:: SPOTLIGHT :: Graphic Designer, Andrea Pippins

One of the reasons I love blogging is the fact that it puts me in touch with people all over the world that I normally would not have had the opportunity of connecting with. My connection with graphic designer, Andrea Pippins, is one of those connections I have been truly grateful for over the years.Andrea is the creator of the notable and visually inspiring design blog, FLY. I've been following her site since I entered the blogging world myself in 2009 and it always has something that will catch your attention as she profiles the work of others and showcases her amazing design savvy as well. At the beginning of this year, I was unbelievably stoked when Andrea reached out to me to say she would work on designing a "Natural Chica" logo for me! I had been wanting an official logo for a while and in my mind, Andrea was my dream designer to work with. She's known my brand for a while now as well and I even had the pleasure of being featured on her site back in 2010 and 2011. I'm in love with my new logo and so thankful to Andrea for sharing her time and talent with me. 

Enjoy getting to know more about Andrea below and her thinking behind my new logo! 

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Photo by D. Finney Photography

1. What was your journey like into the world of graphic design and what do you enjoy most about it? My journey in design has taking me to so many different places! I started out designing at the Brooklyn Children's Museum in NY, where I worked part-time designing for 8 months before making my way to Kansas City where I worked at Hallmark Cards. I soon left KC to accept a design position back in New York working at TV Land/Nick@Nite for a few years before going to grad school. I went back to school to get my masters in design so I could teach on design on a college level. So now I am an educator and designer.
My career, so far, has allowed me to see and do so many things I never imagined. Because my main focus is in design education, what I enjoy most is seeing how my students develop their skills. Seeing them take what I've taught them and producing their own work is always a wonderful gift.
Andrea Pippins
2. What kinds of things inspire you in your work? Color, patterns (l love surface designs), and stories about women doing amazing things. Social enterprise. Fashion inspires me but individual styles inspires me more. The process behind how something comes together really inspires me. Seeing how someone goes from inspiration to final piece always sparks my interest. I am also drawn to minority youth culture; the innovation of style, social engagement, and creativity that comes from there is intriguing and important to pay attention to. These are all things that inform my personal work, design work, and how I teach my design courses.
 3. Tell us about your natural hair journey.
I was in college when I decided to go natural. My roommate had cut off all her hair and her courage inspired me. I stopped getting perms for a while, and then finally I just decided I was going to do it. So one August day in 2001 I went to a barbershop and had the barber cut it all off. I wore it low like that for several months before growing it out. This was all before the natural hair boom on the web so I didn't have many resources for styles and products, which might've worked in my favor because I know I would have been overwhelmed with info. I just explored playing with my hair and found a rhythm that really worked for me. I loved being natural (and still do).
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There was one period in my life where I was totally stressed out, and I'm one of those people who's hair completely reflects what I'm going through. My coils had gone from vibrant and shiny to lackluster strands that were dry and brittle. It didn't help that I lived in a city that had really hard water either. At the same time, my go to product was discontinued and I couldn't find anything to replace it. With all that, my hair was in need of a serious change, so after growing it out for ten years I cut it again, not as low as before, but pretty low.
I hated the cut! (Shortly after I remember reading a post saying never get a hair cut when you're unhappy. And I had done just that!) But it did allow my hair to grow back healthier, without the breakage and dryness, and now it's healthy again. I'm sure it also helped that I am no longer in that stressed space.
andrea
4. Can you walk us through a bit of the design process for the new Natural Chica logo?  Of course.I always like to hear what the client has in mind in regards to their brand so I started out by sending Mae a few questions to get an idea of how she saw Natural Chica in the present and in the future. From there I started developing sketches based on what she shared and then finally produced some designs. Natural beauty and hair were two elements I kept in the back of my mind when developing an icon for Natural Chica. I wanted to create something that spoke to where the brand has been but was subtle enough to evolve with where the brand is going (which I'm really excited about).Mae, the face of Natural Chica, is beautiful so I wanted to create something that reflected her beauty but be simple enough that it could be used in various ways (online, on a business card, or packaging, etc.).
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Logo sketches by Andrea Pippins for Natural Chica
Andrea Pippins
The final logo design by Andrea Pippins for Natural Chica

5. Is there anything else you'd like to share with our Natural Chica readers?

I love being a designer and maker and always try to encourage others to be makers. We are doing some amazing things online, I love that we are taking control of our images and just being creatively amazing. But I also feel it's enough. We need to produce, create, and make more original content and/or things. That means more videos telling varied stores, more illustration, design, art, fashion, furniture, textiles, stationery, prints, books, zines, shoes, and bags to name a few. We need to do it and do it well.

6. Where can we find you online? Visit andreapippins.com to see my online portfolio; follow me on Instagram.com/flygirlblog to get a sneak peek of what projects I'm working on in my studio, little style peeks and what inspires me; follow me on Twitter.com/flygirlblog and the Fly Fan page (https://www.facebook.com/flygirlblog) to see news about projects and blog updates, and of course check out Fly (flygirlblog.com) where I showcase posts on all things creative.
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