Semester V | Color Calibrations for In-House Printing
Design House Prep School | A School For Creatives | Online Creative Courses

Color Calibrations

for in-house printing


Without a doubt, the questions we get most often are regarding printing.  We do most of our printing in-house and have since our inception ten years ago.  

Many stationers are going the route of investing in an awesome printer and handling all their printing needs within their own studio.  There are so many advantages to being able to control this integral part of your production process yourself, but there can also be some major drawbacks.  Learning the ins and outs of your printer’s personality, what types of paper it likes and doesn't like, how long it takes to complete projects, etc. is all a major learning curve, but nothing compares to the learning curve of color adjustments.  

Have you ever printed something straight from Illustrator or Photoshop and it looks nothing like your digital file?  The colors are all wrong, they're muted and muddy, reds are browns, blushes are orange and dark greens are black.  Know that frustration?  This course will walk you through making color adjustments specifically for printing in house and will walk you through adding adjustment layers, running test prints, identifying issues and correcting them.  

Full disclosure, we will NOT be handing you the exact solutions for your very specific printer problems. Odds are, you have a different printer, a different computer monitor, a different paper… even a difference in the weather can change how your prints come out! What we WILL do is walk you through the same questions and best practices we go through for any in-house printing project that we do ourselves. We want you to walk away from this course with the tools and the confidence to troubleshoot any printing issues that come your way, no matter the specific circumstance!

Semester V | Products: When do you know you're ready

Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't mean it's a good idea for you.  Learn to tune out outside preasures and make good decisions for your business in the long term.

Maybe you’ve been in business for a while and you’re interested in adding new offerings to your business. Maybe you’ve just started dipping your toes in the water and can’t decide between a few different product paths. We’ve all been there. As a business owner, you have to make these kind of decisions as you move forward and continue to grow, but the decision can be harrowing — nerve-wracking and intimidating!

Jenny Sanders will be joining Victoria for an in-depth conversation about products and when (or if) to carry them.  We'll go through the questions you should be asking yourself when considering carrying product, what your answers should be and whether carrying products is the right move for your business. 

What do we mean by product? Product examples could be selling prints, a semi-custom line, greeting cards, ribbon, handmade paper, etc. But they don’t have to be physical products either, you might be considering offering services like mentoring, workshops, or branding consultation. For example, when Victoria decided to begin Prep School, a purely digital product, she went through the same thought processes we talk about in this course! We'll walk you through the process and behind the scenes efforts of what goes into researching, creating and carrying a product line.  

Design House Prep School | A School For Creatives | Online Creative Courses


Semester V | Venue Illustrations
Design House Prep School | A School For Creatives | Online Creative Courses

Venue Illustrations

Historic museums, exotic castles, nostalgic homes — our clients put a lot of thought into the venue of their event. Dreamy venue illustrations are an excellent way to acknowledge their efforts add a personal touch to any project you create.

In this course, we're going to learn to illustrate a venue two ways: the hard way, and the easy way. We'll be learning one and two point perspective and learn how to illustrate a building the old fashioned way: with pencil, paper, ruler and eraser. Although this is the time consuming route, it's always important to know the technique before you learn the shortcut. During the second half of the course, we'll learn to do it the quick and dirty way so you can spend less time illustrating and more time creating.

I'm all about working as efficiently as possible and getting work done as quickly as possible while still maintaining the integrity of the work.  Sometimes, this means creating and accepting shortcuts.  I have zero shame in utilizing these shortcuts, but the best way to learn a shortcut is to make sure you understand the long way first. 

Semester V | Sourcing

Sourcing is something that has been on my mind for a while.  I feel like a rather large portion of our industry doesn't actually do it.  Rather than seeking out information, they take was is handed to them.  This may be fine when you're just starting out, but in order to grow your business, establish your unique aesthetic, present as an expert in your field, and establish trust with clients, sourcing is absolutely imperative. 

When working as the go-between between products, production and clients, it's imperative that you are sourcing your materials fully and completely ahead of time.  You want to make sure that you know: what colors are available for this paper type? What are the corresponding envelope sizes? Which companies carry these paper lines but are frequently sold out or plagued with back orders (here’s looking at you, May Arts)?

When you have a good grasp on all of these background details, you will, for example, automatically grab your swatch book (that you pre-ordered from your paper vendor) to match a specific shade of purple for your client immediately rather than promising a product that doesn't exist.

Presenting your client with accurate and attainable product details when discussing their design will set you as the expert in your field, establishing credibility and trust.  Knowing the full range of available product will also help further define your specific aesthetic as a designer and better meet client needs.  We'll also briefly discuss pricing for different product and how to up-sell your client. 

Design House Prep School | A School For Creatives | Online Creative Courses


Victoria Rothwell
Master Class | Finding Your Voice
Design House Prep School - Creative Business Workshops

Something that new artists struggle with above so many other struggles is finding their own voice. I feel like new artists expect art to pop out of their fingertips like magic onto a page; that they'll immediately produce wonderful, unique and sellable work.  


Most often, an artist begins their journey by being drawn to the work of others around them.  They've curated a community that they follow, wether it be on instagram, youtube, other students at school, etc. and that will be the work that most strongly influences their own.  We all begin by mimicking the work that we're most drawn to, but this creates a few problems down the road that we don't anticipate at this stage.


The first is that the work we're copying is the work of someone who has found their voice and practiced speaking in the voice for some time now.  Our mimicry will fall flat, looking like a sad amateur copy, resulting in disappointment and discouragement.  


The second is when we continue to pursue perfecting another persons voice, we only end up sounding or looking like them rather than coming into our own voice. 


So how do you do it? How do you find your own voice?  The first step is to start speaking. 


Again, most artists begin by mimicking the work they're drawn to, but so many of those newer artists continue the same copying procedure in their pursuit of their craft.  


Rather than continuing to copy (aka "being inspired by") someone else's work, view that work as a jumping off point for your own voice.  It's like learning to begin by singing along with other songs in the car, learning the melodies and lyrics, moving on to karaoke, learning a cappella, exploring your own sounds and understanding what note ranges work well for you.  


In order to develop the same unique voice with artwork, we have to go though a similar process. 

Design House Prep School | Creative Workshops.jpg


Produce work, produce shitty work, produce it again. 


Evaluate your work (evaluate is different that criticize).  Identify the details you like and dislike about what you produce and produce something focusing on the detail you liked from your previous work.  Evaluate and produce again.  And again, and again and again.  Continue this process for a month, creating and evaluating something every day.  At the end of the month, line up your pieces with a few from the beginning, a few from the middle and a few from the end and see how your style developed, evolved and became more distinctive to you and less of the copy you started with.  


Identify what makes your work unique.  Are you drawn to unusual color combinations?  Odd scale combinations?  Unique medium combinations?  As you evaluate your work, watch out for the things that stand out to you and continue to build on them and embrace them. 


It's those things that you identify as being unique that will become your voice.  Own them.  Be proud of them.  Have the courage to stand up for them.  


Being an artist is like being a dumpster diver - we're looking for things that others have discarded or dismissed.  We're always hunting for the shinny object poking out of the bottom of the trash heap that everyone else has missed.  We shift through the debris of every day life, culture, influence and we pay attention to the things everyone else is ignoring.  Find inspiration in those things, develop them, evolve and evaluate and then own the shit of it as you develop and evolve with it.


Now you have a voice.  

Course | Intro to Instagram Styling

If you're anything like us, you love scrolling through Instagram and looking at all the pretty pictures -- and so do your potential clients! 

Compelling visuals paint a picture for potential clients and customers. Maybe these are beautifully shot examples of your work, or maybe they're lifestyle images that evoke your brand's mood. You want your visitors to easily picture the ways in which your creative business and artistic endeavors can add value to their lives. 

This course will cover both the basics of Instagram as a social media branding platform, including concepts such as showing your style, making choices with intention, and using hashtags, as well as tips on the actual creation of well-photographed content. For styling and photography, we'll go over the basics of how to light your photos, choose props, and style and edit your images. 

Used effectively, Instagram can be a powerful tool to bring awareness of your brand, network with other creatives, and drive traffic to your inbox! 

Design House Prep School | A School For Creatives | Creative Workshops | Styling for Instagram
Victoria Rothwell
Course | Calligraphic Flourishes
Design House Prep School | A School for Creatives | Creative Workshop

If you're at all familiar with our work at Design House of Moira, you know we love pointed pen calligraphy. Even more, you know we love flourishes on our calligraphy. Flourishes in the right place can bring emphasis to certain words, bring balance to a piece, add artistic style, and change the overall feel of whatever you are calligraphing.

Whether your finished calligraphy will be used for the names on an invitation or a calligraphed envelope address, wedding vows or a monogram, mastering the art of flourishing will elevate your calligraphy and help you create a more polished final piece. 

In this course, we will cover common styles of flourishing, common mistakes, how to build muscle memory, visually balance your flourish placement, and finish with examples of how you can apply flourishes to multi-line pieces. 

Victoria Rothwell
Course | Contracts & Invoicing for Creatives
Design House of Moira | Design House Prep School | A School for Creatives | Creative Workshops

Having amazing artistic talent is only half the battle. Robust contracts are there to protect you and your clients to make sure everyone is getting what they need out of the relationship. 

Perhaps you had a background in law before you got started in a creative business, in which case, AWESOME, let's be friends! But if you're like the rest of us, you may not have any experience creating your own contracts and invoices and may be floundering to know what you may need to do to get all your i's dotted and t's crossed. 

For this course, we worked with the lovely and talented Paige Hulse of Paige Hulse Law, who is an attorney for creative entrepreneurs and online small business owners. After working as a contract litigator by day and running a calligraphy business by night, in 2017 she took the leap of starting her own practice, bridging the gap between the creative and legal worlds. She now works one on one with creatives at Paige Hulse Law, and recently opened the Creative Law Shop, where she sells contract templates and resources for entrepreneurs.

You'll walk away from this course with the knowledge you need to set your creative business up the right way when it comes to your contracts and invoices. 

Victoria Rothwell
Stationer 101 Crash Course
Design House of Moira | Design House Prep School | A School for Creatives | Become a Stationer

As we developed our new course Designing a Suite: From Start to Finish, we realized there are a lot of other courses already available in DHPS that students interested in creating a wedding invitation suite for a client would benefit from. This class bundle will take you through the must-take courses -- truly from start to finish -- so that you can properly conceptualize and make decisions about everything from your creative process to the actual nitty gritty details of designing your artwork and digitizing and printing them.


- SEVEN awesome classes

1. Establishing Your Creative Process
2. Sketching for Creative Businesses
3. Design Boards for Creative Businesses
4. Paper & Printing Flowchart
5. Designing a Suite: From Start to Finish
6. Digitizing I: Calligraphy & Artwork
7. Digitizing II: Creating a Digital Proof

- All seven courses in one class pass are available for 15% off the cumulative total.

- Access to anything included in the courses individually, such as:

1. course videos, 
2. handouts, and
3. access to the private Facebook group.


Honing and refining your creative process as a business is such an incredibly important part of owning and running a profitable creative business. You could have the most compelling idea for a product or service ever, but without a strong process to back it up, you'll be using up all your time putting out unnecessary fires rather than being productive and creating more awesome stuff to sell.

A consistent workflow and well-established process helps us manage our clients, set client expectations correctly, correct our time management problems, elevate our client's experience, and ultimately be more profitable. It puts YOU in the driver's seat, helping you and the client to be more efficient and effective, and ultimately creating a more satisfying experience for everyone involved.

This course will walk you through general steps based on our creative process as a stationer, all while discussing ideas and questions you should go through as you develop your own creative process to best suit your own unique business and clients.


Communication - the key to a successful relationship. This is true for any relationship, but especially one with your client!

As a stationer, I can't overstate how much sketching has helped me communicate more effectively and efficiently with clients. This is a perfect course for those creatives in stationery related businesses looking to hone their paper process with their clients, but it's also a great course for all creatives looking to smooth out their customer experience.

We'll talk about why having a sketching stage is important, how transparent to be with your clients, its advantages as well as how to go about adding a sketching stage into your own process.

If you have or are planning to take the Creative Process course, this course goes hand-in-hand with the principles laid out in that course!


After taking the Creative Process course in Semester I, hopefully you now understand the value in refining your creative process and see how it plays into the client experience. In addition to sketching (also talked about in Semester I), design boards are a great detail that can be added to your creative process to help narrow down a client's needs and wants.

Design boards can be used to hone in on and communicate design scopes to clients. Further narrowing your creative process allows for less time doing the back and forth with clients as well as reducing the amount of time spent with too many ideas flying around. Design boards help both you as the creative, as well as your client, keep the end design goals in mind, stay focused, and work more efficiently.

In this course you'll be walked through creation of a very basic design board for a client's branding.


Commercial printing, whether you outsource or print in-house, is never as easy as just hitting Ctrl+P. Learn the ins and outs, save yourself time, money and sanity as we walk you through choosing the correct design + paper + printing method for yourself and your clients from the start. If you've ever struggled to finish a project on time due to printing snafus, last minute design changes based on printing methods, or struggled to reconcile your client's vision with your printing capabilities, this is the course for you!

In addition to the nitty gritty of actual printing, we'll also be looking at helping your clients make their paper/printing decisions correctly through education, correct presentation and bringing in some "spin" that we'll learn in the Art of Saying No.


Do you have awesome artwork or calligraphy skills on paper and no idea how to translate that to the computer? Digitizing your work is the first step in translating your beautiful artwork from paper to pixel. We'll be starting at the beginning and walking you through scanning, editing and using calligraphy and artwork in your layouts and designs. This will be a beginner to intermediate course.

Although instruction will be using specific examples and methods in the Adobe Creative Suite (specifically, Photoshop), we do not require you to purchase Photoshop in order to take the course. The same principles could be applied to other photo-editing software, including free alternatives like GIMP, or take advantage of the free trial from Adobe to see if Photoshop is for you.


If you've been following along with DHPS over the past two years, we've been slowly building the foundations for completing a successful project with a wedding stationery client. We've learned to develop our creative process, work with our clients through the sketching process to nail down their ideas, guide clients to the right decisions about paper and printingbased on their desires and budget, and digitize our hand-done artwork into something we can use in a digital design.

All of those skills are SUPER important and will make your life 100% easier over the course of your project, but how do you go about designing the suite itself?

This course will cover the nitty gritty details of how to make your design decisions as you implement all the information you've gathered from your client into their dream invitation suite. How will you lay out your artwork? Where will you put the visual weight? What kind of printing are you doing, and how will that affect your artwork? We'll work through the design of an example suite in the course from digitized artwork to the final print-ready files. 


In Digitizing I, you learned to scan and clean physical artwork in Photoshop and Illustrator, turning your work into digital files you could use in, for example, a wedding invitation suite of your own design.

This course builds on those skills and complements "Designing a Suite - From Start to Finish" by showing you how to create a digital proof of your completed artwork designs for your client. We love the way a digital proof helps to elevate your client experience to the next level. A well-done proof clearly communicates the various features of your project from the main invitation to the custom wax seals, helps your client better imagine the full suite and final product as a whole, and allows you to share a visually pleasing, branded representation of the whole project.

We'll be using Adobe InDesign extensively in this course and taking advantage of how the Creative Suite products play nicely together. You'll walk away from this course with a crash course in the basics of InDesign and the knowledge and tools to complete a document template for your own digital proofs.

While purchase of this particular program is by no means a requirement for taking the course, many commands and functions may be specific to InDesign. If you are more comfortable with another desktop publishing program, would prefer to create your proof fully within another program such as Photoshop itself, or have not yet decided to take the plunge and purchase the Adobe products yourself, you may still find many of the principles we discuss helpful in your case.

Victoria Rothwell