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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 Nov

Considerations when designing a Logo

At its most basic level, a logo is a mix of words and symbols that represent your company. A logo is part of what helps your company stand out from its competition. It is part of your brand. A logo has the power to signify what your company does, your company’s values and even who your target audience is. Many aspects need to be considered when designing – or redesigning – a logo and we’ve outlined a few of them below.

Simplicity

A logo should be simple and clean to make it recognizable, versatile and timeless. A complex logo requires the viewer to decipher it. The complexity makes it more likely to be forgotten and less likely to be recognized the next time the viewer sees it. That doesn’t mean your logo has to be boring. Your logo should have interesting elements without being overly detailed which will make it easy to read and/or understand. When designing a logo, less is more.

Color

Color can convey meaning, emotion and even company values. For example, if your company works in the environmental realm or is known for being environmentally conscious, including green in your logo can help convey that. Companies that work internationally should keep cultural implications of colors in mind. While a color may convey positive emotions in Western culture, it may convey negative emotions in another.

If your company works in the Federal sector, you should think about taking 508 compliance into consideration when choosing colors for your logo. 508 compliance refers to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and was added in 1998. It requires Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. One way to make your logo 508 compliant is to ensure adequate color contrast. There are numerous websites that can be used to check color contrast, but this can also be done by converting the logo to grayscale to see if the color values are different enough to be seen clearly.

Typography

Typography can also be used to convey meaning and values. Different font types give different impressions. For example, serif fonts are considered to be more traditional or classic while sans serif fonts are considered more modern and straightforward. A company wishing to be seen as more established and grand should consider using a serif font. A sans serif font would be a good choice for a company wishing to show that they are forward-thinking. Using a mix of fonts – to include script, modern or decorative fonts – can help to balance the message your logo sends and create visual interest.

Adaptability

Your logo will be used anywhere and everywhere within your company. Signage, letterhead, websites, email signatures, coffee mugs, etc. could all bear your logo. With that in mind, it is imperative to make sure your logo will scale well no matter what medium it is being viewed on. A more recent trend, logos optimized for social media and mobile sites, is likely to only grow in the coming years. If your current logo doesn’t scale well for these purposes, there are a couple of ways to handle a logo optimized for view on a mobile device or social media site. The optimized logo could become the new logo for your company and be used across all forms of media. The logo could also be a variation of your original logo and used only for your social media and mobile sites. Either way, properly scaling your logo for this use will help to keep your brand current.

While there will be many decisions to make while designing your logo, keeping these elements in mind will set you well on the path to a timeless, recognizable logo that enhances your brand.

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!

01 Jun

From Finalists to Winners!

On Thursday, May 17th, Eleven Peppers Studios was awarded Third Place in the Small Business category for Baltimore Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” competition. We are honored to be recognized among so many other talented companies in the city of Baltimore. Thank you to everyone that voted and had great things to say about Eleven Peppers Studios. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of you!

As part of the Best Places to Work awards process, the Baltimore Business Journal posed the following question to several of our employees:

If you were pitching your company to a potential hire, what is one fun fact you would share?

“I would inform our potential hire that not only does Eleven Peppers focus on creating outstanding work, but they also recognize the importance of the well-being of their employees. As designers, it’s very easy for us to get burnt out creatively. Eleven Peppers is an agency that recognizes this and encourages maintaining a steady work-life balance. This is a company that never makes you feel like “just a number” and it is full of supportive people that constantly look out for one another. As a result of this, we create some of our best work and form great relationships with happy clients.” – Ashley Philip, Designer

“Joining Eleven Peppers is like becoming part of a welcoming and caring family. It’s the kind of company where always people look out for one another and are willing to lend a helping hand. Our passion for what we do comes through both inside and outside of the workplace. From family picnics to artistic endeavors to sporting events, there’s always something fun going on. I’m so proud to be part of such a creative and talented group of people!” – Debbie Williams, Senior User Experience Architect

“I usually get asked where our company name came from or what it means. The short answer I give is, “Have you ever had dinner at a restaurant and the food was so delicious that you wanted to go back and get the exact same meal?” (I have…many times!) Design is very similar. Once something is designed well, you want more! Then I usually tell them how everything in our company is ‘pepper-related’. When a new hire starts, we usually ask them, “What kind of pepper are you?” Our company newsletter is called the “Spice of Life” and when we get together for happy hours, we tend to call them ‘pepper’ hours.” — Ryan Kelly, Senior User Experience Designer

“We are more than just a company, but a lot like an extended family. We hang out a lot outside of work, for fun Pepper coordinated events like bowling, O’s games, Paint Night, Picnic’s, and even a trip to Disney World. We also tend to hang out just for fun. Whether it be cookouts at each others houses, going to movies or musicals, trips to breweries, or even homebrewing together.” — David Meade, Senior User Experience Designer

First place… we’re coming for you next year!

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!

24 Mar

Out and About: MICA’s Grassroots DesignFest

Recently, one of our Art Directors, Melissa London, participated in MICA’s first ever DesignFest after hearing how rewarding these “design-offs” could be from advertising colleagues. The event was sponsored by the T. Rowe Price Foundation and organized by MICA’s Social Design Department.

The event gave design students, thinkers, and professionals the opportunity to contribute to the social change movement in Baltimore while collaborating face-to-face with other designers and nonprofits. There were a wide array of nonprofits that needed design help such as updating logos, designing infographics, assisting with brand strategy and refreshing web pages.

Melissa was paired with the Waterfront Partnership, specifically the Healthy Harbor Initiative which works with the community and downtown businesses to remove pollutants from the harbor with the (ambitious) goal of making it swimmable by 2020. Their focus for the day was improving the approach and design of their annual water quality “report card”. The intent of participating in the DesignFest was not to walk away with finished vector art but to collaborate to develop a strategy/plan and produce mockups for new creative directions.

Assembled for the challenge were one MICA design student, one MICA graduate student from the Master of Business/Master of Arts program, and one design professional (Melissa – no pressure!). After the two representatives from Waterfront Partnership introduced the objective, they were left alone to brainstorm and collaborate on design directions they could take. The team accomplished a lot in the limited schedule (approximately 4.5 hours of design time). They produced a list of alternative report names, infographic concepts, outreach ideas to educate children, poster concepts, a set of icons and layout mockups for the report.

Reflecting on the event, Melissa stated, “It was truly exciting to watch our initial awkward meet-and-greet grow to a casual, open forum for ideas and creativity. I would recommend this event to all my fellow Peppers and design/social-minded friends. Not only did we get an opportunity to shake up our design routine, but we got to give back to our community and become more aware of our pollution footprint.”

Some Waterfront Partnership highlights and ways to get involved:

  • This trash wheel is awesome and apparently an International sensation!
  • Stormwater management is crucial, landscape with plants and trees to help prevent sewage overflow.
  • Who doesn’t love oysters?!? Help restore our oyster population by oyster gardening, volunteer opportunities happen on the third Saturday of the month (September through June).
  • “There is no such thing as a flushable wipe”
  • How much fun does this event look? Baltimore Floatilla
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!