Miguel on "exploring the totality of yourself"

I watched this Breakfast Club interview and felt so energized by how much his story resonates with mine. The story of a mixed Latino kid falling deeper in love with his heritage. 

Latin culture is a unicorn. It's full of love, passion, family unity, community, flavor...it's every positive virtue of mankind manifested in one culture (.....alright, maybe I'm biased). Miguel spoke about how other cultures are now learning from us. "Other cultures look at how people of [Hispanic culture] were raised with family as the unity...let's mimic that."

If you were raised in a Hispanic household, sometimes it takes time to recognize that your upbringing was more special than you realized. In my adulthood, and with the help of social media, I've put together pieces and memories of my life thus far and realized how I share a common thread with so many others. What a gift to be a part of this culture. 

PARTY PATCH

I LOVED this project!! A client reached out with the idea to design a patch to sew onto matching jackets for her bridal party. The bachelorette party would be in New Orleans and she wanted the design to reflect the city's vibrancy.

 In the details: Mardi Gras mask, wedding date in roman numerals, the letter "K" for Katie, and her engagement ring.

In the details: Mardi Gras mask, wedding date in roman numerals, the letter "K" for Katie, and her engagement ring.

BLACK HISTORY MONTH @ GENERAL MILLS

This is my third year designing General Mills' Black History Month branding and signage. General Mills hosts a series of events throughout the month to celebrate black history and give back to the Minneapolis community.  The theme of the programming this year is "Freedom Lies in Being Bold". Keeping this in mind, the logo I designed was very raw and bold; the black handwriting stands out in a simple and confident way. 

Final logo

Runner-up logo options

Runner-up logo options

 Logo printed on banner at General Mills HQ

Logo printed on banner at General Mills HQ

2017 RECAP

How easy is it to focus on everything you're NOT doing and forget about everything you ARE doing? We are our toughest critics.

2017 was a big year for my personal life-- I left Minneapolis, moved to NYC with my boyfriend, adventured to Vietnam, traveled to 5 weddings...even designed my own first tattoo. It was all a blast. But as a result, I had a lot more down time from my business than I did the year before. Or at least that's how I felt. I found myself with reverse FOMO-- having too much fun in real life, but fearing that I wasn't working hard enough at my business. 

But in reality, 2017 was still a really incredible year for my business. This morning, I started listing out all of my highlights from the year and surprised myself! I worked with over 75 clients to produce logos, Snapchat filters and websites. My designs were published in TWO magazines! At General Mills, I had one campaign and two viral tweets earn national media coverage. WHAT! 

When we write our 2018 resolutions, it's usually a process of "What did I slack on in 2017 that I can improve on in 2018?" We point out all of the things we hate about ourselves or our actions, then hope to fix them in the new year. Go to the gym more (because I was a fatass this year). Finally start my own side hustle (because I was lazy again this year). 

But I challenge you to change the way you reflect on 2017. Start with a positive mindset by focusing on the GREAT things you did this year. Write them all down, from January to December. You'll be surprised by how much you accomplished. Then think about how you can build on it next year. Go to the gym more (because I already lost 10 lbs this year). Finally start my own side hustle (because I came up with an amazing concept this year). Secure 100 clients (because I locked in 75 this year). 

Be proud of yourself, and let it motivate you to be better in 2018. Here are some of the moments I'm most proud of in 2017. Happy New Year! 


SNAPCHAT FILTERS: I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to draw caricature versions of my clients for Snapchat filters. As filters became more common, clients were looking for highly customized designs. I produced 34 filters this year, which earned over 14 MILLION views. 

LOGOS: I developed brand identities for 20 small businesses this year, and in doing so, I found my own design identity. I leaned into using my own drawings and handwriting in designs. I'm proud that all of my designs now have my own signature touch to them.

40oz BOUNCE x HELPERI developed the concept for an experiential event to reach Hamburger Helper's millennial target audience. Partnering with one of the hottest influencers in New York, we turned a branded marketing event into a sold-out party with 600+ attendees, millions of social media impressions and national media recognition. 'Twas very lit. 

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!