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The Communicator Awards 2023


I’m honored to be selected as an AIVA Juror. The Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts sanctions all judging for the Communicator, Davey, and w3 Awards

Entries for the 29th Communicator Awards are now open. As an AIVA Juror, I’m excited to begin reviewing entries and bring recognition to the innovative work being made across all areas of communication.

Learn more about their mission, and enter your best work, at


‘FalconStar’ Custom Deck Project

FalconStar Deck Project

Nestled in the woods on Jackson Mountain is our retreat home, ‘FalconStar’. It had always been part of the plan to have a deck added because I love entertaining and we wanted to create an outdoor living space between the house and the large rock formation behind the house. When the house was built in 2019, we had it sited to back up as close as possible to a large 30 foot high rock formation. I visualized this large rock wall as an extension of the house. By constructing the space between the house and the rocks, with a large deck, would make the home feel even larger and add a beautiful finishing touch to the exterior of the new home.

The goal was to have the final outcome of the deck space to have design aspects like many of the resorts we had stayed at over the years. The plan included, a dining area, a gas fire pit, a lounge area, an outdoor shower, and an area for a large hot tub (due to arrive in June). We also wanted additional storage space below the deck so a hidden gate was designed big enough to drive an ATV, through and underneath, the structure. Another access gate on the North side allows guests to enter from the driveway. To give you a concept of size, the North gate itself weighs 300 lbs. and boasts heavy duty iron hardware. The stairs on the South side allow access to to the lower hidden gate storage area, and also offers an alternate route off the deck, and down to the lower part of the estate grounds. Lastly, because privacy is always nice, especially when you have an outdoor shower, you can bathe in nature without anyone being able to see you from any vantage point in the house!

Digging Footers
Decking being applied
View from the back of the home toward the Rock wall formation
Flagstone patio and automatic sliders.
Outdoor Shower

You might ask, “How many square feet is all of this”? The deck is 1,300 square feet and very spacious!

My choice in a color scheme was based on having the outdoor living space look visually seamless from the back of the house to the Rock formation. So I chose grays and browns, which were natural colors in the rocks. The deck is made of Trex decking, and natural flagstone was laid over the back patio, where the sliding doors from the Morning Room are automated for easy access. A custom planter box was also built to fit perfectly between both sets of steps.

This whole project from start to finish took just 4 weeks to complete. I planned and ordered the furniture during this time so it would arrive before the deck was finished and then I was ready to set everything up when the building crew was done.

Gas Fire Pit
South side with stairs, hidden access gate and extra storage under the deck

The before and after photo really shows you just how much bigger a home can look with the addition of the deck.

Before and After

I do a lot of interior design and remodeling work. If anyone is interested in revamping an interior space or creating an exterior project let me know.

Have a great Summer!

42nd Annual Telly Awards


Proud to be judging the 42nd Annual Telly Awards. There is so much talent and great work out there and it’s such a joy to see the creativity! All the best to all of those who entered. Your work rocks!!!!!

Misti Morningstar, Jury Council for Telly Awards 2019


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Changing up the Logo Brand and it’s COLOR


Back in the day, we used to create a brand (or logo), and then subsequently create the ‘book of standards’ or ‘usage guidelines’ for advertising the brand in the marketplace.

For example, some of these guidelines used to be:

Bad Logo Usage

  1. Never Stray from the Color Palette

Improper Design Usage

  1. Never Switch the Colors
  2. Never Use the Design on Similarly Colored Backgrounds
  3. Never Rearrange Elements of the Design

Believe me, over the years we did hundreds of logos like this and we would cringe and want to pull our hair out every time a company veered from the guidelines. We would vent to our associates for hours. We were mortified. How could they do such a thing?

Well… that was then.

These days we are seeing a very different mind-set.

I am a member, and take part as a judge, for the International Academy of Visual Arts. And over the course of the past five years or so, I’ve started seeing a new trend amongst the top brands.

What we used to pull our hair out over is now a new growing trend. Changing up the brand and it’s COLOR!

Now, don’t get me wrong…I’m not talking about a doing a major overhaul here. But just simply changing the color of your current logo or adopting a temporary accent for an event. Maybe your company is growing and you have new divisions. Possibly you have multiple products and they deserve to be differentiated. Perhaps you have an upcoming event or holiday you wish to highlight. Whatever it is, do it. Don’t get hung up on the dreaded past guidelines.

Look at the success of some the biggest brand names out there. For example, Google. Google periodically changes their logo on their home page with artistic versions of their logo. ‘Google Doodle’. A Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepage that is intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people! They’re works of art and some of them are absolutely beautiful.

The company states that it has become such a success that anyone can now suggest and submit ideas for Google Doodles. What a great way to get consumers to interact with you!

Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Disney, and even Apple are doing the same.

Color evokes emotion. And everyone responds differently to color. Therefore you get multiple reactions. So if you’re touching more bases with color, it only makes sense that MORE people are going to be attracted to your brand. It’s subconscious to the person viewing your brand, and they are attracted to it for whatever reason! Maybe they LOVE PINK! And suddenly they see McDonald’s serving coffee in a cup with a new pink logo. You know what? That person is more likely to buy it. But someone else may LOVE PURPLE and be more apt to buyMcDonald’s coffee in a cup, with the new purple logo, the following month. Alternating color appeals to a broader audience.



Look at what Coca Cola did simply by adding people’s names to their cans. They made it personal. People love it!

As you can see, big brands are realizing this benefit and doing it more and more. Why stay stuck in the dark ages when your business can reap more profit.

So I say, “Color it up… and you’ll soon see your business take off and your bank account too!!”


Misti Morningstar

President, Morningstar Design Inc.

member International Academy of Visual Arts

twice awarded as one of Maryland’s top 100 MBE Businesses

All logos are the copyrighted property of their respectful owners.

Max gets his Aviator Wings : Ft. Rucker


It was Max’s dream to fly helicopters. After nearly 2 years of intense flight training at Ft. Rucker, AL, Max has completed and received his Army Aviator Wings! He is assigned to fly a Blackhawk.

Becoming an Army Aviator is no easy task.  These men and women are among an elite few.  Pilots make up only a small portion of the military.  Their training is difficult, taxing, and time consuming.  Max spent many hours studying and preparing for his flights and he worked hard and did so with a smile on his face every single day.

You worked hard and achieved your goal. Your friends and family are very proud! Congratulations 1LT Max.

©copyright 2016 Misti Morningstar Photography

Megan’s Baby Bump


Megan and Tyler were totally open with some of my wild ideas on this photo shoot. And the photos turned out to be so cool! I love shooting out-of-the-box photos. They’re uncommon, fun to do, and they ended up with lots of great memories. A beautiful setting to complement a beautiful couple. I love these two!


copyright © 2016 all rights reserved. Misti Morningstar




Danielle & Jonathan : Harpers Ferry Fall Engagement Session


Harpers Ferry, WV is rich is history, architecture, and nature. It was the perfect location for Jonathan to ask Danielle to be his wife, so they decided they’d also like it to be the setting for their engagement session. This sexy little couple will be tying the knot this spring at the Links in Gettysburg, PA. While we are waiting for the big day… here is a glimpse of their beautiful engagement session!

misti morningstar photography, harpers ferry engagement session,DanielleJonathan2DanielleJonathan3DanielleJonathan4

Kristy & Eriks : Fall Engagement Session


When Kristy and Eriks told me that they loved artistic and edgy photography. That was music to my ears since that is one of my specialties. We’re already thinking up some radical ideas for their forthcoming wedding in the spring. Here is a sampling of their whimsical engagement session, complete with a few little goat onlookers!







Allison & Nick : Private Residence Wedding Parkton, MD


Alli and Nick first met when Alli’s older sister, Suzanne, started dating Nick’s best friend, Jason. Alli was only 14 and Nick was 23. Flash forward to Suzanne and Jason’s wedding at the Antrim three years later. As her sister’s party continued late into the night, Alli developed a crush on Nick, and he got teased by all of his buddies. But he took it in stride, and the running joke became, “I’m just waiting until she turns 18.” And Nick was patient, very patient. Alli went off to college in Virginia, and Nick decided to go back to school to study respiratory therapy. Whenever Alli came back to Maryland to visit her family, Nick “happened” to be there as well. After lots of late-night talks and long-distance chats, Alli finally agreed to go out on a date with him!

Over Memorial Day weekend the following year, while at his parent’s house, Nick popped the question to a very unsuspecting Alli. They immediately knew the wedding had to include the people who introduced them almost 10 years earlier, Alli’s older sister and her now-husband, Jason. And while they were at it, why not have the wedding at her sister’s beautiful home on a horse farm in Baltimore County?

Alli knew she wanted a fall wedding, and a rustic theme to go with the scenery. Burlap, lace, and natural wood elements were on display in all aspects of the wedding. Nick made cornhole boards for guests to play, and games continued into the reception. They wanted the food to reflect their personalities as well, and because of their opposite work schedules, breakfast is a meal they share frequently. So, having breakfast for dinner was a no-brainer. Besides, who doesn’t love breakfast?! Their Fall wedding day was absolutely perfect and here is a sneak peek of our favorite shots.









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