Tiffany Threets began contracting with bombilla in December of 2020 and now works as the team's Design Director. She specializes in design and packaging and geeks out over sneakers, print design, and plants. Over the past few months, she's helped create beautiful designs for bombilla's brilliant clients, including Caring Across Generations.
What led you to bombilla? Tell us about your creative path.
I wanted my design projects, or the company I was designing for, to align with who I am and things that are important to me. I just kept saying to myself, and telling friends “I want to design for good.” It sounds so simple, but I wasn’t sure where to begin or how to go about making that professional pivot. I wondered if there were any Oakland-based collectives, agencies or studios that had a community feel with clients that are truly for the people and beyond the bottom line.
So at this time, it was early in 2020 and the world just caught on fire. So much sickness, death, murder and injustice. I could no longer have community-based projects on the side. I wanted those projects to be my full-time work. I needed to give back with my design capabilities.
I could no longer have community-based projects on the side. I wanted those projects to be my full-time work. I needed to give back with my design capabilities.
So I googled, and I don’t remember the exact keywords I used, but bombilla popped up. I loved everything I saw and read. How could I not know about bombilla already? It was everything I was looking to be involved with. So, I reached out through the bombilla site, and now here I am contracting with bombilla. I think the interesting part about how this all plays into my creative career path is that when I first began to take design seriously, “my style or artistic direction” was often called out as “too urban.” Being an Oakland native, Oakland is in everything I do. It’s part of who I am, it’s present in my work, and that’s always been important to me. Fast forward to current day and I’m designing for good. I’m freelancing full-time, designing for my community. Experiencing this full circle moment brings me joy.
What is your favorite type of art to make in your free time, in your work? What do you think makes you or someone a good designer?
My favorite type of art is anything print design. I went to Laney and did their two year program and at the time it was called “Applied Graphic Design.” This was when web design was still very separate from graphic design and mobile hadn’t taken over the way it has now. There’s something about going from a digital creation to a tangible item that I enjoy and always have. If there’s anything print related, I’ve probably tried it or have plans to try it out. Screenprinting, bookbinding, poster design, letterpress printing, etc. I enjoy it all. I think it’s also what makes me a good designer because I'm interested in the entire process. From the story of the company, the person, or whatever the project is, all the way to the end. I’m not one to just handover a project without making sure you have everything you need and a clear understanding of what's next in the creation process.
There’s something about going from a digital creation to a tangible item that I enjoy and always have.
What makes bombilla stand out from other creative workplaces?
The people and the mission! Everyone seems like their genuine self, which is not common across the board. The entire team and collective seems very authentic in who they are, what they’re doing, what they bring, how they can help, and how we can hit our deadlines and really create something great. That’s definitely not common at all creative workplaces.
Why do you think an organization should choose bombilla for its branding and design needs?
I think orgs should choose bombilla because we truly care about your design needs and your brand. We’re #litonpurpose. Our team is here to use our creativity and skills to make your brand shine. We want to work in collaboration with you to make your vision a reality.
I think orgs should choose bombilla because we truly care about your design needs and your brand. We’re #litonpurpose.
How do you cope with what’s happening all around the country and/or World? (War, discrimination, injustice, exploitation, ecoanxiety, systemic racism, etc.) Any tips?
How I cope is really checking in with myself in a way that I didn’t have to do very often before. And it differs for sure…sometimes I need quiet time, not just in the sense that the house is quiet, but I just need to be quiet, listen to some music, and reflect in order to recharge. There’s so many feelings, fears, and angst. The ebb and flow of it all is off the charts. Meditating gets me access to a portion of myself...it’s kinda hard to describe, but it’s grounding and healing. It resets me to deal, cope, and progress.
Unplugging, being in nature and different creative outlets are now essential in such a different way than before.
Unplugging, being in nature and different creative outlets are now essential in such a different way than before. Coloring with my daughter, learning to grow herbs and vegetables with her and my wife are helping us cope through these times.
How has working remotely changed the work dynamic/ way you work, or the way the team completes and executes projects at Bombilla?
Working remotely due to the pandemic, while beginning to freelance full-time at the same time, was a big shift for me. My work dynamic is so different now. I’m now in charge of staying on top of all these things I didn't necessarily have to before. Juggling between project manager, designer, bookkeeper, etc., can feel like an added stress or stress that I didn't have before. Yet, at the same time I’m involved with projects and working with people that are interested in doing good and sparking change. I'm bringing my 100% true self to work and in the way I work at bombilla and on my other projects as well. That definitely has to do with the pandemic. Like so many others, I was forced to figure it out. I’m appreciative and blessed I’m involved with work that aligns with my values personally and professionally.
I'm bringing my 100% true self to work and in the way I work at bombilla and on my other projects as well. That definitely has to do with the pandemic.
What advice would you give to someone that’s starting a career in the creative field?
This is going to sound really cheesy or basic, but I would say do not give up on anything you feel like is truly part of you. Things can “work out” in really weird and coincidental ways.
... I would say do not give up on anything you feel like is truly part of you. Things can “work out” in really weird and coincidental ways.
Stick with it, make it work and don’t compromise. Also, leave room to learn and then learn some more. Learning on the job is underrated. Leave room for mistakes, learn from them so you continue to evolve.
Shoutout to our 2020 fall intern Yandia Miñana Pérez for curating these thoughtful questions for the interview!