We had the good fortune of connecting with Unitha Ramirez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Unitha, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My favorite quote came to me at a time of great anxiety, when I didn’t know what was to come next after the completion of my internship with Disney’s Yellow Shoes. More than a year had passed since I graduated college, and like all graduates, I just wanted a job within my industry. Many of my peers got a full-time job straight out of college, so I was already feeling behind given I was still doing internships over a year later.
In November 2018, I was on vacation in Tokyo and visited the beautiful Meiji Shrine. At this shrine, there’s a place where you can shake a canister to receive a numbered stick, and this stick corresponds to a fortune or poem. December would be when my internship would end, so I was worried that I’d be going from a high of visiting Japan to a low of leaving a place I enjoyed working at. But on this day, I received this poem and felt my fears fade away:
Some are fast, some slow,
But one thing never fails
To pierce through to the final goal:
It is sincerity.
— Emperor Meiji
The poem’s sheet further explained “Some reach their goals quickly, others take longer. But let your heart only be sincere and you will not fail in the end to achieve success.” By chance or fate, I heard the words I needed to hear and still hold dear. Everyone is on their own timeline, and I continue to use this poem to remind myself that my time will come as long as I work hard and live an honest life.
On December 31, 2018, I started my first day at Yellow Shoes as a full-time designer.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I work as a designer for Disney’s Yellow Shoes, Disney’s internal ad agency. We handle tactics ranging from social posts, web banners, brochures, and more, to high publicity endeavors like airport takeovers, plane wraps, seasonal campaigns, spots, logo designs and branding for park events, resorts, and more.
I have been told that what sets me apart from others is that I entered into the design field with a traditional art background, and this background makes me a more well-rounded designer and collaborator. I grew up not having access to a computer, so my fix for art and design was through painting and drawing. Because I grew up painting, I approach color theory in my designs with a different informed background, and I can effectively give feedback to artists when I oversee their work. Because I grew up drawing, I can sketch my ideas effectively. In addition to that, I do photography as a hobby and understand what makes a great photo for advertising, so I am often utilized for photography-heavy projects on my team. If I had to summarize myself for the world, I’d just say I’m an artist-turned-designer who likes taking pretty pictures.
I have some projects I’m so proud of that will never see the light of day due to unforeseen circumstances. ): But recently (within the past year and a half, hah), I’ve been working on the style guide for Avengers Campus. It’s basically the rule book for how Disney advertises Avengers Campus. The content itself has been a group effort between me and what is probably at least half the agency, so it has definitely been a labor of love and extensive collaboration. I am also proud of my continuous involvement in Adventure by Disney’s destination guides for the past 3 years now. Adventures by Disney is Disney’s group guided travel brand and they release a comprehensive itinerary brochure at least once a year. They are photo-heavy printed brochures, so these projects combine my love for travel, photography, and editorial design all into one.
It was not easy to get to where I am, and I honestly don’t know if I’d be where I am without the friendships I made in college. I was lucky to get an internship (and eventually a job) at my agency because a friend from college was currently interning there and was able to recommend me. I was able to get my previous internship for the same reasons. My work has obviously spoke for itself for me to maintain my role, but in this industry, you will highly benefit from having connections. So I’ve come to find that networking is very important, but if you’re in college, you might not see this as networking. Just be sure to sincerely make good friends with your peers, and perhaps down the line, you can help each other out. If you must cold message people to network, make that connection sincere and ask them their story and see what you can learn, rather than simply messaging when you see a job posting.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is actually what I’m preparing for now! Even though I’ve been in LA for 3 years now, I still don’t feel like I know a lot of places and I need to change that. But I’ve always gravitated toward places I can explore, relax in, or have good food in (especially sweets). In no particular order, I’d have to show my friend these places:
– Yellow House Cafe in Koreatown: my favorite place to just work, study, or eat at. Super cute and large outdoor seating area. They serve Korean fusion food, with one of their most popular meals being their kimchi bacon pasta. I personally like getting the bulgogi tteokbokki. They also have wi-fi and plenty of outlets to charge a laptop.
– Disneyland: this is a no-brainer for me and the friends who would visit me. Currently, my favorite thing to get there is the blue milk at Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.
– Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Pasadena: I visited this place the first year I was in LA and it’s still one of my favorite places even though I’ve only been there one time (I have to change that). I spent 5 hours there with my camera and still haven’t seen everything. I also remember a large field that would be perfect to be at with a picnic blanket.
– BAE in Little Tokyo: this is a cute ice cream shop that is known for their black activated charcoal swirl. However, my utmost favorite flavor is their earl coco (earl grey + coco puffs). A very unexpected combo but oh so good.
– Tea Master Matcha Cafe and Green Tea Shop in Little Tokyo: honestly, my friend might not want this ice cream but it’s so close to BAE that I’d have to stop here, too. I like getting the matcha soft swerve. Super matcha-y with more matcha powder topped onto the swirl.
– LACMA: honestly I haven’t even been here yet, which is part of why we’d have to go. It works out because my friend hasn’t either.
– Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood: I went one time with another friend who was visiting from the east coast. I’m not a hot dog person, so I got a cheeseburger and fries, and my friend got a chili dog and fries. Honestly we were looking for some greasy goodness and this place really hit the spot. We didn’t mind the line at all because it was worth it. When that friend visits again, we will be going back, haha.
– Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena: I remember visiting flea markets with my parents and it was always a fun activity to see what random treasures we could find. This one is so huge that I’d have to show my friend.
– Man Soo Korean BBQ in Koreatown: all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ that hits the spot and isn’t too expensive. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am very thankful for my relationship with my director. It can be hard to separate work life and personal life when they all tap into one person and inevitably impact each other. Beyond work, I’ve been very fortunate to have a boss who I can share my life story, goals and concerns with, and is someone who can pass wisdom to me, see me eye-to-eye, and be my greatest advocate in the workplace. She is my director, mentor, and dear friend.
Other: Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/unithar/