826 Valencia

826 Valencia is a nonprofit that offers free creative writing and academic support programs to youth from under-resourced communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. They are part of a larger network, 826 National, that follows the same model. One of the things that makes 826 most unique is their whimsical and immersive themed storefronts (100% of proceeds return back to the organization). San Francisco is home to The Pirate Supply Store (Mission District), King Carl’s Emporium (Tenderloin), and Woodland Creature Outfitters Ltd. (Mission Bay).

While on the Stores team at 826, I have developed an assortment of original 826 Valencia exclusive products, as well as marketing materials. Through these projects I created visual style that paid homage to the Stores’ nineteen years of eclectic and varied design, and felt aligned with the current voice and brand of the rest of the organization. The final result was a distinct but mutable collection of illustrative, whimsical extensions of our collective imagination.

Mermaid Tears

Product Design

For as long as I’ve worked at the Pirate Store, we’ve sold “Petrified Mermaid Tears” for 75 cents a palmful at the front counter. For the holiday season, I created a packaged stocking stuffer version. We even introduced a “fresh” option for the more finnicky sailor.

I designed friendly tags that synthesized a modern, playful design approach more akin to the organization’s brand with the traditional, Victorian influences of the Pirate store such as etching and woodblock illustrations.

The Fish Theatre

Print, Copywriting, Illustration, Environmental, Fabrication

The Pirate Supply Store’s main attraction is without a doubt the Fish Theatre (although many lament the retirement of our bucket of lard, and the COVID-19 mopping hiatus). 

I was tasked with creating ephemeral materials available to customers as keepsakes from the Fish Theatre. The first phase is a ticket and program template informing audiences of the current “show” on view at the Theatre. This project was a significant expansion of the 826 Stores’ lore and worldbuilding as we know it.

The designs drew inspiration from Victorian era theatre posters’ bold, playful, and borderline chaotic stacked typography. They modernized the style with modern display fonts and a modicum of restraint.

In addition to the design, I illustrated portraits of each of our current cast (the fish) and wrote the copy.

826 Live


When our stores were forced to close in March 2020 because of COVID-19, the store staff of 826 Valencia pooled our collective talents to explore new, digital horizons. We turned to YouTube and launched 826 Live, a channel designed to bring the creativity and whimsy of our enchanting themed store spaces into our community’s own home. 826 Valencia is a nonprofit that offers free creative writing programs to youth from under-resourced communities in San Francisco.

For this project, I adapted The Pirate Supply Store’s infamous “How To” book series for video format.

White Whale Elephant Sale

Illustration, Strategy, Marketing

In non-COVID times, the Pirate Store is a favorite stop for people in search of a White Elephant gift. With holiday parties canceled this year, we decided to give our community and customers some merry marine spirit with mystery gift bags—and clear out some of our old inventory as well.

I created the illustration and applied it to marketing materials: a sign, tags, and a social media graphic.