Command X Champ Velarde Resolves to Delight

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Monina Velarde’s New Year’s Resolution

Since she carried home the Neenah Paper sponsored Command X crown in October 2009, Monina Velarde says, new opportunities have been opening up to her. The experience in Memphis helped. “As a young designer starting out, that kind exposure at such a major design industry event made gave me more credibility and confidence. I feel more comfortable approaching leading studios in Chicago in order to meet and share my work,” she told Against the Grain. The conference also opened the doors to many new friendships and contacts. “I created a twitter account (@moninavelarde) so I could keep in touch with many of the cool and talented people I met at conference,” she said.

Velarde is a recent graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI), where she majored in graphic design and art history and was awarded Kansas City’s AIGA Student Scholarship. Most recently she interned at Hallmark Cards, Inc. She currently resides in Wheaton, Illinois.

Her winning presentation at Command X was of a website inspired by the National Civil Rights Museum, where users could make a personal statement about civil rights. The design was a graphic and typographic embodiment of its own civic ideal; the pages of the website would present users with clouds of inspirational words, collages of civil rights marches, and quotations of other users’ thoughts.

Velarde, who designed e-greeting cards during her internship at Hallmark, remains interested in the ways that technology can create centers of human connection. “Humans interacting with each other in all parts of the world—it’s an amazing thing,” Monina said. Her latest online creation is a New Year’s Resolution Generator (, which recently went viral.

“Once it was seen on few blogs, more and more people just found out about it and hundreds of them began contributing their resolutions,” she told us. “It was inspiring to see how such a simple site could bring such joy to the lives of so many.”

Monina accepted a new position at an interactive/digital media agency in Chicago that begins this month (January). She is looking forward to the challenge. “I am,” she adds,  “constantly thinking,” she added, a little breathlessly, “of how I can use my design skills to create things that make someone’s day a little brighter.” Monina, we hope that in your off time you can inspire and brighten the day by placing some of your thoughtful design process on paper as well.





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  1. 01
    Mig Reyes said:

    Congrats again, Monina. Love your Resolutions project! See you around the city!

  2. 01
    Monina Makes said:

    […] Excited to be featured on Neenah Paper’s awesome blog Against the Grain. […]