At my studio, we love to partner with our clients to find solutions to all their growth goals through exceptional creative rooted in laser-focused strategy. With that in mind, we kick off most projects by establishing a clear brand strategy and positioning (or honing the existing ones). We then build brand identity and messaging systems that can grow and evolve as the business grows — and design digital experiences and products that are intuitive, delightful, and lean. To help drive traffic to the business, we're proficient in all forms of marketing: content strategy, social media campaigns, CRM, print, direct mail, experimental—we've done it all.
WHAT STEPS DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
I started my career at huge ad agencies and lots of design shops. For the last 5 years, I've ran design departments at several tech startups. I've kept freelance clients for the last 12 years and this year decided to make it official and open my own design practice. I've essentially run a design practice for several companies in the past. Now I finally gave myself permission to run one for myself.
FOR OTHER PEOPLE IN YOUR FIELD, WHAT DO THEY USUALLY LACK?
If you're a really great designer, you're taught to always do your best, most creative work. If you're a really great AND experienced designer, you understand that great work is only done with a really great process in place. When you've had as much experience as I have, you understand that design is a means to an end, and it needs to solve a problem for the business that’s hiring you. I strive to have a great process, to produce the best work, but also to keep my clients’ business goals in mind.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?
I am learning to run my own business, which is giving me even more insight into my clients' struggles. I am also learning how hard it is to be the client when your livelihood is on the line.
Aside from that, this week I'm working on some revolutionary dog food packaging, event branding for LA's largest VC conference, and a new iMessages sticker pack called "Emojional". (They're basically emojis of all the different types of ugly-cries you've been having lately, because standard emojis just don't cover the spectrum in 2017.)
WHAT'S YOUR STYLE/PERSPECTIVE/TASTE? DO YOU HAVE A PROJECT THAT REPRESENTS THIS?
I really try not to let my personal preferences get in the way of a client's positioning. Their brand, their positioning, and their goals drive all of my work. I've worked on Coors Light ads targeted at African American men, even though I’m not an African American man and I don’t drink Coors Light.
That being said, I do have a passion for the hand-drawn. When I launched my design studio site, I converted my portfolio site to just showcase my illustration work.
WE ARE ALL SLASHIES WITH MULTIPLE SKILLS, WHICH ONE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD DO MORE OFTEN?
I’m ramping up to do more UI/UX and product design. Because I started my career in 2005 in advertising, I've always been pushed into the brand marketing space based on experience. But for the last 5 years I've worked with product design teams, and now have a great UX Lead on the Shipshape team to take our user interface work to the next level. Best of all, we know how to UX-map, prototype, get feedback, and iterate quickly.
WHAT IS FRUSTRATING YOU RIGHT NOW?
My own studio's social media strategy. I'm really dragging my feet on setting up our Pinterest boards and automating some of the social media marketing. This is because I think it’s really important to be authentic on those channels, and I want to make sure my strategy is coming from the right place. It’s hard to find the time and space for that when there's client work to be done.
IF YOU COULD HIRE SOMEONE FOR $20/HR, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE THEM DO TO MAKE YOUR DAY EASIER?
Oh yes, same answer! Social media and content marketing stuff for my own business. I'm happy to write blogs with industry insights, but all the posting and interacting with people on Instagram and Twitter is not something I have space for.
LET'S BRING OUT THE TIME MACHINE. WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE TOLD YOURSELF, WHEN, AND WHY?
When I was in high school, my math teacher really thought I should take programming classes. I wish I'd listened to that back then.
Then again in design school, it sort of not cool to do too much web design. Everyone would pigeonhole you as a web designer, they said. I wish I would have just whispered, "That just means there's demand for it" in my own ear.
IF YOU COULD TALK TO AN EXPERT TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT ON SOMETHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE ABOUT?
Though we do a lot of digital ads for clients, I’m fascinated by really good SEM and Facebook/Instagram advertising experts. Getting near-instant feedback on your creative from your target audience is a fascinating thing, but navigating Facebook algorithms and mining through the analytics is something that I wish I knew more about.
WHAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES/PROJECTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Brand Design: New companies who want a memorable identity or existing companies who need a refresh. (I'm especially into local and female-owned businesses.)
Product or UI/UX Design: Taking an app idea from just an idea to prototype, to funding, to launch.
Brand Marketing: Companies that need help with content marketing, social media marketing, CRM campaigns, print, packaging, direct mail, or just ongoing creative support.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL JOB/CLIENT/COLLABORATION.
Ideally, I like to partner with clients for the long term. This way, I get to really know their ins and outs and find ways to help their brand grow and evolve as their company does.
WHAT IS YOUR HOURLY RATE, RETAINER, OR SALARY RANGE?
Right now we're running a special on launch packages for local small businesses. A Brand Starter Package includes brand strategy, identity design, tone of voice, brand guidelines, a 6-page website with integrations, and a handful of collateral items. These packages are customizable based on the client's needs, but they normally run around $18,000. Through 2017, we're offering them for $12,000.
HOW SHOULD SOMEONE APPROACH YOU ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER?
HOW DO YOU STAY CREATIVE?
Go outside and play.
Dance and tickle my children
'til they pee themselves.
This member profile was originally published in 2017.