Yellowbird Hot Dip

Yellowbird Hot Dip

In the summer of 2020, Yellowbird Foods made its dip debut at Whole Foods Market nationwide. Made with 100% organic ingredients, Hot Dip’s visual identity took a lot of cues from the Yellowbird’s Whole30-approved organic sauce line that launched early 2019. With illustrations of fresh garden veggies and vibrant colors that pop right off the shelf, Hot Dip is the perfect addition to the nest.

To learn more about the process of this project, you can access my blog entry here: Branding a Product Line  

My team focused heavily on the journey our condiments take: from the pepper farm, to our kitchen in beautiful San Marcos, straight to your Friday night feast. Hot Dip’s illustrative direction is primarily inspired by floral prints found on oilcloth. We champion anything that encourages us to play with our food — no matter how messy we get.

Our illustrations are brought to life by a key component of our brand identity: color. Much like our other sauces, color acts to differentiate different flavors of dip. Hot Dip utilizes a mostly-monochromatic, surrealist approach to color. The ingredient illustrations harmonize with the background’s overarching color; however, the radiant leaves interrupt the monotonous monochrome with sparks of unexpected contrasting hues inspired by Sandy Skoglund’s A Breeze at Work (1987). This adds a visual interest that would be lacking otherwise.

We complimented our lush illustrations and unexpected color palette typographically with heavier letter forms as a reference to the thick, rich consistency of the dip.

Compositionally, we were driven by the cyclical form of our dip container and used it as a method of story-telling. The lid has a border of fiery ingredients arranged in a circle to reflect on our commitment to holistic and clean nutrition. The Bird peaks out from his garden of fiery produce to challenge our Flock to think beyond the chip. Hot Dip is a journey. Once you buy it, you embark on an experience that’s hotter than a pedicab seat on a summer day. When you open your first tub of Hot Dip, the inside lid surprises you with a literal wave of flavor. It encourages you to dip, dunk, and drench any food to make it infinitely yummier. Make sure to put down an oilcloth — things are going to get messy.

Want to know more about this project?
For additional animations, web content, and more insight detailing my design thinking, visit my blog post, “Branding a Product Line.”

Research Infographics

Data-Heavy Research Infographics

A technology-focused research team approached Affirma asking for design services that simplified their multi-year road-map outlining innovation in their field. The purpose of this piece was to communicate their progress and aim to secure additional funding for their research.

To achieve this, Affirma created an overview infographic and a detailed timeline infographic to communicate their messaging at different scales depending on the audience.

The design process started microscopic with the content-heavy timeline. Once Affirma gained a deeper understanding of the research methodology and processes, the design team was able to discuss vision with the client and develop solutions to best communicate their message.

The client thinks of their multi-stage road-map as a highway. Affirma studied transit maps and highway planning to research form and function as the base for the infographic. Looping highway systems were a major source of inspiration for our team, and referencing modern transit maps helped dictate our clean approach to labeling and typography.

Once we’d established form, we could focus on theme. As we benchmarked transit imagery, we came across long-exposure traffic photography. This style looked otherworldly and had a similar dynamism to the portrayal of space travel. Likewise, the concept of ‘The Final Frontier’ felt appropriate for exploratory research.

Detailed Timeline Infographic

This design pulls its form from an aerial perspective of a looping highway system. Each loop sections off a different era of the timeline. This helps to group the information and make it easier to digest and translate to an overview perspective in the second poster. We’ve also used scale to direct the composition. Era 3 is the largest loop (and the ultimate goal) so it’s the largest on the map and incorporates a subtle flare to attract the eye.

It was important to the client that this design conveyed a sense of motion. The integration of the rocket illustration helps to achieve this, but also adds a sense of whimsy. The rocket starts at the beginning of the timeline and zooms through each of the loops, traversing each of the eras. It shoots off the poster to persue the innovations of tomorrow.

The timeline tracks three categories of information: Audio Formats, Innovations, and Landmarks. Audio Formats are the most important of the three, so they’re highlighted in gold and paired with custom illustrated iconography. Innovations and Landmarks are each assigned their own color and are simplified as they are lower on the hierarchy.

The client requested we leave room for an information summary in the lower right corner. This area contains the timeline key, as well as a write-up providing additional details and context for the poster.

Once the detailed timeline was complete, it was easier for the client to pick which aspects of each era were most important. The scope of work increased—resulting in the development of two posters. Our approach to illustration and data visualization shifted based on the subject matter.

Overview Infographic

Once the detailed timeline was complete, it was easier for the client to pick which aspects of each era were most important. This overview highlights three key technological achievements to represent each era of research. The purpose of the overview was to show that, as time progresses, performance increases while size and power usage decreases. Innovations and Landmarks were omitted from this poster in the interest of space.

To simplify this composition and make it easily digestible in 60 seconds or less, our team decided on a clear three-column approach. By dividing the canvas clearly, we were able to represent related information in a familiar way consistently. Our team strategically used flares in this design as well to highlight Era 3.

For this poster, we chose bronze, silver, and gold as our accent colors. This is a familiar color hierarchy relating to achievement medals. All three research eras were award-winning; however, Era 3 is the ultimate goal. The timeline below follows this color hierarchy, and lists each of the Audio Formats that correspond with each era.

This project as a whole was an excellent demonstration of the skills Affirma’s Visual Design team is capable of. We worked on a steep learning curve to understand the research and messaging the client was looking to present, and managed to synthesize and streamline that information twice. The end product was widely well-received, and will continue to represent the research team through their next era of innovation.

One of the major challenges of this engagement was that it was constantly evolving. The initial scope of work only included the detailed timeline infographic. As the project progressed, the client’s needs evolved with it. Affirma worked to support the client from both a project management and visual design standpoint to ensure they had an end-product they were proud to present at their presentation.

Building X

Building X, Grand Opening

The grand opening of Redwood’s 20th building, Building X, is a week-long celebration with multiple surprise and delight activations scheduled for campus employees. Affirma Consulting developed the core branding and art direction, while collaborating with several other event planning organizations to provide full event design support. The event needed everything from digital collateral to share on social media, to in-person event support and everything in between.

It took nearly 600 days to create the Redwood Campus’s 20th building. Construction of this 350K sq ft. building was a long time coming. Originally kicked off in September 2021, the project faced multiple delays—from COVID-19 to the hardships that faced the tech industry in early 2023. Now more than ever, it was crucial this celebration felt as monumental as the building that stands today.

This event was a much heavier lift than previous engagements we’ve had with this client. Affirma would provide digital and print support to cover the entire week-long event. This included cohesive art direction, brand development, digital assets for promotion on social media, in-person wayfinding, print collateral, swag, and microsite support.

The Affirma team met the initial standards and elevated the quality of work to create an atmosphere that was unmatched by previous campus events.

The Affirma team is responsible for the design work on the Redwood Campus, as well as its events and activities. This creates a homogeneous wayfinding package that has scalability and flex. Eventgoers are familiar with the aubergine framing element that remains consistent across all a-frame signage. This only strengthens wayfinding on campus.

All large-format on-site signage features an interactive QR code element redirecting to the event’s microsite. The Affirma team tested the presence of the QR code and the user experience prior to print/production. Minding contrast and scale, this element can be scanned from a distance by multiple users at once.

Affirma collaborated with the event team to brainstorm a collection of illustrations that would live together on a sticker sheet that could be handed out as swag during Building X’s first week of business. Once content and conceptual direction were established, the design team illustrated each individual sticker within an environment that interacted with the content. The illustrations were then rebuilt as vector graphics to ensure the artwork could be scaled and used anywhere.

The client requested ‘merit badge’ stickers and pins that represented each of the surprise & delight activations taking place during the week-long event. The stickers were designed to look hyper-realistic—as though they were embroidered and stitched into existence. For an added layer of realism, the Affirma team deliberately mapped in ‘miss-stitches’ and loose threads.

Illustrations used for the Redwood Trail Maps match the stylistic cues pulled from the Building X sticker sheet. To differentiate the pieces of collateral, the trail maps were colored in a magenta-leaning palette. The figure in the foreground is rendered in high fidelity with shading, texture, and intricate detail. Figures on the birds-eye map are rendered in a lower level of detail with a sketchy appearance as they’re pushed to the background and viewed at a distance.

This large-format signage installation was originally based on the hand-drawn trail maps created for the event. A series of nature trails underpin the wooded area surrounding Redwood’s 20th building. The Affirma design team created a whimsical/picturesque map that leverages perspective shifts to illustrate the trails that sprout from the northern end of the campus. The design was mounted to a weatherproof frame and post sign with an attached awning to reduce glare and prevent bleeding from rain.

A tight-knit dream team of 5 visual designers worked to develop a multifaceted design system for an office grand opening. From signage/wayfinding and print collateral to digital, animation, and web design, this team ensured every touchpoint of the event felt curated.

The Affirma team designed a series of diecut, monochromatic bamboo keychains as swag for the event. It depicts a simplified version of the journal design in magenta, cyan, blue, and purple. 

Illustrated journals are a staple for the parent company. This design features a scene plucked from the PNW with a subtle nod to the launch of Building X. The color story was intended to lean evergreen.

One of the surprise & delight activations for the event was screen printing your own tote design! Affirma created 4 variant single-color designs based on the different approaches to collateral within the visual system.

This project as a whole was an excellent demonstration of the skills Affirma’s Visual Design team is capable of. We created a design system that was so versatile it covered over 30 individual assets, while still maintaining a sense of purpose and intrigue. We worked closely with event planners to deliver full design coverage and day-of support—ensuring the event ran smoothly and looked beautiful. Despite working under a condensed timeline, Affirma’s project management maintained a steady pace.

One of the major challenges of this engagement was that Affirma wasn’t able to go on-site to ensure quality ahead of time. Affirma is a global consultancy capable of providing around-the-clock support. This also means the designers had to develop all collateral and deliver while working remote. Our team kept close contact with our stakeholders, vendors, and print/production contacts to ensure all items met our high-quality standards, despite the distance we had to overcome.

Anniversary Series

Happy Anniversary Series

The Happy Anniversary Series is a collection of looping animations designed for a private client. The initial scope of work was to create a looping GIF celebrating work anniversaries for each month the company’s employees were assigned to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the course of nine months, our team developed 24 concepts and 10 final looping animations spanning March through December of 2021.

Each month, I made it a point to learn a new skill in Adobe After Effects. My favorite part of the final reel is seeing how far the production quality has come from its humble beginnings in March.

There were a few items we had to keep in mind starting out. The client’s brand standards dictated the shape of the cake and the colors we were allowed to use in the illustrations. Fortunately, their color palette was expansive and their design direction was minimal for the series. However, it was incredibly important to the client that each month portrayed the seasons as accurately as humanly possible. In the initial stages, we spent days researching seasonal fruits, vegetables, and flora in the Farmer’s Almonach until we had a total of 24 concept sketches to pitch. Each concept featured a real cake made from fruits and vegetables that were in season for their corresponding month. The background also featured flora in bloom at that specific point in the year. Once we had our concepts fully fleshed out, the client narrowed the scope until each month had a single course of action.

This series was particularly special to me because it helped me steadily grow as a motion graphics designer. Each month, I made it a point to learn a new skill in Adobe After Effects. From learning a basic rain effect in April to manipulating different warp and light settings to create a dramatic heatwave in June, I was able to expand my toolkit along the way. My favorite part of the final reel is seeing how far the production quality has come from its humble beginnings in March.

Design Something With…

Design Something With…



Design Something With… is an introductory graphic design reference book for high school students in career and charter schools. It’s divided into three smaller books tackling subjects like Design Basics, Typography and The Grid, and Production because books are heavy and you should be allowed to pick and choose what you want to carry. Each book is given a designated primary color and fit in a box set rendered after a Pantone color chip. The type system uses Helvetica for most primary headings and embraces Baskerville for all body copy. 

Design Something With... Design Basics

Design Something With… is a candid take on introductory level graphic design information. It uses sidebars, added opinions, and advice throughout to give perspective on what separates academic information from that of the real world. Inspired loosely on the revival of Memphis design in today’s modern aesthetic, it’s a bright, interactive vehicle meant to engage and entertain the audience.

Design Basics: Table of Contents

“Each book utilizes production techniques like fold-outs, pouches, accordion pull-outs, and smaller books to give a visual and tactile learning experience.”

Design Basics: Elements of Design
Design Basics: Adding scale to the Elements of Design

Type & The Grid


The second book in the set is called Type & The Grid. It gives the reader perspective on type through a hierarchy of learning. First, it explains the elegance and anatomy of the letter. Then, it moves into full words and how typefaces and kerning make an impact on their appearance. From words, we move into lines and paragraphs – discussing leading, raging, and eventually moving into type on a grid. Because type and the grid are technically separate topics, they’re given different colors to represent their sections. They are so closely related, however, it was appropriate to put them in the same book.

Design Something With... Type & The Grid
Type & The Grid: Type Anatomy spread
Type & The Grid: Explaining the difference between a font and a typeface. Showing examples of type classifications with accordion fold.
Type & The Grid: Listing the most common typefaces and providing their perfect match under every flap.

“I used visual cues [like highlighting the rag] so the reader leaves with lasting impressions that build stronger design practices.”

Type & The Grid: Paragraph rag


The third book in the set focuses on Production. It covers resolution, color in print and web, binding and production techniques, client relationships, budgeting, and tips for excellent craft. Though the book has a heavy focus on print design, it instills vital knowledge on the reader about producing a well-manicured comprehensive design for a client. With the design industry heavily embracing technology, I find design students struggle with their craft. Design Something With… Production provides tips and tricks to combat this issue.

Design Something With... Production
Production: Spread on CMYK color printing
Production: Spread on popular book binding techniques

“Illustrations simplify complicated production techniques and provide comic relief to combat the dry nature most textbooks have.”

Each of the books ends with a ‘Words of Wisdom’ section. Here, professionals in the industry share their real-world responses to questions students are afraid to ask in the classroom. Questions like, “What typeface are you sick of?” and “Should a design student know art history?” are answered here.

Want to know more about this project?
For extra spreads and more insight detailing my process and design thinking, visit my blog post, “Writing & Designing a Book.”