People get a little confused because I do so many different kinds of design. But if you look back at my life, it all makes sense.
Design work is really about seeing connections. Finding potential.
The tools of each kind of design are just different, but the thought process is the same. I love to learn new things and never met a power tool I didn’t want to own. Interior design is mostly about projecting yourself into a space and visualizing living there. Brand design is looking at images and words and imagining yourself experiencing them for the first time. Graphic design uses one set of computer tools and websites another. Just like a drill or a sewing machine. It is the ideas behind the creation that really matter most.
Hi! I’m Jenni Pagano and this is my story…
The project photos on this site tell the design experience part of the tale.
This is the background info.
My 5th grade teacher gave out certificates at the end of the year, and mine said “Jenni will always be known for her ability to make something out of nothing.” In 6th grade I did my research report on “Color.” Only a future designer would do that…
Raised in Huntington Beach, I went to the beach all through High School right on this spot and never wore sunscreen. I took all of the art classes at school and intended to become a fashion designer. Always the girl who made the flyers, organized the group and made the birthday presents.
Earned my BFA in Design at UCLA, where I once sat in on a meeting next to Ray Eames. (I was president of the undergraduate design association at the time, and I think the local AIGA chapter wanted to include “the youth.” If I am remembering correctly, the meeting took place at the office of April Greiman and if I had any inkling of what I was walking into, I am sure I would have been petrified.)
Most classes I took were design/architectural history and graphic design. A little photography, some costume design. Professors told us they were teaching us to be Art Directors and how to think.
Personal computers were just becoming a thing and I was one of the few who had a Mac 512k.
My first job out of college was working for a Design-Build company in Pasadena, California. Computer aided drafting was just taking off but my boss wanted us to look like we had it already. We were required to draft all plans with technical ink pens on mylar film.
That part was not fun.
We mostly designed bank lobbies and did tenant improvement remodel work.
Did a lot of freelance interior design. Mostly residential kitchen design. Painted tee-shirts and furniture to sell in downtown Pasadena. Got married. Had babies. (They are both designers now! The oldest is doing visual communication as a partner in an award-winning downtown design firm, specializing in science presentation. The younger son is a design thinking consultant for the Siebold Design Center at University of Illinois while getting his PhD in engineering. They are both examples of my best work, to be honest.)
Moved to Tucson, Arizona in October. It was a very hot week.
Did volunteer work. Organized the teams, made the flyers, joined the Site Council and the Amphi Foundation board.
Later, ran a non-profit resale shop for the Amphi Foundation, a craft gallery and then managed a non-profit thrift store. All while doing design work, making jewelry and learning new tools.
While managing the thrift store, I did nearly two years worth of content creation of projects for the Morning Blend tv show. (You can check them all out on the Watch page.) In 2015 I got to open my little dream shop with my little dream co-worker Talulah. Owning an running a shop is a great education when you are wearing all the hats. Ran my website with a woo-commerce online shop, became a brand ambassador for a paint company and did all the things.
Currently volunteering on mostly political fronts with RepresentMeAz.com and the Pima County Democratic Party.
Perhaps my life experience dovetails with expertise you need in yours.