ARUBA, A HEWLETT PACKARD ENTERPRISE CO.
LOS ANGELES CA
I dislike writing a biography … but, I love talking about what I do. Gotta recognize the privilege and blessing of loving your job. I could talk all day about the unexpected paths that brought me here. Though trained in identity, branding and print, I surprisingly landed at an agency alongside new media artists and industrial/3D designers doing graphics for installation, interiors and events. This sparked a fierce love for environmentally immersive design. Naturally I said I’d never work inhouse for a single brand (especially in high tech). Never say never — through a trusted mentor, I had the opportunity for a freelance contract with Aruba. I hesitantly accepted. My opinions of inhouse design and high-tech were challenged and changed immediately.
Working in-house means knowing your brand, customers, products and competition intimately. Clients are your colleagues. You have your hands in everything from concept through completion — and I mean EVERYTHING. A functional in-house team is a force made of incredibly sharp, versatile humans capable of high-level execution. A team responsible for conceptual development, campaigns, collateral, web design, event branding, environmental design (woot woot!), packaging, multimedia, interactive media, industrial design, etc. In 2012 I committed to Aruba for a six-month contract. I said I’d stay as long as I was having fun and proud of my work. Almost 10 years later, I’m the Creative Director. I’ve grown to admire engineers and appreciate technology, even have a subscription to Wired (that I read for fun, eew). I’m so glad that I was willing to listen to my mentors and try something uncomfortable — it was a career-defining move that exposed me to brilliant people and changed everything.
Looking forward, are you optimistic about the role of graphic design in business and society?
Yes! Art and design history has always been central to understanding society. Just like fossils to a paleontologist, future-us will look back at art/design to tell our stories. Now having said that … Much of our culture is expressed digitally. How do we ensure preservation for 20-50-100-200+ years? As consumers, designers, artists: we need to understand the importance of digital archives/maintenance, and proactively preserve our movements and moments.
Have the challenges of the past two years changed the way you approach your work?
Well, working for a globally-collaborative company that physically enables hybrid workplaces gave a head start for sure. One change — I truly hope to never take for granted opportunities for in-person connection. I recently went to Aruba’s headquarters for the first time in two years for an outdoor event. I didn’t expect to have such an emotional reaction to seeing those beautiful humans IRL. It brought deep joy to my bones!