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While being your chill, kind self

This is a document I prepared this for some family and friends and I figured I’d share it publicly. It’s based on my experience negotiating salary in the tech and design world.

My Privilege + Salary

Once someone told me that a someone new to our design team had not negotiated their salary and I said, “Why not????”

And the person responded, maybe no one ever taught them to negotiate. And I said, “Well no one ever taught me.”

And that is such a lie! My whole privileged childhood was implicitly teaching me that I deserve to negotiate my salary.

Negotiation for not-white, not-cis…

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Your company story PLUS brand visuals.

Oh, easy, right? Well, yes and no.

First, why is deck design important?

Often, pitch decks are the first brand visual a potential investor or customer sees from your company.

They might not have gone to your website, or your Instagram, or seen your product UI. The pitch deck is your visual brand.

So, do you want to be seen as sloppy, confusing, and unclear? Or clean, streamlined, and thorough?

OK, deck design is important, but where to start?

So let’s dive in to your story. But…

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Geeeeet ready for a bunch of basketball puns!

Friends-of-Duck-Brigade Agata and Anastasia are two smart, funny people who wanted to launch a basketball podcast for people who love basketball but don’t love the boring stuff — stats, numbers, stodgy old announcer guys.

And Duck Brigade (Gabe and I) are two people who wanted to help them launch their podcast.

In our mission to assist, Gabe took care of producing, recording, setting up the studio, developing the website, publishing the podcast, helping with name and content brainstorming, and cooking oatmeal for early-morning podcast recording sessions.

And all I had to take…

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How to live and work with the love of your life without murdering each other.

I work with my boyfriend

That doesn’t quite convey it.

I don’t just “work with” — we co-own a business. We work together all day every day; we hire people together; we manage challenging projects together; we make huge business, legal, financial decisions together.

And he’s not just “my boyfriend” — he’s my partner of 10 years. The person I love being with; the person I’m myself with; the person who knows everything about me — especially the ugly, gross stuff.


When I tell people I work with my boyfriend, they’re often incredulous.

“But HOW do you make that work?”

“I could never work with…

I love horror movies and I often watch them with Louie the Dog. But he’s always like, “Zombies? Who cares? Brains ARE delicious.” or “Poltergeists? Hohum, they’d probably tip over some snausages for me.”

Eventually, Louie thought, “Hey, I should make horror movies for MY kind! About things that are actually scary!”

So Louie’s been hard at work and he recently hired Duck Brigade to create some posters for his new movies. We were honored to be able to collaborate with him!

Hell Bath

Suddenly you hear it — owner-girl starts the water. But you smell so good — you just rolled…

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You can be nervous and still kick some ass

I got off the phone recently after a pretty high-stakes negotiation call. I really wanted the job for our company and I was coming down off the adrenaline.

I thought I kicked ass — I felt connected with the potential client and I also talked up our strategy and explained our position well. I felt like I’d cemented a great, open relationship with the client — and (hopefully) won the job.

I asked my partner Gabe how he thought the call went — he’d heard my side of it. …

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How I went from a soft and confused baby designer to a hardened and still sometimes confused adult designer.

Part 1: The Future (1999)

1999, Y2k, candy-colored Macs — I was in college baby! While most kids were having sweaty dorm dance parties or trading arty theories around some coffee milk at the cafeteria (ok, I did some of those things too), I remember spending much of my time in a love affair with Photoshop.

High school was all about the handmade. English class meant printed-out papers. Art class was painting on canvas. Fingers were calloused from handwriting notes in class. Library books were pored over. Computers were a tool that was one of the last on the list.

Then I got to college…

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We’re a little obsessed with podcasts over here. I’ve long been a fan of the gorgeous, smart, and funny 99% Invisible. As a person who works in the design world, I’ve had dozens of chats about a recent 99PI show around coffees with colleagues.

The Beginning

So back in September 2015, when Gabe and I saw that they were looking for a team to help them rebuild their website, we jumped at the chance! Big thanks to Dan Engler (twitter), our friend from the world of podcasting, for making the initial Twitter connection. This was our dream come true! …

Andrea Tomingas

Designer, Co-owner at Duck Brigade Design + Dev

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