Behind the design: 10 questions with PS Designer Karen

Paper Source Designer
As part of a series dedicated to the fabulous minds behind our designs, we are kicking things off with Paper Source Designer Karen. One of our senior designers, Karen has played a hand in many designs and products over the years. Her work is found in Paper Source calendars and she helped conceptualize the latest customer favorite – Paper Source Owls! Karen’s love for Paper Source is felt in every design and in any interaction you have with her. She an absolute joy to be around and we hope these 10 questions will help you get to know the warm and creative spirit behind many of your favorite designs.

file folder2012 calendar

Name: Karen Davis
Years with Paper Source: 7 Years
Expertise: Drawing & Doodling

Q: How did you start designing?
A: I started with note-taking in class – organizing my notes with hand-drawn titles and illustrations to coordinate with the discussion of the day. Then, my mom put me to work creating posters and banners for every possible occasion in our lives – sporting events, birthdays, dad home from a 1-day business trip, you name it, we needed a banner. In high school I had my first opportunity to learn about graphic design and loved it. I couldn’t decide whether I would prefer to be a designer, or to teach art so I could do more painting and drawing, but I’m so glad I chose design.

Q: What was your very first job?
A: Babysitting. I took it very seriously. I started out babysitting for my 3 little sisters, so with that as experience I had a lot of credibility in the neighborhood!

Q: Do you have advice for budding designers?
A: Practice, practice! And try to find time and space to let yourself be inspired – going to museums, going outside for a walk. We create a lot of work under pressure and it’s great practice for working better & faster, but it’s also good to slow down sometimes and recharge, and take another look at something you’ve been working on.

Q: What is your favorite PS design, not created by you?
A: I love the typography layout for the Booklet Calendar that Alanna did this year!

Q: How do your fellow designers help you through product development?
A: Our team is great at giving good feedback – I always walk away with a great idea of how to improve a design that isn’t quite there. They are also really nice and great to work with, which just makes designing with them all the more fun!

Q: Is your home decor totally kick ass?
A: No… I’m pretty 2-D, not 3-D. My mom is awesome though – I’ll send her to your house if you want!

Q: What do you love about paper?
A: I love paper that is printed. I love pattern. I love color! I love that something printed on paper can convey so many different things.

Q: What is your favorite Chicago attraction or landmark?
The Russian Orthodox Church designed by Louis Sullivan. And really anything Louis Sullivan, I adore the ornate detail he applies to buildings – I can’t believe how many of his buildings have been torn down.

Q: Who is your biggest inspiration?
A: My mom. She is, as she laughingly says, “full of it.” She’s always full of crazy new ideas, every event has an accompanying theme, pun, tshirt, poster. I often run card ideas by her and ask her for ideas on sentiments.

Q: Do you line your envelopes?
A: Sometimes, I really love it when I do!

Q: What is your favorite Paper Source product?
A: Our envelopes. I remember as a customer many years ago, reading in the Paper Source catalog about how Sue, Paper Source founder, modeled the pointed flap of the envelope on a European style envelope, and I thought it was just so beautiful. Also, I met my husband Sean at Paper Source when he was in charge of envelope production and distribution. The first note he wrote to me he signed, “Seanvelopes.” So envelopes for me will always be love!

–Karen D., PS designer
PS colors: persimmon, moss, paper bag, papaya (jadeite, I still miss you!)
Latest fave: PS Envelopes

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