The blog on the blog //


I’m Back!



Hello! its been a very long time since i last updated this blog, (i know, i know) so much has happened, creatively, personally, wordly. YIKES! where do we begin. So after a loooooong hiatus (not of designing, just of the blog world) what better way to jump right in then on a train to Boston for the Dieline Conference. After also attending the 99U conference earlier this month, and now the HOWLIVE i must say i am definitely making attending job conferences a full time job! I mean there is nothing like seeing all these creatives talk about their work, process and philosophies, as i like to explain it to my non creative counterparts, its like being baptists in the waters of design by Design Jesus himself.

I also had some time to finally redesign or finalize my forever logo and start a design Cooperative (meaning collaborations on projects are always welcomed and encouraged).

Check out the logo:


Mountain/Arrow Design CO.

I finally figured out a way to A. honor my maiden name (yes i also got married YAY!) and also hilariously or rather ironically find the best visual solution to a lifetime of folks who could never pronounce my last name…Who would have thought that Montanaro….or rather Montana + ro would be so difficult to pronounce much less…um spell.

Since i am in the visual solution maker field… PRESTO! Mountain/Arrow Design CO. was born.

Proudly visually enhancing lives since 1983 :).

keep you guys posted on the site and collateral launch. For those who love getting mail, feel free to send me a an email with thoughts and or comments….or a nice hello and  we will mail you out a little printed something :)


I’m just a girl living in a

Design World



Is it me or being a designer these days is overwhelming? I don’t mean it in anyway to diminish my love and passion of the craft, but as how in “the HELL am i suppost to keep up with all this shit?” I mean it in the friendliest way possible, but you sense my frustration. Now as i have mentioned a million times before… i consider my generation the bridge generation we are young enough to have enjoys a comfortable teckie childhood with all the basics, that made our life awesome without taking away from our backyard playtime, go to the library and look it up experience, and yes use a public printer to print it because not every household had one. And yet just as i was studying design, it all bloomed. I still remember being the first to text on a color screen…yup! And when the first Iphone came out… Yup! and then just like that i am in space land, where you LinkedIn to get a job, to smooch it up, Pin it, FB Statues, yousendit to a client, wepay to charge it, Tweet how great it was, Blog about your progress, Fab for price check, Amazon it or Craigslist it because you need it.. oh and don’t forget tumblr with the latest instagram.

I am exhausted!!!!!

I know sounds old of me right? I mean I love the accessibility but stop already!!!!! I spend soooo much time online… not just on TMZ but mentally just exploding with inspiration, amazement, and information.  How am i ever going to get any work done???? I guess like the super heroes say…its a gift and a curse…So to wrap it up…yes i just joined Pintrest… and this was the camel that broke the camels back!!! I love you web, your an addiction i pay with time!

Til next time,



Don’t forget to follow me on twitter (i like to keep it personal, so here is my own account)


Love, Loss & Design




I just found out Hilman Curtis died Wednesday…i feel a loss even though i never personally met the man.

I gushed my love for him on here in the section “people we love” and i was fortunate enough to receive a reply from his iphone with a little insight about his day and how my post brightened it. I not going lie it was like the President had just phoned me from the oval office. See when i was a freshman in Community college i was lost…I was a painter in High School, an artist by birthright…and an had a love for architecture…but they just didn’t make sense individually or to just study one would not make me completely happy, i felt as if i had a higher purpose or calling. Internet and information availability evolved with my generation…we are the generation of the first text, aol, youtube…etc but believe it or not when i was in highschool to get info i had to go to the library or to gain insight be lucky enough to have a high school teacher with some insight…I was from Iowa (the midwest… middle of nowhere) Like Micheal Beirut I didn’t know what graphic design really was… but i knew i wanted it…so the only bible was… Graphic Design by Milton Glaser was the book that gave many greats the vision and explanation and inspiration to follow such an amazing and everlasting profession that overlaps so many fields.

Then Came Filmaker Hilman Curtis the man who changed my life and career path with the  short film about Milton Glaser.

“none of us have the ability to understand our path until its over”

My life changed in that moment… my vision became clear and thanks to Mr. Curtis and his Film about Mr. Glaser…my feelings, thoughts, insecurities and emotions had a voice so amazing to this day it brings tears of joy to my heart.

Whenever i have to explain how and what i do.. this is my go to film…

“Love is the realization that something other than yourself is real” made me chase that dream…needless to say i am a Graphic Designer today….and i will forever be grateful for those who have come before me, who do what they do now…and share the love of passion and courage it takes to be  a designer.

Hilman has been very influential and his death gives our community great loss, my condolences go out to his family and children, and to anyone like myself who was for every changed and influenced by such an amazing Creative.

My Best,



of you already know how sad we were to hear of the passing of Hilman Curtis. Although i have only interacted with him via email. i can openly say i know i am not the only one who

thought of him as an imaginary co-worker/mentor/colleague. NYC Design community has decided to throw a fete in his honor and proceeds with go to his children’s elementary school

see below for official details. Needless to say we have our tickets and cannot wait to attend!!!

click to order your tickets online


Welcome Back Again




Hi and welcome to If you have become a follower thank you for the support and if you are new WELCOME!!!. I am so exited to finally find a way to organize and share the visuals I constantly come across on the web. As a designer it is both amazing and overwhelming all the resources available on the web. I look forward to sharing links, design, tutorials, freebies, downloads & anything else that will visually captivate, inspire and inform you.

Feel free to contribute, comment or just plain say hello by emailing me at Blog links, work and anything design related is welcomed.

Enjoy ad thanks for stopping by!

Lets keep in touch on twitter: follow me @starbelles

skittles, sunshine and my best



       Back to the Basics





“I recently came back from design INDABAS an amazing conference held annually in beautiful Cape Town South, Africa. The overall purpose of the trip besides reconnect with amazing designers was to “drive a better world through creativity”.

Living in a over saturated FB posting, blog infested, tumblr trends…anyone with a mac/ipad…instagram is now a designer reality….WHAT does it really mean to be a designer? What make one good and validated? is it how many times your featured online? or Tweeted or when decided to pin a ribbon on you profile as if you were a fair submission?

I mean i have been slaving over a hot Illustrator stove to make my own graphics to only realize an Shutterstock account can get me the same result.

The thing that struck me the most about this conference (besides chatting it up with Mr. Beiruit about why i left my job bc it was polluting my design legacy…who btw signed my book and kissed my check…we know how much i love him (check out section ppl we love if you totally unaware of who i am talking about).

Ideas make the design

or can the argument be that it is the execution?

What overwhelms me the most is and IDEA cannot live without a proper EXECUTION.

Using today’s instragrams filters or blog templates make any Joe look like and award winning designer…an yes i have fallen victim to instaGraming it up to look pouty and cute in my FB pics, hell if my face is not colorful and overexposed its not fb worthy.

But where does this leave the fundamental principles that make technologies like this thrive? who gets to experience those? is there an app for THE GRID?

note: check out this site for amazing article about principles of design:

I guess it the point that i am trying to get at is that yes these tools make us more creative…but at the same time they are gimmicky…an as a designer bright colors make me stare but ultimately intrinsically my connection stems from knowing that it came from a genuine place. That it was a strong idea

All these tools make it easier to work but also easier to lose once self to forget what is important…to never know that all these trends belonged to the the Greats…like when the Damask patterns were all the rage. No one stopped to inform all that it was thanks to Print maker Master Robert Morris who founded Kilmscott press.

I don’t want to be a trendy hot designer…I want to be a good designer, i want to last. so here goes the 3month project of finding myself post college and mid- career.

Peace, Love, and Hellvetica



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