Digital Prints

Lake Memories


When I was growing up, my grandparent had a cabin in Wisconsin on a small lake called Paulson Lake.  It was a short and adventurous car ride form our hometown of Lakeville, in MN.  We would spend our spring and summer hunting for frogs, catching fish with stale saltine crackers, swimming off the back of the pontoon and enjoying the evenings by a campfire (complete with scary stories).  

Fall and winter would bring their own magic.  Fall bought changing colors, falling leaves, nature walks by Hidden Lake and sneaking peaks in the cabins of neighbors who has left for the season (or favorite was Barry’s because they left all sorts of lures and what we thought were treasures).  Winter would bring silence and serenity (and skiing, which I hated as a kid but now love!).  Not many people went up to that lake in the winter but we had fun just the same.  We would go sledding and snowmobiling and then make the trek out to the ice house with our left over Christmas candy to watch dad ice fish (and catch small Bass which we fried up for dinner).

I started this project for a client who wanted something special for her friend who owns a lake cabin on a lake in Wisconsin as well.  As I got working, I got thinking about all the magic that happens at special places like this.  Time seems to slow and the world seems like it is perfect.  These are the gifts we hope to give our children.

This project was a special one and you can bet I am going to make a print like this for our cabin that is in Big Bear Lake, CA.  Let me know if I can help you make something special for your family and for generations to enjoy.

Birthday Invites

BMX Anyone?


I often wonder where Bicycle Motocross (or BMX) was, when I was a kid.  Now that my husband and son do BMX and our weeks and weekends seem to be filled either practice or racing, I feel like I was missing out as a kid.  Heck, I feel like every kid who IS NOT doing BMX these days, is missing out.  

BMX is a wonderful sport where you can race for a team, representing something larger than yourself, but you also race as an individual.  While being on a team is a big achievement, the racing as an individual is what drives each rider.  Practicing more and racing more only furthers their game and allows them to achieve a top podium spot.

Now that I think of it, this practice and drive sort of feels like my work as a graphic designer.  The more I hustle and perfect my game, the more people want to hire me for their projects.  I get to be a team player who’s contributing to something larger than myself (my family) but I also get to feel accomplished as an individual.  Its a win win for everyone involved.

Anyways, this post did have a point and I am going to make it right now.  We get to be a round a lot of really cool kids, teens, adults and world class athletes at the Chula Vista BMX track in (you guessed it) Chula Vista, CA.  Being around all these people allows me to further branch out, to meet new people and make meaningful connections.  Our BMX world is small and everyone has become like a little family.  One of our family, a little girl named Rebecca loves BMX too, maybe more than any kid (for real).  She wanted a BMX themed party, so this the invitation we created for her.  

Here is Rebecca’s custom BMX party invitation with carbon fiber forks and box components. Oh wait, no!  This is just an invitation on paper in two different variations, lol.  Enjoy!

Christmas Party Invitations

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 company 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!