Collaborating with creative entrepreneurs and
businesses to help you grow your brands, and thrive.

The story of Germinate

The name speaks to what Germinate is all about: sprouting fresh and fearless design for my clients. It started in 2013 as a seed planted in the fertile lands of Oregon. I wanted to build a business that combined design with strategy for creative independents and businesses that needed help defining their buisness look and feel. What started as a few sprouts has grown to the lush garden that Germinate Creative is now.

I love working with copywriters and editors, marketing and PR pros, web developers, independent consultants and agencies to help them build long-lasting identities that live up to their own creative talents, so they can feel confident about showing off what they love to do, too. Helping other businesses and creatives in this way pretty much keeps me going.

I offer the full-spectrum of strategic design services, supported by tried-and-true process and project management.

This magical combo of creative mindfulness and right-on-the-details methodology is the key to producing fresh, fun, 100% fearless identities and designs that my clients can stand behind, and celebrate.

And when I need an extra hand, or two, or five, I team up with my dependable network of content strategists, writers, editors, and developers. Germinate is able to offer even more expansive capabilities to meet your goals.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get growing!

Hi there! I’m Maria.

I started my creative life at an early age, drawing pictures and writing poetry from grade through undergraduate school. In 1998 I took a class called “Desktop Publishing.” (Remember Quark Xpress, y’all?) I was immediately hooked. Words and art combined! Give me more! As a designer I’ve worked myriad of environments, from a small boutique design firm, to non-profit, to higher, to international digital advertising agency.

Throughout my work life I always was running freelance projects on the side, and dreaming about my own business. In 2010 I made the leap to begin working for myself as a freelancer, and officially launched Germinate Creative in 2013.

As someone who loves to dig right in and get my hands dirty, I love spending time outdoors biking and gardening. I do my best to keep the wacky world of entrepreneurship, deadlines, and personal life in balance by getting to yoga and being as silly as possible And eating. A lot. Seriously, let’s go to lunch. In work, as in life, I’m driven by joy, creativity, and a sense of purpose. I’m literally driven by a Surly Long Haul Trucker, which probably has clocked 20,000 miles in 7 years.

I happily live in Portland, Oregon with Tim, my partner in creativity and snow sports, and Nina, our constantly boisterous and chatty kiddo.

The Germinate Manifesto

These core beliefs and values serve as the foundation of behaviors that drive my studio.

I believe that there’s a revolution afoot. A transformation in
how businesses are run and operated, and how creative
entrepreneurs present themselves to the world.

I want to help these businesses—by designing brand identities that not only have
longevity, but that also help them to feel confident enough to seek out and attract their
dream clients and collaborators.

I believe that every person deserves to speak their truth: to feel respected as
their authentic self—flaws and all, and to feel empowered to create the career
(and life) of their choosing.

I believe that creativity is a pathway to the soul.

Germinate’s Values


Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting
for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on
your forehead.

Susan Sontag


We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out.

Ray Bradbury


Life is an adventure. Dare it.

Mother Theresa


While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die — whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.

Gilda Radner


Everybody loves something,
even if it’s only tortillas.

Pema Chödrön

Client Kudos

I would 100% work with Maria again, and do so with enthusiasm!  Not only is she easy to work with, but she’s strategic and thoughtful. She has helped me at Prichard on several design projects and all have been successful. She worked really hard to create sustainable designs that we can work with for many years. Maria is also one of those rare vendors who always goes the extra mile and doesn’t mind being pushed outside of her comfort zone with my wacky ideas. I highly recommend Maria for your small business or nonprofit design project. You’ll be so happy you hired her!

Jennie D.B., Award Winning Communications Strategist