Grading app design

This was a project completed for an app design course at Grand View University. The brief was to create an app for a school district that would provide a more efficient way for high school students to electronically submit assignments and for teachers to digitally grade and track them.

I started by researching similar apps and mapping the flow through the app of key tasks. I also identified three user types — teachers, students and parents.

As part of our first milestone, I created an abbreviated style guide for the app. We were given the school mascot and school colors. I created a simple word mark and chose accent colors and typography that would be modern and easy to read.

I also storyboarded key tasks that would be completed in the app.

I then created wireframes using Basalmiq Mockups to show the layout of the screens and how they would differ for each user type.

After the wireframes were complete, I created the final designs in InDesign, added interactivity and used Export Kit to create a prototype app. You can download the epub file here. I conducted testing sessions with six users to gain feedback on the app.

Finally, I created an Implementation Summary addressed to district administrators to help them understand how the app works, how it was built and why it was designed the way it was. I included a design overview, a summary of the usability testing and recommendations for implementations. You can read the full summary here.

Leaders of Olympus

The challenge:

Athene wanted to rebrand Aviva's producer loyalty programs. These included an incentive trip, a deferred compensation plan, and differentiated service program. Rather than rebrand each program separately, the Program Manager wanted to combine them into one comprehensive package with a consistent theme. We had to come up with a name and visual system that hadn't been used by our competitors, was in keeping with Athene branding, and communicated what each facet of the program was.

Team approach:

We began by brainstorming and names for the big program. The leadership team liked the words "Apex" and "Olympus", so we moved on to exploring what we would call each of the three sub-programs. The final challenge was what to call the different tiers within each program. Gold, Silver and Bronze we an obvious choice. But maybe too obvious? After exploring many alternatives, we all agreed that the obvious choice was the easiest for people to understand.

For the logo design, we focused on the idea of a three-peaked mountain. Each peak could represent a sub-program or level of achievement. All designers contributed logo options, but mine happened to be the one chosen.

Creating a style guide:

Once we had approval on the logo, I began building out a design system. I created variations of the logo so the identity would be flexible across a variety of applications. I also used color coding and iconography to help distinguish between the different components of the program. All of this had to be documented in a clear manner because execution of the collateral would be spread between designers and two agencies in order to meet project timelines.


The marketing plan included several deliverables — brochures for each program, flyers, promotional emails, trade advertising, a website, video, qualification letters, stickers, awards, etc.

I worked with our internal writers and designers and reviewed work completed by agency partners. I even wrote promotional copy for an Aruba flyer. We successfully launched the program in 2015, updated all materials in 2016, and continue to tweak copy to be more conservative in our language due to regulatory scrutiny.

Paper Systems

Paper Systems was one of the most interesting clients I worked with while employed by Red 5 Interactive. Early in the project I was able to meet with the clients and tour their facility, learning about their products and the challenges of storing bulk liquid products. They essentially make cardboard boxes that hold large plastic bags that have valves in them. They did not have a logo or visual identity, so that’s where I started.

For the logo, I wanted to incorporate the "liquid” concept visually. I also tried some concepts that incorporated recycling, green and cardboard references.

The chosen logo is the one on top. The smaller logos show some of the alternative concepts we presented.

The chosen logo is the one on top. The smaller logos show some of the alternative concepts we presented.

Once the logo was approved, I worked on designs for the website. We also created an email template.


Coffeeberry is a unique product. It's a tasteless, odorless powder derived from the fruit of the coffee bean. The client wanted us to design an identity to market the product as a nutritional additive. They wanted their target audience to understand that it was NOT a berry-flavored coffee product. I chose to explore an illustrative approach that would highlight the brightly-colored beans of the fruit. Then I used tea packaging to show it’s potential application as a food additive. This concept was not chosen by the client.

Work completed while employed at Cooper Smith and Company.