My left pinky nail has been painted orange for the past 7+ years. It is now my signature mark and has evolved into my self-identity as a designer and human.
It was August 2008 when I took the picture above on the last day of my summer internship to say peace to the design studio Dept of Energy in Seattle. They gave me my first design home and the opportunity to start my career with freelance design work. I was 21 and designing snowboards for DC shoes, skis for Rossignol, and getting an inside look to the snowsport industry along with helping produce environments and wayfinding systems for a huge farm supply store. The team at DOE became my family and this picture of peace signs and love from the other Washington is where ‘version 1.0’ of the orange pinky began.
The image of my hand is also sign language for the letter ‘K’ and the inverse is the letter ‘P’; forming my initials. I created a promo project in 2009 that solidified the image as my personal logo and brand identity for who I am as a designer. The limited edition posters are hand-painted with my orange nail polish.
In 2015, I simplified my original hand-illustration of the orange pinky into ‘version 2.0’. Each orange pinky on my new business cards are individually hand-colored for a personal touch.
This brings us to today, 2016.
My birthday and unofficial business anniversary are on January 2. That means today I celebrate 2 years since I quit my full-time salaried job on my 27th birthday to pursue the dream hustle as a self-employed designer.
I spent 2 years at an advertising agency before this and before that, 2 years at a small design studio in DC. I’ve grown and learned a lot in each of those 2 year stints. So, cheers to the last year in my twenties and to breaking the 2 year mark on my own with Kaleena, LLC.