Independent Graphic Designer Maryland Made.

Design: Get Free

A couple years ago, a friend and I came up with a personal mantra: Get Free. This mantra has stuck and repeats in my mind on a regular basis. For us, getting free was about getting free of creative blockage, negative people and vibes and removing anything out of our way that was keeping us away from our creativity. Through the years, Get Free has applied to so many situations in my life. Whenever I feel bogged down with negativity or anxiety about a project or creative goal, I remind myself to Get Free.

Following the creation of this mantra, I created a few free wallpaper designs based on the saying. Tonight, I was feeling stuck in a rut and decided to remind myself once again to Get Free. I turned to the computer and created a few more images based on this wonderful saying. Though not wallpaper size, they are a good size for sharing.

For me balloons are a perfect representation of this mantra.

Get Free


My love for color definitely shows in these layouts. After creating the first one, I decided to play around with the hue and saturation of the background and see what other color palettes I could create. These two were my favorites. I love the brightness and fun of these colors.

Get Freeii

Get Freeiii

In light of how much I use this saying and create around it, I decided to give it it’s very own category on the blog. I hope you are able to Get Free of those things that are keeping you stuck in a certain negative space. If you need any inspiration, check back and see what else is under the Get Free category.


Inspire Me: Sarah Jane Adams

A couple years ago, a friend and I were talking about what we’d like to be like when we’re in our 60’s and 70’s. I was saying that I’d like to be a very stylish but comfortable woman, who isn’t at all moved to make style decisions based on my age alone. I do believe that there is an importance to dressing age appropriate, but, in my opinion, there is also an importance in remaining the fun and outgoing style of your youth.

When I came across Sarah Jane Adams on instagram, I found my style spirit animal.



Her mantra on instagram has been #MyWrinklesAreMyStripes. Throughout time, women have done everything they can to minimize their wrinkles; the make them look younger than what they are. I have always been an advocate of celebrating and embracing the natural aging process and embracing our stripes.

Sarah’s confidence and personality sing through her clothing and her instagram feed. And, how can you not admire her amazing Adidas collection.

DM-Blog SJA2


When I decided to type this post, I went online to see if there was anymore information I could find about Sarah and stumbled upon this wonderful video where she talks about embracing her age instead of hiding it. My heart sang as I watched it; happy to find an older women who embodies who I’d like to be someday.


Sarah Jane Adams, Thank you for sharing your style and your stripes with us!


Sounds: Dave Matthews Band

When I was in high school, my favorite bands were Sublime, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Incubus, Jamiroquai and Deee-Lite. There was no bad talk about ANY of those bands! I own almost every album for all of them and if I was able to see them live, I did. When one of my high school besties suggested that we go see Dave Matthews Band live, I was like “Don’t you know who I listen to?!?!? I don’t think DMB fits in there!” I was wrong! I went with her to DC’s RFK Stadium to see DMB outside in the rain and loved every moment of it! The energy was amazing and being in the crowd was like being at a huge party with a bunch of brand new friends. I was in love and DMB soon became one of my favorites to listen to when I needed a little pick me up!

Today I had a very pleasant surprise when I turned on Annapolis’ own WRNR 103.1 – Dave Matthews Band. Not only DMB but one of my favorite songs by them. I was so excited that I sung my little heart out with the windows down and then thought “I should blog this tonight!,” so here we are! Enjoy:



Just in case you wanted a little more:




Fall 15 Style

Every season I get a little inspired to clean out my closet and get some new threads. I get excited about the seasons changing and am always interested in finding a few key pieces to go along with the season. My style is typically comfy wrapped up in cute & leather. I like cute things like polka dots and bows paired up with leather and heavy accessories. My Fall 15 style board is full of comfy but definitely more inspired by leather (the cute will still makes it’s way in, I’m sure). I believe that everyone should have a go-to accessory. Mine are my all black Chuck Taylors. For me, they go with everything! My second favorite accessory is my Mossimo leather jacket. Pairing that with a big comfy scarf is the style definition of Fall for me. Seeing these images of a good leather jacket with a scarf makes me want to order my vanilla Americano and walk the streets of Downtown Annapolis; watching the leaves fall from the trees!

DM Blog Style Fall 15


There’s no doubt that I’m a jacket girl! Fall is my favorite season, so having a good jacket is a must. Second to a good leather is a good hooded button-up jacket; lightweight but super warm. I’m a sucker for a jackets’ inside design and these two are my favs. I love the pattern on the navy jacket and the large stitched in label on the forest green jacket. It’s all about the detail!

DM Blog Style Fall 152


This Fall I want to experiment a little more with necklaces and nails…The two N’s! I haven’t been much of a nail person and when I do get my nails done I either opt for a nude color or glitter (here’s where the cute comes in). I am in love with these black and gold nails below. Pair those nails with a simple tee, good jacket and some layered necklaces…PERFECTION!

Can’t wait to add a few new pieces of clothing and accessories to my closet.

DM Blog Style Fall 153



Curating Events

I love a good social scene. I also love a great curated space. What does curating events involve? It’s a focus on creating an experience for the people who take the time to attend your event. It’s all about the surroundings, the people and the little details.

My husband, brother and his girlfriend started noticing that we all have a true love for curated social settings. Getting the right people in the right place at the right time for the right event. When my brother started hosting his monthly Open Mics at Metropolitan Kitchen and Lounge in Downtown Annapolis, we all jumped on board with helping him promote them. We realized that each of us had a strong-suit in this event business and eventually created a brand that focuses on curated events for artists and musicians called The Conglomerate. As The Conglomerate we have one solid goal:

To create an outlet in the Annapolis, Maryland area for independent creatives to showcase their talents through curated events.

Annapolis is such a great place for us to provide these events. In a town that already widely celebrates the arts and music, we fit right in.

Our first major event is coming up and we could not be more excited. It’s a 3-day music event called The Dig; open mic, Jamla showcase w/ 9th Wonder, Rapsody, Heather Victoria and special guest Gods’illa, followed by a record fair and rooftop after party w/ DCs own True School Corp.! WOW! Our meetings in the kitchen have really paid off!

Can’t wait to share with you all what else is coming just around the corner!

The Dig Poster_LTR

If You Keep Thinking About It…

…it’s probably time to do it!

I am constantly thinking about designing; designing clothing, bags, mugs, pillows, scarves, everything! I’m thinking about finding cool vintage treasures and customizing them. I’m thinking about buying an industrial machine and learning how to make bags. I’m thinking about hand painting typography. I’m thinking about collaborating w/ some of my favorite designers someday. I’m thinking! The problem is…I’m not doing! What’s the hold up? Over-inspiration? Lack of confidence? I’m not sure.

My company 19FIFTYTHREE will be making some creative transitions soon and “Just Do It!” attitude will be steering the ship of transition. So, where should I start? What is the first step? For me, it’s having no fear! This is what created my previous brand LITTLE by Darin Michelle. This is what created 19FIFTYTHREE and this step is what will expand my creativity and open my mind to getting up and doing and not just thinking.

If you’re moving into your ‘Just Do It’ season, what is your first step?

And now, for my personal theme song:

Make it Everlasting!

I have been away from this blog for a few months now. Between business transitions, having my site compromised and running into a number of other issues, I have had a major set back. So much has happened and changed w/in these last few months and I can’t wait to have that reflect on the Darin Michelle site. As usual, I’ve been taking in all the inspiration I can get on Pinterest, constantly creating w/ 19FIFTYTHREE and am now happy to be working w/ an Annapolis agency who offers both creative and marketing < more updates on that later!

There are some exciting projects in the making and a huge but awesome transition happening for my company and brand 19FIFTYTHREE. Last year I became a mom (Success). The presence of my daughter has pushed me more to reach out for my dreams, to create positive goals and to make classic work. There is something admirable about people who follow their true passion and style and don’t get caught up in trends and over-saturated media hype. For the last few months my theme song has been ‘Everlasting’ by Rapsody. As creatives and artists, it is our duty to create honest, everlasting work w/ integrity. Thank you Rap for making a song that can and will speak to me for years to come! “Make it everlasting!”