 
or to support a new direction we'd like our work to go in.

The retail/studio space opened in May of 2010, and just this past February, 
we decided to close the day-to-day retail function of the space, physically expand 
our work area, and utilize a now-smaller storefront space to host monthly Pop-Up shops, 
trunk shows and special events, featuring our work, as well as the work of other 
independent and local artists, designers & craftspeople.

As an aspiring independent artist, was there any advice you received or any 
lessons learned that you’d like to pass on to other hopefuls?

Make rules for yourself and stick to them.
When you're first starting out, it's hard to not say 'Yes' to everything.  And, ultimately, saying 
'Yes' to things that ended up being not-so-great experiences, are actually invaluable for your 
growth as an artist, a business owner and a person.  However, the sooner you can start 
making a solid list of 'deal-breakers' for what you're willing to do and not do when it comes 
to making, producing and selling your work, the better off you will be in the end.

If you make custom one-of-a-kind items that you couldn't resell to a client other than 
the one who ordered it, well, you need a hard and fast rule about not accepting returns 
on custom orders.  Write it down and make it public.  Even if it's buried in a list of terms 
and policies on the profile page of your Etsy shop, you need to put it out there to 
protect yourself if and when that scenario happens.

If you take on larger cost projects like making a website or designing and printing a suite of 
wedding invitations, take a deposit and don't do a lick of work, or order a single piece of paper 
until you've done so.  It seems like a no brainer, but sometimes your excitement as a creative 
person who wants to get started on that creative process can take over and give you brain freeze 
about the very thing that'll allow you to keep doing your art:  Money.

Fake it 'til you make it.
Just because you do your work in the corner of your spare room while you're wearing your 
pajamas and listening to Carly Rae Jepsen on repeat doesn't mean you should present yourself 
to the world in that way.  Make a website that has clean design and shows off your work.  
Take a picture of your hands close-up working on your craft, and be sure to crop out your cat, 
your laundry basket, and that Snickers wrapper from yesterday's all-nighter.  Start a blog 
where you post up things your working and things that inspire you, and leave the photos 
of your baby out (you can always post those on Facebook).

I worked out of my living room for the first year and a half of OrangeBeautiful being in business.  
I met clients at Starbucks (and always bought them their coffee, even when I was broke).  I took 
all of my savings and hired a kick-ass web designer to make OB's first website.  I made sure to 
always look professional and be confident about my work whenever meeting with a client, 
or attending an event where I might find business connections.  Even now, 8 1/2 years later, 
I still feel sometimes like I have no idea what I'm doing, but I'm not gonna let you know that ;)

 thanks so much, emily!

remember to leave a comment below, and you'll be entered
into a drawing to win a box full of awesome design goods.

orangebeautiful is also offering all readers 20% off your entire online purchase 
through the end of april. coupon code is OPAT20. go forth and shop!

the winner will be announced on friday, april 19 at 2pm cst.
good luck!

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Anonymous said...

This is an incredible offer! I've been a fan of this shop for a long time, and would love to win this gift. I loved learning more about Emily and OrangeBeautiful, thank you for sharing.


claire said...

Gorgeous stuff, I hadn't heard of them before, thanks for a great introduction to them, good to hear about their working processes.

bjoy_tomac said...

Amazing designs! Hope I have the chance to visit your shop someday.
Thanks for the tips too!

CERULEAN said...

Wonderful designs. I would like to take part in the drawing.

Loren said...

what an awesome giveaway. love the designs!

Justynn said...

These are so creative. Very inspiring!

Sean O'Driscoll said...

I'm very impressed with your work. I will definitely be stopping by next time I'm in town.

Anonymous said...