Me Oh My Milkshakes

There comes a time in every creator's time where you just fall in love with a project. It's probably a redemptive moment to make up for all the times you beat yourself up over other projects. Regardless, designing for Me Oh My Milkshakes gave me a breath of fresh air and much needed inspiration. 

Building a brand identity goes deeper than a cool logo. It makes you reach into the heart of what makes your product or service unique, and bring it to life in a visual way. I teamed up with my incredibly talented photographer friend Kelley Mann to direct a photoshoot that embodied the personalities of each logo concept. 

MeOhMy_Showcase IG-02.jpg

MeOhMy_Showcase IG-01.jpg

MeOhMy_Showcase IG-03.jpg

And don't let What the Health tell you otherwise...dairy is delicious.

Snapchat Filter Round Up

While I spend most of my design time on logos and brand identity work, Snapchat filters are some of the most fun projects I get to work on! Recently, a lot of clients have been asking for cartoon/"bitmoji" versions of themselves. It takes a good bit of Facebook photo stalking and time, but the final product is always hilariously accurate! 

Interested in a custom Snapchat filter? Fill out my order form here

#VSYACHT 2017

Life update: I moved to New York City. I was going stir-crazy in Minneapolis, anxious to live on the same coast as my family and friends. So here I am, same job, different city.

Now that I'm a New Yorker and all, I landed a project designing the flier and visual assets for THE party of the summer: The VS Yacht Party: NYC vs Everybody. This was their 4th annual event, hosted by New York's top social influencers and DJs. 

NYCvsEverybody Flier_LianaTeresa

The yacht party is broken out by different themes on each level. The client wanted to highlight each level of the yacht, while also listing all 38 host names, 18 sponsors and party information... *sweats*. 

Every piece of the flier is custom-- I hand lettered and "doodled" all names and imagery. In addition to the flier, I also designed the cocktail menu and event signage which were displayed throughout the yacht party.

40oz BOUNCE x HELPER

It was 12:45 a.m. and I was in the venue's back office trying to wrestle my mildly claustrophobic boyfriend into a mascot costume. 

I had spent almost a year pitching this idea: our surprisingly relevant Helper brand could represent the #theculture by throwing a bonafide party. No covert marketing agenda. Just good music. Dancing. And warm cheeseburger macaroni (because bias aside, I believe in my heart of hearts that Helper is the dankest late night food). 

So when the only thing standing between me and the Helper glove swag surfing with 300 millennials was a lil' oxygen, I had to make power moves.

Sorry, Zae. But you killed it!

Over 3,000 people RSVP'd to a birthday party hosted by Hamburger Helper on a Wednesday night. It was unexpected and people loved it. I wrote a whole case study about it here, but the results didn't matter to me as much as the relationships I made along the way.

The day before the party, I was elbow-to-elbow in the backseat of an Uber with four teammates I had just met. They were going back and forth about their plans for the weekend, and what gigs they had to work. Me being me, I stopped to ask what felt like a fundamental question: "Ok so...is this your main job? Like what do you do?"

Their responses had my mind racing like Bradley Cooper on that limitless pill. They produced massive events, networked with brand sponsors, and even worked a night shift to keep the bills paid. Passionate. Driven. Plotting for the future. A group of 20-somethings, on their way to execute a six-figure corporate marketing initiative. 

The tide is turning. Millennials are the nation's largest living generation and 80% of them express a desire for brands to entertain. We're in an era where a 12-year-old YouTuber has more marketing influence than a conference room of MBA's. There's a lot of power in the creative intuition of our generation. 

"Listen to the kids, bro!" Kanye West said.

There will always be "adults" to answer to and results to prove. But if you're passionate about what you do, then you're unstoppable. If you have a vision, chase after it. Pick up a night shift. Volunteer your significant other to dress up in a mascot costume. Re-write your pitch deck 14 times just to sell your big idea. 

Do whatever it takes. You are the limitless pill. And you don't need to wait on a traditional career path to take you where you want to be.

My biggest role models are my entrepreneurial peers. Niles Stewart, a 19-year-old YouTuber I met through the Helper mixtape who now writes for the award-winning FX show Atlanta. Dev Cobbs, who conceived the idea of the 40oz Bounce tour when he was just 22. Brynn Casey, who harnesses the power of Instagram to very successfully sell her ocean paintings. 

Never stop grinding. Get home from your 9-5 and clock in to your side hustle from 5-9. Push your boundaries and act boldly. Our generation is out here setting trends, making chasing dreams a lifestyle. So go for it. 

BRAND IDENTITY: TATI CHIN

My blog is no stranger to the works of Tatiana Sheree Chin. She's my best friend, podcast co-host (Dos Cocos reboot coming soon), and entrepreneurial soul sister. So when sis needs a logo for her thriving food blog, you know I'm delivering in a big way. 

FUNCTIONALITY: Bold, clear, adaptable for different platforms. It's important to have a logo that can be translated across social media graphics, business cards, websites and still look like a cohesive brand.

MEANING: I drew over 30 unique icons to represent the ingredients that characterize her recipes. She's a mixed chick influenced by her Southern and Chinese-Jamaican roots (peep the Jamaican flag in the bottom right!). I wanted this core aspect of her personal brand to shine through the logo.

Follow Tati on Instagram, or snag a recipe from her website tatichin.com

BRAND IDENTITY: BE POSITIVE

From client:

#InTheMeantime: B+ (Be Positive) will be an open discussion to share my story of overcoming the first year after being diagnosed with HIV. I would like to also encourage others who may have recently contracted the virus to stay positive about their new lives. Additionally, I want to spread awareness to our community about getting tested and reducing the spread of HIV/STI.

WIP: ILLUSTRATION AND TYPE

Illustration and typography concepts for an upcoming brand identity project. I always start my designs in black and white to stay unbiased to pretty color palettes (and stand the test of single-color print scenarios). However, I'm excited to wrap up phase one, and begin splashing these designs with a soft pastels and summer hues. 

Snapchat Filter: 2017 Carolina Cup

If you're from South, you know that the Carolina Cup is iconic. This derby race signals the beginning of spring in South Carolina. Ladies are dolled up in sun hats and the gents in bow ties. Some might even call it the "Southern Coachella".

College students and young professionals make up the most spirited majority of the race attendees. With this in mind, The Carolina Cup commissioned two Snapchat filters to promote race day.

a weekend on the couch

It wasn't planned. 

Going into my Friday afternoon, I had no idea that I'd be sucked into two days of unadulterated couch lock. But as plans began to fall through, and the temperature plummeted to a bonus round of winter, I felt my desire for adventure wane. 

For those less privileged with the gift of time this weekend, here are four noteworthy highlights from my media and culture binge:

1. Walmart sponsored the Oscars: Walmart made its advertising debut at the Academy Awards this year with a TV spot concept that pushed the limits of product placement. Many films are based on a book or true story, but what about a receipt? Walmart challenged 3 film makers (including Oscar-presenter Seth Rogen) to produce three 60-second short films based on a store receipt with bananas, paper towels, batteries, scooter, wrapping paper and a video baby monitor. Watch here.

2. Amazon and ESPN won an Oscar: You heard about Matt Damon's Manchester by the Sea, but did you know it was produced by Amazon Studios? Or that ESPN's OJ: Made in America documentary was the first TV series to win an Oscar? Streaming services pose a major threat to the traditional movie industry with their slim production budgets and foothold on the millennial audience. Netflix and Amazon are in an arms race to defy the status quo by racking in Emmy's, Sundance Awards and now an Oscar.  Read more here.

3. Dolce and Gabbana Goes Millennial at Milan Fashion Week: Social media influencers were cast as the runway models in Dolce and Gabanna's Milan Fashion Week show. YouTubers, fashion vloggers and celebrity offspring brought their own millions of followers along for the journey. This is not the first fashion house to work with the young "it" crowd, but DG's millennial takeover represents a shift to democratize fashion and usher in a fresh, young audience. Read more here.

4. The Toy Maker on ABC: With the smashing success of Shark Tank, ABC couldn't resist a youthful spin-off hosted by Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet. The network partnered with Mattel Creations to invite amateur inventors to pitch their toy inventions to a panel of kid judges. The winner will have their toy brought to market by Mattel, including marketing and manufacturing support. The show premieres April 7 on ABC. Read more here.

These highlights add dimension to a growing trend across industries: democracy. For decades, creative direction for any major brand has been held in an (expensive) unattainable ivory tower. We're now seeing companies source content from untraditional, fresh creatives who resonate with the digital generation. Power to the people! 

My feature in MPLS St. Paul Weddings

So stinkin' grateful to be featured in the MPLS St. Paul Weddings SS17! It's an honor to design Snapchat filters for the bride's big day. Every detail of a wedding has been lovingly planned, and I take that into careful consideration when designing my filters. I love getting to know the bride through the consultation process and understanding her vision for her most important season.

Read the full article here

Mungo Wedding Snapchat Filters

Mrs. Mungo is unapologetically the queen of Snapchat. Gaby came to me to design custom Snapchat filters to commemorate every milestone of her wedding season. Drawing inspiration from the look and feel of her invitations and decor, I designed 15 Snapchat filters for all of her wedding events, including:

  • Bridal shower
  • Bachelorette party
  • Spa day 
  • Bridal brunch
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Wedding day
  • Cocktail Hour
  • Reception
  • After party

The filters were a HIT! Gaby's family and friends used the filters over 350 times, which totaled to 32,000 views on Snapchat. 

Her favorite? The bridal shower "Partying with Mrs. Mungo" filter. She loved the detail-- the charicature matched her bridal shower outfit down to the engagement ring! 

My favorite? Gaby's after-party was NYC nightclub themed, so I cleverly recreated the 1 OAK Nightclub logo with her wedding date and name. 

PHOTO STYLING: HAMBURGER HELPER

At General Mills, we have the luxury of a full kitchen studio and staff of recipe developers. I partnered with the Kitchens to create seasonally relevant recipes for Hamburger Helper to promote on our Facebook page. Keeping in mind that our consumer is a working mom, we developed recipes that took under 30 minutes to prepare, and involved just a few pantry-staple ingredients.

On set of the photoshoots, I styled food and props alongside a photographer and chef. 

Why Cuban-Americans are Celebrating Now that Fidel Castro is Dead

In the middle of the night, I received news that Fidel Castro, Cuban dictator for nearly five decades, finally died. I screamed. 

With joy.

I woke my mom and siblings out of bed and we rushed over to a Cuban landmark in Miami where thousands of people had already flooded the streets in pure celebration. Black, white, young and old, Cuban-Americans were banging pots and pans, waving Cuban flags and crying tears of happiness upon hearing about the death of an evil man who wrecked the lives of so many of our families. 

There was no question in our minds that Castro's death was more of a reason to party than a Dolphins Superbowl win and New Years Eve combined. Until I checked Twitter...

FullSizeRender 48.jpg
FullSizeRender 54.jpg
FullSizeRender 49.jpg

I couldn't wrap my mind around the ignorant commentaries that spit in the face of every struggle my family overcame to make it to this day. Condoning Fidel Castro feels as offensive as telling a black person, "But slavery was great for the economy!" However, I knew that lack of education on the Cuban situation was the root of the problem. So here are a few reasons why you should let Cuban-Americans have their moment:

1. FIDEL CASTRO WAS A HOMEWRECKER

Communism looks awesome on paper. When Castro and his guerrilla warmongers took over in 1959, they promised equality and political liberty. To do so, he would "redistribute the wealth." Reality: he robbed citizens of their personal belongings and made it government property. This meant that there would be no more private property or business of any kind. From now on, Cubans would be 100% dependent on the government to provide them with food, employment, housing and education. 

Our family, like many others, would not stand for this. They fled for the U.S., in hopes of shortly returning home to Cuba when Castro was overthrown. (My grandmother remembers being devastated to leave behind her high-school sweetheart when her parents moved her to Florida "for the summer") Her father, lovingly known as Papi, returned to Cuba to continue running his lucrative family business. Little did he know that by the time he got back, everything had been seized by the government. 

Imagine: Papi, a started-from-the-bottom guy who spent a lifetime building up enough wealth to send his 9 children to private schools and summer camps...Now, stranded in a one-bedroom shack in Florida, working at the University of Florida cafeteria for $1/hour. Unfortunately, an even more dismal future was ahead for the family and friends left behind in Cuba.

2. FIDEL CASTRO WAS A MURDERER

Like my family, many Cuban-Americans have loved ones who were killed or imprisoned simply for disagreeing with Fidel Castro.  For example, when my uncle attempted to escape from Cuba, he was thrown into a work camp where he was beaten with batons all day long; my uncle's leg had been broken so many times it never actually healed. At night, campers were banished to solitary confinement in small, dark dungeons, tormented by the sound of loud banging noises on repeat. The years that followed meant enduring murder, poverty, starvation and the complete demise of a beautiful, progressive island.

Here's a rough body count: 

  • 30,000 executed by firing squad
  • 2,000 extra-judicial assassinations
  • 5,000 deaths in prison due to beating by guards and denial of medical care
  • 60,000 deaths while trying to escape Cuba by sea. 
  • 78,000 innocents may have died trying to flee the dictatorship.
  • 5,300 are known to have lost their lives fighting communism in the Escambray Mountains (mostly peasant farmers and their children) and at the Bay of Pigs.
  • 14,000 Cubans killed in Fidel's revolutionary adventures abroad, most notably his dispatch of 50,000 soldiers to Angola in the 1980s to help the Soviet-backed regime fight off the Unita insurgency.

3. RACE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT

America has a polarizing race issue, which was reflected in some of the responses to Castro's death on Friday night.  "I see a lot of white Miami Cubans celebrating Castro's death...I want the opinion of a black Cuban!" Please realize that not everything has to do with race, particularly global affairs...but if you want to go there... 

On paper, Castro abolished legalized discrimination. He met with Malcom X in the U.S. to discuss race (cue Kaepernick's controversial t-shirt). One author comments, "For many of us in Black America, Castro represented the audacity that we have desired and sought in the face of imperial and racial arrogance." However, when your people are starving and dead on the street, what has truly been accomplished? Black, white, gay, straight...the Castro regime tortured everyone the same. Talk about equality! 

And yes, a majority of Cuban exiles are "white". This makes sense given that "whites" likely had more resources to flee the country. Many underprivileged Afro-Cubans were sadly left behind to suffer at the hands of Castro. However, I urge you to read this thread for the opinion of a black Cuban for more insight. 

4. ...NOR DO PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Many attempted to discredit the celebratory Cuban-Americans because they voted for Trump, which labels them as a racist burden to progressive society. Though I did not personally vote for Trump, I urge you to consider the reasons why many Cuban-Americans did:

  • Trump represents capitalism. Obama represents socialism = the ideology that wrecked Cuba. People voted for Trump to not support Obama politics. For more perspective, here's Trump vs. Obama's reaction to Castro's death:
    • Trump“Fidel Castro’s legacy is one of firing squads, theft, unimaginable suffering, poverty and the denial of fundamental human rights. While Cuba remains a totalitarian island, it is my hope that today marks a move away from the horrors endured for too long, and toward a future in which the wonderful Cuban people finally live in the freedom they so richly deserve.”
    • Obama: "History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and world around him...Today, we offer condolences to Fidel Castro's family, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Cuban people. In the days ahead, they will recall the past and also look to the future."
  • Many Cuban-Americans feel that Obama's move to lift the embargo made us look gullible and weak; Trump promised to renegotiate the deal to bring justice to Cuban-Americans. 
  • A common misconception is that Latinos wouldn't vote for Trump because of his commentaries about illegal Mexican immigrants. Though appalled by his ignorant remarks, many Cuban-Americans were able to overlook his commentaries because that is not their personal situation; all Latinos are not the same. Cubans are not "illegal immigrants"-- they are political refugees. 

As a proud Miami Cuban-American, I ask for a moment of silence from the critics. The death of Fidel Castro symbolizes freedom and justice. In reality, Raul Castro (Fidel's brother) is currently in power and Cuban politics will remain the same for many more years. However, Fidel's death represents the hope for a brighter future in Cuba. Many of our family members died waiting for this day. Let us salsa dance in the streets, bongo-drumming to the rhythms of freedom, for all the lives lost at the hands of an evil tyrant. 

For more information on the subject, visit these resources: