I’m Christine Castro Hughes, a designer, writer, and mother of two darling children. I also run a graphic design studio out of my charming, crooked craftsman house. Brunch is my blog. More »
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project peek : true north

When I started Darling Studio, I didn't have a plan. I had a few freelance jobs under my belt and I'd saved a nest egg good for 3 months of living. I figured I would try out this "working for myself" thing for that long and if it didn't pan out, no sweat. I'd look for another job. If it did go well, of course, then...awesome! 

Here I am 7 years later, and I am so lucky to still be own my own. I made up a lot as I went along. I stumbled a bit, climbed a few hills, and found many bumps on the road. And, looking back, I could have used some guidance, especially on the business end of things.

I could have used a resource like True North, a new venture founded by Shannon Etnyre. True North, a "creative business incubator" aims to be the left brain to a creative's right. The site, in development now, will feature all the tools and resources you need to start your creative business—and a community to cheer you on as you do.

I've been working with Shannon since day one—first coming up with the True North moniker, then giving it a visual identity to call its own. Above is the branding I created. I'm working on the website design now.

While I am busy making things look good, Shannon's hustling to get funding to build a website with all the bells and whistles. Check out her indiegogo campaign and, if you feel inspired, make a contribution. The right brains of the world will thank you.

I am available for branding services. If you need help with business naming, logo design, or consulting, please get in touch.

Images from the True North promo video by Epipheo Studios


3 2 1 blast off

It's been over 3 months since Henry turned 3, but I wanted to show off the simple accordion birthday card I made for him. The countdown is huge in our household—we count down the minutes until dinner, bath time,  bed time, and more—so I used it as the basis for the card.

Instead of slipping it inside an envelope I taped the card to the box for a fun pop-up effect. Henry can't read yet, but he knew that the card read "3, 2, 1, blast off!" And for a kid more interested in the presents than the cards, the fact that he even bothered to read it at all felt like a major win.


simple virtues

Sometimes, I look at all the little people in my life—my kids, their friends, the children we meet every day—and I imagine who will be the next president, the next Picasso, or the next Einstein. I wonder what amazing things they are going to accomplish. They could write the next Pulitzer prize winning novel, receive the Nobel peace prize, or save someone's life. The possibilities are endless.

I think it's important to do good things when we can and to teach our children that we can, and do, make a difference.

That's why I'm smitten with designer and illustrator Erin Jang's print of Simple Virtues that she created to benefit cancer research. Not only are the sentiments wonderful, but the execution is perfect. (Of course, everything she creates pretty much is!) And the cause is one near and dear to my heart.

Read more about Erin's mission here. Watch the sweet accompanying animation. Or check out her beautiful work.

Photo by Erin Jang


baby steps

Lately I feel like every day is a race to the finish. There are a hundred and one things I want to do, but I never check off more than a handful of them each day. Instead, I spend a lot of time chasing my two kids around.

If there's one thing that I'm learning while watching Maira gain her footing, though, it's this:

Take baby steps. Let yourself fall. And then get right back up. You'll eventually get to where you want to go.

p.s. Maira's feet are incredibly tiny and narrow, so it's a challenge to find shoes that fit. I am crossing my fingers these little Keds work out.


clean slate

I cleaned my desk last week, and all of a sudden I can think more clearly and work more efficiently. It's the most obvious thing in the world. Why didn't I do it sooner?