Posts in course catalog
Semester VI: Elevate Your Brand
Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives

This semester's theme is 'Elevate Your Brand,' focusing on the idea of taking your brand to new levels from the inside out.  

So many people focus on the word "elevate" and how it applies to branding and image, but what they don't tell you is that if your work doesn't back that level of perceived elevation, having an 'elevated brand image' won't help you at all. 

We're taking the idea of 'elevation' to the next level, talking about how to elevate your work, your knowledge, your style, and your aesthetic to set you apart in the industry first and foremost.  

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Develop a Unique Calligraphy Style

We see the same styles recycled over and over again as artists and calligraphers are inspired by all the same things they see on instagram and pinterest. In this course, we’ll teach you how to develop your own style away from outside influences and to take a more critical and analytical approach to building a unique aesthetic.

Learn to develop your own style with intention and discipline to set yourself and your work apart. Build a repertoire of styles from formal to modern with the principals taught in this course.

We’ll begin with a basic calligraphy style and show you how to evolve it into several styles, all that feel and flow naturally with the understanding that a unique approach allows us to attract unique and higher end clients.

Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives

The Instagrammer’s Dilemma

Each semester, I have a favorite course and this semester, it’s The Instragrammer’s Dilemma.

In this course, we’ll dive in to a bit of social psychology and start to unravel the ins and outs of buying habits through social media platforms. We’ll tease apart the issues of monetization, how to monetize your social media platform, and why what you have tried in the past hasn’t worked.

We’ll begin to understand how to harness your instagram account as a powerful tool for marketing and sales through the understanding of the laws of reciprocity and buying habits of consumers.

We’ll also take a hard look at your current approach and understand that sometimes being successful requires a change in how we view our own identity.

Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives


Join us as we pair with Stephanie Hare of Share Studio and spend the day with her learning how to make handmade paper.

We’ll discover the tools and techniques, including cooking and hand beating kozo, machine beating, and several drying techniques. We’ll watch her work through a batch of pulp as she shares her vast knowledge with us.

This course is perfect for anyone interested in beginning a hobby or career in handmade paper, but is even better for stationers to gain an in-depth understanding of the process behind handmade paper. With such a labor-intensive process, handmade paper tends to be a higher end product with a price point to match. Many stationers have a difficult time selling high price point items to clients, but after taking this course, you’ll easily be able to explain the value of such costs and start to elevate your work to higher-end products and clients.

Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives | Wedding Etiquette


Building out wording for wedding invitations can be incredibly intimidating and stressful. Every line on the invitation indicates something, stands for something, and is there for a reason….so how do you know which options to choose? Selecting the incorrect layout can be offensive or communicate the incorrect message to guests.

As stationers, we should know wedding invitation wording and etiquette inside and out, giving us the ability to guide and advise our clients in the proper decorum based on their wedding and specific needs.

In this course, we’ll walk you through the details of building out invitation wording. We’ll review some of the origins of the wording and why we use it, what it represents or indicates, and how to property put wording together. We’ll also touch on a modern approach to some of the older traditions.

The most important portion of this course will review how and when to begin constructing your client’s invitation wording to create a seamless and simple creative process.

Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives  | Create a Repeating Pattern


There are many ways to create and use a pattern. In the wedding industry, we see in gracing the liners of invitations, or the backs of printed pieces. Most of us create patterns by hand in Illustrator or Photoshop, but in this course, we’re going to learn a new method. A seamless repeating pattern is a pattern that is automatically generated from a small amount of work, expanding endlessly without seams or edges.

This type of repeating pattern is uniquely useful for scalable or larger pieces, such as wallpaper, wrapping paper, or fabric. In this course, we’re going to learn how to use Illustrator to create a scalable seamless pattern ideal for surface pattern design.


Custom crests are totally having a moment right now and are hugely popular! When I first started in the industry, I thought that art pieces like crests and patterns had to be created in one go, with everything painted together and scanned in as one piece. The idea of assembling them in Photoshop or Illustrator felt like cheating and I felt like “as a designer and artist” I had to be able to do it all at once. As I’ve honed my skills and experience, I’ve learned that idea was a load of crockery!

In this course, we’ll learn how to build a crest from individually painted artwork pieces to create a seamless and effortless custom crest for a client. We’ll also look at creating several versions to be used throughout their design, varying in size and complexity.

Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives
Design House Prep School | Online Workshops for Creatives

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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. 

Master Class | Scarcity Mentality

Sometimes there just isn't enough to go around...

When we feel like there isn't enough work to go around, we end up jumping on any and everything that comes our way.  We live with the feeling that we just don't know when or how or from where our next job is coming from, so we better take what we can get while we can get it.  It doesn't matter if the work isn't what we want to be doing, isn't our style or our ideal budget, we still have to take it.  

So we take it all.  We're overwhelmed, our dream job is making us miserable, we're working insane hours (night and weekends included), we're anxious, we're working with terrible clients, we have no idea why we decided to take on this crazy idea of owning a business.  

...and the worst part?  We're still not really making any money. 

Most creative business owners answer the same...we just have to take on more clients and work more hours. 

Design House Prep School


...short term

When living with scarcity mentality, we focus only on the short term and what we think is available right this very second without any thought to how it will affect us in the long run.

...ignore the long term options

It's extremely difficult to plan for the long term when our short term scarcity mentality has us scrounging for every little penny every day and unable to focus on the long game.

...jealousy and sadness

When we are struggling so hard to make ends meet and dread getting up every day, we end up becoming envious of others around us who seem to be experiencing successes and happiness. The comparison to our own lives breeds sadness and jealousy. 


So how do we overcome living like this??

- We can start by defining the work we want to be doing and why.

- Taking a good look at our target market and making sure our aesthetic and work has a market to sell to

- Building a brand that stands for our aesthetic and price point

- Market to your target market

- Building strong industry relationships
- Define your ideal client and seeking only to work with them

- Learn to say no

- Learn to set boundaries


We go into detail in our Pricing for Creatives I course if you're interested in learning more! 


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.

With a digital copy of your work, you can use your hand-done artwork in layouts and designs, create prints, get products made, use it in your branding and online presence... the possibilities just open up! Digitizing can mean the difference between restarting a whole project because your client changed their colors or just doing a couple tweaks on Photoshop and reprinting. It can mean that you do the same amount of work and maximize your profit when you sell multiple prints of your piece. It can mean you create your own custom patterns made from your own artwork (awesome!) and proceed to use those patterns as wallpaper, fabric, envelope liners, you name it! 

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. We do love Photoshop though (this isn't a sponsored post!) and it is often the industry standard, so we'd highly recommend taking advantage of the free trial from Adobe to see if Photoshop is for you. 

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Who doesn't love botanicals?? Timeless and classy no matter the medium, we love incorporating botanical artwork into our work and our office space (have you seen our temporary wall mural?).

Traditionally, botanical sketches are very detailed and precise. These make for beautiful drawings and paintings, and we absolutely love them! 

In this course, we will explore a more whimsical interpretation of line botanicals. Victoria has been doing a version of this style since her art school days, for everything from botanicals to anatomy. We'll be learning how to loosen up a bit and create botanicals with loose movement and imprecisions. She'll walk you through how to embrace imperfections in your piece and stylize your botanical drawings. 

We'll use both pen and brush to explore this style so you can see how it can apply to many different mediums.