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Kristen - Our Innovative Designer

Kristen - Our Innovative Designer

Hi everyone, I had the privilege of working with Preemadonna's team to design the new Preemadonna and Nailbot brand identities earlier this year. I was introduced to Preemadonna's founder and CEO Pree Walia (virtually, during the pandemic!) by Alexa Binns, a Preemadonna investor who is amazing at connecting people together. I was really happy to meet Pree because her mission to bring together beauty, technology, and creative expression for girls and young women really resonates with me.

Pree wanted to update the Nailbot brand to feel more friendly, creative, authentic, and bold ‚Äď reflecting the community of women of all ages who use Preemadonna's products. To make sure the new logo would work well at small sizes, we chose a bold typeface that also embodied the personality we wanted to convey. As an extra bonus, the droplet shape found within the "o" (an easter egg for those who notice it!) symbolizes creative artistic expression as well as the physical ink used to print the artwork onto nails. I am so excited to see this new brand identity rolled out across the Nailbot platform and hope it will resonate with all the "Preemadonnas" out there who use this breakthrough new beauty technology.

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, I was a midwestern Taiwanese-American girl who drew and painted a lot while growing up. I was lucky to have an amazing high school art teacher who encouraged me to follow my passion to pursue a career in the arts. I went west for college to Stanford where I double-majored in Art and Psychology and sought out opportunities to practice my design skills "in the real world". I designed flyers for student organizations, launched a campus entertainment magazine with fellow students, and laid out newspaper ads for the Stanford Daily. Shortly after graduation, I went back to school to do a deep dive into graphic design and packaging at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena. At ArtCenter, I discovered interactive design and digital media, new fields which were starting to take off alongside the launch of the internet. The opportunity to design interactive user experiences beyond print design really appealed to me, and I jumped into the world of internet startups after I graduated.

Thanks to an introduction from a fellow Art Center grad (the power of networking, again!), I became the founding designer at Citysearch, one of the internet's first city guides. I hired and managed a team of dozens of designers to work on every aspect of the new company with me, from our name and logo to the website pages for local businesses and all of the marketing that was needed to launch and promote our site. I didn't have much management experience being right out of art school, but I soaked up all I could about business and marketing from smart people at the company, and it was gratifying to be part of a young company's success. After Citysearch, I led design for nearly 20 years at Idealab, a technology incubator where I helped to launch dozens of new startups across a range of categories including e-commerce, robotics, green energy, mobile apps, and software. It was another wonderful opportunity to grow my design and business skills as I helped entrepreneurs brand and prototype their early company ideas.

Today, I work on my own as a design advisor and consultant to early-stage startups. I especially enjoy working with young companies because I can have more impact on a company's trajectory when it is just getting started. My years of startup experience are valuable to founders because before I begin any actual hands-on design work, I can advise them strategically on their initial brand positioning (what is their message to customers, partners, and investors?) and product design (what do we build first, and how can we create a memorable and meaningful customer experience?)

It might feel risky to start or join a startup, and it takes an incredible amount of work to build and grow a company, but you can learn so much and gain experience at an accelerated rate, given how quickly startups move. I love working with strong female entrepreneurs like Pree, and I encourage girls and women of all ages to get involved in entrepreneurship, design, technology, and STEAM fields to craft dynamic and creatively satisfying careers.

- Kristen Ding