After more than a decade here at Page Design, Senior Art Director and Designer Melisa Weil is a talented team member that everyone in the office knows and loves. And now, you have the opportunity to get to know her (almost!) as well as we do, because it’s her turn to be featured in our Employee Spotlight Series.

The Art Major that Was Almost a Medical Student

Mr Kaneko American River College
Caricature of John Kaneko, self-proclaimed tennis god, with his favorite utterance, “Hey, man…!”  He was a well-known art and design teacher for many years at American River College, influencing and inspiring several decades of students. This design was created and worn by his students on the last day of class.

For those of us that know Melisa as a dedicated creative, it’s always surprising to consider that her career could have looked very different if it weren’t for one person: a funny, knowledgeable art teacher at American River College, Mr. Kaneko. Initially, Melisa was torn between art and science, finding herself equally passionate about both. For a while, science had edged out a considerable lead, and she was planning to go into the field of healthcare.

However, when she enrolled in a few art classes at American River College, it wasn’t long before she was rethinking her future. Thanks to an incredible art teacher, who taught basic principles and graphic design, Melisa discovered her passion for the true handicraft of graphic design. From paper and typography to a rainbow of color palettes, she loved it all – and realized that it was the perfect marriage of her creative and technical skills.

Thirteen Terrific Years at Page (and Counting!) 

After her college studies prompted her to pursue a decidedly creative path, Melisa arrived at Page Design in 2007. When we asked her what it is that she loves most about being at Page, her answer was immediate: “The people are our secret sauce. We have a complementary collection of super talented, hard-working staff… and we also have a great base of clients that values what we bring to the table. It’s a rewarding exchange.” she explained.

When Melisa is knee-deep in a project, nothing motivates her quite like the potential for a big reaction from a thrilled client. Whether it’s a new logo or a full-scale rebranding, witnessing clients’ excitement over a completed project never gets old for her. Additionally, one of her biggest passions is typography, including the almost-lost art of proper typesetting, so she’s always excited to see that rub off on her colleagues. Her appreciation for the principles of good design are no secret, and serves as the basis of her personal creative philosophy: “First and foremost, in order to break the rules, you have to know what they are… A good foundation of graphic design principles and typographic tradition would enable you to branch out and shake it up and be different with some substance behind what you’re doing.”

Over the years, Melisa has become somewhat of a resident specialist in tackling our biggest, messiest projects with her trademark talent for efficiency. She describes some of her most notable career milestones as the situations in which a project has turned into a problem, presenting an opportunity to turn it all around and get things back on track. In her eyes, “The most important thing is to be a problem solver. Skills can always be learned. To be successful,  you [have] to be willing, even eager, to embrace new things. Flexibility and growth is key because things change faster all the time.”

One of Melisa’s favorite Page Design projects was the branding and marketing for the grand opening of the Betty Irene School of Nursing’s new building at UC Davis. She was able to break the mold for the UC Davis brand while still honoring some of its signature standards, resulting in a final product that she and the client were both delighted with. 

Finding Inspiration in the Everyday

Camellia flower

Like many of our creatively-inclined employees at Page Design, Melisa is always encouraging the rest of us to constantly keep our eyes open for inspiration. Describing herself as a “super curious person by nature,” Melisa has a knack for seeing the artistic side of just about anything. Some of her favorite sources of inspiration include signage, buildings, unique typography, and even natural elements such as flowers, plants, and trees. 

And Melisa doesn’t just seek out inspiration with her eyes; she’s also constantly searching for new experiences to expand her creative horizons. Every New Year, she resolves to master a new skill or travel somewhere new, and her love for learning has led her to classes for foreign languages, pottery, and even tap dancing. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that one of her favorite fictional characters is the Ancient One from “Doctor Strange.” All-knowing and tapped into the limitless potential of the human brain, the Ancient One is the ultimate representation of the value of seeking knowledge in Melisa’s eyes.

But as much as Melisa enjoys chasing down a new skill, she readily admits that something as simple as a good meal and a cold drink can often be just as invigorating. Picking just one favorite local restaurant is impossible, and Melisa can easily rattle off a long list of excellent recommendations for anyone that needs a new spot to try. Her top choices include La Venadita, Hook & LadderParagary, and Mayahuel, where she says you absolutely have to order a margarita – and trust us, her margarita recommendations are always right on.

When a delicious dinner and drink just won’t cut it, Melisa is always up for a quick getaway to the North Coast. After a long drive up to Bodega Bay or the Sebastopol area on her trusty motorcycle, she’s always ready to dive back into all things graphic design.

Looking Ahead to the Fun Challenges of the Future

Down the road, Melisa envisions plenty of exciting adventures – both professionally and personally. In her work with Page Design, she says, “Keep the diversity coming with the clients,” which is something we’re all in favor of. Ultimately, she gets excited about a future that’s packed with diversity: new clients, new projects, and new challenges to conquer.

Of course, nobody can be all work and no play. When her future self isn’t busy at the office, Melisa hopes that she can find a comfortable spot on a sunny beach. Her first choice would be the Caribbean, but she’d take a sandy shore just about anywhere – though a delicious tropical cocktail would be mandatory. As for Melisa’s answer to the Employee Spotlight Series’ infamous million-dollar question? With a winning lottery ticket in hand, her extravagant purchase would be a very extended vacation to a remote, five-star island in the French Polynesia. 

But until then, we’re happy to report that you can find Melisa right here at Page Design. Our hope is that we can spend at least another decade or so with her, and that she’ll never stop inspiring all of us with her constant pursuit of knowledge, creativity, and the best margarita in town.