Rebecca Peterson Studio
Graphic Design + Art Direction


Creativity. Design. Life.

Posts in Design
What Does Your Favorite Color Say About You?
I love color theory and I love personality tests, so I decided to combine the two and make my own "Color-Cheat-Sheet." My favorite color is always pink, but sometimes I really wonder what it would be like to favor a different color.

What do you think of this analysis? Did I get it right?


8 Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand
“Branding, to me, is the identity of a product or service. It’s the name, the logo, the design, or a combination of those that people use to identify, and differentiate, what they’re about to buy. A good brand should deliver a clear message, provide credibility, connect with customers emotionally, motivate the buyer, and create user loyalty.”
-Gini Dietrich

As a graphic designer, I care a lot about branding. I’ve been known to buy more (or less) expensive products at the grocery store because of the way the package is designed. I often look at billboards while driving and ask my husband, “Why do you think they used that font?” As I’ve focused on branding for companies and organizations, I’ve also focused on branding myself. I maintain a professional brand for my design work, Rebecca Peterson Studio. But I also have a personal brand. I want people to know who Rebecca Peterson is and what they can expect from me, both in-person and online.

Here are 8 crucial elements I’ve discovered for developing a strong personal brand.

1. Take High-Quality Headshots

Having a professional portrait will help you stand out online, especially on social media. I find it beneficial to use the same picture across all online profiles, so anyone who’s looking can see that all accounts belong to the same person.

2. Create Deliberate Desk Space

The way your office looks says a lot about you. Decorating your desk with baskets, pencil cups, and coffee table books that you love will help you stand out, even if you work at home.

3. Establish a Meaningful Mantra

Most companies have a tagline or a motto that summarizes what they do or what they believe. Try the same thing for yourself. It can be a bible verse, a favorite quote, or even just a saying that you relate to. My mantra is “A Well-Designed Life."

4. Use Consistent Colors

You may have a few favorite colors. Or you may have certain color schemes that you prefer more than others (warm/cool, saturated/unsaturated). These are your brand colors. Wear them, decorate with them, and find other creative ways to bring these colors into your life.

5. Make a Working Wardrobe

For anyone who sees you regularly, what you wear is one of the biggest parts of your personal brand. You don’t have to put on heels if that’s not your style, but taking some time to evaluate what you wear and why will help you dress for each day with confidence.

6. Develop a Signature Style

Your personal brand should have your personal touch. Evaluate your handwriting and your signature and make sure they represent the kind of person you want to be. Bonus points if you have a favorite pen or writing tool.

7. Find Mindful Mentors

If there’s someone who embodies the kind of personal brand you’d like to have, connect with them. Observe how they behave online and in-person and adopt those strategies yourself.

8. Start Seeking to Share

How will anybody know who you are if you don’t tell them? When you see something online or in real life that embodies your brand, share it with your friends and followers. They will appreciate the insight, and they may even start sharing similar things with you!

I love these pictures because they feel like "me!"
Creating a strong personal brand is all about one thing--you! As you embrace your unique talents, desires, and aesthetic preferences, you’ll be able to develop a distinctive, authentic brand. And trust me, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing other people recognize “you,” too.


3 (FREE) Valentine's Day Printables
3 cute printables from Rebecca Peterson Studio (Just in time for Valentine's Day!)

3 cute printables from Rebecca Peterson Studio (Just in time for Valentine's Day!)

With Valentine's Day just two weeks away, I wanted to create something holiday-related to share. These printables were inspired by some of my favorite love poems. There's nothing more romantic than good poetry, and these poets are some of my personal favorites. I'll include the full text of each poem beside the picture, and you can download the printable PDF by clicking the download button.

Thanks for reading!


Free printable from the poem "i carry your heart with me" by e. e. cummings! |

Free printable from the poem "i carry your heart with me" by e. e. cummings! |

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
— e. e. cummings, i carry your heart

Free printable from the poem, "I love you" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Free printable from the poem, "I love you" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

love your lips when they’re wet with wine
And red with a wild desire;
I love your eyes when the lovelight lies
Lit with a passionate fire.
I love your arms when the warm white flesh
Touches mine in a fond embrace;
I love your hair when the strands enmesh
Your kisses against my face.

Not for me the cold, calm kiss
Of a virgin’s bloodless love;
Not for me the saint’s white bliss,
Nor the heart of a spotless dove.
But give me the love that so freely gives
And laughs at the whole world’s blame,
With your body so young and warm in my arms,
It sets my poor heart aflame.
— Ella Wheeler Wilcox, I Love You

Printable from the poem, "Bright Star" by John Keats! |

Printable from the poem, "Bright Star" by John Keats! |

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
— Bright Star, John Keats
How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio for Entry-level Jobs

My younger brother is applying for his first college job. He is really comfortable with design software, but his portfolio is pretty lacking. He reached out to me for help, and I thought it might be worthwhile to share this advice with my blog readers as well.

The first time I made my graphic design "portfolio" (I’m using quotation marks because it wasn't even a real portfolio, looking back on it), I had NO idea what I was doing. There are so many things that seem common sense to me now, but they were really hard for me to figure out and I wish someone had just told me that you shouldn't put your portfolio in a Lisa Frank™ binder ! Let me be your guide in creating a graphic design portfolio that really works. Don't make the same mistakes I did.


Good: Printing your portfolio at home and putting it in a binder.

Better: Sending your portfolio to a professional printer and having it bound.

Best: Creating a digital PDF or website for your portfolio that you can send in an email.

When I got my first job as a graphic designer at Brigham Young University, I really didn't have a great design portfolio. I had created posters and invitations for family and friends, but I really didn't have any "name brand" clients, because I had never really been paid for my work. That's OK. Even the most basic portfolio can show your style, organization, and most importantly, your potential.


Design Essentials: How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio
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Design Essentials: How To Create a Graphic Design Portfolio

Self-Paced Digital Course designed to help you create or refine your graphic design portfolio | PRODUCT INCLUDES: 10-page PDF planner to guide you step-by-step through finding your best work and showcasing it, 6-page PDF and Illustrator portfolio template designed for drag and drop | Digital download available instantly

Add To Cart


You may have already done a lot of the grunt work in finding your old work and organizing it, but I just wanted to explain how I put together my portfolio in case that’s all new to you. (I initially told my brother to put his portfolio on a website and I still think that's a great idea, but for now, I would just make a PDF and get it out there!)

Read on:

Collect all the design work you've ever done.

T-shirts, posters, binder covers, invitations, logos, ANYTHING. Don't be picky. Even drawings, sketches, and unfinished projects can be valuable. If you have digital work like photography, videography, or video editing, I would definitely include that. Go through your old files and folders it all and lay it out. (If all your files are digital, I would even suggest putting each project on a different page and printing them all. Something magical happens when you can hold your work in your own hands.)

Organize your projects by category.

Put each project into a category. You might have, "Branding" for logo designs, "Print work" for posters and invitations, and "Apparel" for t-shirts. Seeing the different categories (and how much is in each category) gives you a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Select your best work to showcase.

I know when you don't have a lot of work, it can be scary to take something out. But the truth is, you are better off to have 3 good pieces than to have 10 mediocre pieces. And you're better off having 3 mediocre pieces than 10 terrible pieces! (3-5 is probably a solid number for beginning portfolios). If you really don't have enough work in your portfolio, look at step 4.

If you have time, make something new.

I hesitate to add this suggestion because if you're reading this blog post, you're the type of person who wants to have an amazing portfolio right off the bat. I have been But the fact is, if you haven't have a paying job as a designer of some sort, you're not going to have 100% top quality professional work. That's OK. This portfolio is just the vehicle to getting you a job. It will grow and evolve over time. So don't worry too much about adding new pieces if you're just trying to get your work out the door and into the hands of an employer.

However, if you DO have the time, it would definitely be to your benefit to make something new. Choose the category of your portfolio that is most lacking and make something. Get online, get on Pinterest, do some research, find something interesting and copy it. (Don't copy it exactly, obviously. Just find something to inspire you and make your own version of it.)

Put it all together.

This is the part of a creative portfolio that most people miss, and this is what will get you hired! Once you have your projects organized by category, you’re going to do a little writing. Each project needs a title and a short explanation. You want to demonstrate your ability to understand a brand and solve problems with design. One way to do this is to imagine that you’re explaining each project to your mom, or someone who doesn’t know a lot about graphic design.

Here’s an Example:

(Title) The Younique Foundation Cookbook
(Description) I created this 50 page e-book for The Younique Foundation retreat participants based on custom recipes provided to me by the 5-Star Culinary Team. I was responsible for the design, layout, photography selection, and publishing of the book.

I created an example below that I hope will help.


Tip: If you are the kind of person who doodles or sketches things out, I would absolutely include a section in the back called "The Creative Process" or something cheesy like that. People LOVE to see how your ideas went from your brain to your pencil to your portfolio. Plus, it's a great way to add some bulk to your portfolio without having to polish a whole project.

Set up your digital file

This is probably the part you are wondering about the most. Some jobs will let you upload your portfolio online the same way you upload your resume. If this is the case, you will want to have a digital/electronic portfolio, AKA a PDF file.

When I have all my projects collected, organized by category, and displayed on a page with their description, I count them off, and then I make an Adobe Illustrator document with that many pages, plus one for the cover, one for the table of contents, and one for the back. So if I have ten projects, I would make an Illustrator document with 13 pages. Then I just place each of my projects on a separate page.

I honestly don't know why this is a thing, but professional designers ALWAYS put their portfolio on 11x17 pages in the landscape (hamburger) orientation. It might not make very much sense but trust me, if you put your portfolio on an 8x11 portrait page, you are going to look like a total rookie. Once your portfolio is all together, you just save as a PDF and Voila! You're done!

Tip: If you're uploading or emailing your resume, you'll want it to be a reasonable size, somewhere around 10mb. That can be hard to do when you have so many pictures and high resolution files, so if your file is just huge, just google "compress pdf file size" and there are a million online services that will shrink your pdf without ruining your files. The one I use the most is called "Small PDF."




  • Don't save or send or print ANYTHING until you have checked for typos so many times that you feel like your head is going to explode.

  • Have your mom read it; read it out loud, do whatever you have to do to make sure you don't put all this work into a portfolio just to look like an idiot when you send it to someone.


  • Once you have your PDF all nice and neat, you can and should make a physical copy of it. Take the file to FedEx/Kinkos Office and have it printed.

  • Don't print it on glossy paper, that's what amateurs do. Professionals always use MATTE paper.

  • Get the whole thing bound on the left side and then you're done! I like to put clear covers on the front and back of my portfolio but I know a lot of designers don't like that, so just use your judgment.


  • I find that employers really go crazy for a matching resume and portfolio.

  • Use the same font, make the same header, whatever you want, just create a “brand” for yourself!



Here's some ideas for things you can design quickly that will give your portfolio more street cred:

  • Print

    • Posters

    • Flyers

    • Invitations (DON'T do invitations for bridal or baby showers -- It looks juvenile and inexperienced. Try a housewarming party, Christmas party, or employee appreciation event)

    • Brochures

    • Stationery (business cards, letterhead, etc)

    • Magazine articles

  • Environmental

    • Billboards

    • Pull-up banners

    • Tradeshow materials

  • Events

    • Invitations

    • Posters

    • Tickets

    • Programs

    • Awards

    • Music covers (album artwork)

  • Swag/merchandise

    • T-shirts

    • Jerseys

    • Clothing tags

  • Photography

    • Nature/architecture

    • Portraiture

    • Flat lays

    • Moodboards

I hope this helps you create a graphic design portfolio that you’re proud of! If I could give you one last piece of advice, it would be to spend less time agonizing over your portfolio and more time actually applying for jobs. If you organize your work, write descriptions, and format it correctly, you’ll get hired in no time.

Thanks for reading!


Update: This blog post has been extremely popular over the years. I’m grateful I could help so many of you create design portfolios that showcase your skills and potentially find work as a designer! If you’re interested in supporting my work, please consider saving one of these images to Pinterest or leaving me a comment. Thanks!

Blog Design Tips

I consider myself an avid blog reader. Usually, if the content is good, I am willing to overlook bad design. However, the design of a blog DOES have a huge impact on the quantity and quality of audience it attracts.

Below are some of my tips for improving your blog design, as well as several great resources:

  • Pay attention to your navigation. Make it easy for your readers to get around. Here's one simple test you can try to ensure your website works properly: Get someone who isn't terribly tech savvy (like your dad) and give him a task. "Go to my site, read my latest blog post, make a comment, and then read my Contact page." If they can do it without any help and without getting frustrated, it's a success!
  • Clean up your sidebar. So many blogs are full of pictures and icons and ads and it's so distracting! If it doesn't need to be there, get rid of it!
  • Try a hello bar at the top of your website to make announcements and highlight important information.
  • Don't center align your text. It's hard to read and it makes it look like you don't know what you're doing.
  • DON'T write in all lowercase letters. Again, it's hard to read and it's extremely annoying! Just use normal characters and punctuation and you'll be fine.
  • Feel free to include ads and graphics on the sidebar of your website. However, if there are ads popping up in the middle of your post, you can be sure you're losing half your readers. Keep it clean and classy, folks.
  • Include a link to donate to your blog through PayPal. I know that maintaining a blog is expensive and I would be happy to donate ten bucks to some of my favorite writers, especially if it meant that they wouldn't include silly sponsorships and giveaways every other post.
  • Check the sizes of your pictures. Sometimes blogs don't load and readers exit before reading a thing!
  • Be consistent. If sometimes you post in Times New Roman and other times you post in Comic Sans, it's going to look messy and unorganized. Make sure all your text is consistent and I would even consider making all your post pictures the same size.
  • Consider including a search bar as well as an archive on your site. If you don't use tags properly, searching by name or category isn't going to work for your readers. Give them the option of looking for content both ways and you'll both be happier.
  • Embrace white space. This is my number one tip for design in general. Fight the need to fill every corner of your digital world with buttons and colors and advertisements. Let it breathe!

These are some resources I found helpful when looking for blog design tips for myself:
A Beautiful Mess: 10 Blog Layout Tips
INCOME: Design Tips for Beginning Bloggers
Jeff Bullas: Blog Design Tips to Make Sure People Stop to Read
Sparring Mind: Blog Design on a Budget

The best advice I can give when it comes to blog design, theme, or style. Find someone who's blog you love, just based on aesthetic principles. Then copy it! By the time you fit your own information and personality there, it won't be a copy at all, but that's a great way to start.

Good luck!


Cinderella Through the Years

EDIT: This post has been extremely popular! Thank you to everyone who helped me work out the kinks! Cinderella is one of the most famous stories of all time and I'm so glad I was able to get it right! Please let me know if you see anything else out of order!

Feel free to "Pin" this image if you want to save the article!

I recently saw the new Cinderella movie directed by Kenneth Branagh. I thought the whole film was so beautiful ESPECIALLY the costumes, so I decided to look at some of previous adaptations of Cinderella to see where they got their inspiration! It's amazing to see how certain elements of the costumes have remained the same while other parts have changed from movie to movie.

Cinderella, 1911
This is the first-ever film version of the story Cinderella. It's a silent film directed by George Nichols and it brings a lot of the comical personalities to Cinderella's stepmother and stepsister. It's hard to tell in these pictures, but the costumes in this movie are more traditional medieval in style, especially the fairy godmother's collar!

Cinderella, 1953
This adaptation of Cinderella is hard to critique because it's so iconic. The high contrast colors of the stepsisters dresses, the light blue ball gown, the high collared dress of the evil stepsister, all those elements came from this movie! It's hard to imagine it any other way. My only question is, what is that scarf doing around the fairy godmother's neck??? | BONUS: Walt Disney said that the transformation of Cinderella's dress was his all-time favorite piece of animation. |

The Glass Slipper, 1955
"The Glass Slipper (1955) is a musical film adaptation of Cinderella, made by MGM, directed by Charles Walters and produced by Edwin H. Knopf from a screenplay by Helen Deutsch. The film stars Leslie Caron as Cinderella, and Michael Wilding as the Prince." (Wikipedia) This movie was a dance film/musical adaptation of the disney version. I think Cinderella's hair works really really well in a pixie cut, but the dress is way too stiff. I love seeing the stepmother in hats and collars. I think the height and the weight give her a sense of authority and power. 

Cinderella, 1957
This version of Cinderella was originally broadcast live on CBS on March 31, 1957 as a vehicle for Julie Andrews, who played the title role. The broadcast was viewed by more than 100 million people. It was subsequently remade for television twice, in 1965 and 1997. The 1965 version starred Lesley Ann Warren, and the 1997 one starred Brandy Norwood in the title role. Both remakes add songs from other Richard Rodgers musicals. (Wikipedia) Julie Andrews stars as Cinderella in this made-for-television movie using the music from Rogers' and Hammerstein's musical. I love the older step-sisters. Cinderella's ballgown is interesting, I think it looks elegant and youthful, but it doesn't look magical enough to me.

Cinderella, 1965
This is another remake of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical. Starring the lovely Lesley Ann Warren, this mysteriously magical musical was one I hadn't heard of. Check out the fairy Godmother! And Cinderella looks the part, although I wonder if she could've had a little looser dress and hair.

The Slipper and the Rose, 1976
This is a musical film retelling the classic fairy tale of Cinderella. This film was chosen as the Royal Command Performance motion picture selection for 1976. Directed by Bryan Forbes, the film stars Gemma Craven as the heroine, Richard Chamberlain as the Prince, and a supporting cast led by Michael HordernKenneth MoreEdith Evans and Annette Crosbie. (Wikipedia) I wish I had better pictures of this one but they are hard to come by! I love the french style of Cinderella's dress and the knickers on Prince Charming.


Cinderella, 1997
I remember when this movie came out! Brandy starred as Cinderella and Whitney Houston was the fairy godmother. There wasn't anything too memorable about the costumes, although I think it's interesting that Cinderella's ballgown was two separate pieces. It was definitely influenced by the animated version.

Ever After, 1998
This is my favorite adaptation of Cinderella. I love the romance between Danielle and the prince, and I think Angelica Houston plays the wicked stepmother perfectly. Notice her headpiece? It reminds me of some of the costumes in the 1911 version. The stepsisters' dresses were subtle but I like it that way.

A Cinderella Story, 2004
This movie was the beginning of several "modern fairytale spinoffs." I thought the costumes were interesting because Cinderella pre-transformation was never very feminine. The ballgown was nice, but I think it lost some of it's magic without sleeves or gloves. (Hillary Duff was way too old to play this character in the first place, but that's beside the point.)

Ella Enchanted, 2007
This is my favorite book adaptation of Cinderella. The movie was quite poorly done, in my opinion, but the costumes were a step in the right direction. Look at the stepmother's eyebrows compared to Angelica Huston! Cinderella's ballgown was a COMPLETE letdown. I wish it had dragged on the floor or had looser sleeves or something! It looks like a cheap prom dress.

Cinderella, 2015
I think this adaptation of Cinderella was close to perfect. As far as costume design goes, I LOVE seeing the "bad" people in that hot chartruse color, and I LOVE seeing the "good" people in soft, light, bright white and blue. Green for the stepmother was a great idea. Cate Blanchett walks the line between beauty and cruelty so well, I almost wanted to like her. Cinderella's ballgown is another story. I love how it looks infinite. (It almost was! There was a mile of hemming under there!) It moves like it's made of pieces of the sky and I think captures the magic of the story perfectly. It will be a difficult movie to top!

Was there anything I missed? Cinderella is a more popular story than I thought! Thanks for reading!

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