The Cookie Exchange


The holidays are now upon us and so are all the fun parties and events.  I think what I like most about the holiday season, from a design standpoint, are all the fun colors and elements I get to work with.  I feel like the possibilities are endless.  My long time client came to me and told me she was doing her annual cookie exchange and needed an invite.  This time, she told me, it was going to be cookie theme.  I started to look at what was out there and there was so many options to choose from but I had seen an invite a while back that had, had cookies as the lettering.  I couldn’t remember where I had seen it though and as luck would have it, she sent me a similar idea (great minds DO think alike).  I was torn though, I had seen another invite with a mason jar and cookie detailing that was so darling too, so I worked on both.  Just like with al of my designs, I usually do a few versions and then settle on the final with my client, so it is exactly what they want and had in mind.

This was the first version we came up with.

As I said before, I had seen a version like this but I wanted to capture the “rick rack” detailing that’s always on a gingerbread man and the fun mason jar as well.  Now, while we both really liked these, she wanted more reds incorporated into the design and to focus more on the “cookie” aspect.  So onto another design and I am so glad we did!

I am so glad we got to work together on another fun project and have been hearing people say they love the invites.  One would say, job well done, but I say “I am just getting started” because from one invite come other things!  More specifically, to a cookie exchange invite can come a lot of things but I love doing matching party favor tags and recipe cards.

Want to write down your favorite recipes this holiday season or give someone some fun recipes?  Now you can!  Just download the recipe cards below and get writing your favorites down or give them with something delicious this season.  Please share when you do!

Direction Designs News

Potty Training 101


I know I know, what is with this title?  But in my mind, as I was cleaning up the bathroom and reveling in my small victory, I realized all the stuff I do as a graphic designer is a lot like potty training.

My daghter has seemed like she was ready to be potty trained for a while by telling me when she had gone in her diaper and that I needed to get her a new one (never her dad).  So on Friday the 17th of August in this year of Two Thousand and Eighteen, I declared, “thats it, no more diapers!”.  For the last week I stuck to it, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  Trying this, that and the other thing and then banging my head (and hands) against the wall a few times.  What were we doing wrong, why does this not feel right?  Then it clicked, I need to just left it flow (pun intended).

I feel like this is a lot like my design work.  Sometimes it just flows and other times it just doesn’t.  When I’m in the zone, the creative juices pour onto the page and I end up with more ideas that I know what to do with.  Three hours can pass and it feels like I just sat down; I love that feeling so much.    Then there are other times when I stare at the blank art board in Illustrator and think “I have been sitting here three hours and I still don’t have any solid ideas”.  It is a truly defeating and humbling experience when I hit a road block, however, if I sit at the road block for a moment and switch my view, that when the magic happens.

I was feeling very defeated a week after starting the potty training process and that’s when I threw my hands up in the air and said “enough, it will come to me (and her) when the time is right”.  As soon as I acknowledged that I felt defeated and maybe it wasn’t the right time, she sat on the potty and surprised me. 

So, as I think back on this small moment I realized there are times when I have to relinquish control and take a deep breath because that’s when I surprise myself (and my clients).  We all hit road blocks but pushing through (or going around) them allows us to grow as individuals and in our many ventures.

What are some road blocks you have dealt with and how did you deal with them to move forward?

Direction Designs News

All About Direction Designs


So, a little about me, Jackie Ruiz, and my little LLC that is Direction Designs.  

I’m a Minnesota native and I graduated from The University of Minnesota Duluth with a degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Art.  Although those were my major areas of study, I branched out within the art field and was able to learn so much more.  I studied photography, typography, film, music, art history and even dance.  I feel like all of these areas have made me a well rounded designer and capable of seeing many different side of things.

on January 1, 2008 I made the trek to San Diego.  I worked as a graphic artist for a while and then moved on to a job in the shipbuilding industry.  It was scary to start a job that was completely different from what I knew and what I thought I wanted or could do.  My job, however, gave me some really important skills which I use every day and for that I am very grateful.  I was able to work with and interface with very interesting people and hone in on my own interpersonal, communication and organizational skills.  I left the company in July of 2013 to start off on a new direction as a stay-at-home mom and to grow my design business, and haven’t looked back.

We have a crazy busy life doing lots of different things.  We dog sit, own a rental cabin in Big Bear, CA and love to be at the BMX track to race and practice.  To say we have our hands in lots of different jars is an understatement but we wouldn’t change it for anything.  In addition to all of the above, I try to find time for crafting, sewing and discovering new ways to be inspired.  

I am a very organized and detail oriented individual with a heart for all things design.  I am always for hire, and would love to help you with whatever direction you want to go!

First Communion Invites / Special Occasions

First Communion Firsts


I have to admit, the things that have always been on my radar as an invitation designer have always been weddings, bridal showers and baby showers.  I know, I know, this seems so crazy!  But when I got approached about doing some first communion invitations I was stoked.  How fun to be celebrating along with each of these families as their children celebrate an important milestone.  Well, my client said “I really have no idea so just go with it and send me your ideas.  So I sent here these (I did design a boy version for the one invite because I had the time):

Well, she lied them but her daughter was the one getting her first communion and she had other ideas.  I loved this, which sounds crazy, because I just created yet another item for my portfolio even if they don’t use it.  So what did she want?  We settled on this design, isn’t it darling?

But I had to design a boy version as well!

Save The Dates / Wedding Invitations

Rustic Save The Dates


My cousin got engaged this fall.  They had talked about me doing their save the dates, wedding invites and other things so I was super excited to get started.  When they approached me after having locked in the venue (the Gardens at Castle Rock) I knew we could get started!  My soon-to-be cousin told me the vibe of the place was chill and relaxed and everything was outside and very rustic and she liked the idea of “string lights” and a calendar being incorporated.  Done!

I wasn’t familiar with the Gardens of Castle Rock but I googled it immediately and was amazed at how beautiful every wedding was.  The grounds were filled with flowers and lush grass, and beautiful stone and wood buildings and large white tent for all the guests.  Each marriage either takes place under a giant arbor with beautiful twinkling lights or out on a gorgeous green lawn.  I love that these “save the date” cards captured the very essence of that place and gave a hint to the gusts as to what they could expect in the summer of 2018!

I am excited to see what they want to do for their wedding invites and I can’t wait to create them something special!