get in touch

** I am unavailable for freelance work until January 2014 **

If you'd like  to get in touch about a freelance project or just to say hi, please send me a message using the form or via twitter at @ivonnekn.

~ Ivonne




If you have a budget in mind, please let me know.
Do you have a timeline for your project or a hard deadline for launch?


Designer and illustrator specializing in brand identity design, web design and UI/UX design, based in Toronto via Milton.


Filtering by Category: Design


Ivonne Karamoy

It’s a slow and ongoing process of sharpening your sensibility and also your own understanding of yourself and the world.
— Natasha Jen, Designer.

Natasha Jen is a partner at Pentagram and an award-winning, intelligent designer. I found this quote in an interview with her about her outlook on her career and it struck me. This is the definition of growth, career or otherwise.

Check out this PRINT mag interview with Natasha Jen to learn more about this thoughtful designer.


Ivonne Karamoy

The Great Discontent interviews Michael Bierut
I love TGD's interviews but this one is one of my favorites, partly because I admire Michael Bierut but I also found a sort of kinship in his outlook on life and this interview was a nice window into that.

After I read that interview I stumbled across this post from Tina of Swiss-Miss (Side note: Tina is the inspiration behind these "Goodies" - part personal archive and part sharable goodies of interesting things that I come across)...

Michael Bierut on the power of logos via Design Indaba
I'm always intrigued by how people perceive things and how design can help shape that. The power of a logo is dependent not just on the design but also on the business, it's values and how the entire brand shapes itself.

Tina Roth Eisenberg on using values to thrive in work and family
Tina Roth Eisenberg a.k.a. Swiss-Miss is a designer and founder that I've admired from afar because it's clear that she leads her business and ventures with her heart. Her creations have come organically from her needs including Tattly and Creative Mornings. Tina talks about how she runs her business with values, heart and a bit of confetti in this podcast episode.

Michael Bierut created a project called the 100 Day Project for his MFA students at Yale as an exercise in discipline and creative thinking. The idea is simple, think of an action that you can do every day for 100 days. Cool right?

Now artist Elle Luna, along with TGD, is launching the #The100DayProject with the goal to encourage people to show up day after day and celebrate the process of doing. 

April 6th is the launch date and anyone can participate - I will be. I'm not yet sure exactly what action I'll do but I'm narrowing it down.

You can join me by signing up here and showing your process on instagram every day starting April 6th. See you on the instas!

Elle LunaThe Crossroads of Should and Must
Elle Luna is a designer turned artist who I admire for taking risks, being honest and putting her heart out into the world. Her post on The Crossroads of Should and Must is a MUST read for anyone who has a free spirit. AND she's turned it into a book due out on April 8, 2015. I'll be getting my copy for sure–I am a sucker pep talks, especially one's that encourage you to find and follow your callings (yes plural).

Image via  Elle Luna

Image via Elle Luna

Your long term is not the sum of your short terms
And finally, in the spirit of doing what you need/love, here's some food for thought from Seth Godin:

How long is your long term?

A simple question with an answer that’s difficult to embrace.

What are you willing to give up today in exchange for something better tomorrow? Next week? In ten years?

Your long term is not the sum of your short terms.
— Seth Godin

The Shape of Design | Frank Chimero

Ivonne Karamoy

I came across Frank Chimero's talk on design at Build Conference in 2010. I don't know how I didn't see this before, but it is such a smart and nourishing discussion on the design that I had to share it! 

It is extremely difficult to give an accurate definition of design. And those of us who work as designers often get lost in the everyday business and process of it that we forget the true power of our work. In this talk, Frank Chimero gives us a more acute definition of design (from way way back in time) and reminds us what it means to design. We have the power to delight our audiences, tell stories and nourish our lives through this practice. Most of us become designers for these reasons, and that can be forgotten all too easily as you meet deadlines, work with clients and pay your bills. We need this reminder every now to remind us why we do what we do.

Frank discovers, a most accurate definition of design from Aristotle's writings:

The technical know-how, skill, craft, and art involved in production, manufacturing & making; using good deliberation, understanding, resulting in deliberate desire to be carried out with cleverness.

Design requires some degree of cleverness, technical know-how, skill, craft and art. Frank notes that "logic breaks when we work with people." What he means by this is that technology operates on logic, but the systems we build and the things we want to communicate with design is meant for people, and people are not logical, they're emotional. It takes more than technical skill and logic to design. It takes cleverness, heart and empathy. Designing with data only gets us so far. It makes sense for logic and for business to work from data. It's very scientific and it makes sense. Often people don't understand design; they understand data and logic. But the most important and impactful designs and discoveries are such that because they delight people on an emotional level. They resonate with them because it hits them in their gut or in their heart. It elicits a reaction. That can't be designed based on data alone.

Frank Chimero's talk makes you fall in love with design all over again.

FITC 2014 Submission

Ivonne Karamoy

Every year FITC comes to Toronto and for the fourth year in a row they are setting aside FREE tickets to give away as part of their Women's Initiative. I love this initiative because it gives women working in the tech space an opportunity to discover all the wonderful things that are going on in the industry and well, I would love love love to go to the conference again!

For my submission I created this poster series which in my opinion clearly defines what FITC is all about and why I would love to go.

(Click each poster to see a larger view).


A little history of FITC and me

I had the amazing opportunity to attend FITC Toronto 2012, thanks to a ticket giveaway by the lovely people at Ladies Learning Code (thanks ladies!). It was my first conference ever and I was so inspired and I admit, a bit intimidated. I didn't know many people but what I saw at FITC blew me away. It wasn't all about technology, it was about experiences, real world experiences with people who had successes and failures. The whole point of it was to learn from each other and to meet people who work along side you everyday. We all work in technology for all the possibilities it has to offer and one of the reasons I love working in the web is the openness of the community we're in. I learned so much and met some incredible people along the way. Most importantly I was inspired to return to my desk and get working. As a freelancer, working in my home office, it is necessary to find inspiration and connect with people.

Through the community here I've met a ton of incredible people who are doing great things. One connection I made was with Cassie McDaniel, who submitted an app design for her entry for the FITC Women's Initiative that year. The app was designed to help women connect with each other to put themselves out there for conference organizers to find them (there are fewer women who speak at conferences). Shortly after FITC 2012, I tweeted Cassie to make that app a reality. What began as a tweet turned into a group of men and women dedicated to turn this idea into reality. When we met, instead of an app, we decided to launch Women && Tech, an interview series that shares stories of incredibly talented women doing great things in the world of technology. It's been one and half years since we launched we're still sharing stories. I am proud to be a part of the Women && Tech team and continue to help manage the project today.

So, what started as a free ticket to FITC turned into ideas, connections, and inspiring work.

This year, I would love to attend FITC 2014, because the possibilities of what an event like this does, is endless!


My submission


As I sat down to think about what I wanted to submit to this initiative, I wrote all the reasons why I wanted to go to FITC in my notebook.

I thought about what I could create that would summarize all of this. I decided early on that I wanted to create a poster of some kind. But I wanted it to be clear, to the point and to not only convey what FITC meant to me but what the conference is all about. I wanted it to stand on it's own as a testament to the FITC experience. After some sketching and preliminary ideas, I came up with the poster series above. I could see this series grow but these 3 posters for me is what FITC is all about and why I would love to go! Fingers crossed :)

Respect and consideration

Ivonne Karamoy

Our role as a designer is to use our creativity for a purpose, to transform experiences into one of function and beauty. We think and strategize about how people use our products and interact with experiences on the web. We make things beautiful and engaging while enabling users to focus on the task at hand. For our designs to function well and serve the needs of a business/person/user, it helps to understand the technology that underlie it.

Understanding the intricacies of the web, how it runs and how things are built allow us to understand what is and isn't possible and how to design the best experience given what we have. Designers and developers collaborate more now than ever before for this reason. We work together so we can rely on each other's expertise to inform our work and to better it.

There's a question as to whether a designer should learn how to code. I think it's not merely a matter of learning to code in order to code our designs but to understand the underlying technology that allows our designs to function. An ideal project may be one that begins from scratch, with a code base that is built based on the initial designs and iterated upon. But for designs that are revisited or complex products that evolve, it's not always possible to rewrite the code base. In product development, you build on the code that's already there and sometimes interactions are not possible without having to dedicate many resources (time, development and money) to overhaul it.

It can be a frustrating situation for both a designer and developer to be in. We want to design a certain experience but the back-end may need to be rewritten to do it and there's not enough time or budget to do it in. A designer who understands the underlying technology can appreciate the complexity that the developers are dealing with. That doesn't mean that the designs are impossible. It simply means that we need to weigh the design and development efforts for the project, consider alternatives, imagine scenarios - in short, have a dialogue and plan.

As a designer with a strong technology and development background, I'm able to have in-depth discussions with my developers on implementation issues. I trust in their expertise but I am able to understand their decisions and question them. I'm also able to question my design decisions and whether it's worth a code overhaul, for example. I can empathize with their experience building a design and ensure that I give them all the assets they need to implement my designs in a way that's easiest for them - that means slicing images and naming them properly, providing font files, labelling my psd files properly, providing ready made css styles, etc. 

This empathy shouldn't be one-sided either. Developers may not need to learn how to design or understand typography or grid systems to the point that designers do, but it's important that they respect the principles of design and rely on designers to make informed decisions that solve the needs of the project. It's extremely easy to pick on a design, but instead of criticizing it, critique it. Take some time to understand the design decisions and how the designer has come to it. Again, have a dialogue. There was considerable time and effort put into our designs and trust me, we've thought of the alternatives and came to our decisions thoughtfully. We're all approaching the same problem and trying to solve it. If there's some really important technical issues that our designs might introduce, then let's hear it out and work through them together. And when it comes to implementing the designs, respect the details - the typography, the spacing, the grid system. Think of them as your curly brackets, your comments, your file structure. We are as particular about them as you are with your code.

At the end of the day, it's about mutual respect and dialogue. I've worked within a team where we have mutual respect for each others craft and can battle it out on design and implementation details. And the result is always a better, more cohesive product.

Everyone on the team should be respectful of each other and their work. Be considerate of each other. That means sales people who understand the advantages and limitations of the product or service that the team builds or provides. That means managers who respects everyone's time and ability and schedules enough time to execute the work to the best of their abilities. It's not always easy especially if money trumps everything else. But the best work environments are the one's that respect the project, the client, the different roles on the team and provide resources for everyone to work to the best of their abilities. There's nothing worse than being disrespected for your time, effort, ability and/or talents.