Wilkinson College’s Department of Art’s Visual Thinker Lecture Series brought in graphic designer and company owner Ivellisse Morales to speak about her journey in building her career. Motivated by the desire to merge her artistic and communication skills with creating change in the world, Morales founded Bombilla, which is a company of five women of color. Bombilla is the Puerto-Rican Spanish word for light bulb, symbolizing the power we hold to create change. The company’s focus is working with clients who are working with different levels of systemic change, helping them look at the analytics of their companies to diagnose what needs fixing. The team of creative problem solvers–Kimberly Cho, Lillian Kim, Ivellisse Morales, Tiffany Threets, and Samantha Vaughan–assist companies with name and logo rebranding, messaging, and website design.

Morales graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in Mass Communications & Public Relations. Her passion for change began when she created a Bully Free Council in third grade, and she continued to take action when she created an interpreter service for non-English speakers in her sophomore year of high school. Throughout college, she completed ten internships with a number of nonprofit organizations, such as the bipartisan voter’s rights organization MassVOTE. In the corporate world, she helped to create systems of social responsibility that would promote businesses to care beyond the bottom line. Her other experiences involve working with businesses to build sustainability efforts, such as hazard litigation with FEMA Region 9 and sustainable packaging with a sustainable rice farming organization.

Image taken from bombilla.com.

In 2016, after years of working with other companies, Morales founded Bombilla. She describes it as a values-driven business, and she explains how they work with clients to create branding that can make people feel things. She emphasizes the importance of building a reputation through branding, explaining how branding must be consistent with the business’ values and how it builds trust with clients. Bombilla’s previous projects include creating a logo for an artist whose work is now displayed in the Smithsonian and the Afro-Latinx logo for Google.

“I think it was inspiring to see the intersection of design and social change,” said Kristen Ratnaparki (‘25, Graphic Design).

Morales spoke about college and the many ways it prepares one for the real world. “Maybe not everything you’re learning you’re gonna remember. It might not all be relevant to what you’re doing for your career, but how you’re doing college is definitely practice for the real world,” she said.

Ivanna Tjitra (‘25, Graphic Design) attended the event and was inspired by what Morales said. “Personal branding needs to be authentic, where your internal matches your branding. Because, at the end of the day, your personal brand is how people perceive you and what people say about you.”

Responsibility, accountability, leadership, time management, and communication skills are among the skills gained from college that Morales listed. Overall, she encourages students to jump into their passions today: “If you’re hungry and take initiative, you’re gonna get far.”  She noted that nobody ever told her she couldn’t do it, and tells students to recognize their own power.

(Header Image: ivell1sse on Instagram)