Valentine Envelope and Retro Hydrangea Collection

Design process behind the Valentine Envelope and Retro Hydrangea Collection

Hi, my name is Karin. I’m so excited to write this first-ever blog. I’m a digital artist designing stationery products for Poyura alongside my sister Jenny. And today I want to share a more in-depth process behind our products. I hope by sharing my process you learn something from it and don’t have to make the same mistakes as me.

I created two collections with wristlets and enamel keychains. It was my first time creating them, which came with a lot of confusion. The fact that the manufacturer didn’t have examples, or a template made it difficult to understand how I should send them my designs. Because of this, we went back and forth a few times.

Because of all the changes we had to make, we couldn’t get our items in time for the planned shop update, which is okay because not everything goes to plan. And to be honest, I’m happy about it because this allows me to work on other things I have been wanting to do, like writing this newsletter haha.

I want to create more useful things instead of only decorative things like stickers. I’m not against stickers, but I think creating useful things that make people's lives easier is more fulfilling. The thought of being able to help people with the things I create is compelling. That’s how I took on the challenge to make wristlets. I wanted something to match with the wristlets that would make it cuter and special. I thought keychains were just perfect for that! The use of different textures and materials would make it more interesting to touch so I decided to go for hard enamel keychains.


Work smarter, not harder

We want to have shop updates with a theme where all the products look like they belong together. I reuse the same design to offer different types of products. I was already doing this by making washi tapes and stickers on the same theme. That way you can match them together and create a cohesive journal spread. And you get to choose from a larger variety of products. I think it’s better to give people the option to choose what they would like to get.

I made two sticker sheets; the first one is the Valentine Envelope, and the second one is the Retro Hydrangea. I reused the design and turned it into a thank-you card, keychains, and wristlets. Down here you can see the thank you card.

My idea with the first version was to use a dark background color to make the object pop more. Also, because it’s winter over here, I wanted to make it look cozy with warm, dark colors. Even with a white border around it, the object blended with the background. So, I changed the background to light pink instead.


Enamel keychain

After I finished my sticker designs, I started working on my keychains. They had to be in vectors. I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be easy. When I transformed my drawing into vectors, it turned into a lot of wonky shapes because I used a textured brush to draw my sticker design. 

I tried to fix this in Illustrator but because I don’t have much experience with Illustrator, it was difficult. And the fact that I was fixing the line art and colors simultaneously didn't help. I felt like this was impossible to fix.

That’s why I decided to redraw it in Clip Studio Paint with a hard brush. I usually don’t draw with a hard brush, because it’s really easy to spot mistakes if you draw with this brush. After all, your lines won’t connect perfectly. I have a lot of respect for people who draw with a hard brush.

After I redrew everything with a hard brush, I transformed it into vectors in Illustrator again. I still had to make some small changes. I noticed that the corners became rounder than in my drawing. This made the keyboard on the PC design very wonky.

The Retro Hydrangea collection has cooler colors compared to the Valentine Envelope collection. The Retro Hydrangea collection would look better if it had gold plating. Gold is still cold but it’s still a warm color. And for the Valentine Envelope collection, I decided to go for copper plating. Copper is warmer than gold and that goes well with love and Valentine theme.

After I finished the vectors and picked the Pantone colors, I had to decide on the size of the keychain. Not all the keychains have the same size because I wanted them to have the same weight. For example, the stamp design is a solid rectangle and has more volume than the ink pot if it is the same size. To make up for the volume, I made it bigger.

It was difficult to put the files together. I didn’t know what I had to keep in mind when turning my drawings into a product. Manufacturers have instructions for designers, like the file type and the minimum resolution. This helps designers create correct files for production instead of going back and forth asking about the details. 

Later on, I realized that what I needed was information about the minimum and maximum measurements of the keychain hole and its placement. I still find it difficult to ask about what I have to keep in mind when putting together my production file. But maybe it was difficult because it was my first-time making enamel keychains.

I’m happy with how the keychains turned out and I think it was worth it to go through the struggle. But I wouldn’t do it again anytime soon. At some point, this process was taking a toll on me because when I finally had all my files ready and sent them to the manufacturer, they sent us a preview of how it would look, and it was not how I wanted it. So, I had to go back to the drawing table. It felt like I was taking one step forward and two steps backward. 

The most important thing I learned from this process is that it just takes time. I can’t rush it. If I rush it, it’s not going to turn out the way I want it to. I have to trust the process that it will work out.


Things I learned

  • When you turn your drawing into vectors, draw with a hard brush in your drawing program. You will get cleaner shapes when you transform your drawing into vectors. This way you don’t have to clean up a lot afterwards.
  • Don’t fix your colors and line art simultaneously. Work on the line art first and if you are happy with it, you can fill it with your desired color. And remember to use Pantone colors if you are making an enamel item!
  • Ask for information about the minimum and maximum measurements for specific parts of your product.
  • Designing a new type of product takes longer than the products you have made before. 



My first idea was to make a really simple design for the wristlets, so the attention goes to the keychains. To accomplish that, I wanted to use two colors only. I liked the idea of combining different patterns and switching the white space color. 

Once I drew all the patterns, I thought this design didn’t match with the keychains. The keychains have line art while the wristlet didn’t, so it looks like a different art style. This is where I decided to start over again. Sometimes it’s better to start over again than to try to make it work. 

I kept the wristlet simple by using repeating patterns this time. And to make it a bit more interesting, I rotated flowers alternating each other. And I used similar colors as the keychain to keep it consistent.

This is a picture of the finished wristlets our manufacturer sent us. I’m so excited to see them in person. I want to hold them in my hands. 

Clothing labels

I think it’s important for people to know where they bought their product from even when the packaging is thrown away. That’s why we have our branding on all our products. An option for the wristlet was to use leather where you can print your branding on it, but that type of leather is made of plastic. And we want to use as little plastic as possible in our products. That’s why I decided to use a clothing label instead and put it in between the fabric of the wristlet. I chose to put it on the inside because I didn’t want it to distract from the design. And it’s only there if you need the reminder. 

However, after I received the final product, I was unhappy about the placement and size of the clothing label. It looks odd in my opinion, because the label is too big for the wristlet. I would have liked a sample before we started production since it was the first time we made wristlets. Honestly, I’m frustrated with myself. I do my best to remind myself that this is just a small detail. I’m still really happy with how the wristlet itself turned out. It seems like the wristlet print is detailed and it’s the colors that I wanted.



When I put together our social media post, I realized that the keychain clasps aren’t the same color as the wristlet clasps. I was disappointed in myself because I wanted them to match perfectly. I spent a lot of time finding the right Pantone color so that the keychains match the colors of the wristlets. But I think this is a learning lesson. In the future, I could make test prints of the whole product and have them next to each other so it’s easier to spot the inconsistencies.


Things I learned

  • If you are making a new type of product, order a sample. 
  • If you are designing matching products, check if the materials and colors are the same.


Photo book



Despite so many things going wrong with creating these products, I’m happy with how the products turned out. I learned a lot about how to use Illustrator and how to design packaging. But from now on I will make one new type of product, the most per shop update to save myself from stress and frustration. I want to design products with joy. If the process is more enjoyable for me, I would be more open to trying new things. 

Thank you for reading our first blog post. We will catch you soon!

Back to blog

Leave a comment