This project is even closer to my heart than usual because it’s for my sweet husband Christian. Christian is an accomplished lighting technician who has worked in the film industry for years; he’s also a very talented handyman who has helped us transform every place we’ve ever lived in together. Put together his home improvement know-how with the predictable down-times of the cinema world, and it was only a matter of time before he started up a second business for himself. He’s currently completing his studies to obtain his RBQ number and has been working with local construction companies for the past year to sharpen his skills – so naturally I had to help out with a logo and a website.

Girlfriday Blog - Bonjour! Construction

Since we’ve got bilingual ground rules here in our Belle Province, he went with a friendly name that everybody understands and that emphasizes his approachability. Renovations are messy and patience-testing – yes indeedy, ask me all about it – but they don’t have to be scary and the process doesn’t have to be murky. We’ve encountered challenges with every single contractor we’ve ever hired and I’m sure that many people can relate, so hopefully Christian’s approach may present a refreshing change from the norm.

Christian just recently finished his first project for our friends Marie-Eve and Mike – Marie-Eve wrote a lovely blog post about it here – I love this project! Marie-Eve has impeccable taste as you probably already know. As usual, she’s inspired me to tackle more than a few of the neglected corners in our own abode. Congratulations honey, on your new business! Oh, and I have a kitchen for you to look at… it just happens to be very nearby. And a bathroom… and… xo

Fresh Work: Pretzel & Compagnie

photo courtesy of: Pretzel & Compagnie

Bronwyn and Andreas are two of the hardest-working people you might meet. They run a bakery, have adorable twin toddler boys and are in the process of taking over Montreal and beyond with their gorgeous, authentic pretzels. When Bronwyn contacted me about their pretzel business I was really excited to help them out – not only had they given much time and thought to their plans, but they were revving up for an appearance at the Montreal Beer Festival and Bronwyn was determined to make it all come together with a unified identity.

It started with a fresh new name and took off from there. We chatted and brainstormed together and it was great – I’m so lucky to have clients with impeccable taste. We wanted to avoid any typical pretzel visual traps and steer away from anything that felt too traditional. Bronwyn was inspired by modern design with a touch of vintage and nostalgia, so we developed a round crest/stamp with a minimalist pretzel icon, clean typography and a textured background reminiscent of old-world bistro blackboards.

Fresh Work: Pretzel & Compagnie

I got a little carried away thinking of all the possibilities – I couldn’t help myself. Can’t you just imagine the wax paper, stickers, pretzel boxes, napkins…? So much fun.

Fresh Work: Pretzel & Compagnie

Snack-lovers: be sure to drop by, say hello and try a pretzel or three – there’s nothing like enjoying some delicious treats AND supporting a local business. Bronwyn and Andreas, I can’t wait to see where you go with this – I know you are destined for home-baked greatness! Thanks again, I’m looking forward to our next delicious project together :)

Fresh Work: Davina + Daniel

February 8th, 2012

I have long been an admirer of wedding photographers Davina + Daniel – a beautiful, talented couple, traveling, creating beautiful work together, complementing each other – so amazing. Currently they’ve just kicked off seven months of on-again off-again travel starting with Guatemala – last year had them all over the map as well, including a stop-over in Kenya where they spent some time at an orphanage. They have a sweet little dog named Coco (that I know Panda is dying to meet) and when they got married it looked like this – I mean. Really.

I was thrilled (and a little nervous!) when they contacted me to re-vamp their identity. They felt that they were outgrowing their previous look and were giving a lot of careful thought to what their needs and wants were. I love it when clients take their time with this process – it may feel like a luxury, but it’s essential for lasting results. We brainstormed with images, moodboards, font exploration and came to the conclusion that a custom font treatment was the only way to go – after all, in a sea of wedding photographers, these two are one of a kind. The goal was to convey the unique, natural and completely personal approach that Davina + Daniel give to each of their assignments – not to mention their unrelenting passion, dedication and attention to detail. Oh, and did I mention they become friends with most of their clients? Add: lots of care and joy to the mix.

Davina + Daniel logo by Girlfriday

I worked on varying the line weights to allow each letter to shine while maintaining the flow and adding some handmade detail. This logo was a lot of work (in a good way) and I really enjoyed the process. Not only that, but I really enjoyed working with Davina and Daniel – I know that as a couple it can take some extra compromising and exploring (from choosing what movie to watch to decorating your home, let alone creating your identity!), and they were very patient and supportive of each others’ likes and dislikes during the process. Thanks guys, for being such lovely clients! I hope the logo continues to make you happy!

Note: I also helped them with the design of their new site, where the focus, naturally, had to be all about the work. You can check it out here.

Can’t get enough of Davina + Daniel? You can purchase a selection of their prints here.

I first met Roseanne Harvey (It’s All Yoga, Baby) at a Montreal Girl Geeks Dinner. Back when I still lived in Montreal, I always made an effort to attend the Montreal Girl Geek events – partly because my dear friend Tanya McGinnity founded the group, and partly, as a huge added bonus, because they were so much fun. I always learned something new and enjoyed re-connecting with friends and colleagues – and making new ones. On this particular evening, Roseanne was giving a talk called The Yoga of Blogging. Being a perennial yoga beginner (always starting, then stopping, then starting up again) and knowing that I needed to hop on the blog wagon, I was looking forward to Roseanne’s insights.

Roseanne spoke about how blogging had become as much a part of her spiritual practice as her yoga. That the resulting sense of community and connection were treasured rewards. It was an educational and entertaining evening, all the way down to a somewhat uncharacteristically feisty few minutes (mine) where I let loose on a heckler who had been rudely talking over Roseanne’s presentation the entire time. He decided to continue to make his mark during the question period with some deliberate, baited “questions” that weren’t posed for any reason other than to shake things up (this became clear when he wasn’t very interested in Roseanne’s measured, diplomatic response). To my surprise, my mouth opened and I proceeded to step forward and give my opinion. It was strangely exhilarating to tell someone exactly what I was thinking (all the while making valid points and without being rude or demeaning). I suspect this was partly because, in my every-day life, I was experiencing some pretty unrelenting and unwarranted harassment I couldn’t do anything about… but that’s a whole other story… anyhoo. Once the presentation was over and my feist had wisped itself away, I gazed sheepishly at my toes – and was surprised to receive more than a few “thank-yous” and thwacks on the back from fellow attendees. While I don’t recommend making a (small) scene anywhere, it was definitely a memorable evening, for many reasons ;)

It's All Yoga, Baby logo design by Girlfriday

Fast-forward many months: Roseanne got in touch with me because she wanted to brand up her blog – and I was delighted at the opportunity to work with her! Roseanne is sweet and funny but also smart as a whip and a seasoned social media user, so when she told me she knew exactly what she wanted I knew this would be fun. Some of the key words that surfaced during our moodboard discussions were… starburst… yarn… playful… enthusiasm… strong… handmade…hot pink… Le Petit Prince… Eclectic? Perhaps. Personal, unique and impactful? Definitely. Magically, on a tight deadline, it all came together.

It's All Yoga, Baby logo design by Girlfriday

Thank-you Roseanne, I hope you continue to enjoy your new look! Looking forward to our next project together :)

Did you know that all Girlfriday designs are gluten-free? They are! And so am I. I’m not celiac, but I have IBD. Both IBD and celiac disease are autoimmune disorders that each come with their own set of challenges. Celiac makes no bones about it: you can’t eat gluten. Ever. Or anything that’s been touched by gluten. It makes you sick. With IBD, things can also get awful in a snap; sometimes you get sick and you have no idea why. After a lot of thought, research and advice, four years ago I decided to go gluten-free. This was a personal choice – if you have IBD or any other chronic condition, you know from experience that you just have to do what works for you in order to stay healthy.

On the one hand, it’s easier than being celiac because it doesn’t matter if my food has been contaminated or if I eat a bit of gluten by accident. On the other hand, I wish IBD was as “black and white” as celiac is: don’t eat this stuff, and you’ll be healthy. IBD has so many triggers and unpredictable behaviours, you never know how you’re going to feel, no matter how valiant your efforts. Needless to say, I have a lot of strategies in my daily arsenal to help keep me healthy – but that’s for another post.

Gluten-Free Lemon Layer Cake

For my mom's birthday - recipe on Epicurious

Back to being gluten-free. At first I just didn’t eat anything with gluten in it and didn’t try too hard to figure out how to replace it. It wasn’t so bad, but I missed some of the amazing foods I used to enjoy. Being a Montrealer made it even harder – a city full of good eats!! Once I wrapped my head around keeping my fridge and pantry stocked with a variety of flours and other ingredients, the rest came relatively easily. Armed with the amazing power of the internet, I discovered an entire world of gluten-free bloggers that not only saw the joy in baking gluten-free, they posted recipes, advice, personal stories, and gorgeous photographs. I learned that perseverance was key: it took me no less than six disappointing attempts before discovering the perfect pancake recipe I now make almost every weekend. Trying, and sometimes-to-often succeeding, was better than just dreaming and longing.

Gluten-Free Pancakes

No, I can’t indulge in a slice of pizza when I’m out (some cities are incredibly gluten-free-friendly, sadly Montreal is not), but I can go home and make the most gorgeous homemade pizza you’ve ever eaten. Ditto for cookies, cakes and any number of other foods. I seek out and adore naturally gluten-free dishes even more now. It’s amazing really, the power you feel once you know that you are in control of what you eat and that you are now, in fact, eating way better than you ever thought you could. It costs more and it takes more time, but my body thanks me every day. Going gluten-free has helped me maintain my remissions for longer periods of time, and has also helped me identify other foods that don’t work for me – and that’s worth a lot.

So one day on Twitter I was reading Gluten-Free Girl’s tweets about a new initiative she was working on with other gluten-free bloggers. Do you know Gluten-Free Girl? She’s amazing. She writes with a joy that is contagious. She makes me long even more to go to Italy. And to live on an island (oh wait! Montreal IS an island. Done! ;) I was curious. So I wrote to her. And she wrote back. And we hatched a plan. For a name. And a logo. And oh, how much fun it was, knowing that I was collaborating with one of my favourite bloggers – the days were filled with fangirl moments.

The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally

So here is the result. The logo for The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally. Go read about it. It’s about baking by ratios, and weight, and collaborating with others. Try a recipe or three, even if you don’t have to eat gluten-free. Your tastebuds will thank you. The best part? The inaugural Rally is for my favourite – pancakes!!