When Kim and I met up with Brad and Annie for their maternity session before little Owen was born, we got to see his nursery and stopped dead in our tracks when we saw the print they had sitting on a shelf in his room. I was literally speechless! To say I loved that print is the understatement of the century! You can ask Annie, ALL I did was talk about the print! After the session I reminded her like a billion times to send me the name of the artist.

And she did!

Kristen Graham of Hoot Design Co.

And I think I immediately emailed Kristen, told her I LOOOOOVED her work and begged her to work with us!

And she agreed!

So over Valentine’s Day she created an awesome set of cards for us that were a HUGE hit with our clients! We also ended up using them as thank you gifts for a few lucky clients that month!

Also, once little Owen was born we of course had to photograph him in front of his print…

I mean seriously, could he be any cuter? I love it!

Then we asked (YES, we have asked a lot of Kristen!) if she’d want to do a giveaway on an Artist Spotlight post and HERE SHE IS! So hang out, read about her pure graphic design awesomeness and then hit up this crazy cool giveaway!

Thanks for being here Kristen! Obviously we think you’re the cats pajamas and can’t wait to see where this new venture takes you!

1. What’s the story behind Hoot Design? How did you start, why, when, etc?

Hoot started when I began doing more and more side projects while working as an art director at an ad agency in Chicago, but it really took off when I completed the first Simply Yours Print for my nephew, Jacob, in December 2008. I really wanted to make something unique for him since he was the first baby in our family…and I have always loved typography and the alphabet. I thought an alphabet poster would be so fun, and then I thought why not put all of our family’s information in there. We asked my brother-in-law for help, but it was a surprise for my sister-in-law, and her reaction was priceless. She brought it to her baby shower the day after I gave it to her, and it received a lot of attention. A lot of people were asking if I sold them…so I started thinking that it might be possible to make this a full-time job.

I love working with people on such personal gifts. And the surprise stories are amazing! I think the print is overwhelming at first because it is such a mishmash of type:) But then as people see THEIR name, THEIR street, THEIR baby’s name…it is so special for them…and they are always shocked.

2. How do you like blogging so far? 🙂 How are you getting your name out there to gain readers?

I really like blogging! I like talking in general, so it comes naturally for me. I don’t really enjoy writing though — and make TONS of typos:) — but to me that is part of blogging. I love how natural and organic it is. You feel like you are sitting in someone’s living room talking with them about a new artist or couch that they stumbled upon. I love how it isn’t sponsored by a corporation or hidden agendas, and that is what makes all of the mistakes fun:)

I am trying to get my name out there by blogging every day. When I go to blogs I expect new content to be there, so my goal is to do at least one post per day. Secondly, I am trying to make friends in the blogging community like you and Young House Love, which recently posted a giveaway of one of the prints and tripled my traffic!

3. What is your most favorite design you’ve ever created? Can you share it with us?

Well, not surprisingly, my favorite design is the Simply Baby or the Simply Yours design:)

The reason I am so proud of this is because after I was finished I was like, “Hmmm. That’s good.” I rarely feel that way about something I do. Then I was even more surprised when other people started reacting to it with words like WOW and HOLY COW. Mostly I am very proud of it because it came to me while I was just staring at a blank screen one day. I am often inspired by other artists or designs, but I really believe that I might have come up with this all by my very self!

4. What is your dream for your company? Where do you hope to be in a year, 5, 10?

Hmmm, that is tough:) My goal right now would be to make this my full-time job, and to do it well. I just started full-time with Hoot in March 2010. Before that I had been working full-time at the agency and doing this on the weekends….so I was almost upset when I received orders because it meant no weekend. Now I can really put my heart into making Hoot work and providing great customer service. I also love the marketing aspect after coming from an agency, and I’d love to see how I can really market this and help it take off.

My dream would be to have a family and career balance, and to be able to keep creating things that I am proud of.

5. Kids? Family? What is your home life like?

I have one husband (Adam) and a chocolate lab named Camp (she has a special section on the blog).

I have no kids (which is surprising since I focus a lot of time on baby items), but I’d definitely like to add some in the future. That is one of the reasons my husband and I moved from Chicago to Columbia, Missouri — our home town. Here, we have both sides of our families and a lot of support. It is the perfect place to start a new business and raise a family.

My husband works for an engineering firm based out of Chicago (marry an engineer if you never want to put Ikea furniture together again), and moving home might have been the smartest thing we ever did.


THANK YOU KRISTEN! And just FYI… now that you’re in Columbia I hope we are the first to hear about your first baby! We can make the drive for newborn photos! HA!


Wanna see some of the incredible designs she does? Take a peek!

This is her “simply yours” design b/c she literally takes what you send her and makes a print out of it! So you can come up with the words for the most incredibly personalized gift I’ve ever seen! This is my favorite thing she offers! Although I did just buy THIS yesterday for the kid’s playroom! Love it too!

She does custom holiday cards or cards for any occasion!

Party invites too!

I really love her versatility!


SO! Head over to her website HERE and then come back to tell me what you love most about her new site! We will pick a random comment sometime in the next few days to win her Simply Baby print!

Simply Baby:

AND to make this giveaway interesting… if you blog, tweet or facebook about this giveaway come back and leave comments telling me so! You can be entered up to 4 times (1 for your first comment, 1 for twitter, 1 for facebook and 1 for blogging)! AND if you do Tweet, blog or facebook it you can be entered for this additional print, her new “alpha tower”!

So does that make sense? Your first comment has to tell me what you love about her site to be entered to win the Simply Baby Print. Then if you tweet, blog or facebook this giveaway you can be entered to win not only the simply baby print but also the alpha tower!


So GO! What are you waiting for???

Thanks Kristen!