Willits residents (and beyond) have another option to fulfill their graphic design needs. Mendocino Graphic Designs is locally owned and operated by designer Nichole Oates.
Oates founded the company less than a year ago, however Oates herself has been doing graphic design for a decade. She got into the business almost by default a while back when she owned Creative Snapshots Photobooth. She said, “When I bought that business, I didn’t realize that I had to design all of my photobooth layouts.”
She enrolled in courses at Mendocino Community College to learn graphic design. She ended up selling the photo booth and decided to instead make a business utilizing her new skills. She said, “It has been pretty successful.”
Oates is currently enrolled in courses at Mendocino Community College taking In-design and Illustrator courses to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends and to better her knowledge. She explained, “There are things you can create in the program that you could not create before.”
Mendocino Graphic Designs offers a variety of services. Oates said, “I can do anything from a logo design to save the dates, wedding invitations.” She especially enjoys creating wedding invitations. She also makes business cards, event fliers, stickers, brochures and menus. She uses local printers when feasible, however does outsource when necessary.
Heidi Gault assists with marketing and uses the Adobe products made to use on smartphones, which Oates herself does not use.
As a freelancer, the jobs Oates contracts for are often quite varied, however they usually begin with a consult. During the consult, Oates brainstorms with clients to assess their needs, color schemes, marketing, branding and other wants. She has clients out of the state, on the other side of the country, as well as local businesses.
Oates works out of a home office but will often meet local clients in town at a coffee shop. Her work is also featured on Society 6, a platform she recently discovered where artists upload their work and Society 6 does the printing and shipping of orders. Her work features photographs she has taken while out hiking, which can be uploaded and printed onto tables, fanny packs or just about anything.
Oates moved to Willits about 12 years ago to be closer to her mother, who has since passed. Prior to moving to Willits, Oates had been working in the corporate world in the Bay Area, managing Jamba Juices. She said, “I have made it home here…I love it up here. I made a lot of life decision changes when I moved up here.”
Outside of graphic design, Oates enjoys hiking and helping her sister with her business, Sprinkled Confections. She said, “We bake a lot in our spare time just to do research and development.” The sisters often share the home baked goodies with neighbors.
Oates also loves spending time on the coast and recently purchased a travel trailer. She said, “The great thing about that is I can work remotely.”
For more information, follow Mendocino Graphic Designs on Facebook or call Oates at (650) 346-3703.