Thrilled to share our double win in the 2017 Graphic Design USA American Graphic Design Awards competition for the design work we did for Vrai Vodka Cocktails and Little Belgians speculoos cookies. Check out the entries on GDUSA. Congratulations to our clients, team, and print vendors that helped these branding and packaging design visions come to life and a big thank you to Graphic Design USA Magazine.
December 15, 2017 | BY Nicole LaFave
We're thrilled to share some industry news for our Chicago based beverage and spirits client, Vrai vodka cocktails. In addition to being featured with Ardagh in Times Square taking on the Big Apple, check out this article about the product's offical launch on Cocktail Enthusiast. Expect to hear a lot more about this brand soon and in the meantime head over to drinkvrai.com/where-to-buy to keep an eye on where to buy and drink Vrai near you. Vrai is the first ready to drink organic vodka drink in a can. It's pronounced VRAY (long A) and means true in French. The brand's mission is to always remain transparent, honest, and truthful about what goes into their organic vodka drinks and future products.
July 05, 2017 | BY Nicole LaFave
We had the opportunity to sit down with Paul and Janee, owner's of the Kensington, Maryland streets' newest food truck, El Pollo Submarine. We discussed their food truck design, the unexpected bumps along the way, and what tips they have for food truck success.
Our main item is a savory chicken sub, or submarine. Chicken in Spanish translates to “Pollo”. As fans of the Beatles, “El Pollo Submarine” ala “The Yellow Submarine” instantly came to mind.
We drew our initial inspiration from the colorful and vibrant native artwork of El Salvador. Since the name of our truck is a play on “The Yellow Submarine,” we also wanted to incorporate the 60’s style artwork of the album. We then set Nicole upon the difficult task of tastefully mixing these two concepts together, which she pulled off flawlessly!
Salvadoran comfort food. Mainly: Pupusas, Chicken Sub, Enchiladas (Salvadoran Tostadas).
Janee had always daydreamed about owning a food truck, but never considered it a realistic possibility. Paul had always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but couldn’t come up with the right idea for his first business. After dating for a couple years, we decided that together we could make our dreams a reality.
The most important feature to a food truck website is a calendar that displays a weekly location schedule. Next to that, contact information is essential to book catering gigs. And while we almost forgot to mention the menu, we realize that as a food truck you’ll rely on being seen or spotted. The menu will be on the truck, but you have to attract people to your truck first before they are compelled to look you up online. Having the menu on the website is only useful once people are interested or hungry enough to know who you are, and where you’ll be next.
Aside from taking the leap and leaving the prospect of a “stable career,” the hardest thing we’ve had to deal with to date was getting our truck in good running condition. While you should trust your vendor to deliver a fully functioning truck, you should never doubt that mistakes can be made, and accidents can happen. Ours broke down after 10 minutes of driving it for the first time, and we were stuck trying to get a tow truck during rush hour traffic. Not all tow trucks can tow other trucks, and while it seems obvious to us now, we learned it the hard way. We called several tow companies, all of which denied our request. It took us three hours of waiting under the summer sun on the shoulder to finally find a company capable of helping us.
Cooking delicious food is just a small fraction of what you’ll do as a food truck owner. Starting and running a food truck business is a larger project than we anticipated, and you must be prepared to manage numerous tasks. Communication is key! Without effective communication you run the risk of a project steering off course. Unless you’re the type who likes to learn the hard way, our business tip to help you succeed would be to consider taking a few courses in project management before undertaking a food truck business.
Remember this: there is no food truck without a truck. The truck itself is the business’ biggest asset. Without a properly running truck, you have NO means of conducting business. Our truck was in bad shape when we first received it. Sometimes things go wrong, so our words of wisdom are: “expect the best, but plan for the worst.” If you plan for the worst, you’ll be one step ahead when things inevitably don’t go as planned. The saying “time is money” cannot be more true in the food truck business. Time not spent networking, catering or vending are missed opportunities and money not being made. How well you anticipate and bounce back from major and even minor setbacks will determine your success in this business.
Our favorite item is found in the name of our truck, the chicken “pollo” sub! Although any one of our dishes can be a favorite depending on what mood we’re in.
The best part of working with Design Womb was seeing our concept come to life. There’s something quite special about trusting someone to personify your food truck in such a way that it evokes an identity beyond your own. We no longer view our food truck as merely a vehicle that can cook and sell food. A food truck with a brand is more than that. Thanks to Design Womb, our food truck is a key team player who markets and advertises for us in a visual way. Not only is it a mobile kitchen, it’s a mobile billboard…our mascot.
August 16, 2016 | BY Design Womb
Whose gluten free and rapidly stealing the spotlight? Cider, that’s who. These brands are the up and coming players in spirits, and they’re no exception when it comes to craft cider packaging design. Mint, jalapeno, basil, elderberry, cherry; these are just some of the flavors incorporated in new craft ciders that provide plenty of space for play both in packaging design and on your taste buds.
Cider packaging design has historically focused on apples, orchards, trees, or some combination thereof, which is a huge contributor to the perception of all ciders being extremely sweet. Although some brands still pay homage to the drink’s main ingredient and its roots, the incorporation of new, eccentric ingredients and flavors have opened up a new world of creative packaging design. For example, Seattle Cider Company, New Belgium, and Shacksbury all have their own takes on dry, semi-dry, and semi-sweet ciders. This evolution has allowed cider to become a drink to be enjoyed all year round, not just in the summer months, which opens up even more possibilities for the composition of the drink as well as its design. Demographic trends are impacting this industry too. Hard. Although ciders have always been incredibly popular amongst younger women, the results are in, and guys like cider too. Who knew? This has led to a large gravitation towards an outdoorsy, craftsman-like, vintage, and more gender neutral design aesthetic in the cider realm to appeal to all consumers. Perhaps this is cider’s way of sneaking in on beer packaging design territory… Whatever it is, it’s working.
As more consumers opt for a healthier, gluten free, and in some cases, organic drink option on Friday night, craft ciders are only going to grow from here. Not only is cider a top choice for the health-conscious and/or calorie-counting population (is cider really that much better? haha), but the spirit is quickly becoming on par with beer and wine as a drink menu staple for all occasions. Craft cider will only become more synonymous with beer as small batches, unique bottles and cans, and targeted packaging design continue to become the norm. The majority of craft cider drinkers are coming from the craft beer world (Perhaps they are also trying to reel in some wine drinkers? Some of the really dry ones are almost champagne-like, have you had?). Bottom line, the same level of quality from the overall brand is expected. They want to know where the ingredients that are in that bottle or can came from, what makes these ingredients special, and they want to know the story behind who made it and why. These are important elements to include in the essence of each craft cider’s packaging design to continue to capture that market and eventually position cider as a premium drink. (People shop with their eyes first, after all.) With a larger emphasis on quality and taste, the relationship that a craft cider brand can create between its product and its consumers is going to make a difference and build strong brand loyalty that will keep them coming back, similar to what has worked for craft beer packaging design. Will, then, brand loyalty shift to the smaller, lesser known, craft cider with a story?
August 03, 2016 | BY Design Womb
We had the opportunity to sit down with Marissa and Matt of Boo Coo Roux, a Cajun & Creole food truck based in Chicago, and learn about their journey.
We thought about it for a while and imagined some different scenarios, some in where we would possibly leave Chicago. There was about two years of various research, trips to other cities, getting to know the scene around Chicago, and experimenting with recipes before we decided it was time to go for it. We realized the the food truck scene was growing in Chicago and wanted to jump in before it became oversaturated.
We wanted something fun and kind of crazy without going too overboard or looking like a scene from Bourbon Street. In our heads we imagined a clean and sophisticated look that had an edge to it. We initially wanted the design to be colorful without looking tacky. We never imagined black as being our background color or main color, but when we were presented with it we loved it. Nicole transformed our ideas exactly how we imagined it.
We originally thought of the name Roux, simple yet an important ingredient in one of our main dishes, gumbo. That name was taken, not by another truck but by another Illinois business so we started playing around with how we could still use the word roux in our name. We researched words and found the slang word "boo coo" which comes from the French word "beaucoup" meaning "a lot" and it all came together from there.
Homemade fresh and spicy quality Cajun comfort food with a twist.
We originally considered moving to Colorado in order to open a Chicago-style food truck with dishes like homemade Italian beef and homemade hot dogs and bratwursts. After some research on the industry in Colorado we decided to stay in Chicago and try it here first. We needed to drop the Chicago-style food since there are already so many options (but we still have an amazing Italian beef recipe on the back burner just in case!). From there we thought about the type of food that was lacking in restaurants and especially the food truck scene and we landed on Cajun. Matt and Louis have strong backgrounds in French cooking as well so it really made sense since so many of Cajun dishes incorporate French cooking techniques.
We use the website to advertise our menu as well as catering options. I think the most important feature is keeping an updated menu. Most people want to know what is available if they are going to make the trip to the truck. We don't use the website yet to post our schedule but hope to in the future. Without going into detail, the food truck parking scene is no joke and there are days where it can be hard to know where one will park. We post our locations for lunch both on Facebook and Twitter.
Everything. It's an emotional experience when you own your own business, you become invested in every aspect. However, if I have to pick one area that was the most difficult it was probably the initial startup and build of the truck. It seemed like it would never end despite being organized and doing everything in our power to move things along.
We are not from Louisiana so we were very cautious to pursue this style of cuisine and wanted respect the food while making it our own. This involved a lot of R&D and some trips to New Orleans. That being said, it's an overwhelming success when someone from the region compliments our food. We always create food that we hope pleases the masses but a compliment from a native is always the icing on the cake.
Matt knows the owner of the Fat Shallot from his days at Everest and he was lucky enough to work on the truck. He got to see first-hand what operation on a truck was like. His experience gave him a good foundation of where to begin the process and what to think about. They were and still are a helpful resource. There are so many details to think about with startup like insurance, propane, vendors, food cost, website, design, etc.
It's tough. Any cook or chef in the food industry already understands the demands of that world, and a truck is no exception, especially when you approach it with the intention to create everything from scratch like we do.
The gumbo! We went through many batches and minor changes to come up with a recipe that we feel best represents the dish.
Nicole! Throughout the entire startup process she was one of the best people that we worked with. She never missed a beat. We are still obsessed with the final design and could not be happier. I don’t even think we had to make any changes on the design option that we picked because it was so spot on, in fact we had a hard time picking from the options that she gave us because they all were so great!
June 21, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
Brand Voice might sound like the robot language of a dystopian future, or the natural result of Citizens United, but thankfully it’s neither of those. Quite simply, Brand Voice is the distillation of everything your brand stands for. It’s a codified set of beliefs that inform every communication your brand puts out, from TV commercials to Tweets, to customer service calls. Defining your brand’s voice means making sure everything your brand says is true to itself.
Brand Voice should be a direct reflection of the brand, it’s employees, customers, and products. When working with a brand team to define their brand voice, I always start with “Why did you start this company?” Most businesses are started by passionate people with an idea, and there’s nothing more powerful than sharing that passion with customers. Then we talk about the brand’s ethos, what does it stand for? Is it about empowering employees, or saving the world, or perhaps letting customers ice their own toaster strudel instead of relying upon pre-iced pastries that only lead to heartbreak and disappointment. We get to the bottom of why the business exists, and how it makes its customers feel. We get to the truth behind the brand, and that becomes the foundation for the brand’s voice.
I tell clients more than I probably should, when you hire a writer to help define your brand’s voice, you’re hiring them to ensure you don’t need a writer every time you need writing. Defining and understanding your brand’s voice gives you a clear roadmap on how to communicate. It ensures that every message is “on brand” no matter what the medium or subject matter, and perhaps most importantly, it gives your brand a point of view that differentiates it from every other one out there. Brand voice is about articulating what a brand stands for and saying it in a way that’s ownable, distinct, and different, and making sure that every time your brand opens its purely metaphorical mouth, what comes out represents exactly what you intended.
May 03, 2016 | BY Design Womb
April 28, 2016 | BY Design Womb
February 25, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 17, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
Aleksa Narbutaitis has joined Design Womb as an intern for the first half of 2016. We are thrilled to have her as part of the team and asked her to write a little entry to introduce herself. Enjoy!
I’m Aleksa. I’m a Cleveland, OH native, and I am always on the hunt for experiences that demand the best that my right and left brain have to offer. My life has been, and continues to be, a fascinating attempt at integrating these two poles of my mind. I have always had to find my way through the practical to get to, or rather, to make time for, the creative. But I’ve finally realized that I don’t want to have to make time for what I love to do. I want do it all at once.
I have a long history of creativity. I am forever in debt to my parents who taught me to be creative at a young age. I was constantly in art classes ranging from dance to drawing to ceramics to painting, you name it. Dance was where I really found my niche, and l stuck to it for quite some time.
I got my B.B.A. with a focus in Entrepreneurship as well as a minor in Dance from Loyola University Chicago. After graduation, I had a few years of small business management experience. It taught me a lot, but I wasn’t quite satisfied. Somewhere in between then and now I came to a point where I didn’t want to have to choose between my hobbies and talents and my career. So I’m not.
I am currently earning my graduate degree at Northwestern in Leadership for Creative Enterprises and I feel like I’m right where I need to be. I’m building my own brand that is me: business and creativity neatly packaged together all in one.
Nicole and Pendleton have graciously taken me in and are helping me explore my creative business side, something totally new and exciting for me. For the first time ever, I feel that I am very near figuring out what it is I want to be when I grow up. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt that feeling before. It’s pretty great. I used to fill with worry when I thought about the future, but now I only feel excitement, and that is an extraordinary feeling for a student these days.
Bottom line, I am fascinated by the business world. My goal is to add some color to it with my personal creations. Be they physical, visual, emotional; I want to leave a mark. I am thrilled to have joined the Design Womb family and even more excited for what’s in store.
February 15, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
February 10, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
While we love to help you launch your food packaging projects, we also love to share exciting news about things that our team and extended family members are up to. Allison Ball, our food industry consultant, is launching an exciting new online course in February called "Brains of the Buyer." This course is for Producers of Good Food, and for the inaugural session, the Design Womb community will receive a generous discount of 30% off.
"Brains of the Buyer" helps producers grow their food business, thoughtfully. Alli works with you to create a 1 page business plan to clarify what you're actually selling & who you're selling to, why your product is different, and who your competitors are. Together, you then move on to understanding the thought process of wholesale buyers: why they choose particular products to carry and why they pass on others; how they price them; the strategy behind re-ordering, merchandising, and marketing them; and how to convince those retail accounts to say "Yes!" to carrying your products.
Alli currently helps producers increase their wholesale presence through her one-on-one consulting, and is offering group work for the first time this winter. Prior to launching her consulting business, Alli was Head of Grocery & Store Manager at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco, one of the nation's most influential specialty food markets, where she discovered, supported and promoted hundreds of small food businesses and thousands of retail products.
To sign up or learn more, follow this link and use promo code FOODFRIEND to save 30% off the inaugural course. Please note spots are limited, and registrations closes Friday, January 29th at Midnight, PST. Still have questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 22, 2016 | BY Nicole LaFave
Welcome to Made For Food Trucks by Madestack. We are thrilled to share our labor of love with you. Madestack was born when we came together on client work and saw a huge gap in the market between mediocre website design templates that the average startup person doesn’t know how to install/use and quick web design services that give too much control, aren’t industry specific enough, and might not look very custom.
Facebook isn’t enough. Your customers are online, on their phones, and reading their tablets. When a friend mentions a delicious tamale or sandwich they tried from a new local food truck, it’s extremely likely that they are immediately looking for you on google to find out where you will be or to check out your menu.
Our experience in the food truck industry includes the launch of 10 trucks (and counting!) in the branding, truck design, and web design spaces across the globe. The problem? Like many startups in the food and restaurant space, food truck startups and owners don’t have thousands of dollars to throw into a custom website before they launch and generate revenue. They usually spend most of their investment on buying the truck, building the truck’s kitchen and finally branding and wrapping the truck with something visually striking.
We started with something simple. A low-cost subscription template solution that you can use to get your website up quickly without the overhead upfront of paying for a full blown custom website design for your food truck. With our website design templates, you can update information yourself, place photography, and swap to colors that are in line with your food truck’s branding. We’ve designed with the intent that the site has a flexibility and a beautiful end product with a custom look and feel.
We’ll be adding to Madestack and Made For Food Trucks now that we’ve officially launched. Stay on top of news about our future font sets* and features by joining our mailing list.
*coming very soon
August 31, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
We're very excited to announce Design Womb's resturant branding and design collaboration in the works this year with chefs John Shields and his wife, Karen Urie Shields. We'll be working alongside the duo for the launch of their highly anticipated Ada St. location, which is split between two floors, and the chefs envision opening two restaurants.
John worked at Charlie Trotter's, and was part of the opening team at the hot Chicago restaurant spot, Alinea. Karen spent two years at Tru working under Gale Gand, then six years at Trotter's, the last three as head pastry chef. As a husband-wife team, they opened Town House in 2008 in the tiny town of Chilhowie, VA, where they quickly acquired a monster reputation; John was a 2011 James Beard semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic.
July 29, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
To celebrate, we're sharing a few of our favorite collaborations from the past year or so. #PackagingDesignDay
May 07, 2015 | BY Nicole LaFave
Here's a little taste of some brand identity and packge design work we did for Pantry House over the last year. Isabel's horseradish mustard is a hot commidity. Grab yours on her e-commerce site which we designed and launched.
August 13, 2014 | BY Nicole LaFave
I am happy to share the interview I did with Julia Wild over at graphicdesign.com last week. The quick interview shares some insight on Design Womb's ongoing collaborations with Curry Up Now, and how we approached their menu design and accounted for customer's specialty diet restrictions, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan eats. There's also mention of a few of the current projects we're working hard on this summer, if you want a sneak peek.
July 02, 2013 | BY Nicole LaFave
Hello & welcome to the new site! I am so happy to say that after a very long and winding road, it was well worth the wait.
I hope you take some time to take a look around. I am so thankful for my web partner in crime Danielle, and my wonderful friend and photographer, Michelle, who did a few shoots for some of the new photography you’ll see scattered around. The site is retina-friendly, and for the first time in history you can view Design Womb’s portflio of work in a visual gallery by category or type. I have shared some of the accolades, magazines and books I’ve been grateful and proud to be a part of these last handful of years.
This is also a great time to start gearing up for your future design projects that tend to spill over and delay into the fall, so be sure to send me a note if you have something brewing. Remember, the early bird takes the worm. Be sure to follow Design Womb on Facebook and Twitter for the most recent updates, or join our (mostly infrequent) email newsletter. You can also follow me on my personal account on Twitter.
Thanks for stopping by and please come back soon. I have some big and exciting news to share very soon. If you've been paying attention on the site, I am sure you can guess what it might be.
Disclaimer: Old blog posts are not retina-friendly.
May 01, 2013 | BY Nicole LaFave
The moment a digital friend referred to me (jokingly) as The Food Truck Girl, I knew I had a situation. It all started back in 2010. My first was the Curry Up Now truck, which expanded into a small army of branded trucks in the Bay Area.
Shortly after in 2012, Curry Up Now's sexy sister The Dosa Republic launched with a brick & mortar and a food truck. Ok. Rewind. Technically, it started in 2009. Beachy Cream launched and they hit the streets of Los Angeles with a mobile ice cream cart and umbrella. Ice cream on wheels counts, right? Ice cream sandwiches & a heck of a lot of Indian food later, in 2012, Sajj launched its quick-serve falafel & shawarma concept and food truck.
Johnny Doughnuts took center stage with its retro deco in the fall of 2012. Mmmmmm, gourmet doughnuts and hot coffee. The truck is ready to roam and will launch this month. Bay Area folks, get ready. These guys aren't messing around and are a heck of a lot of fun.
The first half of 2013 packs a bold punch. Design Womb will collaborate on the branding and debut for the Drums & Crumbs food truck in Sonoma County (southern food, California spin) as well as KAMA Food Lab, a vegetarian (to start) customer-focused ethnic concept to hit the streets of San Francisco this summer/fall.
April 18, 2013 | BY Nicole LaFave
Santa Cruz's Isabel Freed is launching Pantry House; a line of handcrafted jams, mustards, butters & sauces. Be on the lookout for the collaboration Design Womb did on the new branding, package design & website (where you'll be able to shop to order online) this spring/summer.
March 28, 2013 | BY Nicole LaFave
Last year I invented a little brand for California olive oil packaging. These were gifted to a handful of clients, friends & family. The full project photos will be featured on the new Design Womb site in early 2013, but in the meantime here is a little snippet reminder of my love of helicopters. I love a good chopper.
November 16, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
I'll be the first to admit I have been majorly slacking on my blog. (Sorry guys!) 2012 has started out with a bang, and with the bang came many new exciting branding projects & clients alongside some great news for some of the extended family. Beachy Cream should be opening its Wilshire shop in Los Angeles sometime in April, and I've also been busy helping Curry Up Now with their newly announced food family member The Dosa Republic. The eclectic Indian food brand is expected to open (food truck & restaurant doors) for April in the San Francisco Bay Area & San Mateo. 1148 Cosmetics opened in Chicago and I have some makeup packaging to share, and Lemonmade, Chicago (style & snips for kids) is gearing up to open doors sometime in May. San Francisco is welcoming Drawn to Scale, who recently announced their funding & soon-to-be Bay Area office. Outside of all these stops & shops, I've been busy hustling & bustling on a few websites to launch this spring. Think photography, organic frozen yogurt, IP Management software tools and more. One thing is for sure, there is never a lack of variety and challenge in my day-to-day. The Design Womb website "makeover" is in progress, and I am attempting to wait patiently in order to have a nicer place to share all the new work that's been coming together into the new year. As I take this GIGANTIC project in baby steps, I am looking forward to another photo shoot with Michelle Edmunds who has been helping me set up with some new photography for the site. We'll also be announcing her new photography website launch in the coming month. Among other news, I've been baking gluten-free & vegan goodies and look forward to sharing some of that discovery with you. I bought a Vitamix this week, and am so flipping excited to start making all sorts of stuff with it, I can barely contain myself. In the meantime, check out these raw pumpkin spice cookies (via rawmazing) that I came across this week. Pumpkin in spring? Heck yes! More soon. (I hope!)
March 21, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
The Beachy Cream ice cream sandwich packaging sleeves have arrived. Inspired by fun in the sun, beach balls and polka dot bikinis, ice cream just got a whole lot more fun. These are going to make killer favors at parties & weddings. You can see more of the branding project for my client here or visit their site to order ice cream online.
January 17, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
I got a fun little surprise email with a link to this wedding on snippet & ink for Sam & Alicia in San Francisco. The bride & groom had the Curry Up Now food truck that I designed at their event. More on the branding and truck design here. Congratulations Sam & Alicia!
January 17, 2012 | BY Nicole LaFave
My new favorite aisle at the grocery store it the olive oil section. The packaging design lures me in. It's hard to beat the wine area or chocolate bar area, but lately the olive oil market seems to be getting bigger and bigger. I would love to do more of this kind of work. Specialty food packaging = dream design projects to me. I felt pretty inspired to do some packaging design for a holiday gift this year and incorporate something I love looking at, helicopters! The result was California extra virgin olive oil, Taste Patrol Fine Foods & Findings by Design Womb. We'll see where the chopper takes me next. I've mentioned this before. I love all the different shapes and sizes helicopters come in. Hoping to turn this project into a printmaking project in 2012 for helicopter prints. Keep you posted.
December 30, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
New logo design for a client launching a web boutique that will sell scandinavian woven rugs, ceramics and home goods.
November 18, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Client: Boyer, Hebert, Abels & Angelle, Counselors at law Services: branding, logo design, stationary system View the project: BHAA Law
October 28, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Client: IIDA NC | Northern California - The International Interior Design Association's Northern California Chapter is a networking and educational association with a professional and student outreach about the profession of Interior Design. Services: branding, logo design, stationary system, website design View the full project: IIDA NC branding, stationary & website
October 27, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
I've updated the press & news page of Design Womb with some new books from 2011. You will find projects such as Beachy Cream, Chic by Design, Premitàge, Omelle & more in a new stack of titles. Thank yous & high fives to Pie Books, SendPoints, Zeixs & Victionary for including these projects in your collection. 10 years ago I used to dream up seeing my work in publications of this sort next to all the work I admire. It seems surreal to think about how much has changed and where I am today. Each and every new book that comes in with my work published in it puts a big fat smile on my face, and it's always so much fun to have a new design book in the office to see what my fellow designers are up to.
October 26, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Earlier this year (yes, I'm that behind on sharing this) I had the opportunity to collaborate on some creative branding & quick application screen shots for smrtUp, a mobile app startup company. I haven't seen the new branding in use yet, but you can compare the old vs. the new at smartupapp.com.
October 26, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Flower & Gold is a hair and makeup beauty operation catering to both the fashion and wedding markets in the San Francisco bay area. I got the pleasure of helping Ashley & Alexia launch their brand (Ashley does my hair). Their skills speak for themselves if you take a peek into the gallery, and I'm pretty certain their personalities would make them a great pair to have around on your big wedding day or a stressful event. You can see more of the project here on Design Womb. The website was a developed by Kyle R. Young, extended family and a favorite of mine to collaborate and work with.
October 25, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
I added a food & beverage logo gallery to Design Womb this weekend. There is something about working on food or beverage-related projects that I find very rewarding. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I am always hungry, or there is just a lot of potential with the branding and packaging out there. I am hoping to keep up these mini portfolio updates to the current site until my new website redesign project is moving full speed ahead, aiming for the new year. Shame on me. I am a year behind with some of these new work & press updates. Better late than never?
October 03, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Odd fact about myself: I love helicopters. I have never actually been in one, but I love looking at them. I especially love the bulbous-shaped older ones and some of the cool old wooden propellers. Dying to have one hanging in my office. It's been one year in the making since moving to San Francisco and I still have yet to have a big fat helicopter painting or print on the wall behind my couch. I better get back on that. I actually love inspecting all sorts of planes, trains and automobiles. So much that I actually designed an entire shoe collection for Omelle with that in mind for Spring/Summer 2011. See the above "Illy" Omelle shoe. I designed that based entirely on helicopter shapes. So now you know. A) I love helicopters B) I love shoes and C) I need a vintage wooden propeller and a big helicopter print for my house.
September 21, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Nice little blog entry from Rosie at PsPrint. Design on Wheels features Design Womb's work for the new Curry Up Now logo & food truck serving the San Francisco Bay Area with delicious indian street food. You can also see a before and after comparison of the logo.
September 13, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Did you know I have an Etsy shop? Right now it is mostly geared towards brides-to-be, but it will expand eventually. (Yeah, yeah, ... I've been saying that forever)
August 26, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
June 24, 2011 | BY Nicole LaFave
Design Womb was born awhile ago when I almost changed my website to an official "studio name." Though I still haven't fully committed to that big change at the moment, I will be updating this blog to reflect my new project and studio undertakings. Now, onto the official big news! I have launched a DESIGN WOMB shop on Etsy! While the shop will eventually carry a lot more in the near future and throughout 2010, it launches with a unique collection of sophisticated, modern and unique digital wedding invitation kits. You can purchase a digital file for the invite only or the full package with a response card and save the date included. This sprang from my personal feelings that there seems to be a lack of simplistic upscale design in the wedding stationary world, especially when it comes to doing it on a budget. Most brides can not afford to pay someone to design something from scratch and print it, so these truly capture that custom feeling without the giant custom made price tag. You can read more about how it works at the shop. Be sure to watch Design Womb on Etsy! I am working hard at expanding this throughout the year. Paper goods, design related collateral and more customizable and printable digital templates will be posted on Etsy. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me in the meantime.
July 20, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
Taryn Bickley is a Chicago based freelance stylist, shopper and writer. She needed something that reflected her personality, but remained simple and sophisticated to showcase her portfolio of work. The results were a simple brand, website and stationary collateral that I designed to help market and grow her freelance business. You can view my work for Taryn here. Taryn is playful and whimsical with a modern twist. You can view her styling and writing work at TarynBickley.com and follow her more recent endeavor at her new blog Sage & Style. Need to find the perfect set of glasses or trying to find that perfect tray for the party you are throwing next week? TB is the go-to-girl for those types of questions and her new blog helps out. Thats not all! Taryn is currently working with me on a styling for a new branding project for Chic by Design, a new spin on upscale and smart gifting. She is styling the shoot and working closely with photographer, Cybelle Codish.
April 28, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
I've always wondered the thought process behind why people chose the twitter background they have on their profiles. I try to update my profile background every handful of months. Earlier this year it was all about the shoes. Last month it was felted texture, and this month a wallpaper collage of portfolio work. What's your background and why? If you use twitter as a marketing tool for yourself or your business, you should pay close attention to that background or invest in having one made to reflect your brand.
April 21, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
I would call myself a pretty decently successful freelance designer. I am working to grow my business, or double/triple it by the end of this year. Back in college, I was an AIGA student member, but since graduating and working in a handful of studios and deciding to go solo and freelance full-time, I haven't paid my dues since. I fully support an organization such as AIGA, and I love what they are about, but I find is so hard to cough up that $300. It's a love hate relationship. I am a professional, but I am also going it alone at the moment. Finding a way to pay for these extra organizations and at other times paid design competitions can be rough, no matter how much you think the benefits or results from joining might be later. Luckily AIGA offers a way to pay quarterly now, though I am still not sold on making the big leap. Is it work it, is it necessary? I'd love to hear what other professionals have to say about memberships and which ones they find the most valuable. My heart and my mind are saying yes, though I am still on the fence about how to rationalize taking the leap and finally joining AIGA again.
March 28, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
March 01, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
New year, new ice cream. Ann Ryan and I have finalized her brand identity and website. Watch out for updates to my print portfolio with the Beachy Cream full package soon.
January 11, 2010 | BY Nicole LaFave
October has brought some very interesting projects with it, including the Beachy Cream (Malibu's Natural Ice Cream) Identity & Logo Design. Who doesn't agree that Ice Cream is always fun? Beachy Cream's own Ann & I are hard at work on her logo, more to come later!
October 25, 2009 | BY Nicole LaFave