WHAT DO YOU DO?
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I've always been very hands-on and loved getting messy with a variety of creative projects. While I had intended to get my degree in fine art, I ended up falling in love with the analytical and iterative side of graphic design. In addition to the standard design courses, I also put a lot of time into the sustainable design program.
After moving to Seattle, I found a position doing a little bit of everything for a reusable drinkware company. Over five years I went from being their sole designer to hiring and managing their in-house creative department. I learned so much in that experience that school never could have taught me, and am forever grateful!
In my next position I designed all kinds of fun merchandise and packaging, but something was missing. I had gone so far from where I thought I would be – practicing sustainable design – that I realized I needed to leave and find my own way.
Now I am using all of that knowledge and experience to help minimize one of the biggest impacts on the earth: consumer merchandise and packaging. Change has to come from all angles, but designers happen to be in a wonderful position to make a dent!
How do you stand out in your field?
I have committed to taking responsibility for the impact my work has on the environment and educating other creatives on how they can practice sustainable design as well.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I recently started sharing sustainable design tips on my Instagram, as a bite-sized way for creatives to think differently about what sustainable design is, and how they might incorporate it into their projects. These might be questions to ask themselves or their clients during the project, or something practical like how to choose better materials.
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I really lean towards simple and clean, especially with identity design. I always ensure a logo can exist in black and white at a small size, and still be clear. It's important to me for a brand to be functional in many situations and materials, maybe due to my time putting so many brands' logos on so many different products.
I also really enjoy projects that have additional layers or meanings, and therefore have the creative challenge of creating something modular, while still being cohesive.
The branding created for oneVessel is a great example, as the logo needed to exist in endless color palettes, alongside a wide variety of illustration styles and content. To bring that fun and variety into the print and marketing materials the logo was used with bright monotone versions of the illustrations. I love that starting off with a few practical constraints turned it into a very fun and versatile identity.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
Woodworking. I've done several projects over the years, from refinishing furniture to learning woodturning, and it's truly one of the most satisfying things I've done. Someday I'd like to do a series of household objects, especially lamps!
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
I need to just give in and hire someone to do my taxes. I've been stubborn and done them myself for years, but it isn't something I should be spending my time on. Letting go of things I can do, but someone else can do both better AND faster can be so hard, but makes such a big difference. Time to move that one back to the top of the list!
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Is cleaning our house an obvious answer? Working for myself and running after a toddler keeps me busy. Having that one last piece of the puzzle picked up (literally and figuratively...) would be amazing!
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
I wish I would have fully understood the power in my role as a designer much sooner. All those years I wanted to be practicing sustainable design but couldn't find the place for it, I could have been practicing in small ways throughout.
I believe it is a part of our responsibility to make those recommendations, though it can be hard to know what they are, since it isn't a traditional part of the training. Since our position often lies in the middle of vendor/client relationships, we're the perfect place for those decisions to come from.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
The life cycle of various materials! Health impacts on workers, how much water and fuel is required to mine/produce/transport, what happens at the end of its life... does it biodegrade and provide food for the earth? take 1000 years while poisoning our land and air?
Taking that a step further and creating a library or comprehensive resource for that would be invaluable.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
I'm seeking freelance design projects for brands and companies that want to reduce their environmental footprint through design. Specifically, I offer identity, print, and packaging design, creative direction for product lines, and consulting on merchandise. I'm up for collaborating with other creatives on projects as well!
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
I'd love to work with someone interested in questioning their current setup, and how that might look different while staying true to their brand. Being open and excited for the potential for change, whether it's simply shifting the idea of how much packaging is actually needed, or assessing whether changing your product to a service might better serve customers.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Most of my work is priced by project, dependent on scope and deliverables. This is determined by working through a questionnaire over a coffee or call, which I review to provide an accurate quote.
I also offer consulting sessions for $150 per hour, which is great if you're interested in how sustainable design might look for your company.
WHO IS A CREATIVE THAT HAS HELPED YOU ELEVATE YOUR WORK?
Jeremy Friend has really honed his skills at hand-drawn type. He is a master of all different styles of logotypes, but looking across his work there is still some mysterious consistency throughout. I went to school with him, and this last year I actually had him do a logo for one of my clients while I did the rest of the identity. Having an opportunity to team up was great, and I can’t wait to do it again!
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
Please fill out my contact form at http://commonmatter.design/contact In addition to rough budget and scope, I'd love to hear why you're excited about sustainable design or any questions you have!
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Absorbing information, getting dirty with art projects, looking at the world through my toddler's eyes.
This member profile was originally published in February 2019.