The Rocketfuel Design Company website announces “We are problem seekers & solvers” and goes on to explain, “Rocketfuel Design Company is an award-winning, nationally-recognized design, communications, marketing and strategy firm. Since 2003, we have been launching great ideas into the universe and achieving successful results for our clients. Our talented and passionate crew is dedicated to designing impactful solutions for the businesses, organizations and communities we work with.” Laurel Webster is among that crew.
Laurel grew up in Corona, CA and earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree in graphic design from California State University Fullerton. Throughout school, she built her freelance career under her own name, Laurel Anne Design, and following graduation found opportunities at David Riley Associates, an advertising design firm, and HÔM Sotheby's International Realty. Clients that Laurel worked with included Biola University, Calvary Church of Albuquerque, and Grand Central Art Center.
From Laurel, “I design with passion and purpose, engaging with creative teams, clients, and communities. Doing what I love every day, is what keeps me thriving to lead by example and inspire others.”
Laurel still does business through Laurel Anne Design, but in 2011 her life and work took a turn when she met James Hersick at an AIGA design conference. The two connected immediately, both personally and creatively. After a year of long-distance dating, she moved to the DC area and joined Rocketfuel Design Company as an Art Director.
Laurel has worked on numerous projects over the years, and one of her most recent favorites was for a client called Special Love. Special Love is a nonprofit organization that provides cancer families a support network of other patients and families who know and understand the trials and triumphs of the cancer experience. The organization’s week of summer fun called Camp Fantastic has grown into a year full of events, with over 15 week and weekend retreats and special outings.
“James and I had the opportunity to strategize and create some really outstanding pieces with them.” Their latest project for Special Love was a T-shirt for Special Love's BRASS (BRothers And SiSters) Camp, which offers activities like campfires, canoeing, and sports, and an open dialog among campers and counselors to ensure siblings going through the cancer experience are enveloped in the same support system as their parents and their sick brothers or sisters. The theme was Tacky Tourists, so all the shirts had cameras that looked like they were hanging around the person’s neck. The idea was about them “touring” different parts of the world (in their case, the camp grounds) and experiencing the camp functions and events as ‘tacky tourists.’ From Laurel, “‘Don’t be a tourist, be a Traveler’ was the underlying message to all of this. The idea of capturing memories was an in-between-the-lines theme too, especially with persons that have a family member going through the life-altering challenge of cancer.”
Rocketfuel Design Company seeks out customers who do good and Special Love is just one of many. Others include University of Maryland Medical System, Promise Neighborhood, and the Alabama Innovation Engine. Again, from their website, “We believe that design is an incredibly powerful way to unleash our creativity and be fulfilled while having fun and making a difference. We are inspired by the world around us to do great work. We love people and are motivated to use design to help folks achieve their dreams, be smarter, be healthier, enjoy life and make the most out of their time on this rock.”
Laurel’s other interests include music (in fact, she began college with a double-major which included music and taught piano lessons for years), soccer, and knitting. With little to no snow found in Southern CA (where she’s native to), Laurel mentioned that “knitting became this compulsive and meditative thing after last winter.” She also loves to read and is a runner. Ever focused on getting results fast, she likes the simplicity of running . “All you have to do is grab a jacket and running shoes and get going.” She’s currently training for her first half marathon in the Spring.
So, what (or who) brought Laurel to Cowork Frederick? In short, James Hersick. He was a Cowork Frederick member when she moved to Frederick. Within the first two weeks of her move, someone was giving a presentation at Cowork Frederick she found interesting. Laurel came in just for the day. “A really cool place” soon became to “Oh wow, I can work and play from here!” From Laurel, “Cowork Frederick is a connective and creative place. You can expect to meet people with similar interests, and collaborate with one another.” Cowork Frederick became a perfect spot for Laurel to work. “[Soon] I was coming in fairly often to work and meet with other coworkers.”
Cowork Frederick is a Frederick-based location for Laurel and her company. AIGA Blue Ridge, a professional organization for design, that Laurel is currently President of, also holds meetings at Cowork Frederick. They are a group of designers that meet regularly to provide and build their community and develop further professionally through programming and events that offer education, networking and inspiration. Laurel said, “You don’t find places that really nurture people or provide a creative environment, and Cowork Frederick does just that.”
Within the next five years, Laurel wants to have a “larger variety of clients. I always get excited with the new challenges and new clients. I like doing things that push me, because it always means more opportunities will come ahead.” As she says in her bio, “Laurel is an advocate for living the adventure of life passionately,” and she wants to continue to connect and inspire people around her to stay positive and give back to their communities.
We’re already inspired by her. “Go, Laurel, go!”