It’s hard to find an “actual artist”

A recent client from northern England requested a very lively image to reproduce on a small billboard. The delivery involved a lot of sketching and design dead-ends, but the final result is one-of-a-kind. The artwork will be displayed for a number of months above an intersection with a stoplight. I hope that folks who are waiting for the light will find something different to make them smile each time they travel that way.

According the client, “…so many people responded saying ‘yes they can do it’ when they only use stock images and write something on them. To find an actual artist was hard, and I was about to give up when I bumped into you. So thank you very much.”

colorful cartoon of man in front of woodstove with chaotic family scene

A logo is a portrait of your organization

Your brand represents who you are, and your logo distills that into one image. Designing a logo is like creating a portrait of an organization.

A logo has to work at a half inch, on the bottom of an email, or be blown up to the size of a banner. It has to work on a dark background or a light one, in 4-color, spot color, or one color.

When an organization is new, and they’re figuring out who they are, designing the logo is a special challenge, and also an honor. They need something that can take them to all the places they want to go.

That’s why I am proud to have designed the new logo for the Dunedin Barefoot Business Women. I hope it will take the group to all the places they want to go!

Dunedin Barefoot Business Women
Dunedin Barefoot Business Women

“That is really cool!”

Sometimes, the best feedback from a client is just one line. That’s what we heard from the Washington Department of Labor & Industries when we delivered four new videos to introduce legal issues relating to safety and health in nonprofits. It sounds like a dry topic, but we’ve used a strong storyline and bright colors to match the brand that make it interesting.

When we began work on the project, we started with the end in mind: Who is going to watch these? What do they need to know?

Knowing our audience made it easy to script and create videos that quickly impart key messages, using language the viewer will understand. That includes Spanish-speaking audiences, too, as we created a Spanish version of one of the videos.

Have you ever considered starting a nonprofit?

I’ve lost track of the number of folks I’ve met who said, “I want to start a nonprofit…someday.”

This video, which I produced for a project funded by the Washington Secretary of State’s office, gives a high-level overview of the process. As someone who has been on the founding board of two 501(c)3 organizations, this falls into the category of “I wish I’d known then what I know now!”

How to Design for Action: An instructional design ebook for anyone who needs to teach

How to Design for Action

Nancy Bacon ( and I are both passionate about instructional design, especially as it applies to the nonprofit and public sectors. We’re recently collaborated on a free ebook, How to Design for Action, that shares our unique iterative process and how you can develop your own action-focused curriculum.

You can download your copy of How to Design for Action on the Aim for Action website. It’s a hands-on tool, with clear explanations of the process, Nancy’s thoughtful worksheets and exercises, and my original illustrations and design.

Making nonprofit workplaces safe

I love it when a big project can be distilled into a simple message. A recent project funded by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Safety & Health Investment Projects (“SHIP”) was one of those.

SHIP funds ideas to reduce workplace injuries. Nonprofits are workplaces, too, but sometimes, they get wrapped up in their mission and forget about safety. Working with Nancy Bacon of Washington Nonprofits, I designed a guide to Safety & Health in Nonprofits. It includes a booklet, sample documents, useful tools, videos, and an interactive graphic. It’s all available for free on a page on the Washington Nonprofit Institute.

All the materials were published, but there was one final task: How do you get busy members of the nonprofit sector to look at it?

My answer was: Humor.

Unlike some training materials that use macabre humor to highlight life-threatening issues (I have never recovered from watching the Klaus the Forklift Operator videos), I used characters from the design with simple speech balloons. It was just silly enough to post on my bulletin board, and I am certain others will do the same.

Special logos for special siblings

Over 20 years ago, an online community was launched to support adult siblings of people with disabilities. It began as a ListServ, moved to Yahoo!, then to Facebook. For those like myself who grew up with a special-needs sibling, SibNet is a source of support, understanding, and inspiration. It has inspired other groups, too, for teen siblings, 20-something siblings, and grandparents of special-needs individuals.

Don Meyer oversees all of these groups as part of his work directing the Sibling Support Project. He recently asked me to create logos for the four different online communities. The challenge was to make them distinctive from each other, but still clearly part of the same overall group.


I have always loved the “bouncing ball” in Don’s Sibshops logo, so I used that and the  color scheme from the Sibling Support Project to align the branding of the four communities. I used typography to give each one a different flavor that’s in keeping with the demographic it serves.


The Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good was great!

In 2018, I designed a logo for the Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good, which is held in Yakima, Washington every spring. I used images from the Yakima Canyon to inspire the design.

In 2019, I continued the Yakima Canyon theme in the conference program, shown below. The very recognizable mountains and river reflect local pride in this valuable event.

After the conference, I drove the 25-mile route of Highway 821 through the canyon, taking my own photos of the breathtaking scenery. I’m fairly certain those photos will inspire the look of next year’s conference program.

Yakima Canyon after the conference