The average TASCHEN book contains five thousand images that requires astute and attentive individuals to manage the book’s production from start to finish. The Star Wars Archives was definitely the most challenging yet rewarding publication I worked on at TASCHEN. Under the supervision of my art director, I designed many things from the typesetting guidelines to the packaging and helped the editors file manage text, images, and other design elements. Because Star Wars is under the ownership of Disney, we had to deal with permission rights to use and edit certain images. For example, we had to clone out the cigarettes from crew members’ hands who are smoking on site because Disney didn’t approve of images like those. Aside from Disney, we also had to get permission rights from Lucasfilm to use the screen grabs we took of the films and to make sure we were following their brand guidelines as well (e.g., logo usage, Pantone colors, and much more). So, all in all, it was a very tedious process trying to get everything to the printer before Christmas (we had to push back production by two months), but it is a beautiful book that truly captures the behind-the-scenes essence of the saga.
TASCHEN’s Explorer series takes travel beyond the obvious with adventures in exotic places and new perspectives in familiar ones, all based on the distinguished travel journalism in The New York Times. Each journey features a first-person narrative and postcard-perfect photography that capture the unique personality of the destination—as well as practical information to help get you on your way. Edited by Barbara Ireland, the Explorer series includes Beaches, Islands & Coasts; Mountains, Deserts & Plains; Cities & Towns; and Road, Rail & Trail. And of course what better way to promote your series than in your very own newspaper! I was in charge of designing TASCHEN ads that would be featured in The New York Times. I had to design accordingly to their style guides and continuously send over comps to the editors for approval to be printed on the porous newspaper.
The very first monograph dedicated to the Rocky saga has finally arrived, and I am proud to say that I helped design this collector’s item! Boxing heavily influenced the design of the book, as it should. Presented inside of a clamshell box with a facsimile of his original notebook and translation booklet, the oversized book’s binding is made of fiscatech’s polyurethane synthetic leather to represent the texture of a boxing glove. Again, because so many parties are involved in Rocky, we had to get usage rights from Metro-Goldwyn Mayer and sports photographer Neil Leifer. The final design also had to be approved by the man himself, Sylvester Stallone, whom I had a pleasure working with! I asked if he thought Rocky was going to win Best Film that year, he replied back with a “HELL NO.” The Art Edition version sold out before the book was even released.
There have been several books published on the subject of George Herriman’s Krazy Kat over the years, however no one has really published the whole collection of comics in color. To be honest, I had no idea who Krazy Kat was until working on this project, although I have seen Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse incorporated in artists’ works like Peter Shire. Because the comic strips were so old, they had to be heavily retouched. I also had to illustrate elements taken from the comic, like borders and the “WOW,” and vectorize them so that we could scale them large enough for the giant book. This was especially important because we did not want to tamper with the style of the comic – it had to look as original as possible.
One of my favorite projects that I had complete design control over was creating the slipcases for the DC and Marvel piccolo series sets that are going to be published by TASCHEN soon. A project proposed to Costco by the sales team, my art director who is a Marvel Comics connoisseur actually trusted me to work on this! Of course he gave me direction when it came to the hierarchy behind the superheroes, and I was only allowed to work with design elements used in past DC and Marvel publications released by TASCHEN. But for the main imagery, I was able to look through our archives and find comics to clip out various superheroes and composite them into this “popping-out” style that I implemented. A spot varnish would also be applied over the artwork to give it more dimensionality. I love designing packaging and to be able to work on something like this was so cool. I can’t wait to see the final product on Costco shelves!
Aside from the many book titles I helped work on while at TASCHEN, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse: The Ultimate History required all hands on deck in order to get this beast onto the market in time for the holidays. Along with The Star Wars Archives, this was TASCHEN’s most important publication of the year, celebrating “90 years of Mickey in one of the most expansive illustrated publications on the Disney universe.” I helped design many assets from the layout to mockups and also assisted on photoshoots of collector’s items for the book’s dioramas, a TASCHEN staple that is included in major titles. In order to market this book properly and promptly, I assisted the sales team for any promotional material they required for meetings like posters, dummies, and designed a teaser to give out to true Mickey fans to get a first look of the later released Collector’s Edition. I also hand-delivered book dummies and presentations to Bob Iger himself since he had the last word for all decision-making.
The Portrait of a City series highlights the pictorial history of a magnificent city. There are two versions of the series: an Extra Large book and a smaller cut-down Cloth version. In this case, I had the privilege of designing the Cloth London city and worked closely with TASCHEN’s pop culture editor Reuel Golden who is from England himself. I designed everything from the baseline grid to the typesetting. Many photos were cut from the Extra Large version because this was a more condensed version, so Reuel and I decided on which images stayed based on their compelling beauty and importance. I’ve only been to London once (inside the airport, so I don’t think that really counts), so this project really taught me so much about the city.
Red Hen Press, a small but mighty independent publisher nestled in the highlands of Pasadena, California, opened the doors to the world of publishing for me. During this five-month internship, I assisted both the associate publisher and lead designer with designing book covers and jackets, interior layouts, galleys, and much more. Red Hen Press mostly dealt with poets and prose writers, so we had to design accordingly to their subjects all while still maintaining Red Hen’s publishing brand.
Volunteering is one of the many passions that I have. I believe that giving back to the community is necessary in order for it to progress and to reduce stigmatization of different cultural groups–it brings people together. At 826LA, I’m able to combine both my love for design and volunteering by designing pro-bono for the educational non-profit. 826LA focuses on expanding the youth’s creative writing skills through tutoring and writing programs. And at the end of the season, they print students’ works in chapter books to show them that their words are important, thus inspiring them more. I work closely with the art director for any project she may need assistance with.
The city of Topanga, located in between the San Fernando Valley and Malibu, is known for it’s bohemian-styled, tree-hugging folks. In this project, I designed a logo and jar label for a small honey harvester in Topanga that specializes in specific flavored honeys. In this case, they started me off with their lavender honey and I had loads of fun. I was tired of generic honey packaging that uses yellows and stripes and so forth, so I went for illustrated fauna instead to reflect it’s flavor. The hexagonal shape of the glass jar will help people understand it’s honey as well.
The Housing and Community Investment Department of the City of Los Angeles curated an exhibition held at City Hall based on homelessness and the housing solutions the city has implemented over the years to combat the issue. They came to DesignHub for our assistance by asking us to design the whole exhibition and the marketing material. I helped with the style guides of the exhibition and acquiring assets from photographers, but my main task was to design the whole art book that would be distributed to city officials and those who helped donate to the cause. I was in charge of not only designing the book but also dealing with the text that was constantly revised by the higher-up officials for accuracy. It took six months to complete the project because of copyright issues and city permissions that took awhile to get. But overall, the production went smoothly and the exhibition was a success despite the protesters that came to disrupt the opening reception but failed.
My Experimental Letters Series was a personal project of mine that I worked on over the summer of 2017 after graduating from college. It was my way of experimenting with typography and illustration using technical tools and of course, my drawing skills. Each letter was sketched out first and then stylized digitally. My love for art history also played a large role in this project. Each letter is unique in it’s own way because it represents a specific art movement or style in history, for example you can see a De Stijl “D” and an Optical Illusion “O.”
My local Crate & Barrel store reaches out to me whenever they need some design work done, and of course I’ll help! I design accordingly to Crate’s minimal style that mostly pertains to houseware items.
La Venezolana Corp. offers a variety of products from ready-to-eat foods to Precooked Corn meal. They utilize only the freshest, most pure ingredients in all of their products so that the foods remain your first choice when wanting fresh, delicious, top quality foods. On the left page here is the original packaging–outdated with pixelated bread rolls and rivers found throughout the package. My task was to rebrand and redesign the whole package, ditching the old cardstock box and switching to a traditional flour paper bag to let consumers know that it is a powdered mixture as opposed to making them guess what’s inside. I still wanted to include the original colors that derive from the Colombian flag since it is a bread of theirs. A set of illustrated instructions were also designed for those who don’t have the patience to read.
I had the chance to design and illustrate a guide on which beauty products you should have in your bathroom vanity for one of my favorite fashion bloggers Leandra Cohen, a.k.a. Man Repeller. This was so much fun because I use some of these products myself and to design something based on Glossier or Kiehl’s is awesome.
Logo, menu, and packaging I designed for the soup-based comfort food restaurant Spoonfull. Cups are placed inside of carry-out boxes to prevent spilling over and menus are clipped on wood clipboards to give a more rustic feel.