Lara founded Optimum Design & Consulting in 1992 after completing a BS Degree in Graphic Communications Management and Technology and working toward a Masters in Magazine Publication Management from New York University (NYU).
Since 1992, Lara has been an active member of the New York Chapters of both the Graphic Artists Guild and the National Association of Woman Business Owners. She was Chapter President of each organization in the early 2000’s, and has been on the National Board of the Guild since 1998, most recently as Vice President from 2013-2016.
Lara held a seat on the Advisory Board of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for five years and teaches a hands-on workshop called How to Start a Graphic Design Business for a variety of local colleges and organizations. She has also spoken at NYU on the challenges of keeping a business alive in troubled times and is a frequent guest lecturer at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business.
I’ve been lucky to have enjoyed a good career in the graphic arts. I am primarily an illustrator, but I have done a lot of design work – including web sites – as well. Though I am no longer working full time, I continue to contribute what I can on a volunteer basis to organizations I like.
I still love art and design, and I’ve participated in the Graphic Artists Guild since 2005. It’s been a good thing for me to connect with artists and designers from all over the country. I’ve met some terrific people who are dedicated to making a career in graphics a rewarding and profitable experience.
A transplanted yankee in the Pacific Northwest, Bill Morse has been drawing since he has been able to walk, loving it as a way to make his imagination a reality.
A graduate of Rhode Island College, he has spent his career as an illustrator, graphic artist, and cartoonist. He has been balancing his career between contracting for such companies as Boeing and Microsoft and his freelance business, W.P. Morse: Cartoons and Illustrations as well as working his online comic strip, Rhapsodies.
An active Guild member since 2004, Bill, served for several years as the Secretary for the Seattle Chapter before deciding to give the National stage a try.
In his spare time he enjoys, biking, long hikes in the woods, movies and reading.
Haydn holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art University. Along with being an alumnus, he is also faculty in the department from which he graduated—the School of Web Design + New Media. In addition, he runs his own design company, Nautilus Designs, located in Marin County, California. Haydn is also a professional wine critic and author.
Rebecca works, sleeps, eats, and lives as Design Director at Optimum Design & Consulting, a small designer firm in mid-town Manhattan. There she oversees the creation of a wide range of print and Web projects, including marketing materials, logos and corporate ID, website interfaces, and publications. In between cajoling demanding clients and consuming a steady stream of coffee, she volunteers as the Guild’s Advocacy Liasion.
Having graduated from college with a degree completely unrelated to the visual arts, Rebecca transitioned to a design career by attending the Continuing Education Department at the School of Visual Arts. Her first act upon changing careers was to join the Graphic Artists Guild, where she met a community of supportive and sensible mentors and colleagues. She became active on the local level, serving in various positions on the New York Chapter board, including Chapter President, before moving up to the National Board.
Photo © Caroline Kessler
Todd is a graphic designer and design educator. A Graphic Artists Guild member for over 12 years, he has served on the National Board’s Executive Committee as well as the Advocacy, Communications, and Education Committees. Todd is also a member of AIGA, and is the Education Director for the AIGA-CT chapter.
Todd earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in Graphic Design from Westfield State University and has worked in graphic design and marketing since 1989. He is currently the Art Director at Westfield, after teaching various graphic design classes at the University for over a decade.
Todd is truly passionate about graphic design, wholly believing in the power of design to communicate and shape brands and in its ability to inform and educate the masses. He has won numerous local, regional, and national awards for his innovative and inspiring design work, as well as having his designs published in several books in the course of his career.
Dawn Mitchell has been in the design industry since 1994 when she worked for a couple of sign companies while she was in college studying Computer Science and Visual Communications. From there, she worked at a magazine publishing company as a Production Designer and Traffic Manager. She then landed a position at a small advertising agency as Graphic Designer and eventually Art Director where she stayed for nearly a decade.
When she moved to North Carolina from Florida in 2005, she began freelancing while searching for a new full-time position and quickly filled up her schedule with freelance clients. She then decided to stop her job search and become a full-time freelancer. Over a decade later, she’s still a very busy freelancer with several clients that have been with her for 10+ years.
Her passion is helping small- to medium-sized businesses grow and mentoring design students. She’s also active with different activities with The Graphic Artists Guild. In her personal life, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family, hiking, traveling, and playing with her “furkids.”
Paula Hinkle has worked in the Graphic Arts field since receiving her degree from the University of Akron 35 years ago. Her experience has been in various capacities; as a production artist, a print shop supervisor/manager & designer and as a business owner. She enjoys learning new things and makes it a priority.
Paula joined the Graphic Artists Guild in 2001, working as a volunteer for the At-Large Chapter for five years prior to working as a Chapter Administrator then a Regional Administrator for the Guild. She has served as assistant webinar coordinator since 2011 and has maintained and updated the Chapter/Regional sites & weekly e-communications since 2003 and the National web site since 2006.
Paula began working as Administrative Director for the Graphic Artists Guild in January 2017.
Linda Secondari is the Creative Director and Principal at Studiolo Secondari, a design firm in NYC focusing on Publication Design, Branding, and Design Operations and Strategy. Prior to establishing Studiolo, she was Creative Director at Oxford University Press where she managed a large international design team (New York, Toronto, Oxford, and Delhi) with a yearly title output of 3,000+ titles. Before OUP, she was the Creative Director in charge of Manufacturing and Technology at Columbia University Press. She started her Design career as a Junior Art Director at Russek Advertising where she was Lead Creative on projects such as Shakespeare in the Park, and John Leguizamo’s “Spic-o-rama.” She graduated from Parsons School of Design with a degree in Communications Design.
Linda’s work has been recognized by the AIGA, NY Book Show, Stiftung Buchkunst Competition of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.
She lives in New York City with her family and writes literary fiction in her spare time.
Liz DiFiore is a freelance illustrator specializing in children’s picture book illustration, though she also creates middle grade illustration, video and board games, and other commissions. Liz’s favorite stories to work on are personal and emotionally impacting, displaying kids and/or adults dealing with big emotions (like anxiety or empathy) and interpersonal relationships (like kids and their parents, family members, or friends).
Liz is also an active streamer on Twitch with a lovely, growing community of fellow creatives. She hopes the live creation of her art is as delighting as the finished product. Visit her Twitch page at lizziebydesign for her current stream schedule.
When not life drawing in some local coffee shop, Liz loves exploring the New England area, looking for new places to adventure with friends. She’s still new to New England (originally hailing from Western New York) and loves incorporating these explorations into her art.
Liz is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is the Regional Representative for the New England Chapter of the Graphic Artists Guild.
Born in Jamaica and migrated to the United States in pursuits of educational advancements, serial entrepreneur Yanique DaCosta received her Associate’s Degree in Graphic Design, Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Arts and Master’s of Fine Arts in Media Design.
Yanique is an eager member of the Guild. She is ready to play active rolls within the organization while holding title of Southern Region Representative.
“As a millennial creative, I have found that our generation lacks the resources we need to remove ourselves from the starving artist lifestyle. The Guild can help young Graphic Artists, such as myself, find a clear path through the cobwebs of the Art business. I want to help get this message to my peers as well continue to support and learn from those that entered this world before us.”
– Yanique DaCosta.
Within her career she has helped build varying lifestyle brands such as Jones Lang & LaSalle, Clear Channel, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Open English, Zerofractal, HBO and Dark Rome. In 2014 she made a dramatic addition to her portfolio by working for the industrial division of Micro Matic LLC where she was the Senior Graphic Designer and Marketing Associate.
In addition to being a passionate creative, with skill sets such as drawing, illustrating, painting and textile design, she is also a full-time big sister to my now fourteen year old brother. With that being said, she continues to work diligently and creatively so he may have an example to follow.
Ryan McKay, is a Los Angeles-based Graphic Designer, Illustrator, Photographer, and Web Developer. Ryan attended FIDM. He is the founder of ReCreate Media and has over 10 years experience with branding, web development, photography, illustration and design. Working from 20 locations internationally, ReCreate meets the unique demands of his clients.
Ryan currently serves as the Western Region Representative.
KJ Bateman started out in Washington, D.C. After stops in Colorado, Germany, Pennsylvania and California, she ended up in Washington State.
She holds a B.F.A from the University of Southern California and a M.F.A from the University of Washington where she studied under Jacob Lawrence.
She has exhibited widely in the Pacific Northwest.
Using oils, acrylic and mixed media, she explores the details of life in her quirky, expressionistic style.
She is pleased to have the Graphic Artists Guild as a client since 2007, acting first as Administrator for the Seattle Chapter and currently as Western Regional Administrator.