Jill Brunner.com

I WAS BORN

in the last century to a gregarious dentist and a very organized dental hygienist. I played a lot of soccer, ran track, played tennis, skipped a grade, drew a lot, tattled on my older brother and sister, got excellent grades, and got a fake license from the California DMV. I learned that I can't drink whiskey.

& I WENT TO SCHOOL

at Pepperdine University in beautiful, grandiloquent Malibu. I served Pamela Anderson coffee and cat-sat at Dick Clark's house (I think that makes me famous). I spent a semester in Buenos Aires and became fluent in Spanish. I had an internship with Grey Direct/West and another with Mark Keller, during which I was taken in by the former president of Visa and member of the Federal Reserve Board. I graduated cum laude and my teachers elected me the Outstanding Communication Department Graduate for 2002.

& I BOUGHT A SUIT

and Grizzard hired me as an account coordinator working in direct mail fundraising. I realized I did not want to be on the account side of things. I took a little detour and was hired as the executive assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration back at good ole' Pepperdine. My title took up 2 full lines on my business card. I made a welcome gift basket for Justice Scalia. I reinterpreted "business professional" to include sandals. I spent 3 happy years there, sneaking in as many design projects as possible.

& I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL

for an MBA while I worked full-time. I enjoyed the marketing, organizational behavior and business law courses. I completed half of the program and decided that I didn't want to do anything involving the word quantitative.

& I BOUGHT A BACKPACK

and wandered around Europe for a bit. I learned some Italian and met Snoop Dogg's Italian twin brother. I had Berliner beer with the German National Water Polo Team. I hung out with a crazy Scottish father/son duo who desperately wanted me to move to Scotland. I considered it.

& I KNEW MY CALLING

was to earn a living by designing things, so I enrolled myself in UCLA Extension courses (still working full-time at this point). I learned some things, but I knew I could be better than I was. I attended the Push workshop at Tool of North America in Santa Monica. I was inspired to take a real leap..

& I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL

to chase my dream full-time at The Creative Circus, leaving sunny California for not-quite-as-sunny-as-often Atlanta. I learned a ton. I did not sleep a ton. I won some design awards and contests. I did some freelance. I worked as a waitress in Buckhead. I designed layouts for J'Adore, a magazine directed toward African American men. I went to the Kentucky Derby. I graced Graceland. I put my flip flops away during winter. I decided I wanted to be back in California.*

& I THINK

happiness is found in the little, everyday things in life. Some days you have to search a little harder, but it's there. Look behind the expired milk.

  • Design is responsible for communicating brand identity and value to the consumer. Good design makes people choose your product over another. Bad design makes baby Jesus cry.
  • Peanut butter is a gift from heaven, and chocolate frosting beats jelly any day.
  • Sometimes judging a book by its cover is OK. The outside does matter– perhaps even more than the inside, as far as packaging and branding go.
  • Some dogs actually do like wearing clothes. Seriously.
  • Costume parties should not be restricted to Halloween only.
  • There is no new black.