04 Dec

Celebrating 5 Years: Rebecca Popka

Could the end of 2018 get any better? Multiple promotion announcements, holiday get-togethers, and our SECOND 5 Year Pepper-versary!!! This time we are celebrating the wonderful Rebecca Popka.  Rebecca (or Popka as we fondly call her) also took a leap of faith as our first Commercial Team employee, working hand-in-hand with owner Kristen Parks. Rebecca worked on everything from 11p in-house marketing efforts and social media, to client branding projects and full website redesigns. Rebecca’s commercial team work even earned her an ADDY award for her 11p holiday hot chocolate kit design. Since then, Rebecca continues to wow and amaze her clients and teammates with her incredible talent and work ethic. We’re so lucky to have her in the pepper family! Check out this graphic for more info about Rebecca, and read our special interview:


 

 

1: What do you like most about working at 11P? I love everything about 11p but what I like the most is everyone’s amazing talent that makes them a unique pepper.

 

2: What is a favorite 11P memory (in words or in sketch)? The most memorable was the wonderful opportunity to visit Disney, “Where Dreams Come True,” to celebrate the company’s 5thanniversary.

 

3: What is your favorite Holiday present ever received from 11P? Hands down Walt Disney World, which was a complete surprise.

 

4: What is your favorite 11P event? I’ve always been an avid gamer so when 11p announced a game night I was ready for some table top fun. There were a lot of new games I never played before that I enjoyed like Telestrations and One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

 

5: If you were a pepper, what type of pepper would you be and why? A Pepperoncini. It’s a common pepper with a dash of spicy that’s been pickled, which is a favorite thing of mine (picked foods).

 

6: Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice: 11p is a unique company with a close-knit family of peppers who are always supportive and there for any type of advice. The pepper chat channel has always been my go-to for creative guidance.

 

7: Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you: Kate Rodman is an incredible illustrator whose passion and amazing talent is beautifully moving. Her work is always inspirational.

 

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

 

Get to know Rebecca a little bit better…

1: If you could pick 2 fonts that you had to work with forever, which would they be?
Helvetica Neue and Cambo.

 

2: What design trend do you wish would just die already?
Bevel and emboss, especially when new Photoshop users discover this “effect”.

 

3: What designer/artists do you admire?
I really like the artist René Magritte, a Belgian surrealist who captured thought-provoking images that challenges a viewer’s perception of reality. He had a distinct and creative way of displaying ordinary objects out of context, giving new meanings to familiar things.

 

4: What do you love most about being a mom?
Watching my son grow and learn new things is exciting but what I really love is the sweet yet brief moments when he gives a hug, a kiss, or even wants to cuddle.

 

5: What did you do for Thanksgiving?
Cancun, fun in the sun – drinks, a spa day, and some tasty tacos al pastor.

 

6: We know you’re an avid Disney World fan, what is your favorite ride?
Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved the Pirates of the Caribbean ride even before the popularity of Jack Sparrow. Being immersed in their story while listening to the catchy music in the dark has always been a favorite of mine. One day I would love to experience Shanghai Disneyland’s ride, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure, as the visual effects look incredible.

 

7: If you could dine with any Disney character, who would it be?
As a fan of Star Warsit’s got to be Han Solo and Chewbacca in Maz Kanata’s castle on Takodana listening to their adventures as smugglers and joining the Rebel Alliance to Restore the Republic.

 

8: Where is the furthest you’ve traveled from home?
I’ve traveled to a lot of different places but the furthest I’ve gone is to Thailand. The plane ride alone was about 24 hours (not counting layovers)…loooongest travel day EVER but well worth it. It was great traveling to different cities, sight-seeing, and eating a ton of delicious food even the infamous durian, not a fan.

 

9: Any secret talents or hobbies?
Before having a baby I loved gaming. Anything from table top to console to PC gaming, which for each I enjoyed playing Geister Geister Schatzsuchmeister, The Legend of Zelda, and World of Warcraft. I would even host a game night every couple of months but post baby most of my time is now occupied entertaining him. When he gets older I hope to share some of the games that I’ve always enjoyed with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11 Oct

Pepper Talk with John Reid

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re doing a deep dive with John Reid. John is a Senior User Experience Designer who has been with Eleven Peppers for three years! John is a very detailed-oriented designer that loves to go off-roading in his precious Jeep and attend Sports games during his free time. Want to know more about John? Read his Q&A below!


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Some of my friends call me ‘AJ.’ Other than that, not really. Though, friends do have the tendency to call me by first and last name which is kind of weird.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the SNOOZE button and roll over.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a design style in the traditional sense of the word. If I had to pick a word to describe it, I would say it’s ‘Detailed.’ I don’t necessarily mean there’s complexity to the products I am designing but I do focus on the fine details. To me that’s important because it can elevate your designs. In turn, what actually happens is that you elevate yourself as a designer, all the way from your thought-process to design skills to execution and onward.

 

4: How did you get started?
I always liked drawing designs when I was younger. I didn’t think of design as a serious career option until sophomore year of college when I took an elective art class called ‘2D Design.’ After some well received assignments, my professor asked me, “What major are you?” Dissatisfied with my answer, she said I needed to change my major and the rest is history.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Pencil, paper, and Adobe Illustrator. MS Paint, Gimp, terrible smartphone filters.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
If I’m not assigned a task that needs to be done in an hour, I will always start with pencil and paper. Sketching and Paper-Prototyping is a great approach to successfully fulfill any task in an appropriate and efficient manner. Planning will save you time in the long run. Other than that, I don’t necessarily like a concrete process because it’s not adaptable and/or agile and it’s important to be both with the type of environment my team and I work in.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Video games, television shows, movies, music, architecture. I try to take note of things around me too. You’d be surprised how many cool things are around you that normally, you wouldn’t notice.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine, duh
Sweet or Savory: Yes
Favorite Movie: Tron: Legacy. The visuals are amazing and the score/soundtrack was produced by Daft Punk
Guilty Pleasure: Watching movies made for kids like Trolls, The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6, etc.
Hobbies: Jeep/Off-roading, playing sports, watching sports, video games, music & concerts, woodworking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting John. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

23 Aug

Pepper Talk with Rebecca Rice

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re doing a deep dive with Rebecca Rice. Rebecca is a Senior User Experience Designer who has been with Eleven Peppers for almost 4 years! She’s a big proponent of sketchbooks and graphite pencils and in her spare time, Rebecca is a badass ice-hockey player 😉 Want to know more about Rebecca? Read below:


1: Do you have any nicknames?
If there’s more than one Rebecca, they call me ‘Rice’.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I gauge the time of morning by how light the sky is.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
Flowy and polished with a splash of Tito’s.

 

4: How did you get started?
3rd grade and Unicorns. Lots of unicorns.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
My favorite would be a sketchbook, paper planner, and some graphite pencils. The worst is being confined to only using a computer mouse.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
Ask as many questions as possible!

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Human nature.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Decaff!
Sweet or Savory: Sweet
Favorite Movie: Happy Gilmore
Guilty Pleasure: Raiding Home Depot at 8:00 am on Saturday mornings.
Hobbies: Ice hockey, painting, pet rabbits.

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?

I think Netflix as a whole (app design, interface, and business model) is pretty amazing. The concept that we can watch anything (anywhere) is pretty neat. I’m interested in seeing how far our need to ‘watch’ things will go. Maybe it will be more than just entertainment and venture into e-learning or something…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Rebecca. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

13 Aug

Celebrating 5 Years: Dave Meade

We have some exciting news this month at Eleven Peppers! We have our very first five year work anniversary, David Meade, Senior UX Designer. David started with 11p as the first full-time employee on August 12, 2013. He took a leap of faith and joined Kristen to create a name for a “small fries” company that was simply a vision, a dream, a concept– and the rest is history. It has been an amazing journey with Dave and we continue to appreciate his quick wit, talent and craft beer recommendations. Check out this graphic for more info about Dave, and read our special interview:


 

 

1: What do you like most about working at 11P? This question is about as tough to answer as if you asked what my favorite beer was (foreshadowing). I guess if I had to sort through all the great things such as the amazing owners, the awesome Pepper events, and the engaging projects, I would have to pick the people that make up the company. They’re a collection of some of the most talented people I’ve ever known, and I’m lucky enough to not only call them coworkers, but also friends.

 

2: What is a favorite 11P memory (in words or in sketch)? There’s a plethora of fantastic memories over the past five years, but I think signing the offer letter was one of the best and happiest moments of my life.

 

3: What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P? Finally, an easy question! Hands down, it was my Kate Spade purse, which a pepper stole at the white elephant gift exchange, so I chose another box, which was another purse, which was stolen, but finally, I ended up with the perfect gift. If you know me, you know this gift couldn’t have been any better. It was Orioles opening day tickets, section 11, seats 10 and 11, and the ending couldn’t have been any more perfect. The O’s fought a hard battle, and in the bottom of the 11th inning, they won it with a walk-off homerun. You just couldn’t write a better script.

 

4: What is your favorite 11P event? I think it’s easy to say the Pepper Disney trip was the best Eleven Peppers event. The fact that we were flown to Florida, put up in a hotel, and we got to spend a few days as a company exploring the happiest place on earth, what more could you want? Mickey ears and Dole Whip? Yeah, we got that too!

 

5: If you were a pepper, what type of pepper would you be and why? Easy, Chipotle. They’re my favorite. Smoky, spicy, versatile, rich in flavor. I don’t know if or how any of that pertains to me, but it’s my favorite pepper, so I’ve claimed it.

 

6: Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice: This is another tough question because I am good friends with many of the Peppers and have leaned on most of them at one point or another over the past five years. If I had to pick one, it’s the obvious one, Theresa. She’s in my corner everyday, helping me through any issues I may have, whether they’re inside or outside of work, and she keeps me focused and inspired.

 

7: Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you: Besides Kristen and Bryan who tirelessly work day and night to ensure we’re all happy in our careers and love our job, I would have to throw a curveball and say Kate Rodman. I say curveball because we’ve never worked together, but I’ve heard how hard and efficiently she works, and I’ve been privileged enough to see some of her designs. Her talent is truly inspiring, and somehow she has the energy to continue designing in her free time. She has even had a piece published. She is so accomplished at such a young age, and I think the best is yet to come.

 

8: My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

 

Get to know Dave a little bit better…

1: Where is the furthest you’ve traveled from home?
Theresa and I took a trip to the ocean side town of Lima, Peru where we enjoyed some of the best, fresh fruits and vegetables we’ve ever had, and even took a cooking class. We also hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Truly epic.

 

2: Where is your favorite city to enjoy a meal and a crafty brew?
San Francisco has to be my favorite, with its vast variety of international cuisines and some of the best breweries in the nation, there’s no better place to get a bite and a beer, and then walk it off on those hills!

 

3: How many marathons have you run?
I have only run one marathon, but I have run several half marathons around the country.

 

4: Which marathon was your favorite to run?
The Baltimore Marathon was my favorite, and only marathon. I knew I wanted my first 26.2 to be in my hometown. I was fortunate enough to run it with my fellow Pepper, friend, and inspiration, Kelsey.

 

5: If you could create and produce your own line of craft beer, what would you call it and what would it taste like?
I struggle with this all the time. I want to come up with a creative name that captures a little bit of who I am, and my loves in life: food, my friends, art, music, and the outdoors. If anyone can come up with a good name, please, let me know! As for what it would taste like, that’s just as diverse as my interests. I want to create high quality beers inspired by the foods that I love. Sours, IPAs, Stouts, all infused with fruits, spices, herbs, and anything else I can come up with. Again, I’m open to suggestions!

 

6: What is your favorite local beer?
It’s between RAR and Jailbreak. They both are producing a lot of very interesting and exciting beers. RAR’s best are easily their IPAs, but they made a sour with passionfruit, pineapple and habanero that was fantastic. Jailbreak is very adventurous with their beers too, using fruits, veggies, and peppers in many of their beers. Their barrel aged imperial stout, Dusk til Dusk is one of the best beers ever produced in Maryland, in my opinion.

 

7: What is your favorite national beer?
Trillium Brewing in Boston probably makes my all time favorite IPAs, but The Veil in Richmond is right up there with them, and they make some fantastic, heavily fruited sours, and a stout aged on oreos. Yes, you read that right, an Oreo stout, and it actually tastes like Oreos!

 

8: If you could cheers any living or deceased legend, who would it be and why?
There are so many inspiring people that have lived, and still live, that I would love to meet. I’ll just pick one of the many and say Mario Lemieux. The former Pittsburgh Penguin took his passion to the highest level to become one of the greatest hockey players of all time. He won two Stanley Cups as a player. When he found out he had cancer, he saw that as another challenge, fought hard, and not only beat it, but shortly thereafter returned to the ice. When it was time to hang up his skates, he decided to take his passion to the front office, saving the team from moving out of Pittsburgh, bringing them to four more Stanley Cups, winning three. What’s more inspirational is that he started a foundation to raise money for cancer research, and to build numerous hospitals for children who are battling cancer. He is involved in the community and a man who takes that passion to better his community and help people who are facing the same struggles he did.

 

9: Any secret talents or hobbies?
Although brewing beer is a talent and hobby, I can’t say it’s much of a secret anymore. I guess my secret talent is making friends. Just about everywhere I go, I end up making friends. Even when we’re on vacation in another state, or another country, I make new friends. The best part is that these friendships last and grow. You never can have too many friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Jun

Pepper Talk with Albert Nguyen

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re doing a deep dive with Albert Nguyen. Albert is a Senior Software Engineer who has been with Eleven Peppers for over 3 years. He’s a stickler for clean code and only the finest caffeinated beverages.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Usually everyone just calls me Albert, but I have been called Alberto, Albie, Al, Albs, and some others I can’t remember off the top of my head.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Cuddle with Kathy (my wife) and try to muster all of my will power to get out of the warm cozy bed.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
Since I’m a Software Engineer, I’ll describe my coding style. I try to keep my code clean, concise, organized, and readable. It’s helpful to spend the time to write good code so that the next person who goes through it will easily understand what is happening. It’s always fun to run into some confusing code, wonder who on earth wrote it that way, look into the logs, and find out it was written by you a year ago.

 

4: How did you get started?
It started in middle school when I saved my allowance money to buy my own TI-83+ graphing calculator. At first I got it to play games on it but then I started programming on it as well. In high school I learned Java and some other programming languages. I entered the web development world with my first internship during college at the Center for Advanced Transportation Technology where we did PHP development. From then on I mainly stayed with frontend development, but still dabble in Java and other languages every once in a while.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
It used to be Eclipse but since we use IntelliJ on our current task, it has been growing on me and I like it better now. I also like using Notepad++ to jot down notes and it has useful plugins to format JSON and compare files. I’m also in Chrome’s Developer Tools a lot to debug issues. It allows you to step through the code, view network calls, modify DOM elements on the fly, and many other things. The worst tool is probably outdated versions of Internet Explorer that rarely render anything properly.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
It depends on the project. For smaller ones, I tend to just jump in and try stuff out. Larger ones require more thought into the architecture.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Technology companies like Google that keep on innovating, coming up with new things, and improving what already exists. I use so many Google products on a daily basis like Gmail, Hangouts, Photos, and Maps. I also draw inspiration from the other peppers and my co-workers. Seeing them work hard and solve difficult problems inspires me to do the same.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Yes, all sorts of caffeine, especially coffee. My favorites include Vietnamese coffee, nitro cold brew coffee, and iced/hot lattes. I did get the 2015 Pepper Superlative for most likely to have stock in caffeinated beverages. =)
Sweet or Savory: I really like both. I can’t decide…
Favorite Movie: I don’t have a single favorite movie, but I like movies that have an expansive universe that you can immerse yourself in and has so many intricacies between the different characters like Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and the Marvel superhero movies
Guilty Pleasure: Eating free food that shows up in the office
Hobbies: Playing video games, watching anime, cooking, working out, photography, deal hunting, spending time with friends and family

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Squishmallows! They’re the cutest and softest stuffed animals ever. Also, the Samsung S8 has a really sleek design that I like and the specs on it are great. I know that’s two, but they’re both so good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Albert. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

21 May

Pepper Talk with Valencia Garden

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re doing a deep dive with Valencia Garden. Valencia has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for nearly two and a half years. She plays an integral role on an award-winning team by developing marketing content for innovative technology products.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Not really—I kind of take pleasure in making people say my whole first name. Blame it on a childhood full of mispronunciation and laziness, lol.

 
2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?

Look at the clock to see how late I am! Then I debate whether I’ll meditate or take the dogs out first; that usually depends on how well I slept.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
I’m a writer, so…”honest”? lol My writing style is deeply conversational, if you couldn’t tell by now.

I do have a deep appreciation for design and art, in every form. My interests change often, so some days I’m feeling minimalist and neutral, and other days I want to be around the boldest and brightest things ever (coincidentally, that’s usually when my hair is the biggest). I love honesty in words and in art, so if I’m able to feel anything when I look at it, I’m all in.

 

4: How did you get started?
I’ve been writing my entire life—I recently found a few stories I wrote as a kid, along with some letters I wrote to my older self back when I was 8, 9, and 11 years old. I’m glad I kept them; I gave myself some pretty great advice!

I actually started out in college as a computer science major because that’s “where the money was.” That was a mistake. I hated it! (I should’ve found those letters a few years sooner…lol) I ended up in Virginia Tech’s English program because the journalism program was full. Being in the company of great expressionists like Nikki Giovanni made me realize how much I enjoyed the art of written communication.

The semi-perfectionist in me hates to see good things done terribly, which lends itself perfectly to helping other people express themselves more effectively!

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Favorite? Google, even despite its faults and flaws. I can find anything on there (or anyone, *cue suspenseful music*), and that ends up helping me quite a bit when researching for a writing project. Wordpad and Grammarly.com also tie for a close second.

Worst is Microsoft Word, hands down. It should die and not come back as anything else or appear in any sequels, ever!

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I spend a good amount of time researching before I write anything. My initial process depends on what information I’m given, so if I don’t have much, I end up doing more legwork on the research side than the actual drafting side. If you give me “who” and “what,” I can usually find the “why” on my own. I know immediately how hard a story will be if it takes me forever to come up with a good introductory sentence. If I don’t know why this story is interesting, then obviously there’s a lot of work to be done! Once I get a good handle on it, I’ll outline how I think it should go and start filling in the blanks from there.

Also, post-it notes. Lots of post-it notes.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Life stories. Hearing about other people’s experiences, no matter how small it may be, usually makes me want to go do something of my own.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Heavens, no!
Sweet or Savory: Both (Lindor Sea Salt Milk Chocolate Truffles? OMG)
Favorite Movie: Coming to America
Guilty Pleasure: Cheese
Hobbies: Serving at my church, traveling, eating pizza, concert hopping, working on my townhouse, fake house shopping, real shoe shopping, dog mom-ing, and (thanks to the hubbs) aviation. *whew!*

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Instagram. Who knew a place to post lackluster food plates was going to take off as well as it did?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Valencia. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

05 Feb

Pepper Talk with Melissa London

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we have Melissa with us. Just a little background before we get started, Melissa has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for a little over three years. She is one of our Art Directors, works in both the private and commercial sectors, and has the incredible ability to keep the big picture in mind even when working on the most minute tasks.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Lisa, The Don, Shorty Roc.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Pet my dog Stanley and remind him that he’s my first love and irreplaceable.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
The proper answer is that I don’t have a style. My style adapts to the look and feel and needs of my client, but… I tend to be bold in my font, color, and design choices. At least in my first drafts, then I try to subtract to arrive at the simplest, most effective solution. Nothing is going to get sold with 10% opacity type on a white background ← pet peeve.

 

4: How did you get started?
My creative path started by rummaging through the design and art books of my aunt and emulating some of the drawings from my Dad’s old sketchbooks. Like, age 8?

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Favorite: The Adobe Suite is pretty sweet!
Worst: SharePoint

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
Typically lots of research… The subject matter, new and interesting fonts, styles, effects, what the competitor is doing, etc.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Interior design, fashion design, fine art and music. I love seeing how one influences the other and try to weave those elements into my own designs.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: I need a daily dose.
Sweet or Savory: Savory, I never met a cheese I didn’t like.
Favorite Movie: Groundhog Day
Guilty Pleasure: Deal hunting.
Hobbies: Trying out new restaurants, cheersing, crafting, DIYing.
Favorite vacation: I took a vacation to Barcelona several years back with my sister. We worked our way around the city to see all of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces, only stopping to eat cheese, cured meats and drink wine. Heaven.
One of your quirks: Sometimes I’m a bit more animated than the situation calls for [winks].

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Paula Scher’s poster designs for The Public Theater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Melissa. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

01 Dec

Pepper Talk with Lauren Fulp

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we have Lauren with us. Just a little background before we get started, Lauren has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for about a year and a half. She is a Communications Strategist and is a wonder with words; keep reading to find out more about this multi-faceted dynamo.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Laur, La, Lala, Fulp.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Wake up around 4:30am-5am, make all of our lunches for the day, either go back to sleep depending on how early it is or take a shower, wake my daughter up and rush around like a mad woman until we’re out the door. I have every intention of getting it all together the day before, but there is always something better to do.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
Hm, well… I’m still pretty new in the design world and I’m more on the writing spectrum right now. But if I had to describe the type of design style I gravitate toward most, I would have to say anything with pretty typography (I love doing calligraphy) and the watercolors with simple design embellishments.

 

4: How did you get started?
I went to the University of South Carolina (GO GAMECOCKS!) and received a Broadcast Journalism degree. Being there taught me how to look for the ‘so what’ in every story which has in turn really helped me with that I’ve done in my career with Eleven Peppers.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Oh my goodness… I find myself going to Word Hippo a lot. If I can’t find a word or want to find a more professional word, this is my go-to. I also use the dictionary (obviously, right!?).

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
When starting a new project for writing, I gather my thoughts and write/type what I know to begin with. I then pull together questions to figure out the who, what, when, where, why. I will a lot of times draft up a summary with the questions highlighted. I think it helps the point of contact to get an idea where the story is going.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Pinterest all the way. The only issue I have sometimes is that I like too much and wish I could use everything. Or I like their version so much that when I try to put my own spin on it, it’s just not same.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: YES! Absolutely need!!!
Sweet or Savory: Sweet! There will be a lot of people who are not surprised whatsoever.
Favorite Movie: Pride & Prejudice
Guilty Pleasure: Fixer Upper and anything vintage farmhouse/industrial inspired.
Hobbies: Crafting
If you were a color: I would say… Emerald Green. I’ve noticed more than usual I gravitate towards a darker green.
One of your quirks: I am always doodling on papers or adding calligraphic touches to the titles on my notes. I’ve literally been doing this since the 3rd grade (at least that’s when I remember doing it more vividly).

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
I’m a fan of clever puns and I’m just not good at them. So pretty much any pun out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Lauren. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

29 Sep

Pepper Talk with Kelsey Marotta

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we have Kelsey with us. Just a little background before we get started, Kelsey has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for a little over a year. She is a Senior Graphic Designer and works her magic with any request her customers make.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Most people call me Kels. My brother, who is nine years older, nicknamed me Sally when I was little. He still calls me that. It’s also what I named my paddle board.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I’m an early riser, meaning anywhere between 4–5. I tend to get up and walk straight to the kitchen. I must eat. A couple of mornings a week I’ll grab a quick snack before taking my bike out or going to spin class, I am not a fan of riding in the rain. Otherwise, you’ll find me enjoying a protein shake and watching 5 AM reruns of TLC’s “What Not to Wear.”

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
Eclectic. I love a little bit of everything, I think it’s ingrained in who I am. It follows me in all aspects of my life—sports, design, decorating the 700 sq. feet of space I call home. When I see a design that I like, I take it apart and think about what aspects I could incorporate into my own work. Color, texture, illustration style. I’m always willing to try something new.

 

4: How did you get started?
I was the Managing Editor of my high school newspaper. One of my responsibilities was to design the back-page. I loved layout but hated writing, so I came up with the idea that every month we would do a Q&A [laughs] with a teacher, staff member, etc. Funny enough, that became a standing section of the paper even after I graduated.

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Coming from a print background, I love books and design annuals. I have a few favorites I keep on my shelves at home. I’ll flip through the pages when looking for inspiration. My Dad sells paper and my grandfather ran printing presses so I’m also a sucker for sample books and promotional materials. I could spend all day talking about foil stamping, finishes, coatings—if each individual piece costs $9 to print, I’m in.

In college I had to briefly use Quark. It was the absolute worst. It was a very happy day when InDesign arrived.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
Always research. Sketch. Gather as much inspiration as possible and paste it all on my artboard before beginning my design. When I hit a wall or feel like there’s a missing element, I keep researching. Attention to detail is so important and sometimes it’s one tiny element that makes the whole design click.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
I’m an Instagram and Pinterest junkie. I look at typography and illustration daily. I like to think the hours spent scrolling through all of those images is somehow transferring to my design style through osmosis.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Black coffee.
Sweet or Savory: Sweet…no need to go on, everyone knows about my love of ice cream.
Favorite Movie: Elizabethtown
Guilty Pleasure: All things Tiny Home-related.
Hobbies: Running/Biking/Swimming, Paddle boarding, Road trips
Best vacation: “Vacation” is a loose term for me. Most of my vacations are tied to races and/or involve cramming as many activities as possible into a short time span. Not sure I can pick a favorite but a few highlights from the last couple of years; sweet potato pancakes at Pancake Pantry in Nashville, TN, staying in an Airstream trailer in Charleston, SC, Wormslow Plantation in Savannah, GA and a half marathon in Yosemite National Park.
One of your quirks: Other than naming inanimate objects (the aforementioned paddleboard), I am guilty of working into almost any conversation that I am a marathon runner. It’s a bit of an obsession, I know.

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Highway Gothic, the font developed specifically for road signage in the U.S. It represents exactly what design should be—something that is so well made and thought-out that it becomes a natural part of our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thanks for meeting Kelsey. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!

25 Aug

Pepper Talk with Kathryn Gruver

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we have Kathryn with us…yep, another Kathryn! Just a little background before we get started, Kathryn has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for a little over two years. She is an Art Director and works with customers to improve their user experience.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
I’ve had a lot of nicknames. The most recent is mamamamamama.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Kick the dog off the bed [pauses and laughs], again! Make sure no one else is awake, and read a devotional. Got to start the day off right!

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
I try to make the style of my work more reflective of my customer’s identity rather than my own. Other than that, I like to make beautiful, smart, and meaningful projects.

 

4: How did you get started?
In college I was a studio art major and did a lot of drawing and building. Once I graduated, I realized that I wanted to do graphic and web design, that’s what they called it “back in the day”. So, I went to night school to learn the tools of the trade, and behind me sat two designers that were taking the class for career development. Unbeknownst to me, they watched me work in class every night; and they eventually introduced themselves and offered me a job as a designer!

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Hands-down, my favorite tool is Illustrator; I think it’s because of my intense love of drawing. While I always like learning new tools and tricks, I feel most at home working in Illustrator. I know it inside-out and even have dreams about it. I also get a buzz from working in InDesign and PhotoShop. The worst tool – any printer; why don’t they just work?! Do your job, expensive machine!

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I usually get a little over-excited when I start a new project. After I calm myself down, I try to find out as much as I can about the project or problem-set, customer, stakeholder and users; and then start the brainstorming process.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Dribbble, abduzeedo and sometimes Pinterest.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Half-caff.
Sweet or Savory: SWEET!
Favorite Movie: Troy; you have love stories, there’s drama, you have war and strategy – what more could you want?!
Guilty Pleasure: Ironing [pauses and grins] okay, I can’t think of a good one. And I don’t iron.
Hobbies: Reading, baking, drawing, chasing and being tackled by small children, and Bible study.
Skill you’d like to master: In my dreams I would like to build furniture; in reality, I’d like to get my kids to eat vegetables.
Best vacation: Before we had children, my husband and I drove up the West coast from San Francisco to Seattle with no plans. It was beautiful and we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted.
One of your quirks: There are so many… I guess the most prevalent is that I hate wearing shoes, I would rather go barefoot.

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
The Google machine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for meeting Kathryn. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!