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.

Inspired by… Pentagram

When I was at a dinner party last week and my friend asked me if I had seen the cannabis packaging Pentagram did for Snoop Dogg I thought she was messing with me. But, luckily for me, and the world, she most certainly was not! I made her show me everything, right there at the dinner party. Design parties.

What was striking to both of us, was how Pentagram and Snoop steered away from the stereotypical marijuana aesthetic (always so cheesy and repulsive to me), and went in a completely different direction- elevating the concept of cannabis in this beautiful, lush, fashion-inspired story. The patterns, multiple color stories, and typography direction feels both elegant and casual at the same time. I love how Pentagram described the process on their blog:

As a forefather of West Coast rap, Snoop is closely associated with California, and this comes into play in the packaging. Clean and simple on the outside, opening the flower boxes reveals a fresh blast of colorful California cool. Sliding off the box cover exposes images of green palms, sunny beaches and blue pools in angled slices that echo the LBS logo. Users encounter other surprises as they handle the packaging: The surface of the outer box is covered with a custom cannabis paisley pattern, printed in a clear, tactile spot varnish. “We chose Paisley because it is one of Snoop’s favorite patterns, borrowed from bandannas,” says Oberman. Opening the box also reveals a colorful collectible sticker featuring a phrase like “Ooouuuweeee” or “Puff puff pass” handwritten by Snoop; the reverse of the sticker features humorous instructions for use the weed.


“It’s like working at the end of Prohibition,” says Oberman. “Everything is changing, all the time. Laws change from week to week, and affect what you can do. It’s incredibly exciting, but it’s also difficult, so we had to keep it simple.”


On Brand: The Identity Design of Le Turtle

Lately I’ve been discovering restaurants I want to try through the J.Crew blog... Random, I know. My most recent curiosity, Le Turtle in the Lower East Side, led me down a design rabbit hole the minute I clicked on their site.. A video below for reference.

I was sitting at my desk at work, watching a woman repeatedly stick her hands through her pants. I swear I was just looking for a place to go for dinner! (sorry, HR).

As I learned, the identity design was done by a husband and wife time, well… correction, they became husband and wife after the branding was complete. A design fairytale, if you will. AIGA did a great piece on them, here.

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The branding struck me as more cinematic than anything–specifically Italian Surrealism circa the 1960s.


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The identity design was done by Leta Sobierajski and Wade Jeffree. Kudos!

Inspired by… Jon Contino

I’ve written about Jon Contino many times before- here, here, here and here. Today I’m featuring a project he did in collaboration with 20th Century Fox, with art direction by Neri Rivas. The branding, illustration, lettering, font design, and marketing were created for this Mexican Day of the Dead-themed animated film called Book of the Dead. Enjoy!

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Inspired by… Mirakosha

Today I’m featuring the work of Mirakosha, aka Sarah White,  a Brooklyn-based designer currently working for The New York Times. You may have noticed one of these images crept into my Color Story earlier this week. I liked it so much, I had to share the full project here. Don’t forget to compliment someone today!

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