Hand Drawn Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

Hello! I recently discovered Zuer Designs on Instagram, and I absolutely loved the clean lettering and simplicity with which Jo creates! I contacted her to get some more insight on her work, and here’s what she had to say.

Please tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hello! My name is Jo, I’m 21 years old and I’m the creative designer behind Zuer Designs. I’m currently a student here in New Zealand, in my last year of my undergraduate studies. Handwriting related arts have been a passion of mine ever since I was 8 or 9. I’m also a huge stationery junkie and love collecting pens (especially fountain pens) which helped to fuel my handwriting passion.

I remember from when I was younger that for every friends’ birthday I would buy them an art or crayon set. Looking back now, I should have considered the appropriate toy, but obviously, stationery was, and is, more important! Apart from lettering and writing related things, I am known to be a bit of a Minecraft fan. I was that one girl who spent her whole summer stuck glued to her computer playing Minecraft. I’m actually a bit embarrassed to admit that, but we all have embarrassing moments, right? In the next few years I aim to pursue postgraduate studies while growing Zuer Designs on the side.


What is your creative process like?

My current creative process begins with finding a source of inspiration which is often times based on my emotions and the mood at that moment. If anything significant is going on in my life, it reflects through my lettering pieces. Same goes for any inspirational pieces that I find. It sticks with me until my next piece of work. I’m an avid journal writer as well, so all my thoughts and ideas are noted down. I constantly flip through my journals when I’m stuck for ideas. I also like to take lots of breaks to make sure I actually like what I created two days later. Kind of like self reflection. Enjoying what I do is ultimately the most important part of my creative process.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

What are the things that inspire you the most?

Definitely the works I see on Instagram. I love following different creative individuals and getting inspiration from their pieces. Alongside drawing inspiration from my emotions, I’m also inspired by the lovely atmosphere and environment in New Zealand. So when I do use colour, I draw from the colours I see around me.

How did you get started with lettering/calligraphy? What keeps you motivated?

I got interested in handwriting thanks to the penmanship lessons we used to have in primary school (pen licenses, anyone?), which eventually evolved into a love of hand lettering over time. I actually discovered lettering through the explore feature of Instagram. I thought it was really neat and wanted to give it a go of my own. Believe me when I say that I was absolutely horrible in the beginning! I did give up at one point but the encouragement from my friends kept me going. Every time I bump into a friend that I haven’t seen in a while, they always talk about the lettering that they see me post on social media, which really makes me smile and keeps me going.

What would your ideal day be like?

My idea of a perfect day would definitely consist of lettering and playing Minecraft while sipping coffee. If I’m with friends, I quite like relaxing at the beach or getting together to have a good meal. I’m always down for exploring new and interesting eateries.


In the midst of creativity and life, how do you keep yourself focused?

It’s almost as if lettering is part of my life. It sounds so cheesy but I always spend an hour or more of my day sitting down and writing something down. Whether it be in my journal or lettering, I always have to do it. I don’t have to set aside time for it, it kind of just happens. It’s never a chore.

What’s the part in your creative process that makes you the happiest?

Seeing the final product makes me really happy. I know that for a lot of other people, seeing others happy with their work makes them happy, but for me, I feel like I have to be happy with the final product myself before I share it with others.


How do you juggle a business along with maintaining your creativity at the same time?

I’m not exactly an expert since I only just started my small biz less than a month ago, but I think that being creative part of starting or owning your own business. If you’re not creative with your ideas, you won’t stand out from the crowd, so having a business means that you’re always challenging yourself and coming up with new, creative ideas. You’re becoming more creative as your business grows. It’s kind of a cycle, you see.


What is the hardest (and easiest) part about starting a creative business?

The hardest part for me was actually taking the plunge and opening my Etsy store. I toyed with the idea of starting up Zuer Designs for almost a year before I made an account on Etsy. It then took me another month to actually decide to open up a store and set everything up.  After I made the commitment, everything because a little easier, although nothing is really that easy in the beginning! The easiest part for me was deciding what I wanted to be involved with, which was hand lettering.

Inspiration from Jo of Zuer Designs via www.opinion9.com

Just for fun: What’s your favourite colour and outfit staple?

My favourite colour is a dark purple. Clothing wise, I’m pretty much always seen in head to toe black which I would like to get out of but it’s such a comforting clothing colour! My staple would be either a plain black tee or my black Dr. Marten boots – I can’t decide since I always wear them together!

How did you come up with the name for your brand?

Zuer is actually my Chinese first name phoneticised, and the Design part is self explanatory, haha. I wanted to bring in a bit of myself into the brand so I thought that my name would be interesting.


Find Jo and her work here:




Thank you Jo,  for giving us an insight on your creative process! It was lovely talking to you!
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Moments in Photos

moments in photos via Opinion9.com

I’m starting a little series called ‘moments in photos’ where I’ll be publishing a few photos clicked by me before and recently too and talking about them- how they came to be classed as ‘moments’. Any moment can be special if you want it to be. It may be a small moment, even seemingly unimportant, but many things in life are deceptive. Sometimes the unimportant moments turn out to be beautiful ones.

Here’s the first post of this series. Enjoy.

moments in photos via www.opinion9.com A series to show that moments are great things..Opinion9

This little guy hopped up on my terrace and was chomping on bread. Everytime I tried to click a good photo, it heard the shutter’s click and scampered away, only to cautiously come back a few minutes later. Squirrels are just so sharp, and cute, and ..so darn adorable. In fact, this little squirrel has inspired me so much that I actually might start making some squirrel themed artwork, just because. Forget flamingos. And pineapples. And watermelons. And cats. I’m on the squirrel bandwagon.Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 2.14.13 pm

A little cooking project process photo which I have yet to publish on Surely Simple. I have another blog called Surely Simple, and it’s a space for DIY, crafting, my travels and just living in a simple and creative way. Photographing food was previously unknown territory to me. Now I just try my best and hope for the best. Exploring unknown territory in any skill is a challenge – and showing up is 80 % of the battle, isn’t it?

moments in photos via www.opinion9.com A series to show that moments are great things..Opinion9

I saw this while on holiday a few months back. Taken in Rajasthan, India. There’s something so ordinary, but at the same time so striking in this photo. Actually, in Rajasthan, the cycle is still a pretty good mode of travel for working people. So it’s pretty symbolic in a way- that the worker had propped up his bike and probably was sitting down having a cup of tea before continuing his work routine. I’m assuming this, but I think I can deduce this because I took this photo around 10 am while walking around the place. I love a good story in a picture. And I also really like the wall pattern here.moments in photos via www.opinion9.com A series to show that moments are great things..Opinion9

This was a post I did a while earlier at Surely Simple. I remember this project because at the time, I had no idea how it would turn out at the end, and somehow it came out pretty nicely. It was also yum. If you like, you can check it out here. But the best part of this project was..the teamwork and the fun I had photographing, and creating it! That’s the best bit of the creative process.moments in photos via www.opinion9.com A series to show that moments are great things..Opinion9And the last photo for this post- I took this photo on holiday too! The only thing is, I don’t quite remember when I took this- sunrise or sunset! What do you think it is? Both times are equally beautiful- but at the same time, oh so different. Oh well.

Hope you liked this ‘Moments in Photos’ post. Have a lovely Sunday!

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It’s time to get organized. Only I’m still figuring it out. Lots of ideas being planned for Opinion9. In the meantime, please go on over to Surely Simple, where I’m dabbling in DIYs, writing about travel and basically doing arty projects.

(photo: unknown, found from the internet. if you know where it’s from or if you made it, please let me know so I can credit it. All I know about the picture is that it’s lovely.)

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Art goals and musings |1

Hmm. Some things which I just want to learn/make/see:

1. I really want to develop my own distinctive style of art be it in cartoon form or any other. I’m pretty diverse in trying out different looks in art, but I still haven’t really delved too deep in one particular drawing style yet.

2. I want to make my on gallery wall for my study/studio space. Working on this.

3. I want to see my portfolio asap on the site! Working on this one too.

4. Need to eat some After Eights. Haven’t eaten those (can you believe it?) for more than two years now.

5. Blog design. Busy with things so this priority is wavering up and down n my list. I say: baby steps count, right? I think I’ll install some plugins to start with..

6. Have Singapore on my places to see list. Just don’t know when to go- planning, planning.

7. Practice guitar again. Agh! It’s seems like all I can remember is C-F-Am-G.

8. I’m working on www.surelysimple.com (my lifestyle DIY blog) so this one seems to be on the sidelines as of now. Need to include blog post scheduling for Opinion9 properly.

9. Just relax and have fun.

10. Go swimming.

11. Buy a new pair of jeans.

(art on top by me)

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My Sketchbook | Pomegranates, Sweet treats and Oranges


It’s funny how inspiration strikes you. On holiday (I just came back a little over two weeks ago) I loved to watercolour a bit in the mornings. So, I would keep thinking of nice things to paint, but on this particular day, I couldn’t come up with anything. The past few days I had drawn and painted a castle by the sea, many variations of fern leaves (will show you those later). but today…I couldn’t really think of anything to draw/paint. I was stumped.

And when you’re stumped..what do you do? You head to the kitchen of course. And there, I spotted these beauties. In the city, you rarely see oranges with the leaves still on them. Atleast, I never have. I’ve never even seen an orange tree in real life. But here, out in the desert, you find these beauties. Yessir..oranges, freshly picked. (Of course, these were bought in the town market. That’s the specialty of the market though. Freshly picked produce.)

oranges with leaves
And so the creative process started.fruit salad with oranges drawing


sweet treats drawing

pomegranateNow don’t ask me why oranges made me think of ice creams, macaroons, cakes, etc, fruit salad and pomegranates. Come to think of it, it probably wasn’t the orange that inspired me. It was the fact that it was a perfectly sweet fruit, waiting to be picked and filled with potential. And I just explored my own artist thought here, somehow. I don’t know. Art is mysterious that way. But always very beautiful. more orange photos

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