‘Creative’ is this designer’s middle name

If you’ve worked in-person from Vibe Coworks, you’ve likely seen Vibe member Rachael Studebaker of Studebaker Design Co. adding idea after idea to a sprawling map of creative genius that spills across the whiteboard wall and table top in one of Vibe’s sunniest corners.

If not there, you’ve surely seen her engaged in an animated conversation with other Vibists, or been at the receiving end of a smile and a hello from whatever desk she’s taken residence at for the day.

Whatever she’s doing, and wherever she is, Rachael oozes warmth, creativity, and some serious Big Idea energy. What does she do with all those big ideas? Her favorite thing to do is give back to the community around her.

A designer, artist, outdoor enthusiast, and storyteller, Rachael Studebaker launched Studebaker Design Co. in 2020 and has been transforming businesses into brands ever since.

In November 2021, she joined Vibe Coworks, shortly after moving to Kitsap from Boise, Idaho.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: what you do, and what you love.

Rachael: I’m a designer, an artist, an outdoor enthusiast, and a storyteller. I love good coffee, chocolate, slow mornings, and colorful sunsets. I’m a sucker for live music, good conversation, and sitting around a campfire.

I grew up in the high desert with parents running a small business, influencing my interest in business and strategy. When I wasn’t following them around during their work or bugging other employees, I’d be making art in the back office falling in love with the process. I went into graphic design, becoming obsessed with branding and branded environments, discovering a profession where I help businesses show up in their practices more effectively.

With graphic design, I discovered the intersection of business, strategy, and art. I have the opportunity to make graphics and brand materials to communicate information and draw people in. It’s a regular practice of problem solving where I find unique ways to design who and what the brand is in order for them to grow.

I love it because I’m constantly learning and exploring, trying to align with trends and industry standards, while also finding unique solutions. My job is fun and I’m obsessed with it!

How do you stay inspired and continue creating without burning out? How do you push through the moments when you don’t feel particularly inspired?

Rachael: My favorite way to recharge is by getting outside. Nature is inspiring and quiet, giving my mind space to wander while my feet do the same. Some of my best ideas come when I’m moving in the fresh air.

In general though, I find inspiration with any new brand experience, which has me wandering through each of the cities in the area. I pay attention to the details of different businesses, seeing how others have created a product, service, or space. I love enjoying those experiences with people, making memories and sharing stories.

My whole work is storytelling; creating spaces and assets within them. My own experiences teach me more than any Pinterest board ever will.

What is a moment or project you feel particularly proud of and why?

Rachael: I’m really proud of the local businesses I’ve had the chance to brand. My work started with connections in states I previously lived in. Branding companies in Kitsap has given me a new sense of community and connection, allowing me to give back to this place I now call home.

What is your favorite kind of project to take on?

Rachael: My favorite work is brand work, especially when I get to start from the beginning and design logo identities.

I love the challenge of finding a single symbol to represent a complex idea that is the business. After a mark is designed, creating graphic assets in the same style and adding personality to brand and marketing materials, I see the brand come to life.

When a business becomes a brand, it has personality, engages their audience, and tells a story. I love seeing businesses show off that personality and build connections.

You recently started a local Creative Mornings chapter. Can you tell us more about it?

Rachael: Yes, we officially have a CreativeMornings Poulsbo chapter!

I am excited to bring opportunities for people to connect personally, professionally, and creatively; sharing ideas and passions on different subjects. CM is an international organization where chapters host individual speakers to speak on the same topic, once a month, for free.

It’s a chance for anybody in the greater community, not just Vibe members, to gather. CM believes everybody is creative, in every industry, and I couldn’t agree more. We just need to help each other harness the creative energy.

Jefté Sanchez (Phosphorus Creative) is the co-host and Vibe is where we plan on hosting most of the monthly events. If anybody is interested in speaking, volunteering, or sponsoring, please email us.

I am excited to bring opportunities for people to connect personally, professionally, and creatively through CreativeMornings Poulsbo. It’s the world’s largest free monthly breakfast lecture series designed for creative communities, and everyone is invited.

What drew you to Vibe Coworks initially, and what has made you stay?

Rachael: Initially, I was looking for a place to work outside of my home. I love the overall look and feel of Vibe; it’s both professional and inspiring. After visiting the space, the community is what made me want to stay the most.

With my first visit, I met friendly, intelligent, and passionate people, and I continue to do so every day I work here. The extra curricular events are an added bonus, with social events giving everybody a chance to connect without the disruption of work.

Vibe upholds its name as a coworking space, being a place where I feel like I have teammates and friends.

You’ve gotten to work with quite a few other Vibe members. Can you talk a bit about any of those projects or what share generally what it’s been like connecting with other Vibists in this way?

Rachael: Yes, I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to work directly with other members of Vibe! One project has included a rebrand for Craig Nelson’s company, Food Automation. Beginning with establishing a logo identity, we’ve built a graphic library and brand assets, from business cards to an employee handbook. We’re now working on updating the website.

Another has included branding a restaurant experience for Hyatt, with Jefté Sanchez and his company, Phosphorus Creative. For this, we designed a logo, signage, menus, and other printed materials for the brand experience. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have a part in executing their business vision or design needs.

Being able to work for and with the Vibe community is fun because I hear and see regular updates relating to their brand every time we’re in the space together. It’s rewarding!

How do you think things would be different for you if you weren’t part of Vibe?

Rachael: If I wasn’t a part of Vibe, I’d be less productive, less connected, and ultimately: sad.

Any parting words of wisdom? Anything else you want to add?

Rachael: I recently heard something from an architect during an online webinar which I couldn’t
agree with more: If you’re starting a business, work with creatives. They’ll bring your ideas to life with more clarity than you could ever imagine doing alone.

If you’re starting a business, work with creatives. They’ll bring your ideas to life with more clarity than you could ever imagine doing alone.