When assigned to design a system for the 2016 Typecon Convention in Seattle, I was thrilled to explore a grungy, DIY aesthetic that celebrated Seattle’s vibrant music scene. Inspired by zines and the Riot Grrl movement, I worked towards integrating handwriting and stamped letters, expressive of the DIY movement, combined with Helvetica, a font favored by punks, and DIN condensed. I created the stamp font by actually using stamps, used India ink for the Typecon word mark, and drew the Space Needle entirely with stamped letters, suggesting the city is overtaken with type. The texture in the background is created from collaged supermarket tabloids. I picked bright colors reminiscent of glitch art to bring the system into the 21st century.
El Esternón - Paper Fashion Show 2018
Teammate: Leticia Dominguez
Sponsor: Ink Lounge
Model: Monica McWilliams
Design Problem: Create a look inspired by a country and a place for The One Club Denver’s 2018 Paper Fashion Show. Designers are given 35 sheets of paper, which must account for 90% of the garment- including closures and accessories. Makeup artist and hairstylists provided, but styling is a part of the challenge.
Design Solution: El Esternón is a statement about the impact of Mexican heritage on contemporary American culture, particularly that of Colorado. Inspired by the vivid colors and dramatic movement of ballet folklórico, El Esternón is a Chiapas style dress with a scientific twist. The textiles and floral patterns of the dress are created by slicing out or screen-printing medical illustrations of bone, juxtaposing the old with the new to create a snapshot of contemporary Colorado.
My teammate and I frequently switched roles back and forth, but I was responsible for screenprinting the pattern on the top, creating the accessories, designing style sheets for hair and makeup, and assisting with the sewing of the bottom skirt. I helped with scheduling model fittings, ordering paper, writing project description, and coordinating with hair, make up, and photographers day of. Being the formal “graphic designer” on the team, I also created the initial mood boards and built die lines for paper beads.
Since the basis of empathy is understanding the another person’s humanity, I decided to approach the “empathy” from a scientific view point. Biology has always been one of my favorite subjects and I love drawing cell structures, so I Googled “bad biology jokes” and found a stupid joke about bacteria. I reworded in and came up with the line “Bacteria: culture we can all share” and based the design around that.
Heavily influence by psychedelic posters of the 1960s, I illustrated the word “bacteria” in the style of an amoeba, enclosed in a circle to look like a petri dish. I then illustrated different types of bacteria cells, brought the sketches into Illustrator, then created a pattern. I then separated the digital files into three layers to prepare for screen printing.
When developing my logo, a professor asked what typeface I used. Since the “typeface” was my handwriting, he told me I needed to handwrite everything in my next presentation. I’d been wanting to make my own typeface for awhile, so I downloaded Glyphs Mini and converted my handwriting into a font.
Quirky, yet highly legible, Thurber Sans is now a full 267 glyph alphabet usable in all Western European languages. I created all of the characters in marker, scanned into Adobe Illustrator, made into vectors, imported in the Glyphs, set the kerning, and exported. In this endeavor, I developed a passion for making fonts, and hope to make more one day. I am in the process of obtaining a copyright before releasing it, but I’m willing to give a copy to any future employer who wants to test it out.
Spring Café Packaging
I began designing on a volunteer basis for the Spring Café, a local non-profit organization that assists refugees with developing professional skills. The Spring Café needed help designing labels for their line of in-house food, including Burmese Cuisine by Zin Zin, a refugee from Burma (currently Myanmar). The goal of the packaging and signage was to introduce an unfamiliar cuisine to the Denver market, so I created an illustration that captures the magnificent gold stupas unique to Burma, while also showcasing the mountainous landscape of the country that Coloradans can relate to. I used my own abstract ink paintings to provide texture, and a gold leaf texture for the stupas, as gold is a symbol of prosperity in Burma. The Zin Zin was set on Lucinda Calligraphy, so I was able to compromise with a word mark developed from my handwriting and an open source Google font.
High Peaks Landscaping
Design Problem: Create an identity system for High Peaks Landscaping, a small business establishing in Seattle, WA in 2017.
About the Client: High Peaks Landscaping is currently a one-woman yard renovation and pruning company in Seattle, WA, looking to gain more commercial and residential contracts. A former park municipalities landscaper, the owner’s goal is to obtain clients who want high quality, low maintenance, sustainable landscaping solutions, focusing on plants that look beautiful year round. What sets apart is the focus on the client: High Peaks Landscaping encourages homeowners to develop a relationship with their yard - through education, hands-on training, and design development.
Design Solution: Knowing that HPL’s clientele is largely middle to upper-middle class families in Seattle and the Eastside, I wanted to create a clean, approachable logo that focused on HPL’s strength at creating yards that were beautiful year round. Wanting to capture the owner’s love the mountains and the name “High Peaks”, I abstracted a picture of Mount Rainier for the background filled in the foreground with both deciduous and coniferous plants. I integrated a path, as HPL also creates small hardscapes, which are featured in a lot of the company’s photos. Most landscaping company logos are hyper masculine, so I used the font Industry to call attention to the owner’s work ethic and physical toughness, but kept the palette bright and light, as the owner is friendly and a great listener.
The system was based on her collateral needs: t-shirts to wear while working, business cards, truck magnets, invoices, and a website.
Pussy Hat Project Poster
After the election, I read about the Pussyhat Project in a feminist magazine, and decided to start a knitting circle. Fancy Tiger Crafts was willing to provide the venue, so I created this poster to spread the word. I wanted to capture the spirit of the project, with a more urban edge. I again, drew inspiration from the Riot Grrrl movement, using DIY style hand lettering to capture the crafty, grassroots movement. Staying true to my style, I created more visual interest by integrating knitted texture in the background, butting up against a picture of the US Capitol building modified in Photoshop.