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sunny bonnell

Sunny Bonnell


Sunny Bonnell is co-founder and creative director at Motto, a brand strategy and design firm that works with emerging brands and scaling companies to build purpose-driven brands. Sunny and her strategy sidekick Ashleigh Hansberger began collaborating on projects in their early twenties before starting Motto in 2005. Sunny is primarily responsible for driving the visual voice for Motto’s clients across identity, print, packaging, and mobile/web. Her work and thought leadership has been recognized in numerous publications including Inc. Magazine, Print, HOW, CSS Design Awards, The Dieline, LogoLounge, Big Book of Packaging, Art Institute, Fox News, and MSN Business. She is currently a blog author for the Awwwards. When she’s not solving brand problems, she spends time inspiring others to pursue their passions. Sunny is a breakfast lover, silent film aficionado and loves paperboy hats.



The demand for a designer’s skillset has grown increasingly complex. Designers are expected to cross disciplines more effortlessly ‒across branding, strategy, web, mobile and technology ‒to be multi-faceted and superior in all we create. That expectation is growing as the definition of branding evolves. And because brands are so personal now, clients are seeking extremely involved creative partners to help shape their vision. In our business, the lines have blurred. We work with our clients on a level that reaches far beyond being a designer; we are confidants, guides, and trusted business advisors. We help clients align their internal culture with their external brand, and design is the currency between them. Great design is expected ‒we see more companies start with their purpose and use design to echo that cause. It’s very powerful and it is influencing how design is understood in the world. I’d like to think I’m the eternal optimist and wired to lean that way in business. I’m certainly optimistic at the strength of design and the transformation we see happen with our clients. I hear people speak of the dimming prospects of design and how crowdsourcing threatens the craft, but I’m not terribly concerned. There are still people in the world who love their brands too much to go for that ‒I look for them and they look for us.

Favorite Color?
How about favorite two? Brown and Grey

Favorite Typeface?
Recently, I like Klinic Slab but I love hand lettering more

Favorite App?

Favorite TV Show?
Masters of Sex

Favorite Book?
Burning in Water Drowning in Flame by Charles Bukowski

Favorite Movies?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Edward Scissorhands, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chaplin films, Documentaries

Favorite Musician or Band?
Paramore, Rhianna, Civil Wars, Otis Redding

Favorite Fine Artist?
I think Jenny Holzer is insanely cool

Favorite Gadget?

Bookmarked Websites?
Awwwards, Art of the Title, Pitchfork, Visual News

Talent You Wished You Possessed?
That I could heal

Greatest Strength as a Designer?
I am able to see the visual story before it exists

Biggest Weakness as a Designer?
I am a perfectionist, I hold others and myself to the highest caliber, and I don’t know when to quit