Our July Tastemaker of the Month is Patti Murphy, the owner of Patti Murphy Designs, a full service creative design studio based in Stonington, CT. Patti has made logos and done branding for many Connecticut companies and she also sells her designs on Etsy and in her brick and mortar in Stonington, CT. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.
As it seems with most things these days, I first came across you on Instagram (almost a year ago now!) where you have a beautifully curated account. What is your #1 tip for taking a good food instagram?
Thank you! I've been a big fan of Instagram for a few years now, and I love to use it to document parts of my life, including capturing my favorite restaurants. I think lighting is really important. I always try to use natural light as much as possible. I usually will only take pics of food if I can get a good shot by a window or outside. I also think trying different angles. I personally love food shots that are taken when you are directly standing over it from the top.
What do you consider the most instagrammable restaurant/bar/cafe etc. in Connecticut?
That's tough to narrow down to one! I would say Engine Room in Mystic, CT. They have nice, big windows allowing for natural light to fill the restaurant. The food and unique cocktails are always delicious and grammable. The rustic and stylish interior, fresh flowers and nicely designed menus also help make easy and interesting photos.
You have an adorable boutique in Stonington where you sell paper goods, art prints, cards and small gifts of your own design and from others. But your main focus is logos, web design and print and marketing materials for brands. Who are some CT based brands that you’ve done work for?
I love working on design materials for local businesses especially when it is a food/drink company! A few CT based companies that I have worked with are, The Public House, La Belle Aurore Bistro, Half Full Brewery, Fairfield Bread Company & most recently A Thyme To Cook.
When designing for a food/drink company, where do you draw your influences from?
So many places! I love gathering type inspiration from signage, magazines + art books. I think traveling, even if it is just a few hours away has been something I have been making sure I do every month. I found that I get really inspired when I get away for short trips and come back with tons of ideas and photo inspiration.
What is your favorite summertime dish to make?
While I tend to eat out more than I cook, but I would say something simple like grilled chicken and a chickpea salad with cucumbers, peppers + tomatoes.
What is your summer drink of choice?
Always a huge Margarita fan during all seasons! I did just discover Spiked Seltzers and really enjoyed them, so I will be certainly be drinking that this summer.
What is your favorite thing about living on the Connecticut coast?
Being close to the water and beaches. Connecticut is very rich in history and there is so much to discover in so many adorable quaint towns. Also, in my opinion Autumn is also the most beautiful season here in CT.
In the summer, people flock to the Connecticut shoreline for obvious reasons. What are some hidden gems people should visit in the colder months?
The Velvet Mill here in Stonington, CT where my studio is located is a great place to visit in the winter. Stonington artists moved into the mill 10 years ago and began transforming the spaces into studios and a gallery. Now, there is a brewery, bakery, antique shops, a cheese shop among many artist spaces and studios to discover.
Stonington Borough, also a bit hidden, but known for where they shot the movie "Hope Springs" with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. Stay at this cute B&B (with fireplaces in almost every room), eat at amazing restaurants like Milagro or Noahs and walk the quaint village where there are plenty of shops and galleries. It would make for a nice winter weekend escape.
What is your most memorable meal while traveling?
My most memorable DAY of meals was in Portland, Maine for my birthday last year! We ate Duck Fat for Lunch, Central Provisions for drinks and small plates, and later that night we went to Fore Street. I always talk about going back and doing the same thing all over again!