28 Aug

Pepper Talk with Audra Harvey

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Audra! Just a little background before we get started, Audra works as a Senior Designer on our commercial team. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for 9 months.

1. What is your favorite part about being a designer?
I love problem solving, art, and psychology. I feel like as a designer, I can touch on all 3 of those areas. I’m also a “big picture” kind of person, and am happiest when I’m working on a project that is supporting a mission I believe in.

2. What resources are your favorite to stay up to date on the latest design trends?
Coolhunting.com is a great online publication for creative inspiration. It showcases innovative thinking in products, music, fashion, culinary arts, technology, public spaces, etc. I like seeing the intersection of form and function, and how design really does have an impact on pretty much everything.

3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I check Slack for any work messages, drink a glass of water, feed the cat, and decide if I want cold or hot coffee that morning.

4. Who is your favorite designer of all time?
Chip Kidd. In college, I wanted to be a publication/book designer. I saw Chip Kidd speak at a design event, and loved his light-hearted approach to coming up with great ideas but never getting too attached to them (since they would inevitably get picked apart by clients and publishers). His designs have so much wit and charm. Years later, I ended up being in the same elevator as him at a HOW conference. I managed to squeak “I love your work” and he graciously said “Thank you” while I tried not to melt into the floor.

5. How would you describe your design style?
Simple and organized with attention to detail. I’ve had to be reminded by colleagues throughout the years that it’s okay to break the rules sometimes, and when I allow myself to do that, it often leads to some of my favorite work.

6. Do you have a set design process when starting a new project?
Ask lots of questions! I always want to get as many details as possible so I can begin to wrap my head around the project. After that the process can very depending on what’s needed (sketching, doing research, etc.).

 7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine
Sweet or Savory: I have a dangerous sweet tooth.
Favorite Movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite place to travel: Anywhere that’s new
Hobbies: Baking, Yoga, hiking, audio books, puzzles

8. Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Any movie poster by Saul Bass.

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

15 Jul

Pepper Talk with Matthew Castle

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and personal with Matthew. Just a little background before we get started, Matt is one of our software engineers, and has been with 11P for a year and a half. He works on software development for our commercial projects. Read his Q&A below!

1: Do you have any nicknames?
Nothing exciting, just Matt!

2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?Say hi to my dogs, then check Slack and my e-mail. And get myself some mildly coffee-like drink.

3: How would you describe your design style?
I’m not a designer, but I try to keep my code style efficient but readable. I am drawn to simplicity and form that doesn’t impede function.

4: How did you get started?
Our fellow pepper Paul Denton was a huge factor in driving me to take on being a Software development. I enjoyed the problem solving aspect of it, and I guess I thrive on the constant micro-failures of developing so it seemed like a good fit!

5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Visual Studio Code has easily become my favorite code editor. Nothing comes to mind that has been the worst for me lately.

6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I like to spend some time to get the general outline of how the code project structure will be, but for me it’s more important to get over the hurdle of actually starting to get some code written to get that momentum going. Getting started is the hardest part for me, so once I get moving, I feel better about things.

7: What do you draw inspiration from?
Developers smarter and more experienced than me. I’m always looking to improve and it’s always nice to have something to strive for.

 8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine
Sweet or Savory: Savory
Favorite Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
Guilty Pleasure: Video game collector’s editions
Hobbies: Gaming and gardening, mostly

9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
Not a design per se, but I think it would have been awesome to have written code for the Opportunity Mars rover. I love anything space exploration related, so it would be amazing to be involved in things like that.

Couple picturecat picture

snowy dog picture

indoor wedding picturedog profile

smiling couple

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

26 Jun

The User-Experience, Experience

I remember graduating from college in 2014 and while Graphic Design was a hot commodity at the time, there was another fad I remember starting to emerge in full force– User Experience Design. While I was aware that this was something that has always been around, there weren’t *many* positions open for it and the title itself, was still a little taboo. Now, thanks to major tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google, we have a mainstream idea of what UX is and the importance it brings to any company– big or small.

If you’re interested in breaking into this lucrative field, I’m here to give you some tips as to what that experience is like and what are some of the best practices to stay AHEAD of the game:

There is no “one way” process. Depending on the needs and goals of the project and your stakeholders, it’s important to know that there is no “one way” of starting a UX project. Sure, you’ll outline needs/goals and conduct User Research– but when it comes to thinking through user journeys, will it make sense to create a User Flow or a Task Flow for this project? What about both? and yes, there’s a difference. Point is, what I’ve come to learn is that there is no specific way, and this is OK. It all depends upon the stakeholder needs, budget, timeline and of course, the users needs.

It’s all about how you think. Do you know what is going to set you apart from those wireframes and mockups you spent all week churning out? Your design thinking behind them. If you’re able to identify a problem, come up with a solution and defend those solutions supported with evidence in a succinct way, you’re already more than half way there. In the beginning of a project, UX managers are actually not all that concerned with your solution just yet, but more so how you got there. If you’re able to explain your rationale and show how it falls along user goals and needs, you’re bound to be successful!

Storytelling is your secret weapon. It’s important to be able to frame a situation/task/problem to someone who isn’t as familiar with design thinking or terms– which may be 90% of your stakeholders. Putting a “human face” to the analytical data makes it easy enough for everyone to put complex design ideas and decisions into perspective. It’s also a great way to understand existing scenarios and test the potential of any others. You can even kick it up a notch and use rough sketches and illustration to Storyboard. This can give you and your colleagues a low-level visual of the idea of each frame of the customer’s journey, but supported with a high-level narrative. This is a great way to keep iterating until every task is accounted for!

User Needs vs. Stakeholder Needs. While the needs of both users and stakeholders are incredibly important, you’re eventually going to find those needs conflicting. A great way to prevent those needs from clashing in the first place is to always keep them in the loop. Stakeholder participation can help remove any obstacles early on while user research could assist stakeholders in putting the goals and needs of the product into priority/perspective. Aligning your user research with stakeholder goals is crucial in product success and overall effective communication. Happy stakeholder + Happy user = WIN/WIN!

Always be ready to learn. Now that the supply of UX design has reached the demand, there is no excuse for not keeping up with the latest news, resources, toolkits and programs relating to UX. A genuine interest in the topic, outside of work, is important to have. We now live in a time where free, downloadable UI toolkits and Podcasts with industry experts are within our fingertips. So, be ready to continuously learn! This field is always evolving and it’s really important to stay on top of it all– from design programs to emerging experts, I’ve learned that while I am able to understand a lot of what I do on the job, it’s also important to learn the theory behind it all. This is something that will always resonate no matter what stage you’re at in your career.

So… to help you get you started, here are a few of my personal favorites to get those wheels turning:

Recommended Programs / Plugins:

Sketch (Industry standard! You know Sketch, you know them all!)

InVision Studio

Adobe XD


Sketch Craft Plug-In (Easy to update designs for InVision prototypes in real time)

Recommended User Flow programs:


Miro (formally known as RealTimeBoard)

Recommended programs for Development collaboration:



InVision Inspect

Recommended YouTube channels:


Jesse Showalter

The Futur


Recommended Readings:

Nielsen Norman Group

Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams by Jeff Gothelf and Josh Seiden

Literally anything on Medium, but I do love the articles Tiffany Eaton writes (Product Designer at Google)!

Recommended Podcasts:

99% Invisible

The Hacking UI Podcast

Product Breakfast Club


Ashley Philip

Ashley Philip has worked as a Commercial Designer at Eleven Peppers Studios for over three years. She has over six years of experience in graphic design and is currently pursuing a Master’s in User Experience Design at the Maryland Institute College of Art. Ashley has a profound interest in solving user problems with a focus on the development and design of products themselves. 

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!

05 Jun

2019 Web Design Trends

There are so many elements that go into creating and maintaining your website – user experience, functionality, navigation, speed, content, and design. One element that constantly changes and has shifts in trends is design. Research proves that 75% of users make judgements about a company’s credibility based on the website’s design. Given the importance of your website’s design, it is vital for you to keep up with the latest trends. Let’s take a look at what is popular for 2019 in web design.


Associated with the past, Serifs are making a comeback in 2019 because of their adaptability and ability to communicate a brand’s personality. This trend toward a more vintage typographic style is possible because of better screen resolutions which allow serifs to read more easily. With their classic look and modern feel, serifs are best used with headings, logos, or titles and not blocks of text.

Mobile First

In the past, websites were designed with the desktop user in mind and then made to be responsive for mobile audiences. Now, people are designing websites for mobile users before developing a version that will also work for desktop users. It’s no wonder why, as mobile search has been the most popular form of search since 2015. Additionally, Google is now prioritizing mobile websites over those that are not.

Video Backgrounds

Video is still the easiest and most effective avenue to convey your messaging. Without the need for paragraphs of text, a video can illustrate your brand in a matter of seconds. Proven to increase conversions, videos immediately capture the attention of your audience and boost your SEO cred. For the medium itself, the best practices employ short, muted, and high-quality video.

Single Page Design

Single page design looks great on every browsing device and works better on mobile because users can access everything without needing navigation. Not only does it offer ease of use, single page design tends to have higher conversion rates. But it’s not time to completely disregard scroll, you can deploy a single page design with scroll features to increase engagement.

Bold Colors and Gradients

Designers are backing off “web-safe” colors and picking supersaturated and vibrant colors in 2019. Choosing bold colors can differentiate your brand and make you stand out from the crowd. Additionally, designers are using gradients to draw attention to text elements or highlight specific content. Gradients have been on trend for a while because of their ability to add punch to your page without making it look too busy.

White Space

In the past, extra white space was thought to be a waste of real estate, but now it’s an up and coming trend. Allowing for easier navigation, white space also draws attention to the focal point on your webpage. Better user experience and strong conversion rates are benefits to using this trend. White space doesn’t necessarily need to be white, it just needs to be without any graphic or pictures.

Cindy Madden

Contributor at 11P, Wordsmither, Lover of Foods Wrapped in Dough, Proud Cat Lady.

02 May

Course Review: UX Design from a Print Designer

This past February, my fellow pepper, Dave Meade, and I wrapped up a 10-week User Experience Design course through General Assembly. It was quite an experience, with many highs and lows, but we both walked away with a greater understanding of the complex UX field and a fun final project. I came into the class with a print design background, and it was exciting (and a little terrifying) to translate those skills into UX design. There are many takeaways I could share from our experience, but here are my top three:

It’s all about PEOPLE.

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that user experience design is about the user. As designers, we’ve all been enthusiastic about the next big idea only to have the client not understand it. That scenario can be even more crushing when a user can’t actually use your product efficiently. It’s the UX designer’s job to listen to and observe human behavior (especially things they struggle with), and then make design decisions that will ultimately solve people’s problems. No sweat, right? It’s a challenge, but the end result is worth it. Bottom line: you are not your user.

Try something NEW.

No matter what point you’re at in your career, you should never stop learning. The design field in general is always moving and changing, and it’s our responsibility to move and change with it. User Experience Design seems like the hot new thing, but really it’s been around for a long time…it just has a fancier name now. Humans have been trying to optimize their surroundings for maximum user comfort for centuries. Today, we are focused on doing this through technology (apps, web sites, etc.). For me, it was the technology that was intimidating. But once I learned about UX’s history and how it’s impacted our culture, I started to think about the field in a more accessible and enlightening way. I still have a lot to learn, but I am more confident in my approach and what I can bring to the table. You’re never starting at ground zero; we all have a unique perspective that can be applied to any new skill. That doesn’t sound so scary, right?


I was hesitant about taking an online class. How would I interact with my classmates in a meaningful way? While relying on technology to run the class had its’ challenges (dropped audio, trouble sharing screens, etc.), it turns out there are other benefits to online classes than being able to attend in your pajamas. We were all so used to connecting in a virtual space for the class, that the conversations continued in that space after the lectures were over. Slack message chains were developed, where classmates could post links to resources and funny memes. It felt natural to connect on other virtual platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. And even though there were people in the class from all over the country, Dave and I found there were a few classmates in Maryland (and very close by!). I’ve already met with one such classmate for coffee, and we talked for 3 hours. Expanding your personal and professional network is possible in any setting if you are open to it.


Audra Harvey
Designer at 11p, Avid Traveler, Miniature Golf Pro, Baker of Delicious Treats.



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.


















18 Apr

Pepper Talk with Debbie Williams

Welcome back to Pepper Talk, this month we’re getting up-close and person with Deb. Just a little background before we get started, Deb has been with Eleven Peppers Studio for about 3 years. She currently works on UX projects for the government sector but also has a lot of experience working as an Instructional Designer. Read her Q&A below!

1: Do you have any nicknames?
Just about everyone close to me calls me Deb…


2: What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Make coffee! I’m a morning person but no conversations until coffee. Shortly after, I’m also scrolling through text messages from my kids and then jumping online to catch up on emails or see what’s going on in the world.


 3: How would you describe your design style?
I like clean, simple designs. My writing style is conversational and I enjoy incorporating elements of story-telling into my writing.


4: How did you get started?
I graduated from Penn State (yay Nittany Lions) and began my career working as a systems engineer. After staying home with my kids when they were little, I decided to enroll in a master’s program in instructional design where I could combine my passion for teaching with my interest in technology. Since then, I’ve worked on all sorts of instructional design projects including serious learning games, simulations, web-based training courses, and instructor-led training. I’m really interested in finding out how people learn and thinking about how best to use multi-media to express an idea or explain a complicated concept.


5: What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Favorites: I like anything Adobe.

Worst: PowerPoint, SharePoint.


6: Do you have a set process when beginning a new project?
I’m a research junkie so when I start a new project, I love to research the audience. I also like to draw inspiration from other ideas and will spend time seeing what other people are up to.


7: What do you draw inspiration from?
I would have to say my kids often provide my greatest inspiration – Lauren (25), Allison (23), and Michael (21). They give me lots of ideas to draw from and they keep me young! For style and color inspiration, I look for ideas in fashion and interior design.


 8: Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine…coffee, lots of it.
Sweet or Savory: Sweet…any kind of chocolate
Favorite Movie: The Shawshank Redemption.
Guilty Pleasure: Watching old episodes of The Office
Hobbies: Hiking, reading, crafts, any activity near the beach!


9: Okay, admission time… If you could pick one design that you wish you had come up with first, what would it be?
The yellow smiley face…it’s simple and make people feel happy.

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

29 Mar

Insiders Guide: Tips for Working Remotely

Did you know that a good chunk of Eleven Peppers work remotely? Thanks to technology in our digital era, 50% of the workforce in the United States has some kind of telecommuting role, according to Global Workplace Analytics. While it has numerous advantages, there are also easy traps employees can fall into while working remotely. These, if left unchecked, can reduce productivity and lead to discouraged employees.

That’s not what we want, so we interviewed some of our most effective telecommuters and got their best kept secrets (not secret anymore) for anyone venturing into remote work. Here are some tips for working effectively and efficiently outside of the office.

Dress for Success
No need to suit up when you’re at home but it is best to change into a different outfit than you slept in. Even if you only switch into a different set of comfy clothes, it will signal to your brain that it’s time to start working. Some people have specific clothes that they only wear while they are working to help support a separation between home and work life.

Create an Office Space
To further distinguish that feeling of separation, we suggest creating an area in your house that is just for working. If you don’t have the room, rearrange your furniture in a way that establishes your work and non-work space. This could be as simple as clearing off your coffee table so that you only have work “approved” items– coffee cup (of course), laptop, favorite motivational quote, all of the sticky notes, and don’t forget, tons of light to keep you awake.

Keep Regular Hours
It’s easy to fall into the trap of being connected 24/7 while working from home. To avoid burnout, we recommend instituting regular working hours as you would if you reported to the office. Come up with a morning ritual that signifies the start of your work day and create a routine at the end of the day that will allow you to mentally unplug from work. One example commonly used among our pepper family is taking an exercise class every weekday at 5:30 pm.

Set Goals
Prioritize your work day and set realistic goals for yourself. In a remote setting, without anyone coming by your desk checking up on you, it’s vital to hold yourself accountable. Stick with your daily and weekly goals by creating a master to-do list to pull from. Items should be listed by level of importance, the highest priority goes at the top of the list. We also suggest scheduling regular check-ins with your supervisor or success partner  to help you stay on task.

Get Up, Stand Up
Just because you’re working at home doesn’t mean you should skip taking a break. Studies have shown that it is beneficial for employees to take short breaks after accomplishing a task or goal. So get up and stretch, do something to reward yourself, make some coffee, take your dog for a short walk, or play your favorite song and air guitar your way into your next to-do item.

Stay Connected
Don’t forget the human element. When you can, step away from your laptop and attend a workshop or conference. If your company has in-person meetings or events, make an effort to attend in order to stay connected to the company and your fellow employees. On a day-to-day level, try working in a coffee shop to break up your technology-only day with some human interaction, even if it is just the barista asking if you want another venti soy latte– joking, we’re espresso people.

14 Mar

Celebrating 5 Years: Theresa Santelli

Today we are celebrating another five year work anniversary, Theresa Santelli, Director of Creative Services. Theresa has been instrumental in leading one of our award winning private-sector teams and has rightfully earned the respect of her teammates, and of course, her customers. She recently transitioned into her new Director role to support the strategy and operations of ALL of our creative services. Check out this graphic for more info about Theresa, and read our special interview:



1: What do you like most about working at 11P? The lack of BS… and the trust. The trust I feel is put in me and the trust I have in my bosses and co-workers alike.


2: What is a favorite 11P memory (in words or in sketch)? The second 11p Holiday Party. It was the point in my mind when symbolically it all came together. To look around and see how far we had come since the year before when we all fit at one table (and I was still waiting for a start date J). Kristen had such a look of gratitude on her face when she looked around the room… it was like …Look what we did!! Amazing!


3: What is your favorite Christmas present ever received from 11P? Disney World! It was the best! I love Disney World! I even reached a new level of Disney nerdom on that trip when a few of us (Albert and his now wife and Popka and her family were there with me) got on a bus before the sun even rose to catch an early magic hour at Animal Kingdom to get in line for the new Avatar Flight of Passage ride. Yup! New level! This girl, not a morning person. Good thing we did though. Later that day the line was like 4 hours long.


4: What is your favorite 11P event? I don’t have one because I can’t choose. We are always trying new things, which I LOVE trying new things and many times just a simple happy hour turns out to be so much fun too.


5: If you were a pepper, what type of pepper would you be and why? Thai Chili because it’s with an “H”


6: Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice: There are so many! I’ve been lucky enough to work directly with several peppers all of which have been amazing people as well as co-workers. To name one though I have to say one I haven’t worked with, Dave. He’s my partner in crime (disclaimer: not real crimes). He listens to all my things (or at least acts like he’s listening 😉 ), tells me things will be okay when I’m upset, and is happy when I’m happy.


7: Name a Pepper whose work or work ethic inspires you: Debbie. It’s inspiring how dedicated she is to how a project will turn out.


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 Theresa a little bit better…

1: Where is the furthest you’ve traveled from home?
Cusco, Peru (that took some serious googling, with London, England coming in a close second with only a 13 mile difference between the two).


2: Where do you want to travel next?
We have a trip to Zion National Park planned for next month. I love going to national parks, and love traveling in general.


3: How many trails have you hiked (estimate)?
How many hikes and how many trails is different. I’ve hiked the same trails several times and couldn’t possibly come up with a number of hikes (in the hundreds). But the number of trails not hikes, hmmm, probably about 75 spanning various states, countries, and continents.


4: What is your favorite hike so far?
Inca Trail (Peru), but other top tier are Iceberg Lake (Glacier/Montana) and Half Dome (Yosemite/California).


5: If you could be ANY superhero/have their powers, who would it be?
So, I feel like saying Wonder Woman is cheating because who doesn’t want to be a demigod raised by Amazons, so Logan/Wolverine. If I had super healing I could get really good at so much stuff!! No injuries, no recovery time, no illness!! I would have so many more black belts!


6: If you had to pick one wine to drink the rest of your life, what would it be?
Whoa, this question hurts my heart a little, but pinot noir. I miss the others already and this isn’t even real.


7: What is your favorite type of yoga practice?
Hatha is my favorite and the one I couldn’t live without but I like it all.


8: If you were a type of coffee, what would it be?


9: Any secret talents or hobbies?