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Woman in Design: Theresa Whitehill

Colored Horse Studios beer packaging design
Colored Horse Studios broadsheet design
Theresa Whitehill headshot

Theresa Whitehill

Design Director, Writer, Co-founder
Colored Horse Studios
Ukiah and St. Helena, California

Why are women designers important contributors to the discourse on global change?

Women tend to be more adept at creative collaboration, a skill that is going to be necessary if we are to address the environmental devastation of the planet and survive the next ten or twenty years with democratic freedoms intact.

As creative professionals involved in graphics and imaging, women are in a powerful position to influence how culture is signified, how it is pictorialized, memorialized. The nuances of the simplest typographic treatment can bend awareness and promote either inclusivity or a perpetuation of the status quo.

When I think of women designers I admire, I see a widely varied group of individuals who are mothers and thinkers and rebels, activists and introverts, smart and talented, with formidable appetites for justice and love, innovation and laughter. The very diversity of their voices and their combined compassion and critical thinking is the strength of the future.

Women are working in teams, in communities and with governments to find ways to collaborate and have an impact. What was the last project you worked on to improve your community?

Colored Horse Studios has designed packaging and branding for North Coast Brewing Company for over twenty years. A pioneer in the craft beer movement, North Coast Brewing is a certified B Corp with a commitment to great beer that is matched by their commitment to philanthropy, community, and environmental stewardship. We recently designed branding and packaging for two of their beers that were created to benefit environmental and cultural programs.

North Coast Brewing makes a donation from the sale of every bottle and keg of their North Coast Steller IPA to support marine mammal research and rescue. In addition, they make a donation from the sales of their Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale to the Jazz education programs of the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Each time I see someone put a bottle of North Coast Steller IPA or Brother Thelonious in their shopping cart I get a thrill, knowing that we’re expanding the idea of what it means to “raise a glass” to sustaining our natural environment and to enriching the cultural education of our young people.

Name a woman designer other than yourself, living or deceased, that you think made an impact on the world.

Zida Borcich, founder of Studio Z Mendocino, Fort Bragg, California, is someone who is always making an impact on her community and the world. She not only provides a great role model for women business owners, but she has mentored many young women in the craft of letterpress printing and graphic design—and in the art of life. Zida is deeply involved in her community on the Mendocino coast of northern California, where she has served as President of the Board of the Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund and as Publisher of Real Estate Magazine, which serves as a local venue for articles on all aspects of inspired social awareness and creative activism.

With a reputation for excellence based on 30 years’ experience, our dedication to craft and our ability to express complex concepts distinguishes our branding, packaging, books, and website designs.

Images © Theresa Whitehill. Used with permission.