Chicago Candle Factory





The Chicago Candle Factory creates beautiful hand-poured 100% soy wax candles in upcycled bottles. I worked directly with the business owners to create their initial logos, business cards, product tags and a few icons to pair with their candle care instructions. One big request was that we create a logo that would work well used as a wax seal. After some exploration we landed on a logo system for maximum versatility. No matter the application, there’s a format that can work as a stand alone mark or paired with another.

When creating the product tags we were faced with the challenge of how to apply them to the candle without obstructing the upcycled bottles. Working together we landed on the idea of tying the tags on using extra candle wick. This is a great solution and allows for easy opening so you can read the candle scents printed on the inside. The business cards and product tags were printed on Neenah Paper, Desert Strom, 80lb. Cover.

Be sure to check them out and order some of their amazing candles here:

Representing Excellence Program





When Central DuPage Hospital (CDH) and Delnor Hospital merged to form Cadence Health the decision was made to combine their employee recognition programs. The table was wide open for new names and a new look. The name Representing Excellence was presented as a way to really embody what the program is about. I worked on designs and headlines that would provide a strong support system to the program name utilizing the [RE] letters therein.

Many materials were required for this project including: branding, a manager training kit, thank you cards, brochures with tear off submission forms, an online entry system, reward coins and various collateral signage to promote the new program.

Recruitment Brochure – BMO Harris Bank

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People are always talking about the work / life balance. A friend of mine explained in a presentation, that for her the goal is for more of a work / life blend. This has always stuck with me and it’s something I believe in and agree with wholeheartedly. So when BMO Harris Bank’s recruitment team was in need of new materials I approached the design with this in mind. The bank wanted to communicate that people who join their organization have the ability to grow. And that they will receive support reaching far beyond simply professional support.

The idea of dualities lead both the visuals and the writing in this design concept. My role included the headline copywriting as well as the art direction and design. The imagery reflects a diverse group of people in some of the major cities that the bank is based in. Thus communicating the idea of seeing yourself succeeding in a great city or region. All of the headlines support the theme of working together everyone will be more successful.

CHGO DSGN Face to Face





CHGO DSGN is a major exhibition of Recent Object and Graphic Design by 100+ of Chicago’s leading designers, open May 31 through November 2, 2014 at Exhibit Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center. CHGO DSGN curator Rick Valicenti had taken notice to some of my recent augmented reality work and asked me to collaborate in creating something utilizing the new technology to enhance the exhibit.

After some conversation we decided to create Face to Face—a 6″ x 9″ brochure that would feature 8 of the artists in a revolutionary way. Since it’s impossible for the artist to always be present to explain their work to someone observing it, Face to Face bridges the gap between the art, artist and the viewer. By simply scanning a page from the brochure the viewer can reveal the artist video explaining the thoughts, process and background of the design. This is made possible through the Layar platform.

The video was shot on a green screen to make the experience smoother. When the artist appears it’s as if they are right on the page over their work. The videos were directed to be short so mobile viewing is easier and more reasonable. Feel free to go ahead and scan the pages featured above with the Layar app and experience it for yourself!

McGuffin – The Experience

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When you’re trying to land a seriously awesome client, you have to be seriously impressive. Sometimes you have to be seriously quick, too. In the case of McGuffin Creative Group meeting with Shure (an international audio products brand) we wanted to let them know that we really knew who they were. All while displaying some of our capabilities. As the Art Director responsible for most of the design pertaining to new business, I had less than 2 weeks to work with the team to create a capabilities piece that was sure to impress.

This project was right up my alley. After the idea to create an LP-style piece was agreed upon, I was able to utilize a lot of my personal library of live music performance photography throughout the design. Transforming the images through photoshop allowed me spaces to make the images and text come together seamlessly.

The finished product is a 12″ x 12″ bi-fold with open-ended pockets on each side and a silver hand-applied sticker on the cover. The sticker was printed with 1 hit of black. The die for the carrier was a project in and of itself. I worked with the printer back and forth to make sure the die would accommodate the pieces inside. Inside the first pocket was a rivet-bound dual-cover booklet. The A-side cover has information about McGuffin’s portfolio and body of work. When you flipped the book over you would see the B-side cover which contains personal and professional profiles for some of McGuffin’s key players. The second pocket contained a faux record that was actually a piece of black acrylic with laser-etched grooves, laser-etched type and 4-color printing over a single hit of white ink directly on the acrylic. The albums were individually shrink wrapped to complete the experience. A matching digital presentation walkthrough was also created.

AIGA Chicago – Chicago Design Is Poster


AIGA Chicago selected members from the community to design a poster based on the question, What does Chicago design mean to you? The answer to this question is far deeper than a one-liner. Really, design is all around us. It’s the sort of thing we walk past everyday and barely take notice of. The tourists who are constantly walking around taking photos of everything are more likely to notice all of the design marvels Chicago has to offer.

I was paired up with another local photographer, Krystina Archer, in designing this poster. We decided to depict the city’s design through photographs laid out similar to a contact sheet. The ‘film’ brand that would normally appear on the negative is replaced with sentences that describe what Chicago is. Each photo was intentionally shot with some blur to represent the idea of it often being overlooked. The title FOCUS was added to support this concept. The sticker that usually represents the serial number of the photo job instead is the numeric date of the poster show.

To elaborate on the idea of tourists really enjoying the design of the city, we added augmented reality using the Layar platform. When a viewer scans the poster with a mobile device the images that are circled similarly to the way a photographer would markup their own contact sheet turn into play buttons. The videos reveal short clips of people taking their time and really enjoying the area of the city the photo represents.

More! – BMO Harris Bank

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When one of the midwest’s most well-know banks, Harris Bank, was changing their name to BMO Harris Bank, I worked with the team at McGuffin Creative Group to give their U.S. corporate headquarters a make over. “Make it blue!” they said. A couple of factors to be aware of here include knowing that Harris Bank’s main brand color was previously red. Also, BMO Financial Group in Canada had owned the bank for quite some time. As BMO acquired some other large banks in the midwest they decided to merge them all into one bank with the name BMO Harris Bank.

So really, other than the name not all that much was changing about the bank as it pertains to the customers. Based on this truth the team and I landed on a theme “The bank you know… and More!” This theme allowed us to communicate messages about various aspects of the bank and how they would still be there. Just with More backing and availability. Harris Bank’s trusty mascot Hubert was also featured prominently as a figure for current customers to recognize. This was the first exploration and execution for the new brand.

McGuffin Mornings




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While working as an Art Director at McGuffin Creative Group and being a member of the company’s New Business Development Team, the plans were set to create a breakfast event series designed to develop client relationships through learning. After some brainstorming and voting on names, McGuffin Mornings was selected. I took the name and ran with it creating everything from the logo mark to the overall look and feel of all collateral pieces. The design resembles that of a coffee shop. A place where you can relax, socialize and learn in a fun environment. Everyone who attends is even lucky enough to score one of the coveted McGuffin Mornings mugs for themselves.

Pixels of Fury Poster


AIGA closed out its Head, Heart, Hand design conference in Minnesota with a blowout Pixels of Fury party at the renowned Walker Art Center, where six contestants pitted their design skills against one another in an attempt to claim the Furious Pixel trophy. In this competition, competitors faced off to create original posters in just 20 minutes, armed only with Shutterstock assets and their imaginations. It all happened in front of a live crowd at a party featuring drinks, food, tunes by DJ Funzen and a Bosco GIF photo booth. I was selected to compete and only given the charge that the poster design must, inspire the audience to action. Having two weeks to prepare for the competition was more than enough time to come up with a couple of concepts to execute for our first round. It was a more difficult task deciding which direction to take the design in.

I ultimately chose to reflect upon my own feelings about the benefits of attending a National AIGA Conference. Sure, you learn a lot from wonderful speakers and design idols. Not to mention you get a taste of another city’s culture. But for me, the connections and friendships I’ve formed over the years is by far the greatest benefit. I love meeting people! So what better to design a poster about? This was my moment to speak visually to a captive audience and hopefully make an impact so that they would return home and really follow up with those they’d met.

The competition was setup in a 3 round format. The first 2 rounds each put 3 competitors against each other designing their initial concepts. The third and final round took the winners from rounds 1 and 2 and required they each design new posters based on one another’s initial concepts. This was the big twist in the evening for me. This was the challenge that really didn’t provide much preparation time. A few minutes in all reality. Not to mention the 20 minute limit given to design within. You can see each competitor’s poster on the Shutterstock blog. Above I’ve included my initial concept, redesigned just slightly post competition so that I could polish it up a bit outside of the initial 20 minute constriction. Check out this amazing video Shutterstock produced capturing the evening festivities. Then go out and meet more people for yourself.

Pixels of Fury: Minneapolis from Shutterstock on Vimeo.

Summer T-Shirts


Each year, the design agency McGuffin Creative Group designs 3 t-shirts that are available for free order to their clients. The shirts are all themed based on a random word. For 2014 the word was Salute. I chose to design the shirt using an Italian meaning of the word which is similar to Cheers in English. I designed the two beer glasses colliding to the point that liquid would be splashing overtop and that same splash and liquid texture would then form the typography of the word.

My inspiration for this goes way back to why people would cheers their glasses in the first place. At one point, the culture was to splash liquid from one cup to another to symbolize there was no poison in beverage.