Kensie Kate

Happy, colorful design & hand lettering


Happy Patterns | Part 1

Design, IllustrationKensie SmithComment
Happy Patterns by Kensie Kate

I love designing patterns. I think it's so fun to play with colors and shapes, but it's been way too long since I've made patterns just for fun. I gave myself a fun project and decided to make a bunch with the challenge that none of them could have a white background. 

Once I got started, it was hard to stop! Here's the first batch. Which one is your favorite?

Happy Patterns by Kensie Kate
Happy Patterns by Kensie Kate
Happy Patterns by Kensie Kate

**All images copyright Kensie Kate. If you're interested in licensing a pattern, shoot me an email at**

The Best Places to Print (+ 4 Tips for a Better Printing Experience)

Business, Small ShopKensie Smith1 Comment

I've been selling prints for almost 5 years now! I can hardly believe it. I've made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons in that amount of time. I want to help you avoid some of the same mistakes I made, so I'm going to start sharing information that would have been really useful to me 5 years ago. 

The number one question I get asked is about where to have things printed. I totally get it. It can be really frustrating to find a reliable location that is high-quality and convenient. And so I present to you, a list of my favorite places to print (+ some tips that will help you have a better printing experience.)

My favorite places to print based on quality, speed, and price.

1 | Alphagraphics

Alphagraphics was were I printed my designs for the very first time and they've never disappointed me since. Their staff is highly knowledgable and the quality of their printing is excellent. Sometimes I email files and then they call me when they're ready to be picked up (almost always the same day) and sometimes I bring my files in on a flash drive and usually they're able to print them right away. Their pricing is higher than a lot of other places, but there is a peace of mind that comes from knowing that your order is always going to be printed beautifully and accurately.

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Speed: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Price: ★ ★ ★ 

2. FedEx Kinko's 

FedEx Kinko's is a pretty standard print shop. There are locations all over the place, which is nice. I've always been able to walk in with files on a flash drive and have them printed immediately. They quality isn't stellar, but it's decent, especially for things like labels or things that don't have to be perfect.

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

3. Printmark (Provo, UT)

I actually haven't printed here before, but if I still lived in Provo, I totally would. I've heard wonderful things and everything I've seen printed by them has been really high-quality. Their pricing is really competitive too. 

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Speed: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

4. BYU Cougar Creations (Wilkinson Center)

I've printed here a lot of times since it was a 5-minute was closer to my apartment than any of my classes at BYU and because their pricing is so cheap. They do a pretty good job, but I had to have things re-printed a few times. I would always go in person and if something didn't look right, they were able to re-print for me. 

Quality: ★ ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (they get 6/5 stars because it really is that cheap)

5. BYU Printing Services (North of the Marriott)

First things first: if you live anywhere near BYU and need wedding invitations (or any other large order like that), go here! Every time I design wedding invitations for my friends, I tell them to go here. They're pricing is so good and the printing is much higher quality than Cougar Creations. They aren't a same-day service so I don't print with them super often (because I usually need things quicker), but if you have a large order and can wait a few days, this is your place.

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ 
Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ (again, they get 6/5 stars because it's that good)

6. Persnickety Prints

Persnickety Prints is an online print shop with amazing quality. They use photographic printers, which is awesome for photos, but not the greatest option for prints. I don't print here very often because I usually like to print things where I can get them the same day.

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ 
Price: ★ ★ ★ 


If you like the idea of ordering things online rather than going to a print shop, is a great option. They're printing is excellent and they have a lot of options for paper and different products. Things that don't have to be ordered often (like business cards) are great options.

Quality: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ 
Price: ★ ★ ★ 

8. Vistaprint

If you are just starting out and literally need the cheapest option possible, this is your place. They quality is not awesome (some things turn out better than others), but you won't find anywhere cheaper. I have printed business cards and postcards with them. You don't have to order super high quantities, which was really great when I was starting out and trying some different products.

Quality: ★ ★ 
Speed: ★ ★ ★ 
Price: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

And now for a few tips that will make your life so much better (or at least make printing less of a headache :)

Tip #1 | Always request that things be printed actual size

This is probably pretty obvious, but there's nothing worse than getting a whole stack of prints, only to realize that they're all an 1/8 of an inch too short. 

Tip #2 | Get your order cut

I clearly remember the day that a blessing from heaven in the form of an Alphagraphics employee told me I could have my whole order cut to the right size for a couple of dollars. Every print shop I've ever been to has had a guillotine cutter that is capable of cutting a whole stack of prints at the same time. Most places charge 50-75 cents per cut. SO. WORTH. IT. 

I'm still not completely over the fact that no one mentioned this to me before and I spent endless hours cutting every single print and piece of chipboard by hand. Oh yes, they will cut chipboard too. I buy a whole box at a time and then have it all cut for less than $5.

Cutting individual prints or pieces of chipboard is for suckers. And I was apparently a sucker for a really long time because no one bothered to tell me there was a better way.

Tip #3 | Screen color does not equal print color

I'm sure you already know this, but things don't always look the same way they did on your screen once they're printed. I like using colors that I've printed before and know turn out well to increase my chances of being happy with the final product, but be prepared to have to adjust. It's a good idea to print one of everything to check the colors before printing the rest of your order.

Tip #4 | Use bleeds

Have you ever cut something and you get that pesky white edge no matter how close to the edge you try to cut? That's the reason designers use bleeds. A bleed is a border that goes around your design so that when it's cut, the color goes all the way to the edge. A 1/8 inch bleed is pretty standard. That means that if I want to print a design that ends up being 8x10, my print file is actually 8.25x10.25. 

So there you have it. Any printing locations or other tips I should know about? Happy printing!


handlettering day 3 + a story about pancakes

Uncategorizedkensiekate1 Comment

My grandpa (my mom's dad aka Bucko) makes really good pancakes. My mom grew up with Bucko's pancakes and Saturday morning cartoons (Bucko still enjoys himself Bugs Bunny and that darn roadrunner). When my mom and dad were newlyweds, my dad offered to make my mom pancakes for breakfast. Memories of years of Bucko's pancakes filled her head as my dad started cooking. My mom sat down at the table and took a bite. "Are these pancakes or hockey pucks?" she thought. But she didn't say that. Because she was a newlywed. So she ate them anyways. Years later, we still laugh. Mostly while eating my dad's pancakes. Which have improved greatly. And with that heartwarming tale, I present to you day 3 of my handlettering project | available here in 5 different colors

if i call you darling will you make me pancakes-02

happy birthday owen + handlettering day 2


Happy birthday little man! As I write this, you are currently sprawled out in my bed like a starfish snoring quite loudly. 6 years old already. Although, having so many older siblings makes you seem much older. You have a quick, witty sense of humor and know how to keep up with the big kids. You currently enjoy playing WWF wrestling on the Xbox (followed by real wrestling with your friends), playing with little Sam every day, playing on a soccer team, and playing baseball for much longer than anyone else is willing to throw a ball. (It would seem that it took 6 tries, but dad finally got himself an athlete (: ) Today mom is taking you to pick out your birthday present (a brand new bike to replace the one you insist is much too small). Happy 6th birthday, Bubby! owen-01P.S. Day 2 of my handlettering project is for sale in 5 different colors (: Today is the real first day of summer for us and with all the fun/exciting/new/challenging/awesome plans I have, life really is just peachy right now.

life's just peachy-02

#30daysoflettering | day 1 | follow your heart


**Psst! The West Elm LOCAL launch party for the Salt Lake store in City Creek Mall will be June 14th from 12:00 - 4:00. I would love to see you there! Go here or here for more info. Today I started a new personal project: 30 days of hand lettering for the month of June. It has been a goal of mine to incorporate more of my own handwriting in my designs. This month is going to be pretty crazy, (Owen's 6th birthday June 2, The Wonderland Boutique June 6-7, West Elm Local launch party June 14, Father's Day June 15, Finley's 9th birthday June 29, and about a million different projects) so it's quite possible I'll miss a day or 2, but I'm excited to see what I'm able to do this month.

Day 1 of 30:


One thing I have really enjoyed about my art classes at BYU is the push to use new techniques and mediums. On this design, I used embossing powder and a heat gun, which Finley was really fascinated by.

Recently, I have been trying to "follow my heart" and go for what I really want. And what I've learned is that the easiest way to get what you want is to ask for it.

This design is now available as a print in my shop in 5 different color ways.

follow your heart handlettered-07