Student Feature: Sara Alread Posted on 22 Jul 09:50

If I could live in any time period ever, I would pick right now (sorry, flappers). Why? Because in 2015, my husband can fix our washing machine…with YouTube. I can design a wedding invitation for a bride in Australia who found me from a blog post. I can connect with people all over the world with a hashtag on Instagram. It’s pretty amazing what you can find when you look online.

While I was in college, I designed wedding invitations at a small shop in Athens, Georgia. After graduating in 2009, my husband and I were both freelancing and working full-time jobs. Working and designing for ourselves has been one of the greatest and hardest things we’ve ever done. One of the real challenges is finding ways to stay inspired. It’s easy to get stuck in your usual design habits when you work for yourself, and I never want to get stale.

(photo by Jessica Burke Photography)

Enter Atly. At this point in my career, I’ve been using Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign for 8 years. And I’m not even close to knowing everything there is to know about these programs. The best way for me to learn is to take a class. Alma Loveland’s class, Illustrator 110: Patterns, could not have been better. All those fun, silly drawings I was making are now fun, silly patterns. And those patterns can be whatever I want them to be — wallpaper for my phone, fabric thanks to Spoonflower, mini art prints. I love the possibilities.

When my daughter was born in December of 2013, I quit working my 9 to 5. I knew I wanted to continue designing wedding invitations, but I also knew I wanted to start making other things. Thankfully, Eva Jorgensen took the time to teach Stationery Biz 100. Eva is someone I have admired and followed on Instagram and her blog for quite some time. She’s an inspiration as a business owner, designer, and mother and the perfect person to learn from. Because of that class, my shop now has mini art prints, digital downloads, and custom stationery. Plus, my phone has a list of about a thousand late-night ideas to add in the near future.

(photos by Towson Collective)

So what’s next? That’s easy. It’s Lindsey Buck’s Calligraphy 101. When we met at Maker’s Summit in March, she told me it was getting ready to launch and I bought it the day it went live. I’ve been using my handwriting in almost everything I do, but now I get to learn a new technique and a new approach. Internet friends becoming real friends is the best.

To all my new internet friends: I’d love to “meet” you too! You can find me on Instagram (@alreaddesigns) and at my website alreaddesigns.com. Plus, I’d love to offer you 20% off my shop with the code ATLYLOVE at checkout.


Written by: Sara Alread

Sara and her husband, George, started Alread Designs in 2011. She works out of her home on St. Simons Island, Georgia while taking care of her daughter, Wren, and french bulldog, Walter.