In April I received an email from an old colleague and friend of mine at now Bogusky-less Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the advertising agency known for its warehouse full of Cannes Lions and rocking holiday parties. It read something like, “Hey. So, I am not sure your biz has any openings, but I wanted to pass on a resume of a friend of mine who is looking for something challenging & creative. She’s smart, fun, and a killer digital designer who used to work for CPB… If you actually do have a need, you couldn’t do much better than her. She’s also a serious foodie (she makes a mean brisket!), which I imagine is right up your alley.”
What followed was a link to the website of Ilysa Corns. Michael had wanted to update our dot com for a while now, but it had to be done right, with the right partner, and we hadn’t really been able to focus on finding that person. What I saw from Ilysa’s site was that our search would end even before it began.
Isn’t it De-Lovely when out of the blue, a friend drops a present in your lap? Now, we feel like breaking out into Cole Porter tunes each time we log onto michaelsgenuine.com. Now we just need to try Ilysa’s mean brisket! (hint hint)
Read more about our pocket-sized creative, below.
Name: Ilysa Corns
Hometown: Plainview, NY
In Miami for: The Cuban coffee, the sushi, and the sunshine.
Favorite food (anything! not MGFD!): My favorite part of food is trying new things. But if I have to choose, it’s Alaskan King Crab Legs cooked simply on the grill for a main and Haagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream for dessert.
(Both flood me with great memories, as they were foods my dad used to make for us growing up whenever he really wanted to do something really special).
How long have you been designing and how did you first get started? I’ve been designing professionally for over 8 years. I went to school for Fine Art, and concentrated in Computer Art with a minor in Marketing. As to how I got started, I was in summer camp and at the end of the summer they had color-war. You either had to be outside in the hot sun doing sports or be in the A-frame painting in the shade. I chose painting.
What are some of the projects you worked on in past jobs that stand out for you?
I worked on ‘The Truth’ (anti-smoking campaign) campaign at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. It was an exciting project, and great to be a part of something that was really changing culture for the better. More recently I worked on the Microsoft “I’m A PC” campaign. Amazing to see something you’ve worked on go truly global for such an iconic brand.
What do you love about what you do? Is there a favorite part of the process?
I love the problem solving, taking something complicated and finding a way to make it simple and beautiful. And of course, the final creation – having your vision and something you’ve worked hard on be born into the world for everyone to enjoy is pretty special.
Why did you take on the redesign of michaelsgenuine.com? Well, I’m a huge foodie, so it was exiting to have the opportunity to work with a restaurant that I have always truly loved. From the moment I took one bite and said, “Yum.” Michael’s has been a regular favorite. The project was very inspiring, as I felt I truly understood what made the restaurant, and the experience of eating there so special. It was fun to be able to bring that to life within the site.
What was your assessment of the original site? In my opinion, it didn’t accurately reflect the feeling of what the restaurant had evolved into, the atmosphere, or the importance of the food integrity. The old site was too dark in color, and it’s fixed nature didn’t translate the vibrant and welcoming atmosphere that makes the restaurant what it is. It also didn’t feel ‘Genuine’. I wanted the new site to make the genuine food and mission the hero and bring to life the atmosphere and character of the place.
What inspired the new design? Well the food of course *drool*. (Its not merely coincidence that main yellow looks like the color of an egg yolk). Also the physical restaurants, (recognize the light brown from the menus? And the stripes from the chairs and logo in the icon?). But even more than that, it was the restaurant’s mission of genuine and the importance of fresh. simple. pure. All these elements were key to the overall architecture and look of the site as well as its development.
Also, thanks to Jackie being an avid blogger and very into her social media, combined with a seasonal menu where the dishes and the needs of the restaurant would be changing regularly. It inspired me to include certain elements in the new site. For example, check out the Flickr feeds in the main window, real time streaming content from the blog, twitter links, and the entire site being built in a wordpress framework so all content can be easily updated by the Restaurant.
What was most challenging about the project? Staring at all the food while working on the site and not coming into the restaurant every day.
Are you a foodie? If you mean do I love food? Yes! A resounding whole-hearted yes! I’m at my happiest when I am exploring through food. In fact, I even pick locations to travel based on food I’d like to try. This has taken me to many interesting places in the World and off the beaten path locally as well. Sharing food, trying new things and flavors… nothing gives me more joy. Food is one of my biggest passions.
What do you like to eat at MGFD? Anything and everything on the brunch menu (salty+sweet is my biggest addiction). But if I have to choose it would be the Wood Oven Roasted House Made Chorizo. Oh, although the other day the pecan pie with pumpkin ice cream, was unreal – the epitome of autumn in a bowl. I died…
What do you like to drink at MGFD? Kimchee Bloody Mary.
What’s the best part of the MGFD experience for you? I love that with the seasonal ingredients the menu is always changing. Which means I always get to try something new. Also the fact the food tastes great but can also be trusted – it’s genuine, real food, prepared and cooked perfectly. There’s such an abundance of great options on the menu that it’s often difficult to choose what to have (which is why I also love the different size plates and sharing!) There’s something special about this place and everyone who eats here knows it.
Anything else you want to add?! It has been absolutely wonderful working with everyone on the team. And I just want to say thank you for making me feel part of the Michael’s Genuine extended family.