Hi! I'm Valerie, designer and product director. For 14 years, I've been designing apps and physical products for kids and adults. I have an expertise in designing for learning, whether it's through digital tools, videos and animations, or hands-on materials and products. I'm currently the Director of Product Design at Gweela, a startup focused on story-based digital products for tweens. Check out some of my favorite projects 👇, or navigate to specific types of work 👆.

FEATURED WORK

GWEELA APP

An audio/visual app to house Gweela content

With the Gweela App, we wanted a place to house our branded story content. Combining a visual reader with a podcast app, we made it possible for kids and tweens to enjoy the content in their own way, by reading, listening, or both at once. 

My role:

  • App concept

  • UI & UX design

  • Story illustration

(It's a startup, I do a lot, okay?!)

THE MOOSE GAME

A learn-to-code video game for iPad

This isn't your usual, boring, program-a-robot-to-walk-though-a-maze activity. It's a video game where you run, jump,  and hack your way through levels.

My role:

  • Game concept

  • Puzzle design

  • Graphical UI (visual environments, characters, animations, interactions)

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STEVE & KATE'S POOL

A step-by-step how to app for iPad

I wanted kids to be able to teach themselves on their own terms, and had an idea for an app where they could watch individual how-to steps on repeat until they figured it out. That became The Pool, and was used by 30,000 kids every summer. I have a concept for learning: inspire > create > reflect > repeat. We included inspiration videos, then kids could create with the how-tos, then reflect by uploading their projects to share with parents and friends. 

My role:

  • App concept

  • Art direction

  • How-to video creation

CRUX & MONICA

Graphic novel

I illustrated this graphic novel! It comes in a paperback version, as well as a digital version (see the Gweela App above).

My role:

  • Art director & illustrator

  • Trailer animator and editor

THE FILM STUDIO

A self-directed stop-mo and film activity

I like this video because I literally designed everything you see (except the children and the iPads). I designed an iPad animation station that takes finicky camerawork out of the picture so kids can focus on telling their stories. I developed storytelling tools to inspire creative storylines, and a series of video tutorials (see The Pool above) so learners can step up their stop-mo techniques. I also designed the cardboard environment used at camp so we could flat-pack for shipping and recycle at the end of the summer.

My role:

  • User research

  • Learning design

  • Physical learning tool & environment design

  • Digital learning tool design

THE FASHION STUDIO

DIY fashion design

The Fashion Studio is a place for kids to pursue their passion for fashion design. I developed a self-directed learning methodology that helps kids design garments and accessories through mix-and-match how-tos (see The Pool above) and open-ended sewing projects. For the selvedge seamstresses, I created the Jeans Lab–a kid-friendly method for making jorts (i.e., jean shorts).

GWEELA BRANDING

A story-based product company for kids

The name "Gweela" comes from an Australian brush turkey. What the Gweela lacks in looks, he makes up for in nest technology. The Gweela's egg makes an appearance in the G of the logo, and the custom font was designed to be playful without feeling too kiddie.

My role:

  • Concept

  • Brand design

  • Typeface design

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CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

Whimsical exam room environments

At the Oklahoma University Children's Hospital, I designed a patient experience for the ENT clinic. I based the interior graphics on animals with extraordinary ears, noses, and throats, creating room environments that feel far from clinical.

My role:

  • Concept

  • Illustration

SINGING APP

Vocal warm up game and karaoke

Getting kids to warm up their voices before they belt Gaga was no easy task. We turned singing scales into a game where you control a character with the pitch of your voice, with the goal of popping balloons with your chicken beak, or getting your moose pied in the face. Complete the game, and you unlock the karaoke app. Cue: Applause.

My role:

  • Concept

  • UI design

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FOOD DUST CO.

A small business I started!

This summer, I launched a small batch spice company called Food Dust Co. I love cooking and concocting cocktails, so creating custom spices just felt right.

My role:

  • I started the damn thing, so I do it all!

  • Product development

  • Brand, package, and marketing design

  • Web store design

  • Procurement, logistics, and shipping

  • Instagram
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