12 Jan

Celebrating 5 Years: Ashley Philip

We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate Ashley Philip’s 5 year Pepperversary!

From the very beginning, Ashley conveyed a keen understanding for design principles and creativity, but has since expanded her skill set on the 11p Commercial Team. She is an agile designer who can jump on any project whether it be social, branding, marketing, web or UX.

On the 11p Commercial Team, she’s gotten the opportunity to work on many award-winning projects. Her drive to expand her skill set does not stop at 11p. She recently received her Masters Degree in UX from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her work ethic and ambition is an inspiration to all! Congratulations Ashley!

1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
The people. The amount of incredible talent, support and leadership in this company, in my opinion, is unmatched.  

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
The Carolina Reaper– I like a LOT of heat! 🔥 

3. What is your favorite 11p event?

4. What is your favorite present ever received from 11p?
A 7-Night Royal Caribbean CRUISE to the Bahamas, Honduras and Mexico!  

5. What is your favorite 11p memory?
The 2016 HOW Conference in Atlanta. It was my first year as a Pepper and I got to (really) know quite a few Peppers early on and soak up all the knowledge from some of the industry’s best. 

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
Melissa London– she’s very knowledgeable in her career and knows exactly how to be assertive and fight for a design/vision when need be. She knows what it takes to be a leader and has no problem listening to your aspirations and helps you create a plan to heighten them.  

7. Name a Pepper whose work ethic inspires you:
Kate Rodman– the way she is able to take a client’s thought and provide three or four solid design directions in such a limited amount of time where the thought has now turned into a holistic vision of a brand, inspires me. She’s truly a force to be reckoned with 

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 Ashley a little bit better…

1. Since coffee isn’t your thing, what is your go-to for a pick-me-up?
Currently, a 6:30 am workout 😉. Throughout the day if I need it, I’ll drink an iced matcha latte. 

2. Favorite reality show?
Project Runway  

3. What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
To have a wedding day. #CoronaBride

4. What is your favorite room in your new(ish) home? 
The Kitchen/Dining Area. The amount of natural light instantly puts me in a good mood. It’s also the central spot for hosting guests. 

5. What is your most memorable European experience? 
Venice, Italy! Where I got engaged! The entire visit was literally something out of a painting.

6. Would you rather ski or snowboard? 

7. What is your favorite family tradition?
I don’t have any at the moment– but I think I want make snowboarding every winter a tradition. 

8. Do you have any secret hobbies or talents?
My organizational skills are pretty badassI can find a perfectly labeled container, folder, basket etc.. for any piece of item in my house. Boring, I know.  

9. If you could travel anywhere in 2021, where would you go?
Honeymoon plans include Bali + Paris– if it’s ever safe *fingers crossed*

10. What is your favorite film?
Nocturnal Animals 

21 Dec

Hello Winter Wallpapers

The temperatures are dropping and snow has fallen – winter’s officially here! Break out your fuzzy socks, cuddle up on the couch, and get cozy!

Below you can find our newest wallpaper downloads sized for desktop, Zoom or mobile.

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

18 Dec

11P’s Illustration Style Guide

This year, we put our heads together to develop a beautiful, inclusive, and functional illustration style guide for Eleven Peppers. Below is a sampling of elements we included, along with factors that guided our process.


Illustration is a great tool to use when photography or other graphical elements aren’t possible or don’t make sense. You can illustrate a visual metaphor to demonstrate a value that might otherwise be difficult to communicate.

Perhaps the strongest benefit of using illustration is its storytelling ability. Rather than using photography which is limited to real-world possibilities, illustrating a story opens up an entire universe – any character, scene, or message can be conveyed in any way you can imagine!

Using illustration strategically can add nuance, depth, and richness to an otherwise ordinary object/scene. When used for human figures, it can convey subtle or extreme personality traits. Illustration elements like color, texture, pattern, shape, level of detail, and composition can control your desired message.


Custom designed illustrations have played a big role for our 11P brand. Illustrations have assisted us in conveying our uniqueness and our company’s vibrant, fun, and friendly culture. This energy and originality is what guided our illustration aesthetic – down to the tiniest detail. In order to ensure that our illustration style truly represented us, we made sure it embodied the following principles:

Light & Punny

At 11P we like to keep it light and fun, just like our funfetti circles or our Pepper dude.


Personality, personality, personality! Illustrations should have an attitude and ours is up-beat!


Boring? No way! We always add a little zest to everything we do.


Each person brings something completely different to the table. Our diversity is our strength.


An illustration style guide is crucial when establishing brand consistency! Having clearly defined guidelines also speeds up production, so designers can keep their focus on concepts and messaging rather than aesthetic. Below are key elements we included to streamline our illustration design process.


We knew we had to include a wide range of colors to represent the diversity of our team. Staying true to our original brand colors, we simply defined how each color would be used in regard to skin tones and hair colors. We also included a detailed complimentary brand palette to assist in illustrating dimension on objects for maximum impact.


Texture is another powerful tool to add personality to brand illustrations. We opted to include a speckled brush, used to create depth via shadows and highlights. This element adds a “handmade” quality to an otherwise clean vector, communicating our hands-on, custom approach to challenges.


Our 11P “funfetti” pattern is great for filling in objects with a bit of interest – for instance, on clothing or a backdrop. It’s like a sprinkle of our playful attitude.


The vector shapes are solid and crisp-edged, but with soft curves. This style is clean, efficient, and flexible for all shapes. These strong shapes provide structure, balancing out the softness that comes from our palette, textures and fun patterns.


Creating a character library was a must so that any team member could easily grab features to create new, distinct characters to diversifying our character illustrations. We created an entire library full of different face shapes, facial features, figures and hairs styles – making it fairly easy for any team member to assemble a character under a time constraint.


Illustrations can add value to any brand by conveying the company’s personality and voice in an approachable visual format that’s easy for a viewer to comprehend. Custom illustrations should reflect the design and energy of the overall brand and should be consistent with designs and iconography used on all marketing materials.

At 11P, our illustrations play a key role on our website, presentations, advertisements, newsletters, social media, infographics, and videos. Having a clearly defined style guide assists in our success though all of these mediums!

09 Dec

Pepper Talk with Chuck Strauss

In this month’s Pepper Talk, we’re getting to know more about Chuck Strauss!

Just a little background before we get started, Chuck works on web development/e-Learning projects for one of our government clients. He’s been with Eleven Peppers for 1.5 years.

1. Do you have any nicknames?
Besides “Chuck” (legally I’m Charles), there’s only one that’s fit for print: “Bob.”  A few years back, my mom was shopping for holiday decorations and she came across some festive sock monkeys with names on their sweaters.  She found some for both of my brothers, but none for me, so I’m now represented by Bob.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Brew the coffee, drink the coffee.  I typically have half a pot, black – no cream or sugar, before I can/will leave the house.

3. What is your favorite part about working as a web developer?
Anything that challenges me.  I’m really into finding out what’s broken and fixing it, which can be really challenging when people obfuscate their code and I’m tasked to fix it.

4. How did you get started in this industry?
My final assignment in the military was training and evaluating those in my specialty. As we transitioned from hard-copy to web-based, I leaned on my interest in all things computer and developed our web-based training templates.

5. What are your favorite apps for development?
Anything Adobe, primarily Dreamweaver.  When push comes to shove though, I’ll work with what I’ve got, even if it’s plain old Notepad.

6. What do you draw inspiration from?
Life.  It’s full of challenges, just like work.  Overcoming those challenges is what keeps me motivated and ready for the next.

7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no: Caffeine, please!
Sweet or Savory: Savory – my sweet tooth left me years ago.
Favorite Movie: I love far too many to choose just one… That’d be like eating just one Pringles!
Favorite place to travel: Anywhere remote – I love nature.
Hobbies: These days, I’m pretty much down to playing games (PC and phone).  I also like photographing nature in general, but macro photography specifically.

8. Okay, admission time… If you could pick one website that you wish you had designed, what would it be?
I really focus on functionality, with others doing the design (layout, graphics, etc.).  I make others’ visions into reality, and that’s more than satisfying on its own.

Thanks for meeting Chuck. As always, stay tuned for next month’s Pepper Talk to meet another member of our team!


01 Dec

11 Holiday Gift Ideas for Creatives

Black Friday and Cyber Monday really got us in the spirit of shopping. If you are still searching for the perfect gift for the creative person in your life, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a list of 11 unique gifts that they’ll love! Check them out below!

30 Nov

Celebrating 5 Years: John Reid

We’re getting close to rounding out 2020 – but not before we celebrate a very special 5 Year Pepperversary for John Reid! 

John is a very detailed-oriented designer that loves to go off-roading in his Jeep, watch sports, and eat pizza! Known for his great sense of style, you’ll always see John looking sharp.

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

1. Best part of working at Eleven Peppers Studios?
Being in a small company and having a more personal atmosphere. You can get lost and overlooked in a larger company.

2. If you were a pepper, what type would you be and why?
Habanero. It’s not just spicy, it adds to the overall flavor.

3. What is your favorite 11p event?
The holiday party is always a good time. Get to catch up with everyone and the venues have been great.

4. What is your favorite present ever received from 11p?
Disney World!

5. What is your favorite 11p memory?
D I S N E Y  W O R L D

6. Name a Pepper you can always lean on for support or advice:
Peppercorn (black pepper). I mean it’s solid, dependable, and you can use it on everything –  chips, fries, steaks, burgers, chicken… Alright but seriously, Christina Cumberland. I mean, we have been friends for 15 years. Also solid and dependable.

7. Name a Pepper whose work ethic inspires you:
Melissa London. As inspiring as her tremendous talent is, she doesn’t rely on that to get her by. She always puts in an equally inspiring level of management and effort.

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 John a little bit better…

1. Where is the coolest place you’ve ever gone off-roading in your Jeep?
Rausch Creek, Pennsylvania. It’s really the only place I’ve taken it but it is a 3,000 acre park.

2. If you could only play one video game for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Destiny 2. This is kind of a cheat answer though because they just keep updating and expanding the same game.

3. Who is the most epic band or singer you’ve seen live?
I can’t just name one. I’ve seen Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Twenty One Pilots (x3), ODESZA (x3), Childish Gambino (x2), and Linkin Park to name a few. They were all epic for their own reasons.

4. Let’s pretend you’re a ML baseball player…What is your up-to-bat song?
Ruff Ryders Anthem (hoping it’s for the O’s)

5. What’s the coolest thing you’ve made by hand?
I made a mandala of Walt Disney when I attended college. I’ve also made a few cool Maryland signs.

6. We hear you like pizza…Where is your local go-to?
Mamma Roma’s. It’s literally the closest pizza place to my house.

7. Any secret talents or hobbies we don’t know about?
I’ve been told that I have a knack for impromptu arrangement of charcuterie boards. I also like to collect refrigerator magnets from places I travel to.

8. What’s your favorite sports team?
Orioles, Ravens, Caps, Terps.

9. If you could switch lives with anyone, who would it be?
Any professional golfer. They play golf for a living and get to travel around.

24 Nov

Thanksgiving Behind-the-Scenes

The 11p commercial team is always up for a challenge. We feel very comfortable designing custom illustrations and icons, but we’re always thinking… “How can we take it a step farther?” How about three-dimensional illustrations with motion?

Admittedly, we were inspired by all the great designers out there already pushing the envelope. Designers like Gail Armstrong, Adé Hogue, and Julene Harrison.

We love the tactile quality of working with paper and the opportunity to bring designs off the computer and get physical! We also value the addition of motion to our work. Even the simplest animation can add a considerable amount of life and energy to an illustration. Check out this article by Hoodzpah Design for more on that.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we saw this as the perfect holiday to experiment with these concepts. Below is a behind-the-scenes view of the process we followed to create our Thanksgiving social media posts. Since this is our first project using these methods, there are lots of lessons-learned, but we hope you enjoy the playfulness and energy of the final product. It combines all of the items that bring happiness during a spicy Maryland Thanksgiving (some of us root for teams other than the Ravens and that’s OK 😉 ). Happy Thanksgiving!

Mood Board

We took inspiration from one of the most treasured Thanksgiving Day traditions – The Macy’s parade!

Initial Sketch

Final Vector Layout

Behind-the-Scenes During Shoot Day

We used a Cricut machine to cut most of the float shapes and then added fold lines to create extra depth.

Some Detail Shots

Final Static Image

Final Animations

Melissa London
Art Director at 11P, Toddler Influencer, Wine and Cheese Enthusiast, Maker of Crafty Things.

17 Nov

Pepper Talk with Ashley Mueller

Get to know Ashley Mueller in this month’s installment of Pepper Talk! 

Just a little background before we get started, Ashley works on UX projects for one of our government clients. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for 2 years!

1. Do you have any nicknames?
Ash! I know, very unexpected.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit snooze at least 3 times (yes, that is 27 minutes of snoozing and purely interrupted sleep)…then get caffeinated and do the NYT mini crossword!

3. What is your favorite part about working as a UX designer?
I thrive in a collaborative environment, so I really like that I can combine my first love of design, layout and composition, with working closely with users to understand their needs and developers/engineers to create solutions.

4. How did you get started in this industry?
I was lucky enough to discover that I wanted to become a graphic designer in high school after designing layouts for our yearbook. I majored in Graphic Design at the University of Cincinnati, School of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP), and as a part of that program we alternated quarters of curriculum and cooperative education over 5 years. I graduated having worked at some really amazing design firms around the country and a pretty good idea of which design industries I wanted to work in moving forward. I worked for an environments design firm before moving out to DC for a graphic design position in the IC…and the rest is history 🙂

5. What are your favorite apps for design?
My OG tools of the trade…InDesign and Illustrator. I love organizing a publication, print or digital, in InDesign. Character and Paragraph styles, yesss! Hoping to add XD to the list soon!

6. What do you draw inspiration from?
Travel and getting out and about! Design events around DC (pecha kucha, creative mornings, etc.). And, of course, all the talented creatives I’m surrounded by. I’ve been constantly impressed by the level of talent among my colleagues everywhere I’ve worked, and the Peppers are no exception! I also frequent all the standard design inspo sites we all know and love.

7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no:

Yes please!

Sweet or Savory:

Savory (and salty).

Favorite Movie:

The fact that one doesn’t immediately come to mind probably means I don’t have a favorite?

Favorite place to travel:

Currently in COVID times…anywhere outside of my DC apartment. Otherwise, everywhere! Out of the places I’ve visited in recent years, St. Tropez, France is probably at the top of the list, but hopefully the best is yet to be seen! 


Curating bookshelves, bopping around any city, making new cocktails has become a quarantine favorite, dinner parties turned dance parties, obsessively Facetiming my out-of-town nephews (they seem to appreciate this less than I do).

read more

28 Oct

Pepper Talk with Theresa Santelli

Get to know Theresa Santelli in this month’s installment of Pepper Talk! 

Just a little background before we get started, Theresa works on creative strategy and operations. She’s been with Eleven Peppers for 6.5 years!

1. Do you have any nicknames?
Tea, Aunt T, and Trees.

2. What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
Make coffee.

3. What is your favorite part about working as the Director of Creative Services?
I believe in what we do as a creative company and it’s exciting to be a part of it. Every day is different.

4. How did you get started in this industry?
My high school had something called “Senior Project” where we went out on internships. I worked at a local cable station and caught the media bug which later turned into a multi-media design bug and was instrumental in figuring out what I wanted my concentrations to be in college. After college, a karate friend suggested I join Women in Film and Video which provides excellent networking and mentorship opportunities. And the rest, as they say, is history.

5. What are your favorite apps for organization or design?
I am a firm believer in using all the Adobe tools in your workflow for what each is best at and making them work with each other. However, I LOVE After Effects and Illustrator the most when it comes to design. I’m just so happy when I’m in those. I’m also an organization and productivity junky. My favorites right now are Monday and Reminders.

6. What do you draw inspiration from?
Interior design is a big one for me, nature, and fine art. As important as digital design is my brain needs a break from the screen sometimes. One of the designs I’m most proud of was very inspired by nature. And now that I don’t spend much time designing anymore, I find myself drawing inspiration from people. From my fellow peppers to our partners and clients. A conversation with someone or seeing how people approach things can be inspiring.

7. Rapid-Fire Round:

Caffeine or no:


Sweet or Savory:


Favorite Movie:

Return of the Jedi

Favorite place to travel:

I can’t possibly choose. I love to travel!


Hiking, travel, food (both tasting and cooking), exploring and trying new things.

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