Art Direction

  • Black Spire Coffee Roasters

    Do you know what Galaxy's Edge is missing at Disneyland? Their very own coffee roasters! Disney has created Galaxy's Edge to be an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience. Guests are transported to Black Spire Outpost on Batuu. It's like being in your very own Star Wars world. There is Aurebesh (the basic language in Star Wars) all over the walls and in the signage. It's an outpost so there is a marketplace to either get outfitted as a First Order or a Resistance Fighter. There is a cantina that serves unique drinks. There's even a meat roasting shop, where they have converted an old podracing engine into a giant grill. The only thing that is missing in Black Spire very own coffee roasters! 

    I based these Star Wars Coffee Labels on Stumptown Coffee Roasters, originally from Portland, OR. Stumptown is a nickname for Portland because the city grew so fast that when the trees were cleared, the stumps were left for a long time. Supposedly, in some areas there were so many stumps people would jump from stump to stump to avoid muddy, dirty roads. 

    This made me think of Galaxy's Edge because it's on the planet Batuu, but the outpost is named Black Spire. Black Spire Outpost got its name from the towering petrified trees that dot the village, surrounding the land. In Star Wars lore, Batuu is an outer rim planet, near the edge of wild space. 

    Logo comparison: Stumptown Coffee Roasters vs Black Spire Coffee Roasters

    Additional logos. The first one uses Aurebesh writing to spell out BSCR. I noticed in many of the Black Spire Outpost merch, they had the initials BSO. 

    This logo uses the Black Spire Outpost city logo and the Aurebesh writing BSR. 

    Stumptown has a few different paper coffee cup designs. I put a Star Wars spin on these illustrations and used them to highlight different parts of Galaxy's Edge. 

    BB-8, R2-D2, and an R6 Astromech droid.

    Loth Cat from the Marketplace Creature Stall 

    Rathtar logo

    Photo composite of the Loth Cat cup design in front of the Creature Stall. 

    One of the most intricate designs was the Black Spire city design. The Aurebesh above says 'BSCR' and the Aurebest below reads 'Batuu.'

    A Millennium Falcon design highlighting the Smuggler's Run ride. 

    Here's a few other mug designs: 


    City icon with the coffee plant going through it—similar to Stumptown's horseshoe.  

    Here's a few of the coffee bean packaging: 

    Thanks for checking out my designs! This was a great passion project while out on maternity. Check out Stumptown's website to learn more about them:

  • Baby Announcement Card

    This is the baby announcement card I designed to announce the birth of our son. We had a baseball themed wedding and our son was to be born in March so we continued on with the baseball theme. I took the pictures, designed the card, and determine a mini-infographic to include in the back. 

  • Star Wars Baby Shower Designs

    Here are the designs from the Star Wars baby shower. I illustrated popular Star Wars characters, objects, and vehicles and added shading the Adam Grason Gouache illustrator brushes. The invitation was a custom design sent through Paperless Post

    I used a similar design for the guestbook:

    And thank you cards:

    We also made little tents for the dessert table descriptions: 

    The illustrations were then broken out for inspirational centerpiece and table tent artwork:

    I also created 'Wishes for Baby' and 'Advice for the New Parents' cards using the illustrations: 

    In addition, I created tags for the party favors: 

    I had way too much fun designing this for the shower. I've even taken the leftovers and place them into the nursery. 

    Our complete vendor list:
    Printing: The Print Works of Altadena
    Star Wars Onesie Cookies: Lavender's Blue Tea
    Balloon Garland: All Events Prints
    Party Rentals: First Stop Party Rentals
    Desserts: SNACK by Tiffany

  • Star Wars Baby Shower

    My husband and I had a little baby boy back in March. Earlier this year, our friends and family threw us a co-ed baby shower. I wanted to design the event, based on the theme 'Star Wars' and our friends and family were gracious enough to let me. 

    I purchased a balloon garland from All Event Prints. The 'Oh Baby' balloons were from Target. We didn't originally have everything in a tent, but then Los Angeles decided it was going to rain. We rented the tents, tables, and chairs from First Stop Party Rentals

    I made terrariums using moss, wine corks, and various Star Wars action figures and vehicles. Each one was paired with a design I illustrated (using Adam Grason brushes). Because of the rain, we added candles and chargers to all the centerpieces. It ended up warming up so we didn't need to light the candles. 

    I also created table activities for guests: 'Wishes for the Baby' and 'Advice for the New Parents' cards. 

    The guestbook was a poster I created of my different Star Wars illustrations. 

    The party favors were cookies designed and baked by Lavender's Blue Tea

    Desserts were catered by SNACK by Tiffany.

    My husband and I at the shower. 

    My family. 

    There will be another post coming with a close up on my designs and illustrations. 

    Here's a condensed version of the vendor list:
    Printing: The Print Works of Altadena
    Star Wars Onesie Cookies: Lavender's Blue Tea
    Balloon Garland: All Events Prints
    Party Rentals: First Stop Party Rentals
    Desserts: SNACK by Tiffany

  • Sneak Peek! Women@Disney Brand Refresh

    I've been volunteering with Women@Disney, doing some design work to stay fresh (as I don't get to design nearly as much at Movies Anywhere or be creative). 

    They wanted a logo refresh, but they didn't want a new logo. I took a look at what had been previously done and just cleaned up a few things as you can see below. 

    Here's the 'Before and After': 

    I did my best to keep the integrity of the logo and brand presence intact, but also cleaned things up to be more fundamentally sound and unique, including a custom "@" sign and bolding both words to create more typographical balance. 

  • Watercolor Orchids for Grandma

    I watercolored these orchids for my Grandmother's memorial. After I painted them by hand, I scanned them into Photoshop and made a few minor adjustments before dropping them into the program and thank you card. 

  • AEG Worldwide Rebrand

    A while ago my team decided to pitch a rebrand of AEG, not sanctioned by a particular client. Because my work was ultimately not chosen by the Creative Director to continue to Round 2, I've attached images from my process book to explain my process: 

    First thing I always do is come with brand attributes to help guide my design choices. Typically, this an exercise that is done with the client. In AEG's case, I led my team in the Post-it Note exercise

    We all had 10 minutes to write down as many adjectives and nouns to describe AEG and then we placed each attribute in the brand attribute categories given by the VP of Creative.

    After that, I typically use word mapping and/or idea mapping based on the attribute words. This gives me additional words to use while image researching and brainstorming. Most of my team's research of competitors, inspiration, and other logos and icons can be found in this PDF

    Since AEG Worldwide has been around since 1994 with this star-centric logo, I felt like it was a cruical for brand equity and the already establish brand recognition for the logo to remain a star: 

    Also, since AEG is a portfolio brand, it was important to understand all the other brands within the family and take their look and style into consideration: 

    After that, I begin sketching: 

    While I sketch, I had attributes and other notes on the side panels to help me remind me of key ideas to keep in mind during the sketching. 

    After that, we have a design crit and then choose which logos to finesse to final: 

    This concept of this logo was innovation or progression. AEG strives to be an innovative company, especially when it comes to their venues, sports teams, or concerts. This was a unique way forming a star and the movements are innovating or progressive. 

    I landed on two final versions of a logo, but each logo had several different iterations with it. 

    This star is about performance and showmanship. It originally started out with spotlights forming the star and then became a star made up of spotlights. The showmanship or performance aspect of AEG and their concerts and sporting events. 

  • Ontario Reign Pixel Jerseys

    Last year, the Ontario Reign wanted a jersey: "Minecraft December jersey we want a pixelated look much like the video game Minecraft. The logo will have to be sublimated to fit the design, unless you think otherwise." My thought was to take the current Ontario Reign's jersey and make it pixelated. I also created a pixelated logo: 

    Here are some images from the Ontario Reign's game: 

    Front of jersey detail, including the pixelated logo and hockey stick icons on the shoulder. 

  • UCI Track World Cup 2017

    This past weekend was the UCI Track World Cup at AEG Worldwide's Velo Sports Center. AEG Sports is one of the primary event organizers. I had the privilege of working on some of the primary marketing for this year's event: 

    I also got to design this awesome t-shirt for VIP and Presale attendees: 

  • ASCC Vineyard Logos

    My team was recently tasked to create logos for the upcoming All Star Chef Classic's newest event, the Vineyard—an outdoor food and wine festival. The description reminded me of Smorgasburg in Brooklyn, Chelsea Market in Manhattan, and Grand Central Market in LA. I also felt like this event was created to attract the same kind of consumers that attend these so I modeled many of my logo concepts after them. 

    Since AEG is a turn and burn kind of inhouse production company, we had a solid 3-5 days to push out as many concepts as we could. Here's what I came up with: 

    The script type is my own handlettering, based off tips from one of my favorites, Erik Marinovich. Erik handlettered the labels and logos for one of my favorite breweries, Almanac Beer, Co. in San Jose. He recommended referencing Speedball Textbook by Ross George. There are numerous different Speedball Textbooks I found, but it gives you pages and pages of examples of Serifs, San Serifs, and Scripts to emulate and use for your handlettering.

    The client ended up loving the custom type used in the first two logos and a wine label my co-worker created. I had to merge the two for a final product. This is a version that was ultimately not chosen by the client as well:

    For the final version, to be released in the next couple of weeks, I cleaned up the type a bit more and the client ended up not liking the vineyard illustrations. I wanted to try a version though, after viewing White Street Brewing Co.'s branding and packaging by The Brandit.  

    Also, in case you're curious, you can view my process book (ASCC Vineyard Logo Process Book_Web.pdf) for the logo. It's not company policy for AEG, but it helps me strategize and conceptualize and I do it on my own accord. 

  • Design Process: History, Location, Competitors, Inspirations

    This is a little late because I've been so busy, but here is the second part of my brand analysis. The important thing to assess in a brand analysis is: 

    • What is this brand?
    • Who are their competitors? And, what else is their audience consuming? 
    • What are other similiar brands doing well? And, what elements of these brands should we adapt into our brand? 
    • What makes this brand unique? 

    I build all of this thinking into a PDF, or process book, along with my analysis of the current state of the brand from Part 1. 

    To begin to accomplish this, first I took a little at Jones Coffee Roasters history. I found out they have been in Pasadena for 15 years, but just in the last 10 years were they an actual coffee shop. Jones is family owned by a mother and son. Plus, what makes them unique is that they own their own coffee farm in Guatemala, which has been in the family for over 150 years and has been passed down through five generations. This is really want makes Jones Coffee Roasters unique—many coffee shops today roast their own beans, but not many can say they farmed the beans. Plus, not many can guarantee the freshness or authenticity of their cup. 

    Here are the history pages in my process book: 

    After that, I took a look at Pasadena, Calif. and what are some of the most iconics locations and things to do.

    Pasadena's Official Visitors website says there are "16 historical districts packed into 23 square miles", including the Gamble House, City Hall, The Huntington Library, Castle Green, and the Pasadena Playhouse

    Pasadena's Official Visitors website says "Designed by Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene, the Gamble House is considered to be one of the finest examples of architecture from the American Arts & Crafts Movement. The home was built in 1908 for David and Mary Gamble (of Procter & Gamble or P&G)."

    The website continues on to describe Old Town Pasadena. "The district’s cobblestone courtyards, quaint alleyways and ornate architecture date back to the 1880s." 

    Accoriding to a reliable source named Wikipedia, Pasadena has a rich history and legacy. It was incorporated on June 19, 1886, becoming only the second city to be incoporated after Los Angeles. It's the 9th largest city in Los Angeles County. It is known for its art and its science: Tournament of Roses Parade, CalTech, JPL, Fuller Theological Seinary, Art Center College of Design,  Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, the Norton Simon Museum of Art, and the Pacific Asia Museum

    There's definitely a common architecture to Pasadena: many of the buildings have a historical, but artsy feel to them. Something regal, but also up-and-coming. A contrast of both old and new. Even though Pasadena is a city that has been around for a while, as a native to Pasadena, I definitely can sense an upswing in the city—a rejuvenation. 

    Pasadena has had an influx of new coffee brands and shops in the last few years. Here's a summary of competitors within 10 miles of Jones Coffee Roasters: 

    Here's a look of the best coffee shops in Los Angeles right now, according to the Los Angeles Coffee Club:

    Note that Jones was not listed, despite its rich history in an up-and-coming city. Since I looked this last week, the coffee list has since disappeared. I believe Copa Vida was listed though. 

    After that, I researched some inspiration. I started first by googling the best coffee shops in the world. I pulled the best looking brands from these list. The first one was from Buzzfeed: "Coffee Shops You Need To See Before You Die".

    Thrillist's "Best Coffee Shops in America":

    Thrillist's "12 Best Coffee Shops in LA"

    And because San Francisco has such a rich and up-and-coming coffee scene—Thrillist's "The Definitive Top 11 Bay Area Coffee Roasters".

    Next, I took a closer look at a few inspiration brands, picking them specifically for different reasons. 

    Ozo Coffee and Halfwit Coffee Roasters bot have strong uses of theming and iconographic systems for their coffee flavors and roasts: 

    Ozo Coffee theming and icon system was inspired by the ancient Mayan writing system. The glyphs were designed by using individual systems from five distinct categories: Region, Origin, Processing & Certification, Taste, and Elevation. This system creates a unique and meaningful artwork for each roast.

    Similiarly, Halfwit Coffee Roasters was inspired by the company's "self-aware, irreverent sense of humor and appreciation for sci-fi" says their design agency, Firebelly Design. The logo has a "mad scientist" flare to it with a system of icons to represent the "wild bouquet of flavors" that goes into each blend. 

    Next, I looked at Balzac Coffee Roasters. I felt like it had the artsy, urban, rustic flare to it that Jones tries to encapsulate with their coffee shop decor. The blend of digital handlettering contrasting with the vintage, antique arts decor—something new with something historic. This would be a good way to maintain and utilize the rich history of Jones Coffee Roasters and the city of Pasadena. 

    Next, I picked Irving Farm, which recently rebranded. At one point, their branding was done by one of my favorites, Louise Fili. It's recently been redone by Blackrose NYC. I thought that would be an interesting way for Jones Coffee Roasters to progress their branding and drive towards their potential. Irving Farm has taken their brand, from urban and organic, and created a brand presence fit for 21st Century Manhattan. You can see the branding by Louise Fili here

    The next three, Boxcar Coffee Roasters, Fuel Coffee, and Onyx Coffee Lab, I picked because they seem to carry the artsy, urban vibe that Jones Coffee Roasters has. 

    Jones wants to capitalize on the fact they are "seed-to-cup" and that their uniqueness is their family-owned, fifth generation farm. It seems, based on their current brand work, they feel the best way to capitialize on this is to retain the farmer's market urban feel of their brand. These three brands display that artsy edge while still having developed theming and/or branding. 

    Coffee Supreme does an excellent job of combining the simplistic with artsy illustration with an urban flare. Their bags are very simple, but their logo is very artistic and their illustration maintain some of the gritty-ness and rustic-ness probably of the original brand. 

    Coffee Supreme won packaging awards from The Dieline in 2013 and was rebranded by Hardhat Design. Check out the case study here

    After that, I take a deeper look at the similiar companies Jones Coffee Roasters' audience is looking at and consuming as they consume Jones. For sure, the big one would have to be Copa Vida. Even though it's only been around since 2013. It's a very popular spot in Old Town Pasadena and it offers much of the same as Jones, except maybe a better location and not the "seed-to-cup" guarantee. Copa Vida has music nights and coffee training classes as well. They also have a kitchen and offer a few breakfast and lunch items. 

    It might be good to also add that when I am thinking of Jones' audience or consumers, I'm automatically assuming that their most loyal customers—the ones that have been with them 10-15 years—will come no matter the branding or the environment. Not only are these people loyal, but it's part of their routine and daily life and that is not going to change after 15 years. When I think of audience, I'm thinking who do they want to attract to create a new generation of loyal costumes and what/where are these people at or already consuming.

    You can see the difference in the atmosphere right away. Copa Vida is light with lots of expansive and welcoming open space. The green accent color symbolizes youth, health, renewal, good luck and money—many of the attributes Copa Vida wants in themselves and in their customers...and wants to bring to their customers. 

    Next is Juice Served Here. This juice company can often be found partnering with coffee shops—encapsulating that 20-40 crowd of elite coffee drinkers and hipsters. The things to note here are the white open space and how it mixes with the wood and lets the colorful drinks do the color popping. 

    Another popular and fairly new coffee shop in Pasadena is Lavender & Honey. Again, it hasn't been open as long as Jones Coffee Roasters has, but it's business has picked up fast. Lavender & Honey are known for their expensive toasts. Again, look at their decor: white, open space, light—retains the organic, natural feeling, but also creates an atmosphere that invites you. The handlettering also helps it keep the relational, mom-and-pop feel to it. 

    The last place I looked at is not in Pasadena, but I feel like it has the edgy, artsy vibe that Jones Coffee Roasters interior has and that is the Angel City Brewing Company. Its branding plays off the richess history of Los Angeles and Hollywood. It has an urban flare to it as well. 

    Now that all of my research and analyzing is done, I can move towards coming up with brand attributes and a brand personality based on my knowledge Jones Coffee Roasters and its owners. Look for that on Friday or Saturday! 

  • Design Process: Brand Analysis

    In addition to my Coffee Design Series, I will be starting a Design Process series that details my design process and key steps into branding (or in this case, rebranding) an identity. I will be using one of my favorite coffee shops in Pasadena, Jones Coffee Roasters as an example. 

    Jones still has a very organic, mom-and-pop feel to their branding, their packaging, and their interior design. Through this series, I'll breakdown a redesign (while redesigning), explaining the steps in my process as well as learning new portions of design like packaging and interior experiential design. Stay tune! I'm pretty stoked for this process. And to keep myself accountable, I hope to post an update to this series every Friday. 

    So far, here's the steps I've determined: 

    Week 1: Brand analysis of the current state
    Week 2: Brand analysis of competitors, inspirations, companies with similiar audiences
    Week 3: Brand attributes (includes word mapping) 
    Week 4: Logo sketches round 1
    Week 5: Logo sketches round 2
    Week 6: Logo sketches round 3
    Week 7: Brand extension (colors, typography, containers, textures, photography) 
    Week 8: Packaging
    Week 9: Merchandise
    Week 10: Web/Social Media
    Week 11: Experiential/Store Design
    Week 12: Recap 

    Since I'm new to most of the things at the end of this project, I'll need to use Skillshare and YouTube (with probably a fair amount of googling) to learn the ins and outs of packaging, merchandise, and store design. 


    So let's start with brand analysis.

    This is a process we worked on developing while I was at Gloo: analyzing and dissecting the current state of a brand. 

    Jones Coffee Roasters is a little under a mile away from my house. There are two stores currently right now (and there use to be one in West Hollywood). I took pictures of the store on my last visit. 

    Here's some more visual research I found online: 

    Here's a close up on the label with the logo. 

    A few criticisms that immediately: the graphic is suppose to be coffee beans on tree, but it's pixelated. It's very busy, there's so much going on, and so the location, website and phone number are lost. Also, now days, there are fresh ways of presenting the type of blend, describing the beans, and categorizing the roast level. 

    It looks like Jones recently did a logo refresh or something in preparation for the opening of their second store at Vroman's Bookstore called The Next Chapter

    Here's what their old logo, their new business card, their website, and social media currently look like: 

    The top left is a recent flyer of theirs and you can see the updated logo on it. The bottom two are the new logo, one on signage in their coffee bean farm in Guatemala and one of their coffee bean bags on a table. I think it's safe to say they are doing a soft roll out of their new logo/mark. 

    I checked out The Next Chapter this morning and it is definitely an matured version of the original location. The aesthetics are definitely a bit more modern than the original shop on Arroyo, but Jones does it's best to try to keep some of the global, urban vibe to it by blending global patterns, bright colors, and artwork to their modern aesthetic. 

    It's unclear if Jones is progressively rebranding or just slightly confused about their identity. They do their best to retain the earthy, organic-ness of their first shop in whatever place they can. If anything, The Next Chapter is a maturation of Jones Coffee Roasters and is more of a "coffee shop" than the roasting facility on Arroyo. This place had very little beans sold and focused more on providing a calmn atmosphere for one to buy a book and read or have a coffee date with a friend.

    From what I can tell, this is the breakdown of the Jones Coffee Roasters brand. Let me know if you think it's different—I'd love confirmation or evidence my analysis is off because ultimately this will help me be the most successful. 

    And to kickstart your brain on what I'm going to be aiming for, here are some great case studies on coffee brands: 

    Bluebeard Coffee Roasters
    Verve Coffee Roasters
    Ozo Coffee Roasters
    Stumptown Coffee Roasters

    And for some inspiration, some of my favorite packaging creative agencies and blogs: 

    The Dieline
    Lovely Package
    Packaging of the World
    PTARMAK Agency
    Moxie Sozo
    Farm Design Agency
    Chen Design Associates

    And a blog post on Sprudge about 10 Nice Packages That Highlight Coffee Branding and Design. 

  • Star Wars Coffee Design Series: 12 Parsecs

    Roger Dario recently redesigned the brand mark and retail-facing products for 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters. I was excited to change this one for the Star Wars Coffee Design Series. 49th Parallel forms the border between the Canadian provinces British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (to the north), and the U.S. states of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota (to the south).

    It reminded me of the Kessel Run, which is a hyperspace route used by smugglers and freighter captains to move spice through the mines of Kessel to earn money off their ilegal trading. It's most famous because Han Solo and the Milennium Falcon made the run in a history-making, record-breaking 12 parsecs. Wookieepedia says, "The route involves several extreme changes in velocity in order to jump to, and drop out of, light speed with the minimum time spent out of hyperspace while making drops, pick ups or tight turns. It was therefore the source of much bragging between smugglers."

    Sadly, if you're in the U.S. you won't be able to go to a 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters, but you can buy their beans at a lot of the higher end stores, including Go Get Em Tiger and Copa Vida

  • Star Wars Coffee Design Series: Scoundrel Coffee Smugglers

    The next coffee design is based off of now-bought Handsome Coffee Roasters because of just how much it was affectionately, though not known at the time, named after Han Solo. This is probably my favorite so far, but it also probably took the longest so far too. 

    Handsome Coffee Roasters started in Los Angeles by Michael Phillips, Tyler Wells, and Chris Owens. It was open for three years before it was bought by Blue Bottle Coffee. 

    Handsome Coffee Roasters use to be in the Arts District, now it's a Blue Bottle

    Here's what the original logos looked like: 

    This one really allowed me to stretch my sketching muscles, both on the computer and on paper. 

  • Current Work: Bunt Cakes Jersey

    I just finished up using a digitally drawn lettering technique to create my softball team's logo to be like the Los Angeles Dodgers logo. The technique I learned is a combination of Jon Contino and Jessica Hische. Two letters I admire. I've also studied the techniques of Ray Dombroski and Spencer Charles. This is all done because of Skillshare and this great book by Emily Gregory, Little Book of Lettering

    I always start out sketching ideas of what the design potentially could. Here's two basic ideas I conceptualized and sketched roughly: 

    The first idea was recreating "Bunt Cakes" in the Dodgers logo and the second idea was a bunt cake as a stadium with a similiar design to this shirt: 

    After talking to a few members on my softball team, we decided to go with idea No. 1. First I did some research on what other scripted sports team logos looked like for the letters that aren't D-O-D-G-E-R-S:

    After that, I worked on sketching the letters by hand: 

    Once there was a few I was satisified with, then I went to the computer and digitally drew over the handsketches: 

    After that, I went through and cleaned up the digital version. Making sure the angles, the ascenders, and the y-axises were consistent. I pulled up the Dodgers most recent logos for reference. I also pulled a bundt cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. 

    After it was finalized, I made a mock up version for the printer. We also decided it was more economical to go with a one-color version. 

    Here's the mock up and the final version:

    One more view of the actual shirt on my husband-model:

  • Star Wars Coffee Design Series: Skybucks

    The name Starbucks comes from Captain Ahab’s first mate, Starbuck in the novel, Moby Dick. 

    Starbucks founders were looking for a way to capture the seafaring history of coffee and Seattle’s strong seaport roots. That’s when they found the twin-tailed mermaid, the Siren. “There was something about her — a seductive mystery iced with a nautical theme that was exactly what the founders were looking for.” Starbucks has reformed their identity over the years, but they keep the Siren because “she is at the heart of Starbucks.” 

    Steve m., senior writer at Starbucks blogged in 2011 after another redesign: “She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse — always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead. And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet…For people all over the globe, she is a signal of the world’s finest coffee — and much more. She stands unbound, sharing our stories, inviting all of us in to explore, to find something new and to connect with each other. And as always, she is urging all of us forward to the next thing.” 

    So when it came to choosing who would be the Siren in my Star Wars coffee series, it was a no-brainer: Queen Amidala. Dare we speak of the prequels, but in this trilogy she represented so much of the same thing as the Siren—especially to Anakin. 

    This made me realize how much Starbucks has steered away from putting their name on things now. It did make it a tad bit easier to create this logo, but I still basically had to go in and hand draw the Queen Amidala and choose how the negative space would interact with the positive space. A good practice. You can see my progression above. 

  • Current Work: Christmas 2015

    Now that the Holidays are over, here's some of the work I did over Christmas for gifts. I always spend way too much time designing projects for Christmas. 

    First, here's our 2015 Christmas card. I digitally handlettered the type, based it off of Italian vintage posters. The card was to commemorate our trip to Europe and our running trip to Disney World. 

    And this year for some of my Christmas gifts, I used some of my photography from Europe and combined with some hip fonts and inspirational italian phrases: 

    One of friends really likes Maui so I pulled an old photo from Maui a few years ago: 

  • Star Wars Vino Party Designs

    For my 30th Birthday, I wanted a party that combine two things I love: Star Wars and Italy. Thanks to our trip to Italy in the Spring—I've got the pasta fever bad! 

    I also was looking for ways to avoid a cheesy Star Wars birthday that party that looked more like my 10th birthday than my 30th. Here's an example and another example

    There was the only link of a semi-not cheesy adult Star Wars birthday party.

    I also did a ton of research on vintage travel posters, Star Wars designed posters, and Italian vintage posters. Here's a few snippets of it: 

    Doing this sort of process book research helps me with any and every project as I try to collect my thoughts and understand the look, feel and vibe I am trying to capture. 

    And here's the final products I came up with: 

  • Star Wars Vino Party

    Happy Star Wars week! My awesome husband and family helped me throw a great Star Wars Italian party for my 30th Birthday last week. Here are some highlights: 

    We used Paperless Post to send out a custom Star Wars Italy/Wine party invitation. It's a great way for designers to send out custom invites for a low cost and not have to cringe at all those Evite preset ones—for important parties at least. 

    This was the main table with an note writing activity Reuben devised. I designed two Star Wars wine parties (I will go into more detail about them in my next post) to carry on the vintage Star Wars Italy theme. I also created Endor Terrariums with this great tutorial. I ended up buying a terrarium kit from Hobby Lobby for $20 that had more than enough and so I threw together the Yoda one on the crate last minute. 

    The other two were planned out a little more intentionally: 

    I also copied this picture of Obi-Wine Kenobi and Darth Malbec, but renamed him to Darth Vino because Malbecs are from Argentina. 

    I also used a few new merchandise additions as well as a few from my childhood to round out the decor.

    We also made Tie Fight Balloons from this Dana Made It tutorial and downloaded a template for lightsaber napkins from Catch My Party.

    My sister, Bethanie, decorated by HAND these amazing cupcakes and sugar cookies for dessert. 

    We tried to have mostly Star Wars-themed food or a play off Star Wars wording: Death Starghetti (Spaghetti and Meatballs), Lightsabers and Cheese (Elbow Mac and Cheese), and bread with Dark Side Dipping Sauce (Bread with Oliver Oil and Balsamic Vinegar). 

    We tried to shape two appetizers into Star Wars-themed food: Tie Fighter Caprese and Millennium Falcon cheese and crackers.

    We also had special appearance by Chewbacca and Ewok Nikita! 

    Thanks to everyone who came out and a special thanks to everyone who dressed up. It was a great and memorable 30th Birthday! 

    Custom highlights besides Chewbacca: Twin Suns of Tatooine, two Padme Amidala's from Attack of the Clones, an R2D2, a Darth Maul, a C3-PO, another Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker from the end of Empire Strikes Back.

    Reuben and I were: R5 and Han Solo respectively:

    And thanks to Adam, Bethanie and Frances for capturing these images! 

  • We Are The Sum of Our Experiences

    My co-workers/co-friends at Foursquare (left) and Gloo (Right).

    With the year coming to a close, I only have a few weeks to capitalize on my goal of starting an Art Direction/Process/Progress blog. I’ve wanted to do this for a while, but this was the post that always seemed to get in my way. 

    Kicking off this blog, I wanted to start with something a little bit more introspective. Now more than a month removed from working at Gloo, I’ve pulled bits and pieces from my time there and I realize we are all just a sum of our experiences—and our careers are no exception. My career now spans almost eight years. It spans a multitude of managers and co-workers, of projects and responsibilities—and I’ve been able to learn from the best and the worst of all of them. 

    This blog will share just that: recent projects I’m working on and recent lessons I’m learning. I will kick this off with a few takeaways from my three and a half years as Art Director at the national brand headquarters of ICFG and four months as an Art Direction and Design Consultant at the digital start up, Gloo. 

    1. Don’t be Afraid to Apologize
      What I admired at ICFG was the willingness of other managers to apologize when they messed up. My boss was quick to take ownership of a mistake and an apology was never seen as a weakness or a failure. 
    2. Be Confident in Your Expertise and Stand Firm
      I learned first hand that if I wanted people to listen to what I was saying, respect my decision designs, and trust my project choices, I needed to be confident in my talent, direction, and knowledge. I started out at Foursquare I didn’t trust my art direction gut and so no one else did. I learned the hard way to be confident in what I knew and saw because I am an expert. And people listen to experts. 
    3. Be Bold and Speak Up
      I still struggle with being bold and speaking up, but I'm learning my experience, education and knowledge have give me a voice. I need to stand firm by my decisions if I want success and respect. There is value in what I bring to the computer. Early in my career I let myself get pushed around a lot and I beat myself up over negative feedback and micromanaging.
    4. Open Up Your Process and Collaborate
      At ESPN, I interpretted high standards to dislike, but it was really a lesson: our projects and our careers are—most of the time—only as good as the influence and collaboration around us. I learned to invite feedback, conversation and ideas into my design work. This was hard at first because someone giving your advice on your design can come off as a failure, but it’s really when the right people come together to make the best possible piece that there is true success. 
    5. Separate Your Feelings From Your Design.
      Being able to accept feedback and criticism only gets easier when you can separate your feelings from your work. Creatives sink so much of themselves into creating something, sometimes only to have a client come in and want to be part of the process. I’ve come to realize that if I open up my process to my clients early enough—we’ll both be invested in it and we become more of a team struggling to find a solution than one side versus another.   
    6. Push People to Reach Their Full Potential.
      The first time I heard our greatest accomplishment is usually the people we produce and their accomplishments, I was really upset. I’m hyper-competitive by nature and to hear I might not even succeed was a downer. Overtime I’ve come to learn the joy of influence, equipping and empowering someone else to succeed. And I’ve learned the value of pushing others to be better than themselves—and how good it feels to see them achieve something new. 
    7. Accept Compliments. 
      The hard lesson I’m learning right now: accepting compliments. I’ve learned when you accept a compliment, you’re accepting another piece of your identity and your potential. In that same way, when we give out a compliment, we are affirming someone else’s identity and potential. When I first read Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, I was blown away by the concept of encouraging others to reach their potential instead of encouraging others where they are now. We should be equally as accepting of our hearing our own potential. 

    As I reflect on 2015, I'm grateful. Thank you to everyone for friendship, for lessons, for design experiences, for new projects and old projects—and the opportunity to continue to grow into a better Art Director. Thank you for shaping who I am and who I will be.