Digital Designs With A Positive Message
Rhonna Farrer vibrates with creative energy. Her business, Rhonna Designs, is a leader in creating inspiring digital art; her high-resolution artwork, fonts, printables, and products have been used to enhance countless art projects. Flip through her blog, and you’ll find that she can make something exceptionally beautiful out of almost anything: toilet paper rolls become honeycomb, coffee filters bloom into wreaths, and toothpicks transform into tiny flags. But her work is less about the finished piece and more about the feeling, her desire to uplift and inspire every person she touches with her work, leaving them changed for the better.
Keeping Up With Technology
Farrer earned her degree in art education before the boom of the digital age. “When I was in my last semester at school, the photography teacher came in and said there was this really cool thing called Photoshop,” Farrer explained. “ So when companies were asking for digital files, I had to teach myself how to do it.”
But she kept herself at the top of the digital learning curve from that point forward. Farrer served as creative director for Digital Scrapbooking magazine and was lead digital designer for other companies, developing her signature line of stamps, papers, and embellishments. Farrer was an early adopter of Wacom’s tablet technology as well. “With Wacom, you feel like you’re creating,” she said. “I do all my art, drawing, designing, photo editing, blogging, even navigating with my tablets. I love using the Intuos Creative Stylus on the iPad. Even when I’m watching a movie with my family on the couch, I can be doodling.”
Although she was very successful in her work, Farrer felt something was missing. “There’s something about being a creative person and also being art directed, when they say, ‘I don’t like this. Do this and this.’ It takes the joy out of it.” She decided to start her own business, Rhonna Designs, creating a wide range of digital artwork—fonts, backgrounds, borders, and design elements—for hybrid crafting. Hybrid crafting allows people to use her artwork as a jumping off point, incorporating her images into their own art. “It was probably the most freeing thing for me as an artist,” she said. “To wake up every day and say, ‘I want to create this.’ Then to see all the incredible ways people use it. It’s inspiring.”
Positive Distractions to Meet Life’s Challenges
Farrer maintains a continually positive attitude in the face of daily challenges. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic disease with crippling pain, as well as celiac disease, but she explained, “I knew it was my choice, that I could wallow in pain and sickness or find something to take my mind off the pain and sickness. It was divine direction for me, to find the things that would bring me greater joy.” Her distractions went beyond the artwork and the business to running marathons and renovating a vintage camper for family “glamping” (glamour camping). But her health, in a way, also reminded her to keep her focus on the things she holds most dear: her husband, her three teenage children, and her faith. Farrer’s strong values inform everything that she does and add meaning to every action. Her distraction is a deliberate tool, a means of turning each negative into a positive.
The 21 Challenge was a similar silver lining, a way to help herself and others change for the better. “I had read that you can break a bad habit or create a good one in just 21 days. I was already using art therapy on myself, creating every day and documenting it. I thought I’d combine those things together.” She developed the 21 Challenge, encouraging her followers to join her by identifying a habit to change and then creating new art daily. “It was mind blowing to see the changes people made in their lives,” Farrer said.
New Technologies Grow Brand
Farrer’s following is enormous because she recognized the importance of social media early. “When you look at the statistics of Instagram, Twitter, it’s crazy. In my mind, that’s free marketing. Before, you would pay for an ad in magazines. This is a no brainer,” she said. Farrer networks her blog, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter together so posts are co-promoting each other; she has led classes on the effective utilization of social media. But she still keeps her eye on the future. “The blogging world is changing now,” she said. “People want to see what is on their phone; it’s a lot quicker. When you pay attention, you see what is working and just jump on.”
Farrer’s new app, Rhonna Designs, was named the App Store’s Best of 2013 Photo Editing App in trends/stylish photo editing. The app offers a seamless way to embellish and change photos with digital art, effects, and fonts. “The app came about because I saw what was missing in the app world,” Farrer said. “I would combine a lot of different apps to get what I wanted and then I’d try to load my own digital art and fonts into them. I had to go through twenty different steps to get what I wanted on my picture.”
Although she met with different designers, she didn’t feel anyone understood her vision until the developers of Bubble Frame approached her about creating a Rhonna Designs app. Within six months, it was released, and then it was a whirlwind. “It hasn’t even been a full year, and we’re still learning and adding new things, pushing the envelope.” She is looking forward to creating more apps in the future.
Rhonna Designs makes it easy for others to tap into their own creative process, and it’s important to Farrer that her work serves to uplift and inspire others. One of her favorite hashtags is #CreativeToolsToEmpowerOurCreativeMinds. “How will you create?” she asks. “Not just creatively, but emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It’s a journey.”