Design and Hustle

A blog about learning to design and learning to hustle, and how technology can help both.

Project: Patches, Pins and Stuff for Namaste Trekking

This project is a good example of how taking a leap of faith to start sharing your work, is perhaps the most important thing you can do to enter the creative industry. You might have all the talent in the world, but if nobody sees your work, nobody gives a shit.

Last year I decided to start making patch designs as a personal project. I was fascinated by their simplicity and size restraints, how they almost required you to boil down an image to its most basic elements. Patches and enamel pins are often limited in what can be produced, because of their small size, and often print or manufacturing limitations. I love working in parameters like this, as it requires focus and a level of honesty about what needs to be in your design to captures a mood or feeling, and what needs to go, even if you like how it looked.

My friend Adam Shand, recently launched his own business — Namaste Trekking, that combines hikes and climbs with mindfulness and yoga (a perfect combo!) and from the projects I did last year, he asked me to design a series of patches, pins, stickers or whatever the hell they needed to be, that he could give to clients as they completed their treks in different locations. Cool little things to take home as a reminder that you smashed your climb.

Immediately I jumped into research, which for me, is a matter of simply seeking out materials for inspiration, and keeping my eyes open for things that might inspire me, that otherwise wouldn’t have — “What can be applied to the project I’m working on right now?” Is the thought process basically. I always have my iPad in my backpack for digital sketches or even quick mockups, a notebook to scribble down sketches, and my phone to snap photos of stuff around me.

Once I start to formulate ideas in my head for each location that Adam wanted, I jumped into my go to vector app — Affinity Designer for iPad. I learnt from Aaron Draplin about the usefulness of working in iterations so each art board contain multiple iterations of designs as I added pieces, and more importantly, peeled pieces away.

Creating a series of designs meant finding a consistency between each of them. I focused on line thickness (taking into consideration stitching on embroidered patches) colours in CMYK, the swooping skies, corner rounding, and fonts used. Ensuring these elements remained consistent through the designs made designing faster and more efficient. It also meant that the designs would feel like they represented the same company without needing “Namaste trekking” squeezed into each one.


Software used:

  • Linea Sketch

  • Affinity Designer for iOS

  • Keynote


  • CMYK

  • PNG

  • PDF

  • EPS

  • AFD

Thanks for reading! If you don’t know me, I’m a graphic designer from Belfast, chronicling my journey into building a graphic design career. If you enjoyed this post, or any others, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or if you really want, hire me!

“It’s Pretty Clear The Wind is Blowing”

Fellow iPad-for-designers enthusiast Brad Colbrow shared his thoughts on a YouTube video this week about Adobe’s updated pricing to their Photoshop and Lightroom tier.

I’m not currently paying for Creative Cloud, but I do think it’s strange that they have decided to ‘test’ pricing live on customers instead of doing internal research. If the price drops again next week, are you simply left paying the higher price of their test?.

Brad makes an interesting point about the views on a Procreate video he posted last week doubling the amount of views his ‘Photoshop for the iPad Unveiled’ video that he posted six months ago. This isn’t necessarily representative of how much interest there is in Photoshop for the iPad, it could simply be a matter of the YouTube algorithm at play, or Brad’s audience not being overly interested in it. I fully expect faithful Adobe users to become more interested once the app is fully released, and we get a better idea of how capable it actually is compared to their current line of iOS software, which never really felt like a serious venture.

I do think however, his video views are an indicator of how new, powerful software, such as Procreate and even Affinity is exciting creatives around the world. I’ve said before that this combination of technology and cheap software is steadily lowering the barrier for artists and create and share amazing work. Adobe might have already missed out on that, and these price changes may be the first signs that things are slowing up.


It looks like Adobe has brought back the original tier, but kept the new one as well. - CB

Conor Boyle
Butterick’s Practical Typography

I’ve mentioned before I don’t have a formal education in design, as a result of that, I have always felt my typography skills are lacking. I have a general idea for what looks right and what feels right, but I don’t any of the reasoning behind it. I’ve been trying to learn, but it’s a daunting task to even know where to start. I came across Matthew Butterick’s site yesterday after Daring Fireball linked a post of his, and it’s so far been amazing. Starting with his ‘Typography in Ten Minutes’ five simple points that take five minutes to read, and five minutes to read again, I was hooked.

I highly recommend checking it out, and recommend even more that you share it for others to find. The problem is I’m not incredibly paranoid that I’ve been doing everything wrong.

Practical Typography.

Conor Boyle
Squarespace on iPad

Squarespace has long been my favourite platform to build websites on. I’m not a web developer, although my design sensibilities know what makes a pretty great site, and squarespace lets me execute on that. Up until now, making any changes to your site was a frustrating task on iPad - you need to use Mobile Safari, which limited what you could accomplish. With their latest iOS app, you can easily keep your site up to date on the go. I’d like to see more tools come over time that allowed you to design more through the app, which currently only lets you arrange the site, add content, and add pages, but this is a great start and will make me much more likely to update more frequently. I’m going to try and build my portfolio, using mostly this app in the next few months. We’ll see how it goes.

Check it out here.

Thanks for reading! If you don’t know me, I’m a graphic designer from Belfast, chronicling my journey into building a graphic design career. If you enjoyed this post, or any others, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or if you really want, hire me!

iPad Pro How-To Videos

Apple added more of their iPad Pro tutorials to their YouTube channel. I love these videos because they highlight how the iPad’s workflow is fundamentally different than that or a notebook. We learned to accept the weaknesses of notebooks over desktop computers and embrace it’s strengths. The iPad should be no different. 

There’s also a new advert, which shows a basic, albeit hyperbolic, day in the life of an iPad user. I absolutely flip my iPad like this. I have also used up all of my AppleCare+ replacements.