Kristen Rebelo

Design for me is a way of subtly influencing the visual narrative of spaces around me and quietly advocating for consumers by making things both beautiful and easily understood. I appreciate that recent trends in products and services are developed to directly support and work with customers, not corporations. Consumers have more of a voice than ever before, which leads to more personally focused and beautifully tailored things! My preferred aesthetic is neutral, subtle, textured and reflective. It’s really great that I got to explore the style I truly love working in for this card set, since I do not have this opportunity often in my day jobs. I’d say I work digitally 95% of the time. It allows for lots of mistakes, the ability to compare subtle changes next to each other to see the best results, and the layering of different techniques and brush styles. Plus, working digitally appeals to my general lack of patience and my lack of storage space for supplies. I tend to step outside the design industry when it comes to inspiration. I’m more interested in looking at alternative processes and zines, using books to explore other worlds, and stepping outside to see what’s around me. I do my best work in the quiet of my home, usually after a day or two of not thinking concretely about it. I’m a big proponent of allowing for mental breaks in all creative processes and stepping away from things to recharge for a while.

I wanted the Have a Birthday They Said Card to reference the pressure that birthdays typically present – either because it’s a number you’re not looking forward to or because it involves social confrontation of people you barely know saying happy birthday. This character hates being sung to at restaurants, as should everyone.

I was so excited by the idea of creating a full set with these cards, rather than individual illustrations. The Wood Grain Card changed a lot over time, since I knew I wanted it to be a more generic card to support the character cards. The completion of each character card changed the composition of this card slightly every time. I’m happy that in the end it seems to round out the set well.


I surprised myself with this one, a card about love that is not at all snarky or cynical. I wanted the You and the Trees Card to be down­ to ­earth, genuine and versatile. While it was inspired by my partner and my love of camping, I think this card could work for any close relationship – even between family or friends. This is my second favorite card that I designed, because I got to go all out with my preferred style in the texture of the trees.

My favorite card is surprisingly the one I had the most trouble with – the encouragement card! This one was tough, since I wanted it to seem sincere and in line with the character I’ve built in the rest of the set. I ended up loving the composition in the end, and the message that Sarah came up with! It’s perfect, since I don’t think this character would believe in anyone’s encouragement besides her own willpower.

I’ll admit I probably projected a lot of myself into these cards – it had been a while since I had a real, defined creative outlet that allowed for exploration, and it also lined up with a lot of big changes in my life. I was interested in the idea of creating a character within her own world, and having this world be quiet, simple and subtly optimistic.


The Sick or Good Book Get Well Card was inspired by the cold I reliably get once a year that acts as an excuse to stay home from work for a day and do nothing but lay in bed and recharge. So it’s sort of a “get well but not really” card.


This card that was created as a complimentary card to the character cards, so that the set was a cohesive whole. The Thank You Card changed as I designed the other cards because I wanted it to support the character cards without the use of the central figure.  I’m happy that in the end it seems to round out the set well.

This card was a complete experiment and wasn’t even originally intended to be part of the set! I first drew the porthole, a little peek into the world of the character that I created. I realized this would be a good opportunity to use negative space and integrate her into the scene. So this was a very happy accident. I think it’s elevated even more by Sarah’s copy – it’s perfectly sweet and sad.

"If i could send a card to anyone, it would be my nana. While lots of relatives send cards for the big holidays, Nana always surprises me with cards that congratulate life events like moving into a new apartment or getting a promotion. People don’t do that a lot anymore, and the sentimental side of me appreciates it."