23 Jun

Celebrating 5 Years: Kate Coates

And just like that… Kate Coates has officially been a Pepper for 5 years!

Kate is a master of all trades – from renovating her 1908 home, to raising her little boy, teaching at UMBC and participating in dog competitions with her Silken Windhound, Izze – she can do it all! 

Kate is an extremely detail-oriented designer, keeps very cool under pressure and is known to her coworkers as the logo queen! She is very low key, humble, and easy going.

To learn more about Kate, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!

1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
The trust in knowing that 11P has your back.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
Hatch Chili Pepper because I’m such a huge fan on New Mexico. Plus I could eat Tex Mex every day, all day and never get tired of it.

3. What is your favorite 11p event?
I really enjoyed the glassblowing event where we made pumpkins and ornaments. I had never done anything like that before it was really neat to see how it is done.

4. What is your favorite present ever received from 11p?
While I’ve received so many nice things from 11P, it’s honestly one of the smaller things that stands out the most. The Fogo de Chao gift card that I won at the company White Elephant (sorry Rich) was used to drop the news to my parents and in-laws that we were expecting our first child. Great memories!

5. What is your favorite 11p memory?
I always really enjoyed the company White Elephant game at the Christmas Parties. It was a fun little competitive game that got everyone laughing in no time.

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
AC. Always a friendly and listening ear and a really good secret keeper when I found out I was pregnant while on our work trip to California.

7. Name a Pepper whose work ethic inspires you:
Kelsey. How she balances the crazy early mornings, intense exercise regiments, a full time job, and now teaching, I’ll never know!

8. My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Kate a little bit better…

1. What is your favorite TV series of all time?
The miniseries 11.22.63 starring James Franco on Hulu was a surprisingly awesome little show that I can’t recommend enough. It’s about a high school teacher that travels back in time to prevent John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

2. Which room is your favorite in your refurbished 1908 home?
Hands down, the kitchen. While it was (and remains) the biggest room in the house it was really gross when I first moved in. The vintage 1908 sash windows didn’t want to stay open themselves and were not positioned in a way where you could see the beautiful backyard. The white paint haphazardly painted on the cabinet exteriors had to yellow with age, matching the beige colored porcelain tile. The previous owner hadn’t even cared to extend the white paint to the interior of the cabinets, exposing the brown varnished wood and wallpapered shelves. As I said, it was really gross.

We did a ton of work and with the help of my architect father, redesigned the space. We demo’d everything down to the studs and built everything back new. We installed free custom cabinets that we got off of one of my dad’s residential jobs.  We blew a hole in the rear wall to add a full glass panel door to have a view of and easy access to the backyard and installed charcoal slate-looking tile throughout. Ultimately, the room has so much more light and life to it now. And now all things that are meant to be white are is just icing on the cake!

3. Do you have any favorite DIY projects?
Installing hardwood floor is actually pretty fun. I’d take that over installing tile floors any day of the week.

4. How many shows has your dog competed in?
My Silken Windhound, Izze, and I have participated in three shows at this point. It took us a while to get in a groove and by the third show she beat out several other dogs to walk away with Best in Breed and 2nd in the Sighthound class. We’re hoping to get two more competitive wins so she can be a UKC Champion. We’ll see when COVID decides to let us get back out there.

5. What’s one of your favorite assignments to give your students?
The class that I teach at UMBC is one big culminating project that students work the whole semester on. Each student picks their own project and then we go through the entire life cycle of a UX project from analysis through design. It’s really fun to see really bad websites transformed into thoughtful designs. Great portfolio pieces!

6. What was the most challenging part of getting your Masters in UX?
Group work in the real world isn’t bad but for some reason group work in school never goes as expected. Grad school was full of various group assignments that had varying levels of teammate participance. Groups were by far the most challenging part of grad school, thesis included.

7. What do you love about being a boy mom?
Being kept on my toes. Honestly, it’s both a blessing a curse. This boy doesn’t stop, like ever! But when I think of how many calories I’m burning without going to the gym it makes me feel a whole lot better. (Plus chasing Alden around is much better than the gym.)

8. What’s your favorite pastime activity with your family?
I’ve always loved visiting the Outer Banks in the summers with family. It’s always great to catch up during the week with people you don’t see enough.

9. Any hidden talents or hobbies?
I’d love to discover some when I find time!

19 Jun

Hello Summer Wallpapers

Summer is here and you know what that means – it’s time to get outside to soak up the sun, enjoy steamed crabs, take a dip in the pool or feel the sand between your toes.

But when you can’t be outside enjoying the beautiful weather – bring summer to life on your screen with these cheerful wallpapers designed for your computer, mobile device or Zoom meeting. Below you can find downloads sized for each application.

After clicking the button with the size you want, right click and select “Save Image As…” to save to your device.

11 Jun

Pepper Talk with Eric Cavell

Get to know Eric Cavell in this month’s Pepper Talk! 

Just a little background before we get started, Eric works on The Commercial Team as a Senior Designer. He’s been with Eleven Peppers for almost a year and in that time he’s brought his unique illustration flair to many of our client projects and social posts.

1. Do you have any nicknames?
None currently, but I’m open if anyone has any good ideas.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Feed our two cats Piper and Maple, followed by coffee.

3. How would you describe your design style?
I try and take an illustrative approach when possible. Also, functional design is important to me, so design that is useful and serves a purpose.  

4. How did you get started in this industry?
I had a few internships and part-time design jobs while working towards my degree, but got my first full-time design job at a public relations firm a few weeks after graduating.

5. What are your favorite tools of the trade? What are the worst?
Favorite- Pencil, paper and Adobe Illustrator. Those would be my desert island tools.

Worst- It would be easy to say a Microsoft program, but everything has its purpose.

6. What is your favorite thing about being a designer?
Getting to be creative every day and turning an idea in my head into a sketch on paper.

7. What do you draw inspiration from?
I have a few favorite designers on Instagram and Dribbble. However, If I feel I’m going there too for inspiration, I try to take a step back and observe the world around me. If we are paying attention, there’s so much inspiration to draw just from everyday life.

 8. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no:

Yes, coffee is my go-to.

Sweet or Savory:


Favorite Movie:

The Empire Strikes Back.

Favorite place to travel:

New York City, I don’t think I could live there, but it’s an amazing place to visit.


Drawing, biking, reading, listening to podcasts and music.

read more

01 Jun

Celebrating 5 Years: Kate Rodman

Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday that Kate Rodman joined our team. Now we are celebrating five wonderful years that she has spent working at Eleven Peppers.

Kate has endless creativity and brings a lot of energy and fun to every brainstorm session she attends. She is well respected by her clients for her ability to be patient when necessary, and work at a lightening-fast speed when a deadline is approaching. Kate is also an awesome team player who works to get the job done, even when the tasks are not glamorous. She is such an important part of our team!

To learn more about Kate, keep scrolling to read our special interview and infographic!

1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
I appreciate the flexibility the most. I don’t have to worry if I need to take time for a doctor’s appointment, or whatever life event pops up. I appreciate the freedom to come up with my own ideas and find unique ways to approach challenges. It’s super important for 11P to offer this flexibility since some of our projects often impose many restrictions.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
After much thought, I would have to say Paprika pepper, so that I can be papriKate.

3. What is your favorite 11p event?
I mean, we all know the answer to this question by now… Disney, of course! As far as more regularly occurring 11P events go, I like happy hours best because it gives me a chance to chat with everybody and catch up with peppers that I don’t see on a daily basis.

4. What is your favorite present ever received from 11p?
I have probably gotten the most use out of the Kate Spade bag given at my first 11p holiday party in 2015. It’s still in service. I’m not into fashion so I feel like someone else choosing a purse for me was probably a good idea…

5. What is your favorite 11p memory?
There are many but I’ll put down the first one that popped into my head, because it’s funny. Singing karaoke at the Circles Conference last year… Yes, I live the stressful life of an introvert that enjoys karaoke. These two things should not, and do not go together. But when someone puts on your jam, you have no choice but to belt it out. (Thankfully, there isn’t a recording of this).

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
Any pepper I’ve worked with on my current contract fits this bill. Theresa, Valencia, Lisa – anyone with a first name ending in “-a”… I can ask them anything that pops into my head, and they don’t judge me too harshly 😉 We’ve all gone through similar struggles with our work and they’re the ones that really “get it.” I greatly appreciate this support system.

7. Name a Pepper whose work ethic inspires you:
Kristen is unstoppable. She’s the most hardworking person I know (besides my dad). Amidst all the tough work of owning a business she still radiates positivity. When I first met her at AIGA’s Ink & Pixels (basically, portfolio review version of speed-dating) she stood out like a beacon against all the other reviewers. I was fresh out of college at that time, and could’ve ended up at a company that would have abused my “will design for food” desperation – instead, I landed somewhere that respected me as an individual.

7. My spice meter :

  • Complete wimp
  • Will proceed with caution
  • A subtle flame
  • A little sweat never hurt
  • The spicier, the better!

Get to know Kate a little bit better…

1. If you could only watch one Harry Potter for the rest of your life, which would it be?
What?? That’s like only reading one chapter of a book over and over! I definitely skipped this question and thought about it. I’ll say The Goblet of Fire… I think the pre-Voldemort returning books are my favorite, and I do really like the tournament and the crazy ending. As long as I could supplement this ONE movie (sigh) with the audiobooks of the other six, I could make it work!

2. What is your favorite plant-based recipe?
My favorite recipes are the ones where I’ve taken a nostalgic dish I love and tweaked it to be veggie. I still eat all my favorite foods. One of my comfort foods is my great grandmom’s chicken soup recipe – it’s mega-Italian and includes crushed tomatoes and beets, in addition to the regular stuff. That, plus her marinara recipe (“red gravy” if you are legit), are the backbone of the Rodman family – our blood runs red with tomato sauce. I’ve tweaked both and still eat them regularly.

3. What is the best thing you’ve ever found while thrift shopping?
Oh man… My most recent find was the Harry Potter hardcover books, with the original covers. All seven books for $1 EACH. I had been hunting for those for years, and I never expected to find them, let alone that cheap, or a full set at once! My favorite clothing items have all come from goodwill, including a few White House Black Market dresses that fit perfectly. I have also found TWO 100% functional KitchenAid mixers with fixtures included (on different occasions). One I kept, the other I gifted to a friend. I didn’t need two mixers but I couldn’t leave it there!

4. What is your favorite game night game?
Y’all are killing me with these questions. I guess if I had to choose one I’d say Betrayal at House on the Hill because of its near-infinite playability – the board tiles change with every game, there’s a crazy amount of scenarios that could arise and I’ve yet to play the same game twice. It’s really fun when one of your friends becomes the “Traitor” and you all have to work against them. Sometimes it’s co-op, sometimes it’s every man for himself. Always a good time.

5. What is your favorite game ever?
Currently I’m working through Animal Crossing on the Switch and it’s bringing me back to all the other versions of that game I’ve played. I think that’s probably my favorite franchise, at least right now. If anyone wants to swap friend codes, hit me up.

6. Now that you have a yard, what yard projects have you been working on?
Our yard found itself in an interesting situation! You can tell someone deeply cared for it at one time – maybe an owner or two back in its history. The previous owner, however… did not, and let it become a hot mess. So I’m having fun digging up the garden beds and restoring them to what they once were. The caring owner did a great job choosing the plants that exist, now I get to just fill in the gaps. My parents live close by, and they are gardening/yard gurus. The plants in their yard are so happy that they’re making new plant babies – I’ve been adopting those and planting them in my yard. I have dogwood tree saplings that are descendants of my family’s dogwoods. Those guys have followed my family to many houses, and it’s cool they get to be on my property now!

7. What do you love about being raised and living in Mount Airy?
As a kid I don’t think I really got it. I wanted to move somewhere new, like everyone does. I moved away and then ended up coming back after I realized why everyone wants to live here. It’s accessible to Frederick, Baltimore, Westminster and DC, but it feels private. I can walk to basic stores from my house, or I can drive in any direction to get to big stores. As much as I love the Columbia area etc., we would never be able to afford anything we have in Mt Airy over there. Also, to quote my mom: “being closer to family during an apocalypse? Priceless!”

8. Have you taught your new dog Griffin any tricks?
He is so smart that we’ve admittedly been pretty lazy with training. He picked up the basics so quickly, that I think we got comfortable. We give him plenty of exercise to keep him occupied, but he’s more athletic than we are so we’re always looking for new ways to run him out of energy. I think a pair of rollerblades is in my future…

9. Name an illustrator whose style you envy.
There are so many, but lately I’ve been really enjoying Rebecca Mills’ illustrations… I love her cute animals in silly situations – maybe for no other reason besides the fact that we could all use a little levity. Beyond that, her skills are just amazing.

10. Tell us about a passion project you’ve done or been working on.
Well, for the past year or so I’ve been DIYing every little thing for our wedding, but then COVID-19 happened and we had to put it all aside. I took a creative breather, and then moved on. Since quarantine, I’ve been helping my mom with her own passion project. Several years ago, she created an earth-friendly potting mix company. I made her some quick labels at the time, but now her biz has grown to be the “real deal” and I wanted to make her some “real deal” packaging. The greenhouse-inspired labels feature hand-drawn illustrations of plants.

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