Cassey here. Today I am so excited for you to meet another important member of the Blogifam, Leslie (@popster_leslie). She is our Graphic Designer here at Blogilates HQ. Art and design are an INTEGRAL part of our business (the prettier something is, the more motivational!) so she's busy helping you guys stay visually stimulated!
Leslie does a lot of the art that you've probably seen. From designing the Blogilates printables to workout calendars to postcards to ads to e-books (hello PIIT28!), she wears a lot of hats. Actually, the most important hat she's ever worn was the Sorting Hat and it told her that she was a Slytherin, but I digress.
This year, I wanted to challenge Leslie and have her take on a behemoth project...one of the most anticipated products of the year...The 2017 Blogilates Fit Planner.
With one deep breath, Leslie accepted the assignment and worked diligently on it for months on months! Let's get to know a little more about her and how she did it!
CASSEY: They've seen you in the Blogilates YouTube skits and sometimes tagged on my IG, but can you once and for all introduce yourself to the POPsters!?
LESLIE: Hello! I'm Leslie McMullin and I'm the Blogilates graphic designer! I went to Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and majored in Graphic Design, with a double-concentration in Illustration and Book Arts, and a minor in Art History. I guess you could say I really wanted to make the most of my time there! :P
CASSEY: How did you find Blogilates and this job?
LESLIE: I found Blogilates when I was going through a really unhappy time in Baltimore. While I loved the education I got at MICA, Baltimore was not the city for me. All of my friends were in San Francisco, and it was hard to make new ones as a transfer student. I was in the best shape in San Francisco (the SF State gym was really amazing), but it was difficult to find a good program to stick to in Baltimore. So, one day I stumbled across a Blogilates blog post and it connected with me. I think this was in 2010. After that, I was hooked. I even followed the calendar religiously for 5 or 6 years straight! Yup, the same calendar that I design now! Hah, it's crazy. Now, I am a PIIT28 fanatic.
As for this job, I was reading a new blog post, and I remember you saying "If you are a Graphic Designer in the LA area, please send a cover letter and resume!" Luckily, I got an interview from there. My story is actually pretty similar to Lexi's after that - I was very persistent, came super prepared to my interview, and followed up afterwards to let you know that I really wanted this. Eventually, I got the job!
CASSEY: YES YOU DID! And you also got the 2017 Fit Planner project too! When I first gave this task to you, how did you feel?
LESLIE: I had watched all the hard work that went into creating the 2016 Fit Journal, so I took it VERY SERIOUSLY. I am also a planner addict, so I was excited to integrate my passion for planning into our product. So, we started brainstorming the theme in March. We wanted to make sure to have lots of time to make everything perfect!
CASSEY: Yup. I remember feeling so proud that we were planning concepts in March. What did you want to improve for 2017's Fit Planner?
LESLIE: I wanted this planner to be something you could live on. That meant it had to offer more than food and exercise tracking. To-do list was a definite must! I read through all the comments on last year's journal from the blog and from your Instagram. (By the way, we really do always read your feedback!) It was really helpful to be able to turn to the POPster community for help. Although it was difficult trying to figure out how to fit "life aspects" with "fitness aspects", I think we found a perfect balance in this year's planner!
CASSEY: There's a very lovely thing about the planner that most people will not notice, so I want to call it out. It's the flowers...can you tell everyone more about that?
LESLIE: I did a lot of research on flowers. I now know way more flower names than ever! Haha. Since I knew I would be editing the flowers to make the colors crazy and fun, I had to figure out how to still make it feel like it was themed for that month. I decided the best way to do that would be only using flowers that were in-season for that month!
CASSEY: Oftentimes, designing can be a very quiet and solo job. But I believe the best stuff comes from a collaboration of creative minds. What do you think?
LESLIE: For the Fit Planner, I appreciate that we had a lot of meetings discussing every detail! LITERALLY. EVERY. DETAIL. We met almost every week for months until we approved the final sample. The process was really fun because I understood your vision right away. You explained to me styles and feelings that needed to pop from the pages, and the inspiration hit me like a lightning bolt! I'm happy that you trusted me to take what we discussed and make it my own from there. This book really is the result of our collaboration!
CASSEY: It must be so cool to see one of Blogilates' most anticipated products of the year be graphic-designed by you and in the hands of thousands of POPsters! How does that make you feel Leslie!?
LESLIE: This is exactly why print design is my favorite! It is so incredible to see something you've looked at on a screen for months printed out and being used! Projects like this are a perfect example of why this job is so rewarding. I get to give back to the community that has given me so much. I would not be who I am today without POPsters! I am beyond excited for you guys to finally be able to see what we've worked so long and hard on :D
CASSEY: So, what's your fave part about the 2017 Fit Planner?
LESLIE: This sounds really broad, but my favorite part is how there's a perfect balance between functionality and design. I love how bold the colors are! It was so much fun to make the artwork. For every finished piece you see, I made at least another 5 other versions. (I think the total amount of artwork I made got up in the 60s!) I also love that this planner has so much to offer in daily life. I wanted to keep everything clean, simple and inviting to encourage people to use it for everything!
CASSEY: Alright and let's end with your goals for 2017!
LESLIE: I really want to get back to posting on my blog! Lexi has been taking amazing pics of my outfits, so I have a lot of content to post. I just have to sit down and do it! Another goal is to go on more adventures out in LA!
Thank you so much Leslie for spending time with me to share your journey with our POPsters! Guys, please leave any questions you have for Leslie down below. She's an avid comment reader so she will most def reply :)