“Artist Michelle LaPenai has a unique voice as a Graphic Designer. She combines her creative talents together: Fine Art Illustration, Typography, Painting, Design, Magazine and Book Design.”
She majored in Visual Communications and studied Fine Art Illustration at Laguna College of Art and Design. She has traveled extensively and has lived and been inspired by the landscapes of coastal Northern and Southern California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Morocco and Greece. She lived off the grid near Taos New Mexico and learned about sustainability, earthship biotecture, and built parts of an earthship herself. She brings this philosophy to her business practices and her clients appreciate her simple and clean approach. Her work is best described as original and she has served Visual and Performance Artists, renowned Circus Performers, Cabaret Performers, National and Statewide Magazines, Painters, Sculptors, Healers, Ayurvedic Practitioners, Yoga Studios and Instructors, and Social and Political Activists. Her illustrations have appeared in numerous magazines, publications, and books most notably Malcolm Margolin of HeyDay Books. Her gift is to discern the appropriate solution for every project and create for each client what they had seen for themselves all along.
Alternative Health & Medicine Magazine, Sage Woman, Oyster Boy Review, Hey Day Press/Malcolm Margolin Joaquin Miller Life Amongst the Modocs, Health Caring News, Sozo Style, Firebrand Media, Ten Speed Press/Tricycle Press, Living Crafts Magazine, California Physician, Videomaker, Choices, and more.
Chaz Dean studios, Lady Rizo & The Assettes, The Flynn Creek Circus, Vintage Clothing at The Checkered Apron, Design Alliance, Cass Phelps Healer and Sound Artist, Transcend Organics, Yoga Shakti, Yoga Works, Transformations Vintage, Tantric poet Kristina Sanborn, Occasions at Laguna Village Oceanfront Events, Trader Bean Coffee, Sozo Style, Larry Westal Design, Gypsy Crunch, La Sirena, Radiant Gem, Lucid WebPress, University Wellness Center, Anjali Auyerveda, Kathleen Clark Photography, and more.
- BACHELOR OF ARTS MAY 1994
- Visual Communications/Graphic Design Minor: Studio Arts / Honor Roll Typography Annual, Best of Show, California State University, Chico
- LAGUNA COLLEGE OF ART & DESIGN 2003-2004 FINE ARTS & ILLUSTRATION, Laguna Beach, CA
- MENDOCINO ART CENTER 2000-2003 INDEPENDENT SCULPTURE STUDY, Mendocino, CA
- Delectable Edibles Made with Love – Alexandra Proctor, BC Canada
- Joyful Forest Medicine – Michael Van Sciver, Nevada City, California
- Gaia’s Garden – Chelle Goodfriend, Lake Forest, California
- Whole Life Times Magazine – Gina Salvati, Los Angeles, California
- Bighorn Botanicals – Noxon, Montana
- Benedictine Herbs Healing, Santa Cruz, California
- Aloha Medicinals – Carson City, Nevada
- Living Forest Gardens – Inside Out Nourishment, France
- Magical Botanicals – Smooth Smoke, Boulder, Colorado
- Life Enthusiast – Exsula Superfoods
- Fermentation Farm – Costa Mesa, California
- Chaz Dean Studios – Chaz Dean, Los Angeles, California
- Occasions at Laguna Village:Branding – Kathy Gibson, Laguna Beach, California
- Oyster Boy Review – Berkeley, California
- University Wellness Center – Laguna Beach, Irvine, Huntington Beach, California
- The Checkered Apron – Los Angeles, California
- HeyDay Press Independent Berkeley Publisher Berkeley, California Malcom Margolin Designed 32 page insert for the
- Quarterly Journal, The Native Californian. Also designed books titled: Grass Games & Moon Races and Joaquin Miller: Life Amongst the Modocs.
- Ten Speed –Tricycle PressBerkeley, California Illustrated 32 page full color postcard book Protect This Girl ad 72 page hardbound sequel Protect This Girl’s Journal.
- Larry Westal Design Berkeley, California Assisted on Folkmanis signage and brochures for the Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland & Peet’s Coffee & tea signage The American College of Psychiatrists Berkeley, California Designed, illustrated and produced 48 page annual conference brochure.
- Lady Rizo & The Assettes – NYC Caberlesque Performers, website
- Laguna Beach Magazine – Firebrand Media
- La Sirena Grill, Scott & Janet Cortellessa, Branding Collaterals
- Dr. Stienert, Opthamologist (world renowned) Website
- Cheryl Kanner, The Life Energy Center, Website
- My Soul Shines, Branding, Tim Morgan CEO
- Radiant Gem – Anah Laudenslager Web Design
- Life in the Shadows Book Design – Faye Chapman
- Living Crafts Magazine, Paradis Amirshahi
- Michele Blair, Marriage & Family Therapist
- Flynn Creek Circus/The Daring Jones Duo-Blaze Rose Birge
- Home in Laguna, Melinda Zoller, Realtor
- Health Caring News, Sheldon Lewis
- Gypsy Crunch, Randi Nash Branding & Packaging
- Living Rasa Vitaya Stern Ayurvedic Practitioner, Web Design
- Cassidy Phelps Awake-One, The Five Signals, Biotune Sound Frequency Medicine
ON SITE POSITIONS
- Summer 2012 ICONYSYS, APP Developers Art Department
- July 2004-January 2009 THE LAGUNA BEACH INDEPENDENT Full Page Illustrations – Advertising Design
- Print-Web Archivist for Laguna Beach History
- January 2006-May 2009 DESIGN ALLIANCE Artist and designer for the talented Glenn McIntyre on Balboa Island.
- July 2003 – February 2004 ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES IN HEALTH & MEDICINE MAGAZINE/CHOICES Encinitas, CA Art Director Organized print and production for four alternative health related journals. Purchased cover art and created llustrations for editorial spreads. Designed features and art directed photo shoots. Managed ad traffic and print production schedule.
- 1997-2000 – CALIFORNIA PHYSICIAN MAGAZINE San Francisco, CA Production Coordinator / Illustrator Assistant Art Director of magazine production. Fostered vendor relations, negotiated contracts, ordered press runs, managed production budgets, and coordinated shipping and advertising traffic. Designed and illustrated department stories and designed feature spreads.
- 1994-1997 – VIDEOMAKER MAGAZINE Chico, CA Designer / Production Coordinator Designed department stories, directed cover shoots, and managed the shipping and advertising traffic, including past issue ad pick-ups.
Testimonials & Comments
Working with Michelle has been an invigorating and positively unique experience that you just don’t find everyday…”
Michelle truly cares about her products/services and will not present anything that is less than perfect. To the everyday person, they may not pick up on the intricate nuances of a design detail but Michelle does and although she could easily get away with less than her best, she doesn’t. Michelle puts her heart & soul into everything she does which is apparent in the final product. Michelle also is able to take one’s ideas and turn those into a visual masterpiece. A perfect example is a logo for a product I am looking to license. I had an idea for what I was looking for but not the talent to create it. Michelle was able to turn my thoughts into the perfect logo and brand image I was looking for. Finally, Michelle genuinely cares about her clients even after she finalizes a project. Michelle still keeps in touch with me to this day – and not just to inquire about future project opportunities but to encourage me in the pursuit of my goals. I would definitely hire Michelle for future projects as well as recommend her to anyone looking for Graphic Design or Website Development expertise.”
— Charles Mahabir, Cage Cream
Able to interpret the heart of a company…”
“Michelle’s amazing designs stand apart from the rest due to her natural abilities to focus on what is unique about each client/company. Blessed with an uncanny gift as a brand specialist, she brings an innate, creative sense to the design table and is able to graphically interpret the heart of a company in a way that will get them not only noticed, but understood and remembered ~ the key to success.”
— Leslie Gillin, Graphic Designer
Patient and creative”
“Michelle worked with me on a product line label project. She was very patient and creative, helping me craft both headlines and body text that ended up much better than the text I had working alone. She came up with multiple versions of graphics, and surprised me many times with her creativity. I loved her ability to see things in large perspective, and how every small detail fit into the the whole project. ”
— Martin Pytela Life Enthusiast, Exsula Superfoods
Excellent grasp of the art of graphic design…”
“Michelle is excellent, her follow up and attention to details is amazing. She has an excellent grasp of the art of graphic design and can help you understand how best to get the most from your deign projects that return results.”
— William Anti, Gypsy Crunch
Prompt, informative, personable…”
“Michelle is an outstanding graphic designer, who excels at each step of the way. She is prompt, informative, personable, and extremely reasonable. I highly recommend her for any type of design work that someone may need.”
— Carol Hughes, Marketing Specialist
Only the best…”
“Michelle’s goal is to produce only the best for her clients. She meets deadlines with accuracy and creativity. I highly recommend her.”
— Ray McAfoose, Realtor
Michelle has an incredible ability to draw out a person’s unique gift and inspiration from raw, ugly, messy origins…”
… and organize, refine and design until there is a coherent and professional website clearly defining what that person has to share with the world.
— Kathy Gibson, Occasions at Laguna Village
Your creativity and passion for this work is extraordinary…”
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity to have met you and I found your creativity and passion for this work to be extraordinary.”
— Kelly Love, UMS (University of Metaphysical Sciences)
Your creativity, attention to detail, and passion is unbelievable”
“This project is dear to my heart and I thank you for bringing it to reality. I wasn’t too proud of the web site before and now I can see it happening and I’m feeling proud to be a part of it. Thank you, thank you thank you….your creativity, attention to detail and passion is unbelievable. I think you have a rare artistic quality I am so incredible impressed by your work.
— Tamerra Jarvis, Trader Bean Coffee
She is particularly accomplished at editorial illustration”
“LaPenai Design and I worked closely together to develop an electronic newsletter on spiritual care for an institute at a major medical center. Michelle is a highly skilled and creative graphic designer and illustrator. She is particularly accomplished at editorial graphic design and illustration, possessing the necessary conceptual and storytelling skills needed for this work. She is thoroughly professional in terms of organization and meeting deadlines, and I strongly recommend her work.”
— Sheldon Lewis, Sounds True News
Reliable skilled and creative”
“I had the pleasure of working with Michelle LaPenai over four years where Michelle served as an independent graphic-design contractor to the weekly Laguna Beach Independent newspaper. Their responsibilities included graphic design, illustration, and production for a weekly editorial feature, The Laguna Beach Historical Pages, which is where our paths crossed regularly. Michelle also built a substantial web archive for the paper, reformatting the feature pages they had designed for print publication to be viewed online. Michelle LaPenai proved a reliable, skilled and creative print and web firm, who thoughtfully incorporated design elements that enriched the editorial content while always meeting deadlines. It is my pleasure to recommend her.”
— Andrea Adelson, Editor in Chief Laguna Beach Independent
This woman is a rock star creator..”
For ANYONE looking for THE best graphic artist and project-midwife (I have ever found)!! This woman is a rock star creator. She can take your scratches and scribbles on pieces of paper along with all your thoughts and bring them into a coherent sharable Form. She has this unique gift of getting what your project and gift is and bringing it into form… she takes everything to the next level. If you have been sitting on a project or idea saying, oh I can’t afford to hire someone- after working with Michelle you will realize you can’t afford not to!! Check out how diverse her body of work is and you will see. She is a Start-up Package Master. I cant say enough about her.
— Cass Phelps, Awake-One/Five Signals
Michelle has an exquisite gift in nurturing inspiration and bringing ideas into form.”
Anyone who has shared in the miracle of birthing of an infant knows how crucial it is to have someone with skill and knowledge facilitate the process. The same is true for giving birth to a creative project.
Occasionally the stars align in such a way that magic happens. That’s what occurred when I met Michelle LaPenai. We spoke on the phone and she listened as I described my vision and mission. Understanding occurred effortlessly.
Like a new mom, I’m now bursting with awe and joy as I gaze at the beauty of my dream coming to fruition. I could not have done it alone. Michelle has an exquisite gift in nurturing inspiration and bringing ideas into form.
— Kori Lane, Eye of Clear Vision
Your encouragement and support have been instrumental.”
To my Sweet Wayfaring Sister of the Oceans—you are the beloved and most auspicious one. Your encouragement and support have been instrumental to the success of all that I am creating…you truly are my midwife. Love love love.
— Kristina Sanborn, Sipping Tea with Golden Ko
I feel seen, understood, and honored.”
— Cristal Mortensen, Aware-Awake-Aligned
Working with LaPenai Design is a magical experience. Michelle and her associates have my unflappable recommendation.
— Chase Williams, Starcom Global
I feel so blessed to co-llabor-ate with you.”
Thank you for truly seeing me and lifting me up by being the wind beneath my wings so I can take flight~~~+ I feel so blessed to co-llabor-ate with you. I love you~!
— Anah Laudenslager, Radiant Gem