When I was in high school, I fancied myself a riot grrrl (which to me meant patches on my backpack ✔️ nonconformist honor roll student (ask me about my goth phase) ✔️ high level of skill with Manic Panic hair dye ✔️). I was also always into art, so by the time my teenage years hit, the two things combined until I inadvertently discovered “computer graphics” and began writing and designing my own zine. I did this the only way I knew how: an Apple computer and the family inkjet for compiling and printing my deep thoughts, MS paint for bitmap creations, pen for detailed illustrations, scissors and glue stick for creating layouts, and the photocopier in the faculty lounge at my mom’s school for publication.
Even though I was designing for a while, it still took me many more years to realize that graphic design was the thing I wanted to do—that it had a name and was a real profession. It was the late 90s and we were still using Ask Jeeves, so I just assumed I might have to figure out how to make a living as a fine artist doing graphite drawings of still lifes because I didn’t know any better. Eventually, after earning three degrees in communication and design, I ended up legitimately in the field of design. (Well, if you can call creating credit card direct mailers design? We all need to start somewhere, but I never thought I would start there. Alas, it was 2009 and I took what I could get.)
These days I work as a senior designer at Untuck in the suburbs of Philly. I work primarily with those in the nonprofit and higher education sectors, designing identities, delving into enormous editorial projects, and rethinking digital experiences. I also love to write and try to incorporate it into my work whenever I can, whether that’s writing for a self-promo, for social media, or when cheese ipsum just won’t do as placeholder text. One time I even gave a talk about writing to the youths of one of my alma maters. It was much less painful than you might think! I’m a detail-oriented person and a stickler for fine typography. My heart goes aflutter when I see someone properly using en and em dashes. On the other hand, a small part of me withers and dies every time I see someone has chosen to use text speak despite the need for it going the way of the dodo back in ’07. I will now step down from my soapbox.
My work has won numerous AIGA Philadelphia Design Awards; it has also been published in CMYK and Design School Confidential by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico. If my mom had any idea what those things meant, I’m sure she would be very proud.