Collaborative Design, and Working with Real Clients

Above: illustrations I created for Miiko brand collateral.

I feel lucky to have a school project that so closely ties into real-world design work. To summarize, we were asked to create collateral for a real company, Miiko Skin Co., and work with the owner, Kimiko.

I was largely an “idea person,” and I also created illustrations for the collateral and helped establish brand guidelines for future illustrations, edited other people’s work, and organized presentation structures and meetings.

I’m a huge fan of working in teams. All of “my” ideas couldn’t have come together in their current form without the help of my teammates.

Some concepts I pitched and helped develop (from my notes – bolded concepts were used in some form):

  1. Vine or instagram videos showing the benefits of Miiko skin care

“One month of using moisturizer” – see how much her skin clears up!

– Kim could sponsor people to do this (Free samples, only obligation is to post pics or videos of yourself each day you use the product) -> Alt. version: post one before and one after selfie after using products for a month

  1. Promoting product through Youtube makeup stars

Send these stars a free sample, ask if they’d make an episode / have a feature about Miiko products

Some of these stars (or “gurus”) have over half a million followers and tens of thousands of views on their videos

  1. Connecting the product to local artists

Maybe local artists could create a beautiful image of a hummingbird, and if you buy from Miiko, you can enter to win the original piece of art

  1. Youtube ad:

“If the products are this simple, can’t I just make it at home?”

“The answer is yes.”

(Video goes on to talk about how natural and safe product is, talks about going to a skin care workshop)

  1. Facebook “tag” campaign

In the style of Ikea’s campaign: post an image of a nice local scene with products placed around, tag yourself on the product you want to win, name is entered in a draw to win product

  1. “All natural has never been so easy” web banner

An image of Miiko products hanging from trees like organic fruit

  1. “Organic food, for your skin” or “Skin care that fits in at the farmer’s market.”

“You’re careful about the food you eat. Did you know that the skin is an organ, capable of ingesting chemicals, much like the stomach does? Miiko products are so safe and natural, you can cook with them.”

This could be a display in a grocery store’s organic food section

  1. “Digital tours”

Take a video that’s interactive (sort of like how you can “turn around” in google street view), where you can tour the entire process of making a Miiko product, at your own pace

  1. Ten (or 30) days of care challenge

After using moisturizer, post a selfie everyday for ten days to show benefits of care

Tag it with whatever brand you’re using (“Miiko,” “aveda,” etc.)

  1. Incorporating hand lettering and personal notes (type of Kims own writing) – testimonials could be handwritten
  1. Maybe the products come with a blank card and beautiful stationery, inspiring people who bought them to give the products as gifts, with a nice note / card (homemaker person)


The pamphlet:

I was a major driver behind making the pamphlet have an origami / Japanese art theme, but making sure that we didn’t cross any lines into cultural appropriation. The Japanese design elements I suggested we use were:

– Gentle colors

– The use of white space

– The use of a square pamphlet (like origami paper)

– The use of nuanced floral textures

– The illustration style

Finally, I created illustrations of the products and some of the ingredients, and helped establish brand guidelines for these illustrations.

I wanted the illustrations to be “delicate, feminine, fairly realistic (like botanical drawings), accurate to the product or item, beautiful… with a dead line weight, and on-brand colours. They should be a gentle touch to the design, not a hero.”

I was greatly influenced by Japanese botanical drawings. Below are some images of my mood boards for the style.

Above: illustration style mood boards. Please note that these are only mood boards, and I do not own the images.

All in all, this was a wonderful project and it only confirmed that for me, I’d prefer working on a team than working alone. I enjoyed the “small design studio” feel of our group of 12 and I think we managed to pull together a nice project in a short amount of time. I only wish we had more of it!


The Good, The bad, The Deadline

For this assignment, we were asked to create a conceptual “how to” magazine spread.

I loved this project. My favourite part was coming up with concepts: I made pages and pages of pencil and watercolour mini illustrations. But, to explain the process, I should backtrack a little.

The spread is meant to target young people, have an eco or sustainable connection, and have some avenues for visual and graphic appeal. I tried to think of topics that were inherently interesting, young, and appealing for me to make illustrations for. The first thing that came to mind was “how to stay warm like a pro.” Instead of increasing the electric bill by turning up the heat, why not cuddle up with your partner? I liked the idea of making environmental jokes with romantic undertones. The other idea I had was how to eco decorate. Found items, such as beach glass and driftwood, could make nice decorations in home, rather than wastefully buying a new product. The third idea was thrift shopping like a pro, which is self-explanatory. The final idea, and the one I tried to pursue, was “how to save your socks.” We’re living in a culture where instead of repairing something old, we throw it away and buy something new. Obviously, this causes a lot of waste, environmental damage, and a decrease in our own autonomy.

How do you show depict saving something old by repairing it? I had fun with the idea of the sock as a “Frankenstein’s Monster,” rising from the “grave” (or garbage, in this case.) This is where I tried to be as conceptual with my layouts as possible.

Eventually, I had a solid concept and a fun layout.


Now all I had to do was execute it.


I had.

To do.

This is where “the bad” comes in, and it’s my bad. I didn’t organize my time properly and I wasn’t able to finish this project, which is a shame.

I would give myself a passing grade, but not much beyond that. I’m disappointed that I didn’t organize the type. I think the lesson learned here is that conceptualization is extremely important but if you burn yourself out too quickly, you won’t have the juice to see the project through.