One Free Epiphany

This phrase popped into my head immediately upon receiving a free slip of paper from a lady on the street proclaiming that there was still a chance for my salvation, if only…

The wagging finger of of judgement turned me off, I thanked her politely, and went on my way. What did I want instead? Perhaps change agents for the lord should be giving out “one free epiphany” slips. Until that starts happening, I made one for you…


Actual results may vary… Continue reading “One Free Epiphany”

Umpqua Private Bank Visa Card

One of the more unique projects I’ve worked on recently is designing a Visa card for Umpqua Private Bank’s customers. These people have serious money and need a card to go along with it. Ka-ching^10! The Visa card was created in conjunction with launching a new site for Umpqua Private Bank in 2012.

After working on various nature-based and Pendeleton-themed designs under the art direction of Kate Zimmerman and Mark Jacobs at Umpqua, we chose a final design that combined a geometric sunrise in the UPB color palette with a wood pattern background that mirrored the website background. The silver parallelograms received a special foil treatment for that extra bling.

Make it rain.
Make it rain.
A blank version of the Visa card design for Umpqua Private Bank.
The card in real life – a blank version of the Visa card design for Umpqua Private Bank.

A Gender Rebrand

I’ve never really understood the gender symbols. As a kid, they were so far from being representative, I always wondered how people knew which was which. If they had been used to label restrooms, I probably would have chosen the wrong door half the time in confusion due to the arbitrary placement of a circle and some lines.

As an adult, my sarcastic interpretation might be that obviously the ladies had very large brains and the gents had very small…anyways, perhaps subconsciously I felt that there was a need for improvement in this graphic system, because I have now redesigned the gender icons. Without even really meaning to, here is how it happened…


men women gender rebrand-before

While doodling during a phone conversation one day, some scribbles appeared that I liked. Often I will fill an entire sheet of paper with the same shape or squiggle as I talk on the phone or listen to muzak while on hold with the various Danish Governmental Offices that have very specific opening hours and very long telephone waits. Most of the time, the doodles are just time fillers – but these popped out as prettier than usual and I immediately wanted to use them for THIS SPECIFIC PURPOSE. Muzak = instant faux miniature branding projects? The creative process can, indeed, be confounding.


men women gender rebrand-01

men women gender rebrand-02

men women gender rebrand-03

men women gender rebrand-04

men women gender rebrand-05

men women gender rebrand-06

men women gender rebrand-07

Guatemala Fairtrade Logo

Sometimes a client has a really clear idea of they want. When this is communicated upfront, it can be a great thing – focusing the design efforts of a project in the right direction or providing a starting point to finding a good solution. This was the case on a logo made for Guatemala Fairtrade.

After returning from a long stay abroad in Guatemala and connecting with Maya Traditions Foundation, Ditte Tøfting-Kristiansen was ready to start her own business selling fair-trade Guatemalan products in Denmark. She knew that she wanted the logo to reflect the handmade nature of the products and connect with the town she stayed in, which used a cat as their local embroidery symbol.

Using the client-provided inspiration gave plenty of options within a framework to come up with an embroidered cat icon and hand lettered brush type as the logo. Below are two images to show a great example of visual ‘input’ and ‘output’.

Client provided inspiration for local Guatemalan cat icon and embroidery.
Client-provided inspiration for local Guatemalan cat icon and embroidery.
Guatemala Fairtrade logo series in tag format.
Guatemala Fairtrade logo series in tag format.

Guatemala Fairtrade currently is on Facebook and has an online shop selling scarves, shoes, bags and other fairtrade items.

DesignCure Website + Logo Redesign

Recently I worked on a fun redesign project for two interior space designers who wanted their logo and website revamped. While logo redesigns aren’t always about doing something new and crazy, it’s a good design challenge to keep enough of the existing logo around for client recognition while updating it to something new and better.

Left: before - Right: after, with additional signature icon and DC pattern.
Left: before – Right: after, with additional signature icon and DC pattern.

One of the design goals for their new website was to combine Danish simplicity with an organic, textural and hand-drawn feel. To accomplish this the structure of the site was kept simple with utilitarian fonts and text formatting, which allowed the few color pops and hand-drawn elements stand out but not overwhelm the simplicity.

Old DesignCure website design.
Old DesignCure website design.
New DesignCure website design.
New DesignCure website design.

The patterned shapes were also used on the business cards to support the tagline and DesignCure’s thinking that space is organic and evolving, not structured and rigid, and even institutional spaces can be designed to feel at home in.

Business cards with variable organic shapes wrapping around the card. Tagline translates roughly to "peoples' well-being in space".
Business cards with variable organic shapes wrapping around the card. Tagline translates roughly to “peoples’ well-being in space”.

The amount of content on the site was minimal, so we opted for an all-on-one page design to make it easy to get to everything. The site was built in WordPress to allow for easy client updates. You can see an expanded view of the site design below, or visit the DesignCure website here. Big thanks to Refresh Media and Jip Jip for working together across continents to make the technical part of this site happen.

New website expanded view.
New website expanded view.

The End

Between designing websites and branding and packaging and logos and books oh my, sometimes it’s nice to take a meditative break and work on some hand drawn typography. This session used one of my favorite Beatle’s quotes from the song The End to practice my script type lettering skills – “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”. It took four tracing iterations to figure out layout, script details and inking…

Hand lettered script typography of The Beatle's quote "and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make".
(Click to zoom)

Boots, Chaps and Cowboy Hats

Many moons ago I ventured to Pendleton, Oregon for the annual Round-Up. Growing up in Central Oregon I had gone to a few local rodeos and fairs, but the Pendleton Round-Up is the BIG TIME, so there was some preparatory work to do. First off, I dug up all my childhood photo albums to relive my days as a young girl obsessed with horses. Want me to name every anatomical point of an equine? Naw, didn’t think so.

Then, I pulled up the top hits of country music from the mid-90s so I could make a playlist worthy of the 3 1/2 hour drive to Pendleton. Despite the wrinkled expressions of displeasure that I received from my car-mates, I stand by this as a totally rocking road trip mix that I dubbed “Pendleton Cheese”.

There are a lot of requirements for being a bona fide cowboy, and during our short time in Pendleton we tried to experience as many as possible. One night, Michael checked ‘being a hipster badass’ off his to-do list by being the first in the room to hop on the mechanical bull.

I knew it would be tough to look legit in a town that would certainly realize I was city folk, but anyone can aspire to be a real cowboy, and my research turned up a few nuggets of pure western gold.

A real cowboy knows how to crease a hat.
A cowboy always looks cool, even leaning up against a trash can. Photo by Robert Frank.
Have horse, will travel.

The Pendleton Round-Up is one of the largest rodeos in the US and dubbed the “fastest moving rodeo” because of the extreme organization of the back-to-back events. No sooner had the last bronc rider been bucked off and it was on to the next competition. One of the most exciting events was the Indian Relay Race. Those original Americans sure know how to ride.

Even the cowboys are impressed.

Another fun part of visiting Pendleton was taking a tour of the underground tunnels and the brothels. Cowboys live a hard life, and they gotta have fun sometimes. I suppose that’s why some girls go wrong.

While my friends and I didn’t necessarily go wrong, it sure was a weekend to remember: whiskey drinking, rough riding, dust in your face fun. While we might not have passed muster as a true tough-as-nails cowboys, we definitely won the belt buckle for having a good time, encapsulated perfectly in these lyrics from Garth Brooks “Rodeo”. Now, where do I find a belt sturdy enough to hold up my pelvis-plaque of honor?

Large silver cowboy belt buckle with song lyrics from Garth Brook's song "Rodeo".
(click to zoom)

Well it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud, it’s the roar of a Sunday crowd…
It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle, he’ll win the next go ’round…
It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats, it’s spurs and latigo…
It’s the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain, and they call the thing…