Brittany Zeller-Holland, Freelance Illustrator 

Prepared by Susan Bonner 10/2011

Brittany an Kendall 2005 Alum. (Digital Illustration) brought a lot of examples to Kendall, of her retail work from Colorbok and Kathy Davis, they will be on file in the DM faculty office. See Susan Bonner to look through samples. 

Brittany landed a Hallmark internship after Kendall. She was paired up with another illustrator and her job was to create assets and icons. She built up a library of butterflies, flowers etc. that would be used by any of the Illustrators at Hallmark as a starting point for the card designs. She then worked at Kathy Davis Studio as a designer, their buyers included Recycle Paper Greetings, World Market and Kinkos.

Brittany is currently working at the Colorbok studio and doing freelance for Avanti Press in Detroit. Her work can be seen at and

This report includes:
• An interview with Brittany by the Concept and Production Design Class, Fall 2011
• Colorbok Product Development Process for Teen and Adult Markets
• Scrapbooking and Craft Resources
• Kids Product Development Process Differences

 An interview with Brittany by the Concept and Production Design Class, Fall 2011    
What was Kathy Davis' role in the studio?
Kathy Davis' roll in the studio was to write and do card designs, she also taught her style to the other artists.

The Kathy Davis Studio Environment:
There was a Wall of success in order of what was best selling to the least selling, they would look at that in order to find direction for the next design. Brittany created a "Miss you lots" best seller card for Kathy Davis Studios.

The Consumer:
The Greeting Card consumer is female 35 and up.

Trends in fashion move through products, however, trends are now instant with the internet, we see creative new ideas on Etsy .com that move quickly to retail.

What is it like at Colorbok?
At Colorbok there is a craft team that works for scrapbooking, albums, paper stickers seasonal and all purpose art. They create page kits that may include patterned papers, punch out shapes and alphabet stickers.

Assessment of products:
To assess the product, Colorbok uses Survey Monkey to survey 250 buyers at a time about which images they prefer.
Questions asked on the Survey include What are you likely to buy?
The words "likely to buy" are different then "like"
Customers were likely to buy:
tapestry and vintage influence, damask and baroque but a new color palette.

They found that patterns for travel were too specific, tents are too specific. Just because a customer likes traveling they may not do so in a tent, they may use a camper or a hotel. If they did not have that experience they do not want to use a tent image on a scrapbook paper.

Process at the Colorbok Studio:
Hiedi Grace - an Artist gives bird cage images to Brittany.  As lead designer Brittany creates whole planogram, including all of the product within that planogram.

Waterfall (covers bottom part of each product)
Full view (shows all of the product)
top portion is important for all product design packaging

Brittany created jewelry kits contracted by Seventeen Magazine, she was the lead designer.
The customer can customize pieces of Jewelry from the kit provided including rub on beads.
Brittany did product design and created bill of materials used to check for correct parts included in the packaging.

Sourcing from China
Colorbok China office has 25 people that work in product management.
Brittany sends images of what type of beads, ribbon, etc she wants to the China office. The China office goes to the open market to scout out product that can be used in producing the product.

Using UPC's on product: 
Microsoft tags- the colorful QR codes are being used by Colorbok as a way to not have to include so much information on the packaging. It also adds to the experience by allowing a customer go to a website. It can give in depth in detail on product how to's on a website. They have yet to see the response on the use of tags. The product has not yet been released.

Product Design
Sometimes the package design comes first.
Creative Directors and VP of marketing give feedback, they ask for rewrites and color changes before retailer sees the planogram and products.

What type of greeting cards should students do for a portfolio?
get well
thank you
holiday (Christmas and Hanukah)

What conventions should we go to?
National Stationary show

Surtex - show as an individual artist for licensing

How does an individual get licensing?
Sell sheets are a good way to pitch as an individual even at the conventions
Examples are in the office.

How did you go to Hallmark? 
I just applied

What did you put in your portfolio for the Hallmark Internship?
resume, cd
I took my portfiolio to interviews they were pdf handouts in a binder.

What are these Retail companies looking for?
• illustrators to have the skills illustrator and photoshop
• quickness and efficiently
• eager to move forward
• ability to design within limitations

Colorbök Product Development Process for Teen and Adult Markets :    
1. Direction from Sales and VPs to Creative Directors
2. Either utilizing a previously created art look, licensed art or new development
3. Brainstorming
a. think about the customer: age, where are they shopping, what do they like, who are they crafting about or with (i.e. children, pets, family, travel)
b. what other items will the product be used with in the case of a crafting item
c. what is already in the marketplace, can I do it better or is there something missing that I can fulfill?
d. where will it be sold - big box retailer like Walmart or Target or small boutique.
4. Market Research: trends, competitor data, retail, current and looking forward to when the
product will actually set in stores
5. Product Specifications from Product Manager: Working with them to determine sizes, materials, quantity and timeline for production.
a. Develop Bill of Materials (BOM)
6. Packaging Design
a. Establish a clear message and brand, don’t over complicate.
b. Consistent color themes, fonts and lay-out.
c. National and international regulations regarding packaging: quantity, i.e. 25 stickers,
description of product, i.e. Fabric Flower Accents, UPC, country produced in
d. Does it need instructions, examples of uses, Microsoft Tag with data online?
e. Really important to test a box or backer design with product to make sure sizes and folds
will work once printed.
7. Product Design
a. In scrapbooking or stationery where elements will be combined to create a finished craft, simpler is often better
b. Color scheme
c. Fonts
d. Theme: all occasion, travel, friendship, celebrate, holiday, floral, nostalgia, pet, baby, home, love, wedding
8. Review by creative team (directors & VPs)
9. Review by Marketing and Sales
10. Development of marketing materials such as signs above section in-store
11. Presentation to retailer
12. Implement feedback
13. Denied, re-present with changes or move to production
14. Production
a. refining of design
b. layout in print-ready files
c. routing for corrections and proofing
d. files to factories via China office
e. sourcing any materials: ribbon, gems, metals, plastics, foil colors
15. Pre-production review
16. Corrections or Changes to files
17. Final production samples
18. In-store.

 Scrapbooking and Craft Resources:

Kids Product Development Process Differences      
1. Kids craft kits start with the idea of the finished craft
2. Market research and brainstorming
3. Work backwards and breakdown components to develop kit
a. step-by step
4. Packaging
a. Final size may vary due to size of retail space needed to fill or value that needs to be portrayed
b. Consistent brand and product clearly displayed (window or photo?)
c. Clear messaging - work on the layout and type
d. List contents on front
e. Age
f. Warnings, i.e. choking hazard
g. Link to online community
h. UPC
5. Product
a. Materials: Fabric, stickers iron-ons, paint, needle, thread, accessories, set (i.e. doll house or little bed to be assembled)
b. Instructions
c. Take into consideration:
d. How a character will translate to a consumer project?
e. What would be competitor products in the marketplace?
f. Is it something fresh and different?
g. Difficulty of project for developmental level
6. Testing and Developing
a. start designing and seek feedback along the way - is what you’re designing too
complicated, is it easily understood through the packaging, will it appeal to a range of
ages or is it very specific?
b. Make the kit one time through to make sure it is feasible and understandable from
instruction stand point
7. Production
a. similar to other processes but may involve sourcing more materials from factories or diagramming particular pieces that need to be constructed, i.e. dress, shoes, container for paints
8. Pre-production Review
a. Often it is discovered that the factories can’t find what items you wish to include in a kit
b. Alternates will be provided by factory to chose from but often they are very different, so may have to adapt product and craft to reflect changes
c. Testing (lead, phthalates, BPA)
9. In-store
Challenges may include:
○ Creating your original concept but for half the price. How could you cut out costs and whittle down the final product so it can be sold for 7.99 versus 14.99?
○ Limitations with license - can only use certain art, but they want it to be different than anything they’ve seen before
○ Who has input on this product: Sales team, marketing, creative, retailers and licensor