Women Who Draw Feature: Quinnee Zimmerman for The Studio 85, LLC

Women Who Draw is an open directory of female* professional illustrators, artists and cartoonists. It was created by two women artists in an effort to increase the visibility of female illustrators, emphasizing female illustrators of color, LBTQ+, and other minority groups of female illustrators.

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Like so many great things, Women Who Draw started in the bathroom. Julia Rothman was sitting and thumbing through back issues of a prominent magazine, when she noticed that most – in fact ALL – of its covers had been illustrated by men. She went through her whole collection and found that out of 55 magazine covers done in 2015, only 4 had been created by women. She called Wendy MacNaughton and together they agreed something had to be done. Instead of complaining to the press, they decided to solve the problem by increasing the visibility of all the talented female* illustrators. In early 2017, Julia and Wendy launched Women Who Draw to highlight illustration by women, women of color, LBTQ+ and other less visible groups and make it impossible for any publication, art director or editor to ever again say “I’d hire more ____ if i only knew where to find them.”

Since its launch, Women Who Draw has become the place to go to discover new talented illustrators from all over the world. It features over 2700 (and counting) professional artists, tools to help users curate their own stables of artists, interviews with industry pros, monthly member collaborations, and a resources page for artists and the people who hire them. Social media channels and live events enable members to connect with each other. Women Who Draw members have been discovered and hired by publications like The New York Times, TED, The Globe, Bust Magazine, and Bitch Magazine. More than just a website, Women Who Draw has become a community of support and professional and political action.

Get in touch if:

-You are looking to hire an artist and want help finding the right person for the job.

-You are a company or organization and you’d like to collaborate.

-Have a suggestion. Women Who Draw is a work in progress and we’d love to hear what you think.

Email hello@womenwhodraw.com

Also check out the Cartoonists of Color Database and the Queer Cartoonists Database.

*Women Who Draw is trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators.

COLORCODED: The psychology of GOLD and why it has that allure


When you think of the color gold, images of grandeur and extravagance are likely to come to mind. 

For millennia, the metal has adorned crowns and hilts of swords. It has been used to enhance paintings and ornaments to increase their value.

In some cultures, gold is a predominant feature of festivals and celebrations. In Eastern cultures, the metal is an integral part of auspicious occasions like marriages and festivals by way of gifts and sacred rituals. Gold also features heavily on the attires of brides and grooms throughout South Asia

Humans' fascination with gold is as old as time itself. The scarce material has a certain appeal to it.

Empires have flourished by possessing gold, wars have been fought to control regions harboring rich deposits of the metal and treasure hunters and explorers have spent a lifetime in search of it.

But were they fascinated by the metal or its color? The two can be hard to distinguish, said Peter Oakley from the Royal College of Arts in the UK. There is crossover between gold as a material and gold as a color, he said. 

"The two feed off each other. The idea of gold as a color is intimately connected with our idea of gold as a material," he explained. So, when we think of it as a color, we unconsciously relate to the precious metal -- which in turn conjures images of wealth and success.

'Excrement of the gods'

In the book "Gold: Nature and Culture," art historian Rebecca Zorach and filmmaker and critic Michael Phillips Jr. write that in the Andean region, "the sharp, eye-catching visual effects of shine, gleam, glint, glitter, glow, and strong colors were all considered the phenomena of sacredness."

That led to the metal being associated with a shining, otherworldly character attributed to the gods in the religions of many different cultures. "Some of these were bodily associations," the authors write. 

The Aztecs described gold as the "excrement of the gods," while the Incas thought of it as the "sweat of the sun." In ancient Egypt, gold was considered the "flesh of the gods." Across cultures, it was a sacred material.

The book goes on to illustrate the importance of gold in health and medicine. Chinese alchemists believed that drinking potable gold in the form of elixirs, eating from gold plates and using gold utensils helped attain longevity.

"Before the 20th century, gold was used to treat conditions as varied as syphilis, heart disease, smallpox and melancholia," the book notes. 

Today, gold compounds are still thought to have some anti-inflammatory effects.

Attracting the eye

The incorruptible nature of gold has an otherworldly allure to it and the reflective quality of the metal gives the impression that it glows from the inside, said Oakley. 

When viewed by candlelight, gilded medieval manuscripts, statues and icons in the Eastern Orthodox Church exuded a transcendental quality, glowing as if they were illuminated from the inside.

"The color gold causes the eye to move because of the glistening and seemingly moveable surface, similar to the way water moves," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute. "Human eyes are always attracted to any surface that has that glistening or undulating movement. This is because humans need water in order to survive." 

The origin of gold is closely tied to the sun, adds Eiseman. "Gold is connected to all things that grow and thrive as the sun enables that growth."

Evoking emotion

Human vision can discriminate millions of colors, but it can discriminate trillions of chromatures -- colored textures, said Donald Hoffman, professor of cognitive science at University of California, Irvine.

"It is the chromature that targets the human emotions more specifically than uniform color patches," he said. 

Hoffman believes the reason chromatures can target human emotions more specifically than uniform color patches is that they contain far more information than color patches.

He demonstrated the concept with two pictures -- a section of brown grizzly bear fur and the same brown color in plain background. When looking at the chromature, our mind can immediately grasp that we are looking at a bear, he explained. 

"Evolution would have more success training the emotional system to be wary of the bear fur chromature than to be wary of the uniform color patch of the same average color." 

Similarly, when we look at a gold ring versus a standard patch of uniform color, we see interesting highlights on the ring because the metal is highly reflective.

"Companies are using genetic algorithms to evolve chromatures and target specific emotions they want people to experience with respect to their product or brand. It turns out to be quite powerful," he adds. For example, "A company might, for instance, want to convey the idea that their product is soft and warm. Then we would start with closeup images of patches of soft things, such as the fur of a rabbit and the down of a goose, and warm things, such as glowing embers of charcoal or a warm sunset," Hoffman explained.

The same could be applied to evoke emotions linked to gold -- how does it make you feel?

A sign of success

In ancient Rome and medieval Europe, sumptuary laws prohibited people from wearing too much gold -- or not wearing it at all unless they were from a noble family.

Gold leaf has been used liberally in artwork which hinted at the status of the patron who commissioned it. 

All societies value gold and investing in gold has survived for centuries through marketing -- even glorified. 

"(Gold) carries with it the messaging that you should own it. It is a learned, conditioned response," said Eiseman -- but not so much that it becomes tacky, she adds.

In popular culture, musicians flaunt their gold bling. The underlying message being that they are good at what they do and have amassed a lot of wealth. "In a lot of cultures, the word for money derives from the word for gold. In China, the ideogram for money is the ideogram for gold," Oakley said.

Gold continues to be featured heavily in religion and religious rituals alike. It decorates the papal regalia, spires, domes and minarets of temples, churches, monasteries and mosques worldwide. 

Golden trophies like Olympic medals, the Nobel Prize, Oscars and Emmys are presented to people who display a unique talent. "The idea is the prize made of a rare material is given to people with display talent as rare as the material," said Sally Augustin, an environmental and design psychologist.

Psychologically, this results in gold being a color of motivation. 

Are you motivated?

Open Arms, Closed Wallets: How a DC artist pocketed $50K of your tax dollars by stealing my art

Originally Written & Posted by Michelle Stearn for Spacelab.info... 

In Washington DC, art theft happens in the alleys, not just in the museums. One alley in particular, at 57 O Street NW around the corner from North Capitol Street, is the site of an invisible crime scene. No yellow tape, no flashing lights, no sirens. Those only come when gunshots are fired. But these bullets are inaudible, invisible, insidious. They are the words written in contracts between DC painter Lisa Marie Thalhammer and her suitor, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. These words, among other invisible bullets, helped facilitate the theft of a work of art and subsequent payment of $50,000 to the thief herself.

The object of interest is a work of art created in front of my very eyes, in my kitchen one breezy evening in Spring of 2016. My life partner, Aja Adams, got out the big sketchbook to start the design. Lisa Marie, who had come over to discuss collaborating on a grant opportunity, brought out some watercolors, and we all brainstormed ways to bring an educational component to the painting of the wall. The mural was to be painted on the Open Arms building, a shelter for homeless and domestically abused women down the street, so naturally Aja depicted a goddess woman with her hand outstretched, and a swirl of colorful energy behind her. Lisa helped add colors and shading to the piece and helped define the contours of the outstretched hand.

Had I known at that moment, standing there stirring a pot of beans, that the rendering in Aja’s sketchbook would be ripped out and exchanged with a government body for $50,000 and a shiny press release, I would have laughed out loud. My neighbor, fellow artist, supporter of our Space Lab house shows, a thief? The one who paints rainbows and “LOVE” on everything she can get her hands on? Unbelievable. Even the beans would have chuckled.

Well, it happened.

And the rainbows fade to gray. It wasn’t a clean tear out of the sketchbook, either, figuratively speaking of course. If you have the wherewithal to learn about how DC’s wealthiest government arts institution is helping a white artist exploit a community of color, you’ll keep reading. If not, feel free to just skip to the last paragraph.


The institution in question is the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities whose budget for the 2016 fiscal year was $15,955,248. Even with this cash register bulging, the grant selection committee doesn’t always throw the money at new faces. Lisa Marie was on the winning side of that coin; she has won grant monies from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities seven times – I repeat, seven times – since 2006.

Knowing this exclusivity, the news of the grant victory came bubbling up, and we celebrated. “I was so excited to be paid to do what I was born to do: paint,” Aja reminisces. “My partner was about to move and I didn’t know how I would afford DC rent alone. This seemed to be a blessing, a win-win.”

Win-win, until almost a year later, when we met at Lisa Marie’s studio and she informed Aja that they weren’t listed as “collaborators” on the grant application. Instead, Aja and I made up the “personnel team.” Okay, I thought, maybe that’s just wording. It took us almost an hour to get to some hard, fast numbers. Lisa Marie stammered at this part, saying she didn’t have the specific budget line items ready, but generally she was taking a ‘utilitarian’ approach to the grant budget. “Aja, it looks like this is going to be about a $10,000 project for you,” Lisa Marie admitted finally. During this meeting, Lisa Marie informed us that she was also planning to use about $10,000 for her own studio developments. We left the meeting with our eyebrows raised.

After doing some calculations, taking into account DC’s rising cost of living for the time it would take to complete the project, this simply wasn’t going to fly for Aja. “I was going to be paid as a minimum-wage worker for a mural I thought I was a collaborator on. So I dropped the project and asked Lisa Marie to scrap the image,” Aja says. “She agreed and also promised to pay me for my time, my company mission and resume used in the application, and for co-creating the winning design.”

The fact that Lisa Marie promised to redesign the mural is important to the plot of our story. U.S. copyright law states that once an idea is transferred into a fixed visual form, it becomes copyright. So that means that once the initial sketch was created in our kitchen that balmy DC evening, it was a legally protected jointly authored work, indicating that both Aja and Lisa Marie own the copyright and have a say in what ultimately becomes of the image.

I knew I needed to understand the law around this image to prepare for battle, so I sought the advice of copyright law expert Linda Joy Kattwinkel of the “Legalities” blog run by Owen, Wickersham & Erickson law firm in San Francisco.  “Each co-owner has the right to exploit the joint work without permission of the other co-owner, but at the same time, must share all profits from doing so equally with the other co-owner,” Kattwinkel explains. Aja decided to charge less than 50 percent of the grant, "because in all fairness, I wasn't going to be there to physically paint the wall." So when Lisa Marie made a fuss about the $5,625.00 invoice, and ultimately refused to pay even the first installment, Aja and I decided to take it to the big-wigs.

First, we emailed the Director of the Commission, Arthur J. Espinoza, along with several underlings who we thought could help resolve our non-payment issue and alerted them of a possible breach of copyright. We are listed on the grant application as the “personnel team,” after all, so how difficult could it be?

For weeks: silence. We didn’t hear back from anyone except Lisa Marie, who pleaded: “They have not approved my redesign and suggested that I return the funds or have the design resemble the original, which means no one gets paid anything... which would also put me in considerable debt in addition to you not receiving any payment as well,” she wrote in an email in June 2017. Lisa Marie indicated that the funds were being threatened because of one line in her contract in question: “Artist warrants that the Work does not infringe or violate the copyright, trademark or patent right of any third party.”

Through the whole process, Aja continues to insist that the power has always been in Lisa Marie’s hands to resolve. Pay up, and send along the brand new image for the mural. “If you’re creative and worthy of this grant, you can design a new mural for the wall,” Aja says. However, in order to stall payment, Lisa Marie blamed everything from slow paperwork turnaround to our own efforts voicing Aja’s concern about copyright. Imagine our surprise when she touted the so-called “new” mural design as being “completely my own rendering,“ she wrote in the email thread with the commission. "The drawing is a completely new one,” she claimed.

LEFT: Original design used in the application for the Public Art Building Communities grant, jointly authored by Aja Adams and Lisa Marie Thalhammer. RIGHT: "New" image approved by the grantors for the mural, sole authorship claimed by Lisa Marie Thalhammer. Used by the former to retain grant monies without permission by co-creator Aja Adams.

LEFT: Original design used in the application for the Public Art Building Communities grant, jointly authored by Aja Adams and Lisa Marie Thalhammer.
RIGHT: "New" image approved by the grantors for the mural, sole authorship claimed by Lisa Marie Thalhammer. Used by the former to retain grant monies without permission by co-creator Aja Adams.

Your jaw might have dropped when you saw the image; so did ours.

“I would love to see an art historian examine that image,” Aja smirks. “You can see the pencil-marking from the original rendering through the color. After telling me she had lost the original sketch when I asked for it back last year, I now know why Lisa Marie had to lie. She painted over the original, plain and simple.”

It started to become clear that Lisa’s carefully woven quilt of domination was unraveling. Since the commission wouldn’t approve anything Lisa designed on her own, she decided to use Aja’s original image without permission. Under copyright law this would be permissible, if and only if she didn’t profit off of the image, or if she paid Aja 50 percent of the award.

The story continues, because Aja didn’t stop fighting. In response to this blatant copy of the original, and despite our involvement from the beginning, the Commission asked Aja to prove status as a co-creator of the work. Why is it that now we need to show proof, I pondered, when the Commission threatened to pull the grant from Lisa Marie based on our initial communication with them about copyright infringement? Irony notwithstanding, we sent in statements and screenshots detailing our journey to negotiate payment and copyright ownership with the grantee Lisa Marie. The lack of written proof started to seem like evidence itself. Lisa had covered her tracks wisely;  at all costs avoiding mentioning copyright issues in writing. The only time she mentioned copyright was when she tried to have Aja sign away all rights to the image, including the right to communicate with the grantors. 

An excerpt from the Memorandum of Understanding sent by Lisa Marie to Aja and Michelle, left unsigned. The document asked the artist Aja to sign away all copyrights and give up the rights to communicate directly with the grantor.

An excerpt from the Memorandum of Understanding sent by Lisa Marie to Aja and Michelle, left unsigned. The document asked the artist Aja to sign away all copyrights and give up the rights to communicate directly with the grantor.

“Until that point, even though I knew the situation was corrupt, I didn’t want to shout about this on social media,” Aja admits. “That’s not my personality. I was seeking compromise anyway, not domination.”

The piece of news that finally pushed Aja and me over the edge came as a blow this Tuesday morning. Even though Lisa Marie had claimed to have “lost” the original when Aja requested to see it back in 2016, the piece mysteriously received a copyright registration under Lisa Marie Thalhammer from the U.S. Copyright Office in August 2017, over a year after they jointly created it.

“Lisa Marie registered both the initial sketch and the derivative piece under her name, even though we both own the works jointly. It was done illegally, without my permission,” Aja explains. “However, in response to my claims of co-ownership, the DCCAH used these pieces of paper – these registrations with the U.S. copyright office – as proof that I was NOT a co-creator of the piece.”

How is it that the U.S. Copyright Office grants copyright registration to those who lie about their ownership of the work? As Linda Joy Kattwinkel from San Francisco advised, in order to register an image with the U.S. copyright office, “ownership issues need to be clear. Otherwise your registration could be invalidated.” Invalidated, why? Because it’s illegal. Copyright occurs the moment the image becomes fixed on paper.

In the end, both the DCCAH and Lisa Marie thought they had maneuvered their way out of this bind. Lisa Marie not only created and illegally registered a derivative work, she also planned on profiting off it, and went ahead and painting the wall using a combination of the original and derivative designs.

So how do we sit calmly while the DCCAH uses these illegal scraps of paper to claim that Aja is NOT a co-owner of the work, created in Aja’s very own sketchbook in our humble kitchen last year? Unlike the paintings in museums, which are protected by laser alarms and security cameras, local artists don’t have built-in support to protect their work when the art thieves come preying. Not even the taxpayers who funded the $50,000 transaction were ever supposed to know the perpetrator’s crimes.


Even if we had a case in court, hiring an attorney would be difficult, to say the least. A light of hope: U.S. Congressmembers have introduced a bill called the “CASE Act” that would help individual creators with copyright claims, but we can’t wait for that. As of now, as Robert Levine explained for a recent Billboard piece, “The potential penalties in copyright lawsuits often get a lot of attention: statutory damages can reach as high as $150,000 for willful infringement. What gets discussed less often, however, is the cost of bringing federal litigation to enforce those rights in the first place.” Levine cited a report by the American Intellectual Property Law Association which found that “the average cost of litigating a copyright case, from pre-trial proceedings through an appeals process has reached $278,000.” If my calculations are correct, even if we won the court case we’d be $128,000 in the red.

Thus, It remains to be seen the outcomes of this crime. Perhaps the most efficient of all solutions would be a private settlement between the two parties, similar to the one Shepard Fairey negotiated with The Associated Press after his infamous posterization of Mannie Garcia’s original photograph of President Obama for the “Hope” poster. The two parties never even entered a courtroom; instead, came to a profit-sharing solution at their own table.

“I’m open to negotiating with Lisa Marie for a fair way to share this image. The problem is, she’s blocked me from all channels of communication,” says Aja. “That’s why I’ve tried to press further with the DCCAH, but their responses are increasingly aggressive.” The Commission has repeatedly disassociated itself with the issue in their direct communications with Aja, stating that this is a personal matter to be solved outside the boxing ring. “We do not have the legal authority to resolve your personal, copyright-related fight with Ms. Thalhammer,” said a representative of the Commission, Carl Wilson, in their last communication with Aja.

Another source at the Commission similarly advised, “Frankly, the arbitration would be between Lisa and Aja. This isn't a Commission issue, it's an intellectual property (IP) issue between Lisa and Aja. The Commission awarded the project, and Lisa allegedly breached Aja's IP rights. The Commission contracts the applicant with completing the project, it doesn't deal with assigning intellectual property rights.”

Twisted, how institutions with the power to change the paradigm of artists leeching off unprotected and underserved community members shirk their responsibility to hold grantees accountable and play it off as “personal.” Twisted, how the underlying exploitation is dispersed onto individuals, making it even more challenging to pinpoint and deconstruct. It’s akin to faulting underpaid teachers for failing their students, instead of examining the underfunded education system as a whole.



In the midst of this storm, we are hopeful that resolve will start to coalesce. In less than 48 hours since Aja went public on Facebook and Change.org, there are over 660 petition supporters and counting, and even made the NBC4 evening news Wednesday night.  

“Now that we’re past compromise, I’m not sure what to look for besides finding a drop of equality in this system,” Aja laments. “Something’s got to happen for artists, especially queer artists of color, to not be exploited and ignored anymore. To make sure this never happens again. And that the people guilty be held accountable. I need to be paid and given credit for my work. This is my livelihood, I don’t have a choice for this to be okay.”

So now, we wait, strengthened by our community that has risen up from the cracks in the internet’s floor. Although Lisa Marie has played innocent throughout the whole process, her actions tell the story louder than her words ever could. As transgender filmmaker of color Reina Gossett recently wrote on Instagram about how her white male counterpart stole years of research to direct a Netflix-funded documentary: “This kind of extraction/excavation of Black life, disabled life, poor life, trans life is so old and so deeply connected to the violence [film subject] Marsha had to deal with throughout her life.” Yet despite the crime against Gossett and evidence put forth to prove it, the film’s producer David France staked his claim of ownership and has not looked back since. A parallel to Lisa Marie’s strategy, he hides behind gushing praise and love for the community, while perpetrating the violence and exploitation we were hoping to combat with this project in the first place.

Lisa Marie’s last plea to Aja was dripping with pathos-plagued persuasion tactics. “The women at Open Arms constantly complain to me about how people just use their situation to take advantage of grants and get money undeserved,” she wrote us in an email, “which is why its so important to me that the funding be appropriately distributed and used for the production of the mural and work with the women directly.”

Lisa Marie Thalhammer, you stole artwork from a queer non-binary person of color from your own community, the one you are claiming to serve. You illegally registered two images for copyright, both of which you do not hold sole ownership of, and you pocketed $50,000 of taxpayer money. Please do yourself and the community a favor: follow your own advice.

10 Reasons Why a Logo Should Never Cost Less Than $200

Run, don’t walk from cheap logo design.

I got a phone call not so long ago from a prospective client asking about having a logo designed. Great, I thought, that’s what I do! Unfortunately they found out that I was way outside of their budget. Now, I get it…even the starting price of what I charge for logos isn’t exactly cheap, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a professionally designed logo for much less than that.

The same is true for all design, but right now I’m focusing on logos because there seems to be a rather recent influx of cheap logo design out there, plus clients who expect to pay next to nothing for their logo. Like, less than $200.
So why aren’t logos $30? Or even $200? What’s so bad about that?

There seems to be a disconnect between what designers know and what everyone else thinksthey know when it comes to the reality of logo design, and why it’s not cheap. The reasons are many, but let me just start out by saying us designers aren’t trying to take you for all you’re worth; rather, we know what goes into creating a logo that will last a lifetime. Here’s 10 of those secrets:

1. Believe it or not, designing a logo actually takes work

Professional designers aren’t just “playing around” on their computers all day. Any design we do requires work, and we take our profession very seriously.

Professional designers aren’t just playing around on their computers all day. CLICK TO TWEET

We went to school to learn the principles of good design; we need the necessary skills to properly use design programs like Adobe Illustrator; we devote our days to self-marketing, research, meeting with clients, going over briefs, and giving presentations. As passionate as we are about our work, at the end of the day, it’s still work.

2. We went to school to learn how to do this

Granted, some designers are self-taught, but that’s the exception not the rule. Most of us understood the value in higher education, so we committed four+ years of our lives to learning our trade. Time and effort aside, earning a degree also costs an arm and a leg.

As much as I would love to do my work for dirt cheap or even for free, the fact remains that when I’m done with school I’ll have a bill in the neighborhood of $40,000. I’ll have to pay that back somehow.

In today’s society there is no way around it; in order to have a good job, more or less you’ll need a good education (read: college). It’s well understood in most professions that earning a degree entitles you to higher earnings: your newfound knowledge and skills as a college grad adds value and worth to your work. Graphic designers are no different.

3. The equipment and software we use costs (lots of) money

In the design industry, us designers have to stay atop current technology and software.

And, unfortunately, those things aren’t exactly in the bargain bin. I’d hate to say we pass the expense on to you, but that’s every business. If we charge you less than what it takes for us to stay afloat financially, we’d sink and go out of business.

One of the reasons why a logo ain’t cheap is because the software to make them ain’t cheap. CLICK TO TWEET

Rolled into all those expenses are also the very programs we use to create those beautiful designs. Just to give you a head’s up, our design software is usually around $2,000, and upgrades are about $400. So one of the reasons why a logo ain’t cheap is because the software to make them ain’t cheap.

4. Designing a logo isn’t simple

Much goes into the design process itself.

Part of the reason so much time goes into logo design is because we have to do things like meet with the client, create a design brief, create a proposal, research your company, research your competition, research your audience, brainstorm, generate ideas, seek inspiration, sketch, do roughs, create the actual logo ideas, refine them, show them to you, get feedback, go back and do revisions, finalize the logo design, choose a suitable typeface and color palette…I could go on, but by now you can see that the process of a logo design is quite extensive.

Now before you say, “Well, why don’t you just cut out a couple of steps so you only take 5 hours,”let me tell you that you really can’t. At least you can’t and still get a good logo.

Those cheap “designers” you see on Craigslist or 99designs? They probably just design something off the top of their head without knowing anything about your business, your audience, or your competition.

So it might be a cute design but it won’t have any staying power, and it won’t strengthen your brand. Or they might steal a logo that’s already out there, and you’ll be liable for copyright infringement. Or they could just use some cheap clip art, which looks horrible and is a teeny bit illegal. Fun stuff like that that I’m sure you don’t want any part of.

You know that saying, “you get what you pay for?” Zero difference when it comes to logo design.

5. It takes more than just a couple of hours to design a good logo

I typically spend anywhere from 10-30 hours on every single logo design that I do for a client. See the steps I outlined in step 4 to get a better idea of where that time goes. Now ask yourself how you’d feel if someone offered you $30 for 15 hours of hard work. With all of your experience and skills. And your college degree. And all that expensive software you had to buy. Exactly. I’d be offended too!

It takes more than just a couple of hours to design a good logo. CLICK TO TWEET


This should also go to show why a good logo cannot possibly cost less than $200 dollars: do the math. If someone is selling you a logo for $30, how much time do you think they spent on it?

Certainly no more than a couple of hours. If they spent the time going through the whole process, they would end up making less than $2.00/hour. That’s not even minimum wage. So I can pretty much guarantee, if you’re getting a logo that’s much less than $200, your designer is probably skimping on the process of creating that logo.

6. I didn’t start designing yesterday

Most reasonable people would agree, that the longer you do something—the more of an expert you are—the more value the services you provide have.

For some reason a majority of people view professional designers in a different light. Now I may be a little biased, but that doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

Although it’s a given that I haven’t been in the game nearly as long as some of my fellow designers have—and we’re talking 10, 20, 30+ years—I think the fact that I’ve been doing this for 7 years says something, right? It’s not like I started designing yesterday. Seven years isn’t as much as 20, but it’s experience and I think anyone with several years under their belt deserves some compensation for it.

7. Everything else builds on your logo

Do you have a business card? A company website? Colors? Well, you really can’t have any of these things without first having a logo. The logo is the foundation of everything else your company does visually. It is the cornerstone of your branding and identity. So, obviously, it’s important. You really can’t do anything without a defined logo in place first. That’d be like going through a maze blindfolded. You need to have that cohesive branding ready before you start your venture, not after the fact.

Every single successful business out there uses effective branding to their advantage. Think Apple. Think McDonald’s. Think Target. Their logos, their colors, are everywhere. In fact, it’s statistically proven that the more a company invests into their marketing, the greater their ROI will be.

Like I’ve said before, having a great logo or great design won’t magically make your business any better, but it will make it look better in the eyes of your audience. And that’s what we’re 

talking about, perceived value. Of course, you have to have the goods and service to back it up.

But when the best thing that can happen with a good logo is your business taking off, and the worst thing that can happen with a bad logo is your business sinking, is there really any question in your mind about what needs to be done?


8. Your logo is the first thing people see

You want to make a good first impression, don’t you? Wrong! You want to make a great first impression! So why risk having someone take one look at your logo, the very face of your company, and cringe?

And there are some cringe-worthy logos out there! Don’t let your business be one of them. I firmly believe that if you take pride in your business, that if you believe in your cause, and are willing to make that initial investment, I can almost guarantee your business will be a success. I say almost, because it’s still possible to have an amazing logo and a horrible product or service that nobody wants. But that’s not you. Right?


9. Your logo will last you many years to come

OK, don’t tell me you want a cheap logo now, because you plan on buying a better logo a few years down the line, when your business is successful.

That’s not a good idea, because what you’re trying to build as a new business is your brand. If you go and change your logo every few years, then you completely defeat the purpose of having a brand.

Everything that people began to associate with your business, via your logo, will disappear and you’ll essentially be starting over from scratch. Besides, what if your crummy cheap logo prevents your company from even taking off in the first place? What then?

What you’re trying to build as a new business is your brand. CLICK TO TWEET

Rebranding is very risky, and must be done carefully. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails miserably (remember how Gap tried to change their logo? Bad, bad move!). Your best bet is to just do it right the first time. In the end you’ll save not only time, money, and stress, but also retain the favor of your audience.

10. We never “just design a logo”—we build relationships

In order to properly design a good logo, as a designer I need to get in your head. I need to know everything there is to know about your business and your audience—your hopes and fears, your dreams for the company, where you see yourself in 5 years, etc.

I need to know you and your company on a personable level. That takes commitment, time, energy, and effort. So you can see, at least for me, it’s not just a logo design. It’s not just a commodity. It’s an ongoing relationship.



About Studio 85

Established in 2012, at a time when being an entrepreneur and business owner was on the rise. Quinnée Zimmerman founder of Studio 85, LLC, wanted to create a design business that whole-heartedly supported the visual, brand and social presence of black-owned businesses. Designs, Images + Graphics that reflected women of color were in dire need and became the perfect passion pursuit for the company. Studio 85, LLC was rebranded and restablished itself as a "for us by us" company. The Studio 85, LLC would become the resource for minority based design and illustrations.

The Studio 85, LLC- a Digital Design & Illustration Studio located in the DC Metro area. We appreciate smart, meaningful design and finding the right solution to accomplish our clients’ creative + digital goals. Nobody hires us to create something ordinary or stand back and shut up. We love fashion, popular culture & supporting minority-owned business. We are proud to be a Digital Design & Illustration Studio delivering marketing resources and design assets, for businesses of color.  

We’re brutally honest experts, passionate artists & serious about the business of black and brown girls.

4th of July Logo Sale: Go!


ISSA 4th of July Logo Sale


$119 - Special is only good if paid for in between the dates of July 1st – July 8th
1 Logo- Multi or Single Color
90% - Text Based
1 Preliminary Max can purchase additional prelims for $100 ea.
2 Minor Revisions Max (to that 1 logo or additional prelim)
Deal is only good for a Max of 3 logos or additional prelims)
Logo Must be Finalized in 48hrs (ea.) min. 72hrs max.
No Refunds
Full Amount Paid Up Front
Final File will include:
-PNG (transparent)
No Original Art Work or Sketches or Copyright transfer will be given unless purchased for an additional $225
Additional (s):
- $225 Original Artwork, Sketched/Copyright Transfer
- $100 per logo/prelim
- $65 E-Flyer
- $55 Business Cards
- $45 Save in Additional Color Combinations or Solids

Ethnic Marketing: One Size Does Not Fit All

Globalization has become a controversial topic in recent times and people often disagree on whether we are experiencing too much or too little of it. Paradoxically, globalization both increases and decreases diversity. This raises important new challenges for marketers.

Many believe that globalization threatens their way of life or that it creates a world with few winners and many losers, and therefore countries should oppose it. Others argue instead that countries should find ways to accelerate their links to global trading networks as new markets offer great opportunities, and because trade barriers hurt producers in poor countries.

First, globalization leads to an increase in diversity within countries. Contemporary societies are vastly more diverse than they used to be. Second, globalization also leads to a decrease in diversity between countries. Whereas a few decades ago, people in different countries lived very different lives, we can now observe a remarkable cultural convergence. For example, teenagers today listen to the same music, dress in the same way, and play the same games regardless of whether they live in London, New York, or Beijing.

The days of ‘one-size-fits-all’ marketing are over. Companies must use multicultural marketing approaches and target ethnic segments based on their own cultural framework. However, when marketers create ethnic targeting strategies for each cultural group, they usually profile everyone within that group the same way, and overlook the differences between first- and second-generation minority consumers.

A recent research project we conducted reveals that the cultural baggage of the second generation is more complex, being influenced both by the cultural heritage of their parents’ country, and the mainstream culture of the “host” country in which they have been raised. By contrast, first generation ethnic minorities retain a stronger bond with the cultural roots that they established before being re-located.

We found that the first generation groups reacted more positively to advertisement featuring a same-heritage spokesperson and, as a result, developed more positive attitudes towards the institution or company responsible for the advertisement. Second generation groups reacts in a similar manner to adverts featuring same-heritage and majority spokespersons.

When it comes to media planning, companies often attempt to target minority consumers using media and contexts which reach consumers when their ethnic identity is especially salient; for example advertising on a website focused on the minority. And when it comes to advertising copywriting, companies often target ethnic minorities by using minority models or spokespersons

The main strategies used to target ethnic minorities are not equally effective among all minority consumers. The media planning strategy seems to work better for second- than for first-generation consumers. Conversely, the copywriting strategy seems to work better for first- than for second-generation consumers. These effects can be explained by differences in the acculturation processes of minority consumers.

We strongly recommend that marketers consider the approach and content of their campaigns, depending upon the generational status of their target audience. From a copywriting perspective, they should consider very carefully what they have to say and who will deliver the message. From a media planning perspective, they should give considerable thought to the timing of their campaign and the linguistic and cultural context in which they wish to set it.

Above all, marketers should resist the temptation to view ethnic minorities as a homogenous group from which they will elicit the same reaction, regardless of their cultural identity. Comprehension of and adaptation to the generational status of ethnic minority consumers and the strength and complexity of their cultural heritage are crucial to the process of successful marketing.

How fashion brands are trying to connect with Gen Z

Much like millennials before them, Gen Z — the demographic born between 1995 and 2010 — has been a particularly tough nut for fashion and beauty marketers to crack.

The 61 million members of Gen Z are defined as the first generation of truly digital natives, born into an era in which the internet had always existed and was never a novelty. As a result, more than any other generation, they are drawn to the ephemeral nature of apps like Snapchat, and shy away from owning products in favor of renting. This has translated directly to how they make purchases; Gen Z teenagers are more frugal and money-conscious than their millennial counterparts, despite growing in spending power at a rate that surpasses millennials, reaching an estimated $44 billion.

This cautious attitude about spending is a confluence of several factors that have, in many ways, made this group risk-averse, including coming of age in a particularly challenging economic and political climate, according to Kate Lewis, svp and editorial director at Hearst Digital Media. Speaking at the Fashion Culture Design conference in New York on Friday, Lewis — joined by other fashion industry notables, including Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine — discussed the challenges of marketing to this group of younger consumers with very distinct tastes and an advanced digital literacy.

“There’s a focus on rental, instead of acquisition,” Medine said at the event. “Look at Spotify and Netflix; [Gen Z doesn’t] own any of these things. Look at Uber, Airbnb and any number of the fashion rental programs that are emerging. All of these things have felt so farfetched to [millennials], because we wanted to own our stuff.”

Medine said, when it comes to fashion specifically, members of Gen Z may opt to rent a prom dress from a company like Rent The Runway, rather than shell out full price at a department store. MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer at millennial marketing agency YPulse, echoed Medine, and said Gen Z’s proclivities toward the sharing economy make sense, given that they were more impacted by the economic recession than any other generation. According to YPulse data, 62 percent of Americans ages 13-17 don’t remember a time before the recession.

Gen Z also has a particularly strong tie to streetwear culture, according to Jeff Staple, fashion designer and founder of Staple Design, Inc. For the younger generation of Americans, who were essentially born with a mobile phone in their hand, waiting in product drop lines that have become synonymous with streetwear and talking to real life people have become somewhat of a novelty.

“I’ve never enjoyed standing in line. But, [for Gen Z], they’re so used to getting something off of Amazon in one click or off of eBay. Now, they want to line up, because it’s an opportunity for them to hang out and socialize with their cohort,” Staple said, speaking at the event.

Staple pointed to Gen Z streetwear brand founders that are turning the business model on its head, including Neek Lurk of Anti Social Social Club. Lurk has found success in creating basic T-shirt and hoodie designs on his computer, sharing them on Instagram and selling thousands of dollars worth of product before the garments even go into production. “He’s the kind of guy who’s building a brand where people think it’s cool that he’s not trying,” Staple said.

Perhaps the most overarching theme of Gen Z is a focus on individuality that expands upon the non-conformity of millennials. YPulse data shows that 82 percent of consumers ages 13-17 don’t care about brand names, 75 percent enjoy testing new brands and 66 percent think brands that experiment with new ways to sell or deliver products are innovative. As a result, the Gen Z set is creating unique pairings and establishing looks in ways even the designer never thought of, said Leslie Ghize, evp of the trend forecasting company TOBE.

“Their sense of style is their own, of course informed by what they see and how they see it — but prescription does not appeal to them. It seems too contrived,” she said.



The Studio 85, LLC is looking for 1 potential client to use for a test/passion project. 

What does that mean?

If you are a SERIOUS + ESTABLISHED business owner, we would like to provide you our FULL RANGE of services for FREE. Yes, you heard right for FREE... 

The idea is that we want to test our skills out on your business and then use the experience for a case study. 

That's everything from: Digital Marketing + Design + Web + Analytics, + Social Media + Content Development + Strategy...

To participate you MUST have an: 

Established Brand or Company (not an idea, I can not stress this enough)
Some social precense
Need Re-Branding
Need Re-Marketing
Google Analytics tracking your site
Looking for business growth and placement

To submit your inquiry email: hello(at)studio85llc(dot)com or DM us via our BUSINESS PAGE <3


Move Over Kylie, Kim Kardashian’s Makeup Line Is Estimated to Make $14.4 Million In 5 Minutes

With her clothing and accessories line, fragrance collection and wildly successful video game app, it seemed like only a matter of time before Kim Kardashian West added a cosmetics line to her ever-growing list of fashion and beauty entrepreneurial endeavors. Last week, the reality TV star confirmed the official launch date, June 21, 2017 for her new beauty line, KKW Beauty, to her 101 million Instagram followers.

In an interview with WWD, Kardashian expressed her readiness for her new business enterprise. “We have a good model, and even from our lip kit, we have a really good general idea of what our customer is going to be like. We are definitely prepared for the demand," she explained. And by high demand, she means an estimated of $14.4 million in sales--within the first five minutes.

According to the industry experts, KKW Beauty is expected to mirror the sister duo's wildly successful lip kits, which garnered $13.5 million in sales. And although the famous sisters are technically still new to the makeup world, unlike sister and Estée Lauder model Kendall Jenner, their sales are expected to compete with beauty powerhouses like L’Oréaland Estée Lauder

KKW Beauty's first products will consist of a Créme Contour and Highlight Kit, and if we've learned anything from the social media mogul's past, this is just the beginning.

5 Key Digital Marketing Trends for Organizations in 2017

As 2016 nears its end, organizations are facing more and more challenges when it comes to digital marketing. With growth and revenue a priority for most businesses, 74% of marketing professionals this year have focused on converting leads to customers, while over half prioritized increasing traffic to their website.

Alongside accelerating inbound marketing being a top priority, technologies continue to evolve while social platforms seem to have a life of their own when it comes to growth. Take the current shining star in the app world Snapchat, only launched in 2012 the application has dominated headlines this year piquing interest amongst brands and investors alike raising nearly $650 million in six rounds of funding and its founders demonstrating such belief in their product they rejected a $3 billion buy-out offer from Facebook.

This is the reality of digital. It doesn’t just move, it skyrockets, and as technologies continue to evolve so do customers. As a result, the marketing activities of organizations also needs to move apace to keep up with both its application of digital technologies and developing the knowledge and skills to use them.

So while 2016 continues to witness developments in the realms of social media, VR, mobile marketing and user experience to name a few - what does 2017 hold? To help keep you in the loop, here are five digital marketing trends to look out for next year.

1) In-store marketing

In-store marketing may not sound like a branch of digital marketing, but in 2017, the relationship between physical and online sales techniques is expected to narrow even more.

In a smartphone dominated world, 80% of millennials use their phone in-store and 74% claim to be willing to receive location-based mobile alerts. For an organization with an optimized mobile strategy, capturing customers in-store through digital techniques will provide an effective means of conversion.

“In order for retailers to compete with the 800lb gorilla that is Amazon, they must provide shoppers with a unique in-store experience with tailored-made engagement. Leveraging location-based marketing through a retailer’s branded mobile app allows retailers to drive traffic through relevant, contextual mobile marketing” - Eric Newman, VP of Products & Marketing at Digby

A fine example of this comes from American supermarket Target. The store launched a reward app to present their customers with special offers as they walk through various departments of their stores. Today's advanced beacon technologymakes it easy for marketers to place relevant offers into the hands of their customers.

2) Live video


As consumers become savvier and more tuned into their digital surroundings, they have a greater desire to connect with brands and follow their stories.

Online video now accounts for 50% of all mobile traffic and this year has seen a huge rise in video sharing, and video content creation, particularly in the realms of social media.

Platforms such as Periscope and Facebook Live now make it easy for brands and businesses to connect with their fans and followers in real-time and get their message across by streaming live broadcasts and promoting them in advance, and as people's thirsts for video stimulation increases, so will the need for live video content.

Earlier this year, BuzzFeed broadcast a Facebook Live video of people placing elastic bands around a watermelon, eventually causing it to burst. According to reports, audiences tuned in for an average of 40 minutes without even realizing it. Live video broadcasting is expected to ramp up even more in 2017. 

3) Expiring social content

As social media consumption continues to rise and the big players are monopolizing the market, we can expect significant changes in social from next year and beyond.

Facebook bought WhatsApp, Twitter purchased Periscope, and as social becomes more consolidated, the way in which these platforms operate may very well change, and it's up to businesses and their marketers to keep their eye on the changes to remain ahead of the game.

One big digital marketing trend that is expected to blow up in the world of social media comes in the form expiring content. Expiring digital content offers brands and businesses a means of cutting through the noise and clutter, and gaining the attention of their target audience without spending massive amounts of capital.

One of the pioneers of the expiring content movement is Snapchat. To create a real sense of urgency, the platform gave customers a limited time to read or view content before it disappeared. This consisted of watching 10-second videos that disappear after one view, and then related to other bigger Snapchat stories.

The tactic proved so successful that Instagram copied the model, causing a rivalry between the two platforms. Expiring content is becoming an effective means of brand advertising and it’s set to blow up in 2017 and is a trick not to be missed.

4) Wearable mobile devices

There are currently 7.22 billion active mobile devices in the world - that's more technology in the world than people, so it's easy to understand the importance of smartphone marketing and its relevance to an organization.

In 2015 the wearables market exceeded $2 billion; this year it is set to hit almost 3 billion and is expected to reach over 4 billion in 2017. Much like the emergence of mobile, brands and businesses will have to develop their websites and platforms to suit the needs of the needs of the average wearable user, and ensure they are optimized for small, more interactive screens to ensure a quality user experience and prompt sales.

5) Interactive Content

According to digital marketing expert, Aaron Agius, interactive digital content is going to come into its own in 2017.

In the current digital landscape, engagement is everything, and marketers succeed when their audience not only consumes content but also enjoys and acts upon it, which is why interactive content will be so important going forwards.

Compared to 36% for static content, interactive content generates conversions moderately or very well 70% of the time. In addition it works as a competitor differentiator and proves effective in educating buyers, no mean feat in a landscape that sees customers turn away from traditional methods of purchasing in favour of online reviews and research. 

“By its very nature, interactive content engages participants in an activity: answering questions, making choices, exploring scenarios. It’s a great way to capture attention right from the start. Individuals have to think and respond; they can’t just snooze through it.” - Scott Brinker, Author of ChiefMartec.com

With digital technology getting more sophisticated all the time, the scope for brands and businesses to engage with consumers is seemingly endless, and it is going to prove even more valuable in 2017.

Interactive can come in many forms, from quizzes and polls to calculators and contests. The question is: which interactive content will you develop to engage with your audience? Food for thought.

2017 isn't far away and now is the time to take heed of the new and the developed digital marketing trends that are beginning to emerge. Start planning and gain the expertise you need now to ensure success tomorrow.