30 Jun

Pepper Talk with Kate Coates

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we have Kate with us… nope, you’re not seeing double, we just have a lot of repeated names. Just a little background before we get started, Kate just celebrated her 2 year work-aversary with Eleven Peppers Studios. She is one of our esteemed Art Directors and spends a lot of her time working with customers to improve their user experience designs.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
My parent’s original intention was for me to go by Katie but I rebelled in 3rd grade and decided from thence forth I was going to be Katherine. That was a bit short lived though. It was the year of learning cursive… and so I ended the year as Kate. It’s kind-of funny that I started my journey as Kate out of pure 3rd grade laziness but it stuck. Really it worked out perfectly because I ended up with a sister-in-law that goes by Katherine.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit snooze! It’s a terrible habit that I developed during my marriage. I used to be able to get up and out the door in ten minutes flat, nutrigrain bar in hand, but once you discover that button, there’s no going back.

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
I tend to lean towards a more flat, Bauhaus style. Just the Bauhaus’ notion of placing profound focus on the purpose or function of the design is something I relate to very strongly, especially within UX design. Really that is what UX is all about, not just making things pretty but making sure the site or tool is usable and efficient…not saying it shouldn’t look good too.

 

4: How did you get started?
My first official foray into design was in 12th grade when half of my school day was an internship in the design department of a company called United Communications Group (UCG). It’s there that I officially found that graphic design was the place for me and launched into my undergraduate design career. But really growing up in the house of an architect father and a crafty mother, it came as no surprise to friends and family that I ventured off in the arts direction…

 

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Hmm, I’m not sure I can think of a worst off the top of my head but favorite is pretty easy. A few years ago I would have said Photoshop hands-down but in the recent years Illustrator has become my best friend. It’s great for everything that I currently focus on at work, from wireframes and mockups to logos and branding. I live in a digital world. Vector all day, every day.

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I tend to start with the question: “Who are the users and what are their goals?” It’s only through answering that question that I can make sure that the design that’s going to follow makes sense for the end user. If I miss answering that question, the design will just be a lofty guess that is half-baked at best. I’ve found desk-side interviews and lots of research is key for kicking off a successful, user-experience focused tool.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
From my peers. It’s great to be surrounded with other UX people to bounce ideas off of and sketch out new possibilities. On top of that using websites and mobile tools daily to see what other people are doing is a huge source of inspiration too.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine. No coffee, no tea, just the occasional Dr.Pepper [grins]
Sweet or Savory: Sweet (Really gotta kick my new brownie obsession…)
Favorite Movie: Honestly, I’ve become more of a T.V. person then a movie person…so I’m not really sure.
Guilty Pleasure: Did I mention brownies? [laughs]
Hobbies:: Refurbing my 1908 home (two rooms away from being done!!) and spending time with family.

 

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Hands down, the Design Army’s campaign for the Washington Ballet’s show, Alice in Wonderland. The combination of photography and typography is absolutely breathtaking. I actually have several of the images at my desk for inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

24 Mar

Pepper Talk with Ashley Philip

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, you just couldn’t get enough of the first one so we’ve added in a couple more questions and a rapid-fire round! This month we have Ashley with us. Just a little background before we get started, Ashley has been with Eleven Peppers Studios for a little over a year now. She works with our commercial clients on all sorts of projects and also designs graphics for various in-house and social media channel campaigns.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Not really [pauses] most people automatically just shorten my name to “Ash” anyway.

 

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Check my phone to see if I missed any calls, texts, emails, Slack messages [grins].

 

3: How would you describe your design style?
Timeless. I like making complicated things look completely effortless. I’m interested in anything that can last through the years and aren’t just “trends” at the moment.

 

4: How did you get started?
I went to school at UMBC for Visual Arts and volunteered with AIGA Baltimore overseeing all their social media graphics and various other marketing materials for each of their events.

 

5: What are you favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Ooh very hard to say because each software does a job. [pauses to think] My favorites would have to be Illustrator and Sketch. Illustrator mainly because that’s the software I remember most of the key commands for and plus, it’s precise and Sketch is like a mini-version of Illustrator although much more efficient. The worst for me, I would have to say Photoshop, sorry designers, but I’m not the biggest fan [laughing].

 

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I remember when I was in school, the second I received a project brief, the very first thoughts I had running through my head 99% of the time, would always be the best idea/end result. Anything that came after were duds. I kind of need to picture the end result of something first, this is when I delve into the ample amounts of research to see whether or not the idea will work or what I can do to make it even better.

 

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Literally everything! From photography to fashion to architecture, I’m incredibly interested in what makes something resonate with people and am continuously trying to implement that in my own work.

 

8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: No, I never understood the caffeine craze.
Sweet or Savory: Uhm, both?
Favorite Movie: A Walk to Remember, because who doesn’t love
a sappy love story.
Guilty Pleasure: Reality TV of all kinds.
Hobbies:: Working out, 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?
Mhm hard to say. I can appreciate anything that is very well designed but it doesn’t make me wish I came up with it first. Instead, I’d like to pick the brains of these people to further understand how they got to their end result. When I see a great design, I’m so much more curious about the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for meeting Ashley. Like the additional questions? Make sure you let us know on social media. And remember, we’ll be introducing a different pepper each month so stay tuned!!!