Feature: Recent Work

07 19 2017 - Recent Work

Recent Work: Pinnacle Peak Advisors

This project will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first project I took on, upon moving to California this past March.

 

When I moved from the East Coast, I also had a career pivot in mind. Less fashion and beauty work, more work focused on branding, innovation, and technology. Situating myself in the heart of Silicon Valley, I hoped the work would just come to me… and it did!

Pinnacle Peak Advisors is a full-service tax advisory firm offering tax preparation, planning and consulting services to wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs, and executives. What makes them unique is that they bring a dose of Silicon Valley’s innovative spirit to an otherwise tired and dull industry. Many of their clients founded and or lead amazing technology companies and they are using these technologies in our business on a daily basis.

What I loved about working with this client, is that they knew right away what made them unique, and already had a vision in mind about how they wanted to visually represent that. When I met with co-founder Garrett, he came prepared with all kinds of swipe. My favorite, of course, what the inspiration he drew from the Patagonia branding. As it so happened, at the time I had just started reading Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard. I love those synergetic moments in life. 

1.  The Exploration

After I reviewed all the client’s inspiration and asked them to do a brief questionnaire to help me understand their business goals, I then created a mood board that captured both the visual information from the swipe, as well as the written information from the client questionnaire.

2.  The Design Process

Once the overall mood and color palette was defined, I then began to explore various logo marks. I knew from our explorations, that the logo would have an illustration of Pinnacle Peak (a real place that has a special significance to my clients!), so that was a great grounding visual for me to start with and build upon.

During the design explorations, I researched classic, outdoor equipment, and camping graphics, and practiced some iterations, searching for a balance that spoke to adventure, but in a chic, and elevated way.

3.  The Outcome

The final designs are using a mixture of modern and classic typefaces, and a more minimal take on the icon.

Brand Colors

The chosen colors are a mixture of subdued and electric, equally balanced the classic, chic approach with a hint of adventure (the cobalt blue).

Brand Pattern and Texture

The two patterns also represent the balance of classic and adventure. Marble is chosen for its association with financial institutions, and the speckled pattern is reminiscent of patterns found on camping equipment.

02 06 2017 - Recent Work

Behind The Scenes: The Rebrand

Rebranding your social presence falls into such a strange category in my opinion. It’s not the same as rebranding your professional brand, but it’s not a completely personal rebrand either. It sort of exists somewhere in between. It’s a curated reflection of the way you want to be viewed holistically online- it’s a little bit personal, a little bit professional, and in my opinion, should be a little bit experimental. It also needs to be flexible, reactive, and agile.

Today I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my new branding, and share how the process evolved from start to finish.

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We started with the overall goal of the redesign:

For people to view my brand differently. I want Design Quixotic to be perceived as polished with a dash of maximalism — I’m confident in what I offer and not afraid to stand out in a world saturated with influencers and designers.

From there we did a basic word association of what I want my brand to be perceived as:

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As we began to dig deeper and deeper with words, I slowly started to imagine the overall visual shape of my brand.

Visually, all I knew in the beginning of the process is that I wanted my branding to be very monochromatic. I wanted the ability to play with color within my blog posts, so I didn’t want to be locked into a specific color story.

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I started with going through my Pinterest boards and pulling all my favorite monochromatic images- from design, illustration, typography, photography and style. From there, I thought I would end up with a giant mishmash of design swipe, but surprisingly, right away the vision looked very tight and specific. I guess I knew what I wanted, without knowing what I wanted. That’s the magic of mood boards sometimes, and one of the benefits of being a digital hoarder.

I shared my mood board with Shauna and she added some more swipe, based on the overall aesthetic I created. This part of the process was so seamless and fun. I felt that right away, she totally got what I wanted to go for visually, and I had complete faith that she would execute my vision perfectly.

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On my own, I started visualizing how I wanted my profile pictures to look. I hate all pictures of myself, so I loved the concept of being slightly hidden or obscured from view. The plant theme tied into the branding inspiration as well. The photos of me below were shot by Lydia Hudgens.

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Shauna’s initial logo pitch to me was basically one concept- with several variations. I liked it right away, and from then on- it was just a matter of perfecting the graphics and figuring out which visual elements should be primary, secondary, and supporting branding elements.

I won’t get into all the symbolism behind the graphics- I’m hoping they speak for themselves.

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Once the branding was completed, we moved on to the site. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted for the layout, and I was curious what Shauna would come up with- I was totally open to anything and trusted her instincts. The only thing I mentioned was that I wanted to add an area to my site that could be shop-able. After years of curating products for various brands, I’ve really grown to enjoy collecting groupings of interesting products, and I also wanted to always have a spot to share my favorite design books and tools for my readers. I loved what she came up with and just had some minor tweaks on the header and footer.

As the rebrand starting taking shape in both printed collateral and digitally, I started to freak out a bit. It felt like I had a big responsibility to live up to this amazing aesthetic and design Shauna had created for me… and would I have time for more involved blog posts? But, then at the same time, I saw this as opening a new door for my own creativity, which is a needed shift from my complete focus on client work. There’s been a shift in design trends lately- specifically, the reimagined returned of the Memphis Style– that I’ve been really eager to explore. The kinds of designs I’ve been yearning to play around with, I don’t think any of my current clients would really go for… so I re-adjusted me thinking on what my blog posts could be.

And here we are! A big thank you to Shauna, creative director at We Are Branch for the amazing work! I hope there is a collaboration for us in the near future.

- Recent Work

The Brand New Design Quixotic!

Welcome to the brand new Design Quixotic! This has been a long overdue, longtime in the making project, and I’m so excited to finally share it with all of you. I would like to say I’m happy to finish this, but the truth is, this launch feels like just the beginning of a whole new journey.

This blog has been long-neglected, mainly because I’ve never really considered myself a blogger. I’m an art director and designer first. I’ve had the extremely good luck to become somewhat well known for my Pinterest following. So, secondarily I suppose I’m a “social influencer” with a focus on digital curation. Between my day job as an art director, my own little design studio that I dedicate my nights and weekends to, and all my social media work, this blog has often ended up being the last thing on my mind. There’s been many times where I’ve considered getting rid of it completely, but could never really bring myself to kill it entirely. I’ve always liked the discipline it gave me to constantly search out visual inspiration, no matter how busy I am.

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In terms of my online presence, my portfolio has always been my major focus, and the heart of everything I am, and everything I do. However… a few years ago I began to notice a shift in meetings and interviews I’d have with potential employers. Suddenly, everyone seemed to know about my Pinterest, and when they met me they wanted to hear all about social media, and were fascinated by the fact that I had a blog. I didn’t quite know what to do with this. In the end, I was being hired for my work in design and art direction, so I always played down the other stuff. But, it kept coming up. Over the past couple of years, my role as an art director has also begun to include social media design and visual strategy, and while I’m on point with this professionally, my own social media channels (with the exception of Pinterest) were never a good example of what I was capable of. In essence, I wasn’t really practicing what I was preaching. I just didn’t have the time. This started to bother me more and more. I knew I had to make a change, but I felt almost paralyzed trying to reimagine what that would be.

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It’s so hard to step away and see who you are, and what you have the potential to become. When I would confide to my fellow design friends about this, they would always speak to what I do, what I should do, so eloquently… in ways I could never speak of myself and what I do. And I thought- it would be so great if I could get a really talented person, to do exactly what I do for a living… for me and my brand. I felt like I wanted to see myself and my brand through someone else’s eyes. Then I thought… well, why don’t I do just that? So that’s exactly what I did.

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And the minute it was decided, I knew exactly whom I would choose to work with. Shauna Haider. Blogger at Nubby Twiglet and creative director and founder of We Are Branch — she was the first, and only person that I wanted to hire. I’d been reading her blog for about 7 years, and had taken her Blogcademy workshop when it came to Brooklyn. Beyond the fact that she’s extremely talented, she was my first choice because of her massive social expertise and business savvy. I wanted to see what she would dream up for me. I wanted to see my brand through her eyes.

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The process has been better than I ever could have imagined. Sure enough, she took the visuals to places I didn’t imagine, but felt totally right. Beyond the branding, it was such a learning experience being on the other side. I’ve never been a client before, always the designer. It was great to see the process from the other side of things. And her expertise in marketing and business really shown through during the whole process. I loved the tight structure she had, from sharing with me her media kit at the start, to giving me questionnaire’s creating decks, and working on mood boards together. A lot of which I do with my clients, but other stuff I didn’t (and want to do now!).

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At the start of the project, I felt like I really didn’t know what I wanted, but she managed to pull out such a specific vision for me, something I didn’t know I had. It was such a great gift and I’m so glad I stepped outside my comfort zone to try this.

Thanks so much for continuing to read this blog, it means the world to me.

12 20 2014 - Recent Work

Recent Work

A client of my recently got a lovely feature in Style Me Pretty– and lucky me! A few pieces I designed for her wedding got included as well! Designing wedding collateral, illustrating, and getting to use fancy printing techniques is one of my favorite things, and I had so much fun with this one!

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Photos by  Our Labor Of Love