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We caught up with Laura Miller, Founder and Creative Chief of full service design and creative studio YUNGBLD, to learn more about her unique style and to discuss one of her latest branding and packaging design projects for a DIY nail care and wear brand.
Tell us a bit about yourself and YUNGBLD
YUNGBLD is a part of me. It’s the thing in my life that I have worked the hardest and longest at, and at this point is basically inseparable from my personal identity. It is one in the same. Apart from my own passions and interests, the parts of YUNGBLD that I am most proud of are the relationships I’ve formed with our amazing clients, and discovering and working with the absolutely inspiring and talented creatives who collaborate with us to create brands and products that we are super proud of.
What would you say is YUNGBLD's area of expertise?
The short answer to this question is that we are a full service design and creative studio. We offer everything from brand identity to web design, photography, 3D modeling+rendering, and everything in between.
The long answer to this question is that over time we’ve taken on projects and discovered new areas of interest which have led us to never be surprised or intimidated by taking on challenging and/or new design projects. Until we took on our first restaurant project, we never knew how much we loved environmental design and learning about material selections and implementations. When I discovered C4D I was using it purely as an art medium and an outlet for my personal work. It took quite a while to realize what an amazing tool it could be and what a hugely important service that we can offer our clients to help develop and realize product and packing design without having to suffer through traditional R&D.
Tell us about one of your latest projects, what was your favourite aspect of working on Mod Vanity?
The Mod Vanity creative team included myself, designer Brent Long and client Niya Mack. We absolutely loved working on the packaging for this at home nail kit. As a start up, Niya was budget conscious and competitive. She wanted to provide her users with a press on nail that looked as good as it felt. Going fully custom on packaging is budget heavy, so we focused on designing packaging that is easily manufactured with available materials, but is also exciting to unwrap and worth keeping around long-term.
Our trey and sleeve carton provides a little curated home for the nail-kit and cuticle oil. Niya consistently pumps out new designs for limited releases, so the key was to develop an interchangeable asset that would compliment the individual product without having to redesign the entire carton. That is where the paper insert comes in. The paper insert is quick and easy to design, manufacture and implement, and makes each and every carton custom the simplest way possible. Designing a multi-level piece of packaging like this let’s Mod Vanity continue to evolve their brand without the need for excessive budgets for expensive packaging.
Niya is an amazing client and we are so fortunate to work with her and each and every one of our other clients who make what we do possible. So, a big hug and a THANK YOU to them!
Mod Vanity branding and packaging design project
What was the inspiration behind the design?
I think the best way to answer this question is to include an excerpt from the ‘brand identity’ portion of the brand guide we developed for Mod Vanity: Mod Vanity is a DIY nail care and wear brand. Through technology and creativity, they’ve managed to bring new life and unrivaled vision to a market dominated by drugstores and plastics companies. We dug deep into fashion, art and urban influences to create a surreal world for Mod Vanity to rule over with an iron fist. That fist just happens to look damn good.
What challenges did you come across whilst working on the project?
Mod Vanity presented the same challenges that every project presents. Budgets, inspiration, goals, timelines, etc. We spend an inordinate amount of time getting know our clients and developing concepts and ideas in the ‘Discovery’ phase. We find that the more time we spend learning about our clients, their passions, their ideas, and their goals, the quicker and more efficiently we can create and implement a cohesive brand and assets.
Mod Vanity branding and packaging design project
When did you first get into design?
Prior to university, I was 15 when I bought my first 13” Apple MacBook. Every day after school I would get onto my RSS blog feed and checkout what other designers and artists were working on. The thing that inspired me most was being able to exit the visual arena of every day life and enter into a creative space online that was always evolving with endless opportunities to create new things in multiple formats. I created mostly posters and digital promo images for social-media. For example, I would spend days trying to make a work of art out of a super temporary flyer for a DJ. I guess I just always knew this was my path.
I also took a dreamweaver CSS class (when you still had to “enter here” to access the actual website) and loved that I could create something new and different outside of the banal design and environmental surroundings of my suburban American life.
How did your studies and background lead you to where you are now?
I knew I wanted to be an artist/designer from a very young age. I studied art at Florida State University and then design at the University of South Florida. By the end of my education I narrowed my studies to a 4 year degree in Graphic Design. Studying Fine-Art and studying Graphic Design were vastly different experiences.
At FSU experimentation and discovery were encouraged and I was able to express and explore myself in multi-media and abstract concepts. USF, on the other hand, was an uninspiring and underfunded factory of 2 graphic design teachers that were probably better suited for careers other than education. They were outwardly discouraging of me and my desire to experiment and push boundaries, and even went so far as to directly tell me that I would never make it as a professional designer.
These two experiences are really what has defined me as a creative. I learned to always push myself creatively and to use negativity as motivational fuel to work harder. I never let negativity discourage me from doing what I love to do, and doing it the right way with people that I love to collaborate with.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere all of the time. I think good design fundamentally elevates your visual experience in life. That belief is the reason I am always aiming to do something new or different in order to give a new experience or a new impression to the user or consumer.
I have never been able to find a clear difference between art and design. The way I look at the world, see people, brands, products, etc. It’s all art. I find inspiration from almost everywhere. Fashion, music, architecture, furniture, it’s really endless.
Another recent project from YUNGBLD, Anin Skincare Identity and Packaging