Hi, I'm Dakota

I’ve been curiously wandering, working, learning, and growing since I took my first steps. I’m curious, creative, collaborative, and continuously work to push boundaries to create new, engaging solutions to problems through visual communication.

I began working as a Designer, Photographer, and Retoucher in 2012 – 2013, and have worked in agencies, in-house teams, and as a freelancer throughout my career. I’ve helped develop brand guidelines, designed effective presentation decks, websites, logos, emails, blog layouts, stationery, billboards, books, print marketing materials, video content, striking photography, social media ads and content, and more.

I graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 studying Advertising, Journalism, and Art — focusing on campaign strategy (paid + organic, including social media) and visual storytelling.

Why Blurb?

Blurb enables people to hold a tangible expression of their creativity. Holding something substantial like a book of your own was once reserved for well-known artists. Blurb gives that ability to everyone—it offers a beautiful experience. I looked to see if Blurb was hiring because I use Blurb’s services and believe I can help Blurb continue to improve and serve its audience in a meaningful way.

As a Designer, I always keep a critical and empathetic eye for potential UI, UX, visual design, and other potential improvements when I use websites or interact with a business. I’m excited about the opportunity to work in a place where ideas are welcome and improvements can be made. I’ll be happy to work on Blurb’s social media strategy and design, but I’d love to contribute ideas to other departments as well. I have a few ideas floating already!

Social Media Design + Strategy

Throughout my career, I’ve helped one company increase its audience by more than 20,000 followers (which led to increased sales and easier customer support solutions), created interactive Facebook ads for DewTour, created effective photo and video content for professional gaming companies, built relationships, found work, and more using social media.

When used correctly, social media can be an incredible tool to grow communities, connect and build relationships with an audience, listen and learn to improve a business, build trust, and express ourselves. On the other hand, when used incorrectly it can be disastrous, a waste of time and resources, or both.

Developing an intelligent, well-informed strategy when approaching social media is paramount. My studies at SDSU and beyond have helped me to understand how to squeeze the most out of social media. Social media is about more than talking AT an audience; social media is social. It’s about listening, opening conversation, building community, and creating advocates.

It’s about learning what people feel, want, and need. It’s about building emotional connections, learning, and using a deep understanding of an audience to best craft content, messaging, voice, cross-channel advertising strategy, and more. And sure, it’s about understanding engineering and how to best appease the algorithm gods.

Design: skills, experience, tools

Experience

  • Ad Strategy
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Design strategy and execution of creative process
  • Ideation, conceptualization, and production of creative assets
  • Building emotional connections between brands and consumers via value congruency, storytelling, and creative strategy
  • Leveraging Google Analytics and data analysis to develop strategic frameworks that drive consumers to perform desired terminal behaviors
  • Collaboration at work as well as working independently
  • Strategic Brand Identity Development
  • Use of human-centered design

Skills

  • Digital Design
  • Print Design
  • Design for SM
  • Web Design
  • Email Design
  • Layout
  • Typography
  • Video Editing
  • Video Production (drone)
  • Photography
  • Retouching
  • Copywriting

Tools

  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Lightroom
  • Adobe Bridge
  • Figma
  • Blender 3D
  • HTML/CSS (some)
  • WordPress
  • Mailchimp
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads

Photography and Retouching

I began to fall in love with photography when my Dad showed me how to use a film camera on a camping trip. The love only grew. I began working as a professional Photographer and Retoucher in 2012, and have worked in professional gaming, aerospace, retail, weddings, music, entertainment, travel, studio portraiture, beauty, long-form documentary, non-profit, a Fortune 500 company, and more.

Two of my most recent projects focus on photographic storytelling and its ability to make a positive impact on non-profits and those they serve. My current project “Out of the Cave // Into the Flame” serves to educate an uninformed public and build advocacy for the removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Laos. Additionally, my work for Project LOHI (photography, photo selection, editing, and website build) aims to tell the story and raise funding for programs that help orphaned children in Vietnam.

Only a small portion of my photography is featured on this site, but I’d be happy to talk more about my work and experience as a Photographer and Retoucher.

Video

I began working with video in 2012 while working for an online apparel company. It wasn’t an exciting company to work for, but it pushed me to begin my journey in video editing. Since then, I’ve done video editing for DewTour’s Facebook ads, production and editing for social media and web use, and I currently record and edit videos that I sell online.

Additionally, I’m currently creating video animations and digital assets using 3D software and Adobe After Effects.