A friend of mine suggested I contact Danille Ulvila. He told me she was a designer and an artist in Tacoma whose work he admired. I got in touch with her and found that she’s starting up a new venture called D & D Design Resources. She was gracious enough to take the time to join me for 5 Question Friday this week. Here’s Danille:
1. How did you get started in design work?
In some ways it was destiny as I developed a love for good design from my Mother. She has great design sensibilities that go beyond just having good taste. I think I picked that up from her.
That said, I sort of stumbled into design when I met a local artist and Giclee printer, Joe Palcich in 2007. I bought some really interesting vintage Giclee prints from him to help my friends merchandise their wine shop on Sixth Avenue. At the time I had a bunch of my kids’ art posted on the refrigerator and I was contemplating an interesting way to showcase it without being too saccharine. I visited his studio, and saw his printers and had an “Aha moment” thinking there might be a market for printing children’s art on large format stretched canvases. I pitched him on the idea and he was on board. From there I started my own business, Prints Charming, and I began developing a local clientele of families who wanted to do the same thing with their children’s art and family memorabilia.
My Prints Charming business was largely supported by my network of friends, and friends-of- friends with children. As time passed my very talented Interior Designer friend, Dawn Bloemers, began working on a large interior design project for DaVita. She knew in a previous life, before motherhood, I had a career in Marketing Communications and she thought I might be able to help her accommodate DaVita’s request to have their corporate culture reinforced visually in their office space. I put together some large scale canvas collages together for her and they liked it. From there we moved beyond canvas and started working with several local vendors using all sorts of new materials to develop design and décor projects for their offices in Tacoma.
2. What projects have you worked on?
Beyond Davita I had the privilege of working with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma on their new space. Most recently I had the opportunity to work on some really fun memorabilia display cases for the Space Needle’s 50th Anniversary of the World’s Fair.
3. What’s the most misunderstood thing when it comes to designing for a business?
I think the most misunderstood thing about design and décor is that you just have to have good taste, or that you are just there to make things look pretty. In fact it really has nothing to do with your personal taste at all. Successful design projects require you to translate clients’ needs into something that positively represents their aesthetic. Beyond aesthetics you have to source the best vendors, the latest materials and you have to know how to move their concept from paper to installation which requires a lot of coordination and massive attention to even the smallest details, like where to place the screw holes.
4. What’s a project you’d love to to but haven’t had a chance to do?
You know I have never actually thought about this. If someone had told me 5 years ago that my work with children’s art would have led to work with the Space Needle I would have laughed out loud. I’ve been really fortunate to work with a wide variety of interesting clients and I am looking forward to whatever the next phone call brings. I always enjoy projects that allow me to meet and promote local artists, so I would like to develop a few more projects in that direction.
5. What’s next for your design career?
I sincerely love what I do and the really interesting businesses I get to work with. Dawn Bloemers and I are joining forces to expand our offerings to businesses large and small all around the Puget Sound. Through installations and experiences (good and bad) we’ve developed a wealth of resources. Her deep knowledge of all things interior design; like lighting, textiles and finishes combined with my understanding of fabrication and branding will allow us to offer a unique range of services. It’s going to be an adventure.
If you or your business has a project you would like Danille to help you with, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 253-677-9931.
I’d like to thank Danille for participating in 5 Question Friday. As always, if you think you or anyone you know would be a good subject for 5 Question Friday, email me at email@example.com and tell me why.