Melissa Wehrman

Melissa Wehrman

Graphic Designer


Melissa Wehrman Designs


After spending a decade in Boston and NYC, graphic designer Melissa Wehrman recently moved back to Ohio, this time to Whitehouse. A 2014 recipient of a Gold Addy and a Judge’s Choice Award from the Toledo Ad Club, her design and branding agency, Melissa Wehrman Designs, juggles work from all over the United States. We caught up with Melissa to talk about her current projects, recently becoming a mother and grabbing inspiration from everything and everyone. 


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

I just recently branded a whimsical restaurant in Oceanside, California called Hello Betty Fish House. I did the logo, press gifts, menus, stationery, apparel, website, signage… you name it. This is the third restaurant I’ve designed for Sage Restaurant Group and they really allow me the freedom to get playful and come up with creative twists to the full restaurant experience. Other projects I’ve done include branding and design for the Toledo Opera, Toledo Symphony and large hotel clients like The London NYC and West Hollywood, The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas and SLS South Beach.

What current projects are you working on?

My biggest projects of the moment are the opening of the Cleveland steakhouse Urban Farmer, as well as the Toledo Opera 2014-2015 campaign. I’m also excited to be the primary designer this year for the Symphony’s new season too. I have a whole flurry of great small business clients, as well, that I’m equally proud of. 


What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

I only moved to the Toledo area four years ago from the East Village of Manhattan but I quickly fell in love. Not only the affordability of having a beautiful home that costs way less than my 350 square feet apartment in NYC did, but also the breath-taking landscape, the charming people and the amazing talent and opportunity this city has to offer. 


Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

I just recently won both a Gold Addy and Judge’s Choice Award at the Toledo Ad Club Addy Awards. In the past, I’ve had my work published in design books and magazines and won a handful of design awards while I worked at other design firms (even being named as a finalist for the James Beard award category of outstanding restaurant graphics), but nothing meant more to me than being recognized for the work I did to as an independent designer among a very creative and talented community of Toledo ad agencies. It was very overwhelming and made me so very proud.


Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

What doesn’t give me inspiration is a better question, because there isn’t much that doesn’t inspire me in some way. I pull inspiration from everything – nature, other artists and designers, travel, conversations with friends. Basically, just all of my life experiences. 


Tell us about your background.

I actually discovered graphic design in high school. I was plucked out of a study hall by my dear mentor Mr. Jerry Bentley and told about a graphic arts lab where I would help create stationery, programs, certificates, and such for my school. My artistic interest and love of computers seemed to be a natural fit and I ended up getting my first job at 15 years old, designing advertisements for the Urbana Daily Citizen newspaper. Over the course of the last 20 years, I’ve had an amazing career that has brought me to Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, New York, and now finally Toledo.

Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

“Work hard and be nice to people.” This is a great motto for how I run my business. It’s not just about the work and the creative design, it’s also about developing a relationship with my clients to best know what will work best for them. Most of my clients become great personal friends of mine actually.

Favorite place for local culture?

Toledo Museum of Art – I love it and don’t get there enough, honestly. I also love the Art Walks. I feel like I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg as a relative newbie here.


Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . .

Toledo itself. People don’t seem to understand how great this community is and it baffles me. Maybe you have to live elsewhere to appreciate it but I also feel like the people who are miserable and whine about life here, would be miserable and whine about life wherever else they moved.

My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

My back deck overlooking the ravine and woods, preferably with a margarita in my hand. 

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is…    

Oak Openings Park, which is a glorious 2.5 mile run from my home. I am proud to say I have ran every path in that park and they never seem to get old.

When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at...

Lately, with my 6-month-old little girl (which is also usually pretty hard work as well). 

Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

My current work alongside the interior architects at D-Ash Design for the Urban Farmer Cleveland restaurant opening in May is something I am very proud of. Their work is always so inspiring and makes my ideas come so much easier. 


Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.  

Steve Jobs. 

Name a CD, book or website you can’t live without.

Facebook. I know that’s a horrible thing to say but it made moving to Toledo a lot easier with my friends and family all mostly far away. I also love and

3 words that best describe me or my work are . . .


Give us 5 Desert Island Album picks.

Can I replace an album for NPR? Because I’m obsessed with NPR.

Other than that, let’s say: 
The Blessed Unrest, by Sara Bareilles
Pioneer, by The Band Perry
El Camino, by The Black Keys
The Story, by Brandi Carlile


My biggest vice is . . .  

To-do lists. I can’t stop making them. If you go to my desk at any given moment, you’ll find at least 3 or 4 of them in the piles (more if you look on my computer, iPad or iPhone!).


I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.  

More amazing restaurants. There are a handful but it would be great if our restaurant scene could be as inspiring and diverse as Cleveland’s.


What’s the last dream you recall having?

I had a very bizarre and disturbing dream that my mom took a photo of me using the bathroom and posted it on Facebook. I don’t even want to know what the dream interpreters would say about that. 

The last lyric that moved me was . . . 

I sing “Baby Mine” at night to my baby girl. I don’t know if it’s the lyrics or more how amazingly touching those moments are: “Rest your head close to my heart / Never to part / Baby of mine.”


One movie character I identify with is . . .

Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. She’s such a little firecracker and she marches to her own drum.


The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .  

The last few years my husband and I have forgone traditional Christmas and birthday gifts in exchange for big things that have happened in our lives – a wedding, buying a house, having our baby. All of those are amazing gifts and I truly believe that experiences and memories are so much better than any physical gift.

My most inspiring moment was/is . . .

Definitely becoming a mother… how do you not want to do everything in life so much better for this amazing little person that you love so infinitely? Also, running a full marathon. I’ve never been athletically-inclined so accomplishing that was the moment in my life where I truly realized, if you’re disciplined and work hard, you can do anything.

I want my last meal to be … 

Delicious and a really, really long damn time from now. 


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