17 Jun

Pepper Talk with Kate Rodman

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and person with Kate. Just a little background before we get started, Kate is one of our Senior Designers, and has been with 11P for 4 years. She’s worked on a wide variety of print and digital projects and specializes in being an illustration chameleon and incorporating artwork into a lot of her design solutions. Read her Q&A below!


1: Do you have any nicknames?
One time, when we went out for Chinese food I accidentally pressed the gas when turning on my car (it was in park) and it revved really loudly, startling all the people passing by on the sidewalk. My friends absolutely lost it and came up with Kate “hotrod”man – my speedster, aggressive driver alter ego.

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Usually, just check my phone. I don’t open any emails that will require too much thought at that point, but I’ll just get an idea of what my day is going to look like.

3: How would you describe your design style?
In my personal work, I love organic details. The more flourishes and leafy bits, the better. I love to blend illustration and typography together – to me, custom type is where illustration and graphic design overlap beautifully. For 11P work, it’s very nice to have a creative director there to rein me in. I tend to start “over the top” with adding extras and things that excite me. I’d like to think this makes their job easier (much simpler to remove/edit than come up with new ideas for things to add)… but maybe that’s just wishful thinking 😉

4: How did you get started?
I’ve always been an independent artist since I was little – if my parents couldn’t find me, I was probably drawing on a wall somewhere, or giving the dog a new haircut (sorry…). But the “fine artist” life was never for me. I am too comfortable with structure and rules – graphic design was a natural fit. When I went to Towson University for my BFA, one of their requirements for a class was to attend AIGA’s Ink & Pixels portfolio review. Luckily, I happened to sit down in front of Kristen that day, and the rest is history.

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
For thinking & sketching, I use cheap mechanical pencils and copy paper. No fancy notebooks for me. I also adore my lightbox for tracing during sketching – don’t know what I ever did without it. On the computer, I spend most of my time in Illustrator but I also love InDesign. My least favorite are Office products… Microsoft & Apple don’t play nicely, and I have no patience for that wonkiness. Would much rather use Google products for those things.

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
Generally, I start with information gathering. I start taking rough notes of important messages or goals, etc. Then I’ll probably start a private Pinterest board to just gather style inspiration. Once I have a handle on that, I roughly sketch (a LOT) until I have several options that feel right. After running that by the team, we usually pick 1-3 to refine. I’ll use my lightbox to re-draw the idea larger and in more detail – something that I can easily trace in Illustrator. Most of my thinking happens on paper. (If I find I’m struggling on the computer, it means I need to go back to the drawing board)

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Like everyone else, Pinterest and Instagram… I love following illustrators/artists that use color in unexpected ways. My favorite pieces of art are the ones that look great at a glance but then you dive deeper and realize, oh wow, that tree is actually bright orange because of the light. Or the shading on that person’s face is actually green. The serious color mastery based on light just blows my mind.

 8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Never
Sweet or Savory: Savory – love salt too much!
Favorite Movie: All the Harry Potters
Guilty Pleasure: Watching Friends and The Office on repeat, almost constantly
Hobbies: Board games/puzzles, plant-based cooking, socializing with people’s dogs, thrift shopping (most of my furniture and clothes are secondhand), and crafts!

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Hard to choose, but this piece is the one I keep coming back to for inspiration. Love the message too – I am a chronic procrastiworker.


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

29 Apr

Celebrating 5 Years: Ryan Kelly

Today we are celebrating another five year work anniversary, Ryan Kelly, Senior UX Designer. Ryan has been a critical part of our UX team for the last 5 years, sleighing any UX task that comes before him, and known for his friendly, upbeat personality. He’s also a talented illustrator, often seen with a sketchbook in his hands, doodling or drafting up the next logo or practicing his hand lettering. Check out this graphic for more info about Ryan, and read our incredible interview:


 

 

1: What do you like most about working at 11P? Simple. I love the people! We’re fun, exciting, and freaking talented! I have never worked with such a diversely talented group of people. That alone, is inspiring…and motivating! Our company is run by wonderful people who make it their priority to put us first no matter what. I’ve worked for both small and large companies and by far, Kristen and Bryan got it right.

 

2: What is a favorite 11P memory? Visiting Atlanta for the HOW Conference. So many memories made during that weekend! From spending time with friends to walking away truly inspired and ready to crank out some awesome creative stuff!

 

3: What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P?  Technically the Squatty Potty was an employee white elephant gift. So probably the Disney trip. Duh!

Jesse Evans brought a Squatty Potty to our holiday party white elephant gift exchange. I got it. Someone stole it from me. Luckily, Albert also brought the same gift! But unfortunately someone stole that one too. I think I ended up with some Goslings Rum.

So yeah, Disney.

 

4: What is your favorite 11P event? Needless to say that our holiday parties are always fun. Especially when you win big at blackjack! The Parks definitely know how to throw a party. It’s great to get all the peppers together since we don’t get to see each other all the time.

 

5: If you were a pepper, what type of pepper would you be and why? Poblano. It’s mild and versatile. Everyone likes a poblano. You can stuff it, chop it, stick ’em in a stew.

 

6: Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice: Krista Cochran.
Krista’s the type of person you can totally open up to. She became a pepper in 2015 and went straight to work on our UX team and instantly, a life-long friendship was created. We might have been regulars at a local sandwich shop for lunch. Codename: DOGPOUND

 

7: Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you: Melissa “the Don” London.
The Don’s work ethic is legendary. I hear her name whispered from time to time between our customers. No joke, the new team I’m on brought me an example of a brochure she designed and asked us to “do something like this.” Now those were big shoes to fill.

 

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 Ryan a little bit better…

1: Favorite Star Wars character and why?
Chewbacca. Well, I can do a pretty good Chewbacca roar.
Other reasons:
Chewbacca sounds from everyday objects
10 best Chewbacca quotes

 

2: You’ve just brewed the perfect IPA. Describe the flavor. What it’s called?
*the perfect hazy NEIPA…
It’s called “Floccinghell, this is good!”
The reference is from yeast “flocculation.” And I might sometimes say this after sipping a perfectly crafted NEIPA.
The description: A fluffy mouthfeel with a citrusy burst of tropical fruits and maybe a subtle coconut.
Thirsty now aren’t you…

 

3: Favorite local brewery? Favorite national brewery?
Local: Sapwood Cellars in Columbia – the owners are known nationally for their skill and pushing the limits. We’re lucky to have them so close!
National: The Veil in Richmond – Every single beer they put out is perfect. And their taste in artwork is pretty cool too. They put on the best festival I’ve ever been too called the Forever Summer Festival. You must attend if you like craft beer!

 

4: Name your favorite all-time Orioles player.
This may be a shock to some people, but no not Ryan Flaherty (or Ron Flattery as he’s called by some lower shoremen). Eddie Murray – He played first base and could hit from both sides of the plate. His stats are amazing. He’s why I chose to play first base growing up.

 

5: If you were a pro baseball player, what would your up-to-bat walk-up song be?
Wake up, Rage Against the Machine

 

6: Favorite daddy/daughter time event?
She is a dancer. It doesn’t matter where we are. Out of nowhere she will come up to me, grab my hands, and get me to do a quick dance move (usually spin her) and go about her way. It could be while shopping in the mall, the middle of Baltimore Inner Harbor, or on our way to her teeball game. I love this and hope that she never stops doing it.

 

7: How many times have you watched your daughter’s favorite movie (estimate), and what is it?
Well, her favorite movie changes from time to time…but we have watched “Dolphin Tale” over 1,000 times. She loves dolphins (probably because her god-mama, Aunt Erica does as well). We went to the Baltimore Aquarium during Fleet Week one year and she wanted to go down to talk to the dolphin trainers. She asked 100 questions and told them she wanted to save dolphins one day.

 

8: Favorite movie of all time?
Usual Suspects. “I’ll flip ya fa real.”

 

9: Any secret talents or hobbies? If so, what?
I consider myself a craftsman. I tear stuff apart and put it back together. I like woodworking, maintaining my car, and creating something from nothing to hang on a wall. Side note: my jetta currently has 275,000 miles and I’ve done all the maintenance on it. I’m a little proud of that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Feb

New Series: Pepper Talk with David Meade

Welcome to Pepper Talk, a new series here on the Eleven Peppers blog. Each month we’ll be sitting down with one of our peppers to get all the goods. This week we have Dave with us, he has worked for Eleven Peppers Studios almost since the beginning! Dave has a background in video and currently does UX design for the private sector.


1: Do you have any nicknames?
Well, obviously Dave [grins] but I’d say Davy, Joe Dave-o (typically shortened to Dave-o) and the Beer Dumpster or Dumpster. It just depends on my circle of friends.

 

2: How would you describe your design style?
I have no style, or, too many styles. I see other things that I really like and I try to find a way to make it my own. My design is like my personality, it has many looks. I’m like Fletch (dated reference). If there were a pattern, it would be clean and uncluttered. For instance, I don’t like modern art, so there goes designs with stuff scattered everywhere.

 

3: What are you favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Oddly enough, the tools I love are the tools I despise at times: Photoshop, Illustrator, and After Effects, which is my all-time favorite, probably because of my background in video. I have a love hate relationship with all of them.

 

4: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
It depends on the project, but I typically research the h*** out it first, too much some people say. Same goes in my personal life, it took me at least 6 months to pick out my truck.

 

5: What do you draw inspiration from?
Everyone and everything around me: architecture, personal styles, coworkers, etc. Seriously, the colors in those flowers [pointing to the flowers next to us], other people’s artwork, other pepper’s portfolios… I feel like I’m not creative at all [laughs] so I look around me.

 

6: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
There are a lot, mostly beer labels. I’ve wanted to come up with my own beer label/logo for years.

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AnchormanCostume

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Thanks for meeting Dave. Remember, we’ll be introducing a different pepper each month so stay tuned!!!