Residents of Willits (and beyond) have another option to meet their graphic design needs. Mendocino Graphic Designs is locally owned and operated by designer Nichole Oates.
Oates founded the company less than a year ago, but Oates herself has been doing graphic design for a decade. She entered the business almost by default a while ago when she owned Creative Snapshots Photobooth. She said: “When I bought this business, I didn’t realize that I had to design all the layouts for my photo booth.”
She enrolled in classes at Mendocino Community College to learn graphic design. She ended up selling the photo booth and decided to start a business using her new skills. She said, “It’s been quite successful.”
Oates is currently enrolled in classes at Mendocino Community College and taking In-design and Illustrator classes to keep up to date with the latest industry trends and expand her knowledge. She explained, “There are things you can create in the program that you couldn’t create before.”
Mendocino Graphic Designs offers a variety of services. Oates said, “I can do anything from designing a logo to saving dates, wedding invitations.” She particularly enjoys creating wedding invitations. She also makes business cards, event flyers, stickers, brochures and menus. She uses local printers where possible, but outsources where necessary.
Heidi Gault helps with marketing and uses Adobe products designed for use on smartphones, which Oates herself does not use.
As a freelancer, the jobs Oates works for are often quite varied, but they usually start with consulting. During the consultation, Oates brainstorms with clients to assess their needs, color schemes, marketing, branding and other wishes. She has clients out of state, across the country, as well as local businesses.
Oates works from a home office, but often meets local clients in town at a cafe. Her work is also featured on Society 6, a platform she recently discovered where artists upload their work and Society 6 takes care of printing and shipping orders. Her work includes photographs she took while hiking, which can be downloaded and printed on tables, fanny packs, or just about anything.
Oates moved to Willits about 12 years ago to be closer to his mother, who has since passed away. Before moving to Willits, Oates had worked in the corporate world in the Bay Area, running Jamba Juices. She said, “I came home here… I love it here. I made a lot of changes in my life decisions when I moved here.
Outside of graphic design, Oates enjoys hiking and helping his sister with her business, Sprinkled Confections. She said, “We cook a lot in our spare time just to do research and development.” The sisters often share homemade treats with neighbors.
Oates also enjoys spending time on the coast and recently bought a caravan. She said, “What’s great is that I can work remotely.”
For more information, follow Mendocino Graphic Designs on Facebook or call Oates at (650) 346-3703.