How Baking & Starbucks influenced Mixed Media Product Development Ideas

Sharing some of my product legacies: These were both fun projects!

Texture Cards were inspired by both my standing in line at Starbucks viewing the beautiful artwork on the gift cards at the register and my love of baking and all of the clever texture & pastry brushes offered to add detail to cakes and sauces. With the growing popularity of artist textures for the mixed media consumer, I wanted to present an inexpensive solution for mixed media artists to manipulate their texture of choice. 

Texture Luxe, also an answer for a luxurious texture experience for the mixed media artist. It was developed in three colorways: Silver, Gold, and Pearlescent. 

Texture Luxe Gel Medium Whipped Spackle, Gelatos and Texture Cards
Silver Texture Luxe & Texture Cards
Texture Luxe and Texture Cards
Unprinted first samples for approval.

Vision Boards - Creative Direction - Product Development & Design

This was an interesting project. All the materials were included to create your custom vision board and help you visualize and your goals! Learn how to create vision boards that are both beautiful and inspirational #Visionboard with #design_memory_craft #Vision Board kit! (Instructional kit, fabric planning board, pens, #listing sheets and embellishments)


Abandoning Routine in the Workplace Product Development and Design Executive - Delanie West (Repost)

Delanie West formerly served senior executive at the US headquarters of world’s oldest and largest pencil manufacturer where her focus was in leading product development and design teams in the creation of of the brand's marketing and sales materials.

She also dedicates her services to pro-bono social good projects as a component of her volunteerism pledge. She recently sat down with Trend Hunter to discuss the ways in which she chooses to get inspired and innovate in her work. This is a repost and updated forward of the previously published article.


How do you ( your team) generate great ideas and do you have specific rituals to make creativity happen?

 I think most important to facilitating [innovation] is making sure that we assign the time for creative thinking and planning. We have to schedule it to ensure that we have open-ended time to tinker and discover. You can easily get caught up in the process and the projects that you’re working on, your current schedule, and you almost feel a little guilty for having this "free" time. It may feel like you’re not getting anything accomplished, but it’s the absence of deadlines and actual process that leaves you open to innovation. So just ensuring that you block out that time for creative, free-thinking in your schedule is crucial.

 What are some barriers to innovation, and how do you get around them?

I feel like it’s not having enough time, or feeling like you don’t have enough time. Not setting aside the time for it, that’s one of the easiest things that limits your ability to innovate. The other one is working is a silo, if you’re working in a silo and you’re not looking outside of what you’re focused on that’s really a huge barrier.

I always like to invite others into the process, other people that are outside my department, outside of marketing and sales. Invite other team members that don’t have anything to do with product development into your process, because that always awakens something and unveils something you weren’t focused on. Something that’s always great to do is running a project by a different team – a group of people that normally wouldn’t work on something could uncover some really cool things. Different teams and team members collaborating always yields some interesting results.

How do you identify trends and what resources does your team use to spot trends and insights?

I think it’s about being present. There is so much to be gained from being present in the moment and actively participating in life. I mean, even going to the grocery store, experiencing trends happens the second you walk through the door and as you’re walking through aisles and looking at signage and packaging.

We subscribe to a variety of different trend reports and we read them and we interpret them, but we also attend trade shows. So seeing what’s happening on the ground, talking to people that are also attending, talking to people that are exhibiting, and engaging at all these touch points. At the end of the day, we are able to connect the dots to see what resonates strongest. Whatever it is that you’re looking for, you have all these different inputs to make a decision. I wouldn’t say that it's one of these that’s going to give you the strongest pulse, it’s the combination of all of these actions that’s going to help you connect the dots, which is what reveals a trend or a pattern. 

Do you have specific rituals for resetting to be creative? 

In my business, we are developing products for launch cycles and so I look at each cycle as kind of a "season" or "year." Within that season, I like to build certain things or a "resource base" to inspire. So when I go in or I see each development cycle, we kind of hit the reset button. You throw out the things that inspired you last cycle and you’re collecting new media, books, magazines, new conversations. You’re refreshing yourself, you’re having a refreshed look at what is different. Just looking at what everybody else is experiencing in this new season. Before Pinterest, there was what you call a trend board – you’ll see creatives with these boards in their office and they’re pinning things that are inspiring or stimulating them. Each season I refresh my pin board and I start adding these new points to start to make a new direction for the new season.

 Has there ever been an instance where another industry has influenced a new [ idea? ]  ( innovation at your company?)

That’s a given. In my work development & design career, we focus on crafts and toys, and art supplies – but we’re also looking at interiors, we’re looking at home, baking, fashion, automotive. We’re looking at it all because through viewing these industries, you’ll be able to identify something that sparks a new direction or a new thought. In some of these industries the ideas are cyclical – you’ll see something rise in one industry and it will cycle in a different way to the next. What’s really interesting is when you have an idea that’s cycling more than one or two or three industries at the same time, that’s when I see a strong rise to a trend. It’s very visible and approached in a very actionable way by these industries. We’re always looking outside of our industry for inspiration, we kind of have to.

What are some examples of things you can do to create a culture of innovation?

 [ Be rid of the routine.] Thinking about where you work on a daily basis and pretty much doing the same things to get to work every day. You’re driving the same way, you probably stop at the same place to get your coffee, work in the same cube. It’s breaking a pattern. I find that helps me think differently. Making sure you’re giving the freedom to your team to explore outside the confines of their environment or their cubes. So changing your environment helps to prime your mind for creative thinking. That, for me, is always the easiest way to start innovation. In creating that culture you just have make sure that your team members, the people that you manage, the people that you work with, that it’s ok not to be in your cube today. Why don’t you go work in another conference room, why don’t you go work in an art museum – break your pattern. 

Also, always being plugged into the consumer, talking to the consumer, watching how they shop and experience products. That’s a really important part of that too because doing all those other fun, out-of-routine things too is great, but you have to tie that into who you’re creating those product experiences for. I always like to say experiencing culture in other locations and other cities, reading regional magazines so you can understand what people in the Midwest like to spend on versus what people in the Northeast like. Industry shows, going to a car or a boat show might change your perspective. Just talking to people, talking to other designers in other industries always gives you some perspective, and also challenges you to think in a different way about how you are being creative.

 What's the most unconventional thing you have done to get creative inspiration? 

I wouldn’t say it’s crazy but I’ve gone to some unusual industry shows to better understand subcultures. So I would say the "craziest" for me was going to Comic Con. I had always heard about it, I never really knew what it was and nobody could really explain to me what it was, you really just kind of have to go. It was one of the most eye opening experiences, for me. I was introduced to consumers who follow brands in a really honest, unique way. Just to see how passionate they were about these brands that they love, and how they wanted to engage, kind of opened my eyes to a different way to experience a brand.


Visual Appeal in Designing the Path to Purchase - Packaging Redesign

“Most consumer purchasing decisions are purely instinctive and reactive. Eye-tracking studies show that consumers read on average only seven words in an entire shopping trip, buying instinctively by color, shape and familiarity of location. Best sellers succeed by appealing to the reptilian brain, which decides before logic has a chance.”  Therefore it is incredibly important as designers and developers we prioritize how to best present a product to a consumer during their self-guided walk through retail aisle, appealing first to aesthetic sensory, what something looks like, and secondly logic, by explanation of product features and benefits via titles and descriptive copy, telling the consumer what it does. - Delanie West 

"Excerpt from Before and After: A Product Developer's Notes - Re-designing packaging to give a product new life. " 



This Is Rich: Get You Some : Africa: Women : Global Watch

Africa: Women : Global Watch

Screen Shot 2017-09-14 at 11.07.03 AM.jpg


Tradition meets a modern, creative sensibility where women borrow from the past to create renewed definitions of identity, using beauty to champion heritage and values.

The multiple ethnicities and diverse cultures of Africa offer plenty of opportunities for the beauty industry.

Africa's rapidly growing middle class is driving the demand for beauty products, with 821 million consumers buying into the cosmetics industry. While multinationals are racing to claim their market share, natural hair and skincare entrepreneurs are taking advantage of an increasing demand for natural, organic and locally produced premium products rooted in traditional beauty rituals.

Natural hair and skincare inspired by ancient African beauty rituals and heirloom ingredients is gaining popularity

Creative looks are inspiring a new era of hair styling for younger generations, as a way of expressing their African identity

'Masstige' products are key in Africa's markets, providing aspirational beauty items at affordable prices

African beauty brands are establishing themselves across the continent, with natural and organic products leading the way.


House of Tayo: Rwandan-born Inspiration

About House Of Tayo:

House of Tayo was created out of the desire to find a unique way through which to showcase African sophistication, style and flavor through contemporary, locally-made clothing and accessories. With style influences ranging from the Motown era to traditional British tailoring, House of Tayo seeks to combine elegance and class with a strong sense of African heritage and iconography.

We are a distinctly Rwandan-born brand that works with local artisans and tailors and in doing so we support the local community by providing stable income and employment opportunities.
With its unconventional combination of colors and patterns, the brand is bold and futuristic; edgy, yet sophisticated; and reflective of the current proliferation of African arts, culture, and style on the world stage. The brand is truly authentic and homegrown, utilizing African textiles and fabrics, and produced by Rwandan tailors and artisans.