As I mentioned yesterday, my article-writing job with Scrapjazz/Scrapbook.com has ended. While I am still working for Scrapbook.com writing product descriptions (and still working as the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts), I am no longer doing design work for any sort of store. I've been designing for stores continually since 2010, so it feels a bit unfamiliar to be able to use whatever products I want to use on all of my layouts.
Total creative freedom.
My first experience designing for a store was in 2008 when I was selected for the Design Team at a local scrapbook store. My job was to design the layouts that would be taught in their classes. Everything I put on the page had to be available in the store. If it wasn't on the shelves (and in a large enough quantity), it couldn't go on my page. I couldn't add even a single rhinestone or button or ribbon scrap or whatever else from my stash. I couldn't even use a journaling pen that they didn't carry! The store was a decent size and had a lot of supplies, but on practically every layout there was something I wanted to add that simply wasn't available in the store. I also had to consider pricing. The supplies for my layouts had to retail for a certain amount. If I used one sticker or other unique item from a package, I had to cost the entire package. It was a whole different way of designing than what I'd done before.
Here's one of the layouts I designed for their summer break kids' camp. Because it was going to be made by children, I was supposed to make sure there weren't any difficult or overly time-consuming techniques and I had to keep the cost really, really low. The result was really clean and simple, even by my standards. If I'd been making this for myself, I would have done some different things - maybe added chalks on the veggies, or a stitched sun, or little brads to look like nails on the plant stake.
In 2010, I started designing for an online store specializing in supplies the big box stores don't carry. I worked with them for just under three years. While the requirements for my projects weren't anywhere near as strict as with the LSS, I still had to make sure that my layouts highlighted the manufacturers and supplies the store carried. It was not always easy to blend my clean and simple style with their predominantly feminine, shabby-chic products.
Here's one example. If I'm not mistaken, this is the one and only time I've used a lace trim on a layout. The papers are actually from a wedding collection. I like the finished layout, but it was a struggle to make at the time! I kept wanting to remove the frilly, vintage elements and replace them with something clean and graphic.
For the past two years, a lot of my scrapping has been creating projects to accompany the themes of my articles. Obviously, when you write articles for a store, you need to use products that are available for sale in that store. Scrapbook.com is huge and has zillions of products, but they don't carry a lot of older patterned papers, for example. There were times I wanted to use an older line, but it was no longer carried so I needed to switch gears.
Here's an example. I like the way this turned out, but the patterned papers weren't my first choice for the layout. I picked out some other stuff, did a search and learned that they were discontinued, and switched them out for the current papers you see.
Of the three stores, Scrapbook.com has been the easiest to design for by far, simply because they carry literally hundreds of times as much stuff as the other stores did. Even so, I wasn't able to use huge amounts of my stash for assignments since it is simply too old.
I'm not actively searching for a design job, but if I were offered something, I'd definitely consider it. In the meantime, I'm enjoying the total freedom of being able to scrap whatever topic I want, using absolutely any product I want. It's been great seeing my stash of really old product finally starting to shrink a bit.