chic desk accessories.

chic desk accessories | dotted design

Every August I get the itch to go shopping for school supplies. While it doesn’t make sense for me to stock up on Lisa Frank folders and stacks of notebook paper anymore, I do take this late summer opportunity to evaluate my office space.

One of the most important ways to feel motivated while you work is to have an inspiring workspace. Whether you have a home office, a cubicle, or a comfy couch that you work from, pretty accessories and organized surroundings can do wonders for your energy. When I come home to a desk piled in papers and notes scribbled on tiny yellow post-its, I don’t feel ready to conquer my tasks. When I take the time to organize and invest in cute notebooks and supplies, I can’t wait to make to-do lists, file my items, and design away!

I’ve rounded up some of the cutest office items around – dream office in the making! What are some of your go-to desk accessories?

nate berkus file folders because who doesn’t love a touch of metallic? // nasty gal peony rose & vanilla good smells are e-scent-ial // agenda to keep you on track // kate spade dear me notepad: perfect for to-do lists // kate spade bow push pins for starting that real life moodboard // kate spade bow usb a chic way to carry files // nate berkus stapler keep those papers together! // acrylic tape dispenser never know when you’ll need tape! // field notebook for notes during your calls // mint julep cup, design darling perfect for pens! // threshold letter sorter keep those papers somewhere

mint & mustard moodboard.

mint-mustard-grey moodboard | dotted design

It has become an funny pattern that every summer I seem to work with clients who love bright, bold colors and patterns. While those are always such fun projects, by the time August rolls around, I am ready for something softer. I love matching up these mint, mustard, and grey tones for this moodboard, and mixing in some block type and handwritten words.

Now, time to savor the few weeks that are left of summertime. I’ll be headed to northern Wisconsin in a couple weeks to spend a few days at a cabin on a small lake with plenty of time to relax (and let’s be honest, probably spend plenty of time on Pinterest). I also need to up my frequency at Purple Door, a local ice cream shop. What are your end of summer plans?

images via 2 3 4 5 6 7

free font Friday

free uppercase fonts on dotted design

In honor of the excitement that Friday brings, I’m rounding up some of my favorite free uppercase fonts as of late! How FUN is that?

Ostrich Sans: A nice thin, condensed font, this all-caps typeface is great for headlines or in logos.

Mensch: I love Lost Type Co-op, and this one has great rounded edges for a less harsh look.

Bebas Neue: Another all-caps friend, this is a bit more bold and always clean and sassy.

Haymaker: Another Lost Type creation, this one has some great character for when you have a project needing something more vintage yet refined.

Abraham Lincoln: The serif one of my collection today, this font feels stately, yet not too wide to take over a visual space.

Intro Inline: The bold one of the group, this typeface has some geometric sass going on.


Have a relaxing weekend, and if you want to keep up with my random sightings, hop on over to Instagram.


*Just a reminder, some of these are free for personal use only. Make sure to take note if you are using them commercially!

letter inspiration

Letter inspiration | dotted design

Monday morning found its way back again! I am kicking off the week in search of some inspiration for beautiful letters (of the alphabet; not what you write on stationery, for once!). I love monograms, but I also love creating alternate logos for brands that they can use for stationery, blog graphics, or just as a signature symbol.

Searching A to Z, these letters really caught my eye as some creative work. Usually, I’m caught up in finding the right balance for a particular word or phrase, so it was fun to look deeper and consider single letters.

Hopefully getting back to the basics gets you inspired to start your week!

images via: H A A V B B R Q 

get mugged.

Mugged dotted design

When I go to bed each night, I think about how excited I am to get up and have my bowl of cereal and coffee. For those mornings when I am feeling unmotivated, a sassy mug always does the trick! Whether coffee or tea is your, well, cup of tea, I’ve rounded up some of the cutest mugs around for almost any taste:

octagonal mug, kohl’s
dot pop, anthropologie
elsa cup, crate & barrel
striped mug, brika
potter’s workshop, west elm
say the word crossword, kate spade
monogram, kate spade
bird party, crate & barrel [seriously, bird party!!]
owl mug, west elm
pig mug, macy’s
mrs fancy pants, ashley brooke designs
greek key mug, jonathan adler

new cards in the shop!

dotted design wedding cards

With wedding season in full swing, it was high time I got some more wedding cards into the shop! In coordination with the rest of my collection, I employed dots (of course) and just a bit of wit. Each is on a different paper, and one in the prettiest mustard yellow.

SHOP the Paper Shop here!

Plus, as a thank you for reading my blog, save 10% on anything in the shop with the code NEW10.

I’d love to know: what types of cards are missing in your collection?


tips to build a strong brand.

tips for building a strong brand | dotted design

Today, I’m sharing a few pointers for building a strong and memorable brand. It’s something you can employ whether you’re just starting out or already in the thick of things!

  • Shout about what makes you extraordinary.

Think back to why you started your business, whether that was several years ago or last week. What drove you begin? Likely, it was because you felt you had something to offer the world, whether it was a product, a service, or yourself. What makes you just that bit different than your competitor?

Maybe you are an illustrator. There are tons of illustrators out there – what would make someone choose your service? You might be kick-ass at drawing faces or using pastels. If you’re a web designer (again, tons of us), you might be really awesome at designing functional sites for restaurants or unique styles for blogs. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing will help your business soar.


  • Look to industries outside your own for inspiration.

Inspiration is everywhere. You may end up finding yourself closed in if you are only looking within your industry for ideas! That is where we get stuck copying or too-close-for-comfort iterations. For example, I doubt that if you are reading this, you own an airline company. However, Southwest is an awesome example of a very cohesive, strong brand. Everything from their website to their safety cards to their coffee cups display the Southwest personality and look. Your business may not have safety cards, but you can use the inspiration of their thorough cohesive branding as a model.


  • Be willing to try something new, but don’t ignore best practices.

The fastest way to become out of touch is to get stuck in a rut or do something because you’ve “always done it.” The best brands are those that are always trying to innovate and make their businesses better. That being said, don’t lose your sensibility! There are certain times when it doesn’t pay to try something different. Make sure you are considering the standards of your industry and what you audience is going to expect.

One example could be with email marketing. Currently, studies say that most email campaigns are opened between 2-5pm on weekdays, with Tuesday and Thursday being the most popular days. Trying to stand out and choosing to send an email campaign on a Saturday at 8pm would be a silly idea! Sure, there won’t be many marketing emails going out at that time – but your audience won’t be reading. Trying a Monday or Wednesday would be a more logical experiment. Bottom line: don’t be different just for the sake of being different.


  •  Strive for timeless, not trendy.

“Oh my gosh, everyone has handwritten logos in black and white – I must get one!!” is not something you should think. It’s so tempting to hop on trend bandwagons, especially when it is a style you also happen to love. But, in order to avoiding a rebranding project every year or two, work really hard to build a brand that speaks to you business and your dream clients – not the latest styles on Pinterest. As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.”


What are some ways you have employed intention in your brand? I’d love to hear more ideas!