Teri Francis (otherwise known as SquirrelHugger on Zazzle) took up photography in 2004, practicing her camera angles on squirrels in her backyard. Besides her passion for photography, she was also a marketing consultant for 30 years, handling everything from copywriting to graphics to design. She quickly found her niche creating “streamlined and corporate designs” — parlaying her years of designing for “urbanistic and contemporary” advertising and executive events.
When I started on Zazzle, I saw that there was an opportunity to put more corporate, streamlined designs out there. That’s my main piece of advice for designers out there — do what you know. If you’re a schoolteacher, design for schoolteachers, if you’re a fisherman, design fisherman-related things. It’s a great place to start.
My designs are influenced by my 30 years of corporate marketing, and I love creating for birthday parties and anniversary parties. I get a lot of male clients — for them I try to stay with darker colors. It’s no surprise, but they don’t love fancy, frilly or cute. It’s all about minimalistic designs and blocks of darker color.
Here are some of my favorite designs:
65th Birthday Party Invitation
Working mostly with men for many years, I learned that their favorite colors are usually black, red, maroon, deep blues, textured browns, and gold-tones. They often miss (or dismiss) fine lines and fancy detail work, so I try to use large block-style accents of color or trim. The tricky thing to remember with masculine designs is that the product you’re creating may very likely be purchased by the woman in his life — so, it’s important to a put a measured balance in your style that will appeal to his lady and make her say “Oh, that’s just perfect for him!”
Sweet 16 Birthday Party Invitation
A customer requested a very specific theme of pink and white “Ice Cream Parlor” style invites for her daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party. I used pink and white stripes to reference the typical ice cream parlor awning, and used a vintage style “menu” board for the invitation text. I also added the big pink bow because she said her daughter was very “girly”. This became a best-seller for me, and I still get requests to duplicate it for other birthday years. One bride had me create her entire wedding ensemble for her with this design.
50th Anniversary Party
50th anniversary celebrations have a special place in my heart. I designed the invites and theme for my own parents’ anniversary party — it was one of the most memorable events in our family’s history. My dad passed away shortly after, but we found great comfort in remembering how happy he was and the wonderful memories we have of that day continue to make us smile. I do every anniversary invitation as if it was for my parents. Fun fact: the 1940′s era couple I use in most of my 50th anniversary invites are indeed my parents on their wedding day.
A girlfriend who was getting married and could not find bridal cards and accessories specifically for women of color, so I created cards, binders and magnets with her in mind.
Christmas Greeting Card for a Special Friend
I created this for a very dear friend who was going through a tough time. When creating greeting cards for any occasion, my best advice is to write the words you would like to hear if you were the one receiving the card. Those are always my best sellers.