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Freelance Graphic Designer

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Crystal Ricotta & Phil MonahaCrystal Ricotta

freelance graphic designer


Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Communications & Media Studies 
[view resume]
Minor; Illustration & Graphic Design

Accomplished graphic designer with a focus on branding identity and responsive web design.  Crystal has 17+ years experience creating visually interesting and user-friendly websites. Expert-level proficiency with major development tools such as Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.


Well, besides being the cheese in your lasagna or the filling in a delicious crêpe (if you’re  not vegan), here’s a few things about me, the artist, mama, lover & inspired soul….

I grew up in a very rural town in central PA… back then the roads didn’t have names and there was no cable. Nearby in the historic town of Philipsburg my family owns & operates a gift & jewelry/watch repair shop called “Ricotta Jewelry.” There my father, Jim works as a talented watchmaker and jeweler. He specializes in the making & repair of antique pocket-watches and jewelry. (This also includes anything else that is broken – like spectacles, engines, mechanical things, heating & plumbing.) Besides the 100+ clocks ticking & tocking, there were always many forms of art around to look and play with. 

Being creative seemed to run through my blood. It was motivating & up-lifting. Back in the day there wasn’t a blank sheet of paper that I would let pass by. My favorite drawings were done in-school & out dining with family. Around the age of 12 – at this authentic Italian Restaurant called Natoli’s, I made a waitress who was perhaps best known for her ‘perma-frown,’ bust a smiling chop with my leaf covering ‘Adam & Eve’ rendition. Something neither of us were expecting at the time. My family was supportive of my interests & talents. They presented me with various years of art classes, dance instruction, gymnastics, local theatre, choir, saxophone lessons & racing in the All American Soap Box Derby. Definitely enough to keep a kid busy and intrigued. In addition to my personal interests there was always the constant exposure to their business & interesting hobbies like antiques collecting, mud & drag racing, vintage railroad enthusiast & perennial/vegetable gardening.

This love & experiences gave me  strength & confidence to follow my heart at a young age. My early interests for drawing, painting & art appreciation – lead me into the realm of digital art media. At Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications along with a minor in 2D Art with a focus on illustration & graphic design. The hard work during college led me immediately to Tucson, Arizona. However fresh out of college, in a field where new technologies are always emerging, there was still much skill-set to be acquired. Luckily, I was fortunate to meet experienced, inspiring graphic designers to help mentor and guide me.

Before starting my own business my work experiences ranged from – Maryland Times Press, Beachcomber Weekly, Tucson Weekly, VCReporter Weekly, Tahoe Daily Tribune, Nevada Appeal and Swift sister papers, 451 Media, Ventura Life & Style Magazine , Hot Spots Kiosks & other creative design-tech positions. These positive and creative positions along with my many mentors have led led me to the path of doing what I love professionally – but especially in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

~Crystal Ricotta