Recent Work: The Oak Woodland Opening


Last week, Descanso Gardens hosted private openings for their newest garden, The Oak Woodland, dedicated to native flora and fauna, on a part of their grounds never before open to the public. This garden is very much in line with the top-of-mind concerns about water conservation, with a contemplative focus on the plants that have co-evolved with our southern California landscape. Following a path that encircles a lake and connects to two other gardens, this space offers closeup views of colorful salvias and coast live oaks, as well as meditative vistas of the san gabriels.

To announce this great unveiling, we created a versatile invite enclosure with a variable insert, showcasing the oaks, and all on natural-tone paper. On site, we created garden entry signs that explain the history of the land up to this point.


This garden also has a printed field guide, as well as a full-page pdf of all the plants that can be found here. Download a copy and go explore!

+ See more of our work for Descanso Gardens here.
+ See more recent work here.

redesign: inspire 2013


i’m hugely excited to announce that i’ll be speaking at the redesign: inspire conference this fall, october 21 – 22, 2013, at the smog shoppe in culver city!

described as equal parts conference, salon and retreat, redesign: inspire is shaping up to be a fantastic creative getaway [or staycation, if you’re local]. i’m already overwhelmed at the company i’m in honor of keeping at this event. as you’ll see the speaker lineup unfold through june and july, it’s a group of truly outstanding design thinkers and industry leaders. this year’s event symposiarch is lawrence azerrad, a fantastic designer i met at aiga’s blueprint: freelance panel discussion.

parlato_2013_150this year’s theme is cross-pollination, “drawing from sources beyond traditional design to enhance, strengthen and inspire our work.” i’ll be talking about my long and winding road in design, moving ever outward from the day-to-day bubble in order to give my work balance and clarity. i love the idea that this is a forum format, because while i have plenty to share from my own experience, i’m equally excited to hear from attendees as well. every speaker will be tackling this topic from a different angle. join us and get in on the conversation!

this conference has an early-bird registration deadline of june 30, 2013, for the best possible rate! register this week, and keep your eyes on the redesign: inspire site for new announcements.

hiatus over!

so yeah, i’ve been offline awhile. but i’m emerging from the media diet, undergoing a branding exercise and i’ll be back in many ways now that 2013 is underway, at places like creative mornings LA & stuff…!

2 weeks to spread the love for dayna!

all your amazing help has sold HALF the valentines with TWO WEEKS to go!

in case you haven’t heard, i’m selling my arsenal of valentines to spread the love for dayna stephens. we set out with a goal to sell 150 packs of valentines in 5 weeks, and so many of you advance-planner, get-aheaders bought them an astounding month in advance! now it’s time to help our sometimes-procrastinatey friends jump off the fence and into action, because the real fun begins when i double your money after we sell out! remind everyone you know that it’s FESTIVE to hand out cute cards with nice compliments, it’s FUN to pretend your a kid again, and it’s AWESOME to help a good friend in the process.

here’s where we’re at:

we have 75 packs of valentines to sell!
we have 14 days until february 10 to sell them!
that’s a mere 5 packs per day at 5 bucks each! we can do it!
keep spreading the word, link to this post or to the parlato design studio store!
use those sociable icons below to share it to your favorite social networks!
fight the healthcare system with love—do it for dayna!

spreading the love for dayna stephens

sure, you’ve seen these before—but this year i’m adding a special twist to the otherwise-consumerist practice we call valentine’s day. see, instead of trying to make you buy a dozen roses or chocolates, i’m suggesting you use your much-more-meaningful heartfelt words to tell your friends, family, co-workers and all-around-favorite people how awesome they are on sustainably-printed, environmentally-friendly cards. and once i sell them all, instead of keeping the money, i’m sending it over to help dayna stephens in his efforts to raise awareness about testing as a kidney donor, and in support of his own operation and medical care. help me sell them all, and i’ll double your money with a matching donation of my own.

so, why would i do this besides the fact that dayna is a fantastic guy who needs a kidney? well, if you’re a freelancer or otherwise self-employed individual, you know that one of the biggest issues we face is affordable healthcare. with a pre-existing condition, dayna’s choices are limited, funding is not all-inclusive, and qualifications to get that funding are rather exacting. as a witness to the ongoing folley we call healthcare in this country, i find it outrageous that a sick person should accept the possibility of being a casualty to a system that could otherwise help him save for so many rules and tricks and hoops to jump through. so, he’s doing what he can, following the rules and jumping through the hoops, and what we’re doing is helping with the remaining balance.

so, what is $1200 really going to do for someone who needs a kidney? the amount i can raise personally is just a brick in the wall, but there are a few efforts rolling out through the jazz foundation that will help get dayna’s costs covered. stay tuned for more perks and special events that will go toward the efforts of helping dayna. in the meantime, by some valentines!

i like valentines, but i can’t think of how i’d use them. i get it dude, here is a list:

> give them to your kids to fill out and take to school
> pretend your job is as fun as school and fill them out for your co-workers
> write 16 separate compliments to your partner and stick each valentine on a notched chop-stik in a vase to make a compliment bouquet
> make a valentine’s promo of your own and use them as the notecards you send to your own clients
> write nice notes to your family or co-workers and hide them in drawers, cabinets, on shelves and in books
> use them as an opportunity to put a little hello in your neighbor’s mailboxes
> write nice notes to your family and construct a valentine mobile with sticks and string
> donate them to a school or after-school program for a fun kid activity
> write your future self compliments and words of encouragement and read them whenever you need to
> stick them on your mirrors so you can remind yourself that you rock and to stay awesome!

got it? time to get awesome!

happy 13th birthday kitty kazoo

happy 13th birthday kitty kazoo

last saturday, my dear little fluffy cat, kitty kazoo, celebrated her 13th birthday. it was a rainy day, so she spent it doing what she loves best, twisting around & napping on the couch.

i’m lucky enough to know her actual birthday because i adopted her mom as a pregnant stray and had the litter at home. she was the first of 3 lovely little ladies born in our home 13 years ago on november 20. her sisters live in new york with my sister, happy birthday ladies!

happy 13th birthday kitty kazoo

happy 13th birthday kitty kazoo

happy 13th birthday kitty kazoo

a store is born!

i spent the last few weeks working a christmas elf’s schedule, creating holiday cards, thank you cards & gift tags. i think they’re super-cute and thought some of you might as well, so i built a simple store for my site, where you can pick some up: the parlato design studio store! trim your list of holiday-induced malarkey and get ahead of the game by getting your cardstuffs right here!

holiday cards

parlato design studio holiday cards
send holiday festivities to everyone on your list with cards celebrating animals, poinsettias & snow! choose your favorite or go for a variety pack, all are sold in sets of 12. cards are blank inside so you can get creative! all are printed on 100lb uncoated cover stock and come with white A2 vellum-finish envelopes to match.

• woodland animals: 5.5″ x 4″
• retro wonderland: 4″ x 5.5″
• snowflakes & poinsettias: 5.5″ x 4″
• variety pack: 4 of each style [set of 12]

set of 12 cards & envelopes: $8 includes shipping

special offer!

* get a free set of 12 gift tags with your holiday card order, now through december 15, 2010.

thank you cards

parlato design studio thank you cards
say a resounding thanks to the people who make your day, week, or year fantastic. sets include 3 cards of each design for a set of 12, blank inside so you can write a personal note. printed on 100lb uncoated cover stock and come with white vellum-finish envelopes to match.

• variety pack: 3 of each style [set of 12], 5″ x 3.5″ with matching envelopes at 5.125″ x 3.625″

set of 12 cards & envelopes: $6 includes shipping

gift tags

parlato design studio gift tags
add flair to your gift wrapping this season, slap a nice gift tag on it! great for co-workers, friends, family & even your sweetheart. some styles coordinate with holiday cards, all are printed on 100lb uncoated cover stock and are small enough to fit any gift.

• variety pack: 5 of each style [set of 30], 3.25″ x 1.25

set of 30 gift tags: $5 includes shipping

special offer!

* get a free set of 12 gift tags with your holiday card order, now through december 15, 2010.

gretchen parlato “in a dream” releases today!

gretchen parlato in a dream gretchen parlato in the studio

the big day is here! my sister’s album in a dream releases today. and with it, a good amount of exciting press:

gretchen parlato on the 411 blog
gretchen parlato, with others, on the international review of music
in a dream review from billboard magazine
review of “butterfly” from in a dream on

buy the album online now at!!