Logo Design & Branding Oeuvre
How to hire Hotiron Creative

logo design logo design stickers brand development logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design sticker design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design logo design
logos • vector graphics • brand identity • icons • stickers, badges, lanyards, patches, coins, & ephemera • packaging • exhibits • internet things • anything fit to print

Melanie Warner, Founder & Graphic Artist

Melanie Warner is an award-winning American graphic artist known for her logo design and brand development for researchers, companies, and conferences in the cybersecurity space. She attended public school in Idaho then founded the graphic design firm Hotiron Creative in 2002. She designed for Fortune 100 companies and helped build a multimillion dollar luxury audio brand before joining BSides Las Vegas and designing exclusively for the information security community.

Who I Am

Melanie Warner

I’m an artist who understands your industry. Hackers and artists share a common quality: imagination. Education is not enough to stop threat actors or drive progress. The ability to imagine what we cannot yet see is what sets us apart from machines. I admire the crucial role of security researchers, and I play well with the hacker mindset. I appreciate hackers for being uncommonly curious, hard-working, creative, resourceful, scrupulous, and lateral, divergent thinkers. They embrace the power of good design. As someone who manages to inject humor into otherwise mundane branding, together we can be a greater influence and have fun doing it.

What I Do

I turn ideas into memorable experiences. Like DNA, a single, powerful logo design drives the unifying graphic and color scheme and informs the creative direction for way-finding signage, online advertising, slide decks, and branded ephemera. From rich concept to sparkling execution, the impression lives on in the eyes and memories of those who were there.

First, we start with a brand consultation, where we decode the essence of who you are or what you want your organization to represent, beginning with a list of stock questions.

Behind the creative work is decades of technical expertise to make your bespoke piece function correctly. Everything I do is vector art — scalable, malleable, and economical — with meticulous production so the final product matches the intent. If your design is to be screen-printed onto objects, made into an electronic badge, stamped onto a challenge coin, die-cut, embossed, letter-pressed, foil-stamped, wrapped around a vehicle, or cut as a vinyl decal on a 53-foot trailer, I have the skills.

I love planning projects and talking strategy, and it’s never too early to invite creative, resourceful, experienced thinking to the table. I can help you sort out which solutions are going to help you reach your goals.

Designing beautiful artwork for my clients gives me so much joy. I put my heart and soul into my work. I’ve helped several non-profits that help underrepresented talent advance their careers in infosec. Please consider supporting conferences that lift more than they climb.

Let’s design a hotter brand.  |   ↓ BRASS TACKS

Featured Clients

Absolve Security: Absolve Security logo
Alyssa Miller: Alyssa Miller logo
Bia!: Secure Open Vote logo
Blue Team Con: Blue Team Con logo
DEF CON: Blue Team Village: Blue Team Village logo
BSides Las Vegas: 2016, 2017, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 branding
BSides NYC: 2023, 2024 branding
BSides RDU: 2019 logo
BSides ROC: 2024 logo
Circle City Con: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 branding
Circle City Crossroads: 2018 logo
The CISO Track: The CISO Track branding
The Diana Initiative: 2017 [Tiara Con], 2019 [main logo], 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 branding
Digital Silence: Digital Silence branding
HackWest: 2018 branding
DEF CON: ICS Village: DEF CON 28 [Safe Mode], Hack the Capitol 2021 branding
no starch press: The Hardware Hacker by bunnie; no starch press foundation branding
NolaCon: 2017 logo
OWASP: DEF CON 27, DEF CON 30 branding
PumpCon: 2017 logo
Red Sector Group: Red Sector Group logo
SemperSec: SemperSec logo
Shostack + Associates: Shostack + Associates branding
South Florida ISSA: 2017, 2019 branding
Sticker the Planet: Safety Third, As Seen on Shodan stickers
WPScan: WPScan logo

Other Clients

Altum Strategy Group, Autonomic Controls, Bounce (P&G), BSides JXN, bugcrowd, bunnie, Canon, Cedar Fair (FunTV), Cellular One, Chiquita Foods, Circle City Crossroads, Cincinnati Bell, ClearOne Communications, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, DEF CON Group 201, DEF CON: SpeakerOps, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Epson, F+W Media, Gabe Bassett, HOW Magazine, hyperquake, Kodak, Krause Publications, lintile, Mead Westvaco, Memory Makers Magazine, North Light Books, NuVo Technologies, Ogilvy & Mather, OGIO, Procter & Gamble, RealTegrity NYC, S1Digital, SAP, SeaPak, Slack, Tarah Wheeler, Writer’s Digest

Special Projects

  • Sticker the Planet: home of the Safety Third sticker and other hot merch I like to mail with personal notes
  • IdaSec: a monthly hacker meetup in Idaho Falls
  • DrawingFolx: a monthly figure drawing event

Honorable Mentions

I am humbled by the kind things people have said about my work. Here are some of those words.
heart for infosec

Melanie has a great eye for design and a heart for the information security community. She has the ability to tie several themes in her designs and logos to tell a story. She created the design for the BSidesJackson 2016 logo, incorporating music themes along with hacking themes that perfectly represented the conference. I highly recommend Melanie to anyone looking for creative and meaningful designs in the security industry.

Chris Sistrunk
Principal Consultant,
Mandiant (now part of Google Cloud)


She’s brilliant and can do anything and do it beautifully.

—Serene Han
Senior Software Engineer, Google;
concert pianist

razor-sharp strategy

Melanie has an incredible grasp of brand strategy within--and beyond--design. Part brand designer, part marketing sherpa, she offers clients razor-sharp strategic thinking, guiding them to new, effective levels of integrated branding. Her special passion for technology helps tech clients hit the ground running without that grinding climb of the learning curve.

—Janice Hughes
Strategic Copywriter & Consultant
Hughes Writing & Consulting

organized creative leader

Melanie is an artful, organized, and detail-oriented creative leader. She is skillful in pursuing collaborative endeavors and always aims to achieve the best results for any challenge she faces while also listening to outside perspective as a means to arrive at the best solution. Her creative skill, experience, and expertise and sense provides a clear articulation of ideas which makes her a well-rounded, design-driven entrepreneur who is always hungry for the next big opportunity.

Jon Pacio
Brand Design Manager, Incase

build something meaningful

Melanie has great design approach and the drive to build something meaningful.

Tristan Bel
Founder, The Founder Institute


If I have to describe Melanie in one word, she is a perfectionist. Her attention to detail is hard to go unnoticed even if you are with her on non work related things. Her thoughts about Technology and entrepreneurship always echoed mine. We went to meetup groups, always chat about the next wave of technology and generally talk about how to constantly update/retool ourselves to keep pace with technology. She never sees an issue or a task as a single encapsulated entity but how it fits in the overall picture and that I think is very important quality that hardly gets noticed.

Rakesh Mandalapa
Web Developer, MTV Networks

an invaluable partner

Melanie is responsible for the identity of my company - she worked in her beautifully intuitive way to create just what I needed for my logo, web design, and all of the elements of design for the interior and exterior of my first book. She has been an invaluable partner.

—Jenifer Madson
author and entrepreneur

meets challenges head-on

Melanie is smart, very talented, and possesses a deep knowledge of human centered design and user experience. She is very comfortable meeting technical challenges head-on, is a resourceful collaborator, and is deeply curious about how things work. She has a tireless work ethic and is always committed to getting things done and having a real impact.

Doug Muise
Senior User Interface Design Specialist, SAP

knowledge of branding

Melanie has been a guest lecturer in my NYU course on "Positioning & Brand Development" several times, as well as an advisor on my brand consulting work. While her background is mainly in graphic design, she is unique for her comprehensive, yet practical knowledge of marketing and branding and her extraordinary creative talents. Compared to most designers who just focus on artful executions, Melanie starts with the brand concept and creates new themes and ideas that reflect the core brand personality and impression, so that ALL touchpoints and communication vehicles consistently reflect the brand message. The holistic impact is captivating and memorable. Melanie would be an ideal advisor to any company seeking a fresh creative approach to re-position a brand and/or market their product or services successfully.

Jay Grönlund
President, The Pathfinder Group, Inc.
Adjunct Professor, NYU-SCPS


I like that you create.

Dan Kaminsky
hacker, dead but not forgotten

amazing designer

[Melanie] is an amazing designer who makes some amazing $#!t

Meadow Ellis

dedication unlike anyone

Melanie is one of the very few people I've worked with that I would recommend to anyone. Her design sense, attention to detail and most importantly, her immense dedication is unlike anyone I've worked with.

Chris Heile
VP of Advertising, Hyperquake

top-quality work

Talented, knowledgeable, thoroughly professional. Melanie’s always delivered top-quality work for us, and I'd gladly hire her again.

Rob Simpson
VP, Creative Director, GJP Advertising

immaculate craft

Melanie's attention to detail and immaculate craft in production was really a lifesaver. She's definitely a pleasure to work with.

Christopher Ritter
Designer, Hyperquake

a dream to work with

Melanie has been a dream to work with on every project and position she has accepted from Creatives On Call. She provides our clients with great design options and provides the reps at Creatives On Call with peace of mind that the clients will be thoroughly satisfied. I would recommend her time and time again.

April Dimig Rainbolt
Owner and President
Creatives On Call

expertise in branding

I cannot recommend Melanie highly enough for her creativity and expertise in the area of brand design. She listens closely and offers more than one concept after thoroughly interviewing the client to assess the client’s vision of their business and its future. Hotiron Creative is a highly professional, yet thoroughly personable company to work with!

Lori Pierce
Owner, Lula's for Lunch... and More!

out-of-the-box thinker

Melanie is a very creative person. She's incredibly talented and very good at what she does. She's extremely passionate about design and everything design-related as well as a typography expert (a.k.a. typography geek). She's open minded and very intelligent. Has a great personality and is someone you want to know. I would recommend anyone who has the chance to meet her, to do so, as she has a whole lot to offer in terms of personality and creativity. She's truly an out-of-the-box thinker.

—Natalia Pérez Wahlberg
Graphic Designer, Ormiga Design

superb production skills

Melanie's production and prepress skills are superb. She has a strong attention to detail and the ability to meet even the most pressing deadlines. It is always a pleasure to work with her.

Ruth Preston
Prepress Manager, F+W Media

professional, passionate

I have known Melanie Warner for two years as a business associate and fellow member of AIGA Cincinnati. Melanie is a highly professional, ethical and passionate designer. She offers clients truly creative solutions to a variety of visual communication needs. Her design savvy distinguishes her work offering sophisticated graphic concepts to her clients. She is an active member of AIGA Cincinnati participating and supporting events and programs that promote the field of design and give back to the community at large.

Mark Thomas
Education Director, AIGA Cincinnati
Professor, Art Academy of Cincinnati
Co-author of
Exploring the Elements of Design with Poppy Evans

logo I’m getting tattooed

It's f@¢%ing sexy. I'll have you know, that is the logo. THAT logo is the one I am getting tattooed on me.

Brendin Ross
Musician and Audio Engineer
Frontal Boundary

incredibly talented

Melanie is an incredibly talented designer. She can take an industry she isn't very familiar with and can create an identity that meets her client’s every need.

Jo Moore
Owner, Jo's Sewing Studio

gold standard

I mean, if you want the gold standard, [Melanie] is it!

Tracy Z. Maleeff
Security Researcher,
Krebs Stamos Group

the answer

The answer to logo designers is always [Melanie]

Ian Coldwater

exactly what you need

Melanie is extremely talented. What I value most about designers are those who can take a creative brief and breathe new life into an otherwise run-of-the-mill project. Her designs are sophisticated and she pays attention to every single detail. Moreover, she's extremely pleasant to work with and in this fast-paced, high-stress business. Melanie is exactly what you need!

Catherine Clay
Account Executive, GJP Advertising

part of the client’s team

Melanie works as part of the client’s team. When freelancing for Memory Makers Books, she was a creative problem-solver and an excellent communicator, working with us to figure out how we could get the jobs done together, either on tight budgets or tight deadlines or both. I feel confident entrusting her to projects because I know they will be done well and on time. Highly recommended.

Christine Doyle
Editorial Director, F+W Media

overwhelming feedback

Melanie is an expert in the graphic design field, so much so that we not only interviewed her for an article about design on Cincy Chic, we let her write the entire article from a subject matter expert standpoint because we value her expertise and credibility so much. The article got an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and is still one of most read/searched-for articles on our Web site. I recommend Melanie to anyone who wants to hire a leader and expert in the design industry.

Amy Storer-Scalia
Editor/Publisher, Cincy Chic

emphasis on client needs

Melanie is a super sharp and creative marketer who puts more emphasis on client needs and objectives versus just good design. Once she knows her clients, she then creates outstanding designs that represent them perfectly. I gladly recommend her.

Jennifer Panepinto
Owner, Market Write

produces successfully

I have known Melanie for quite awhile and recently had the opportunity to produce a printing project for her. She did an outstanding job making sure we had everything we needed to produce the job successfully, such as properly prepared computer files, mockups, and clear instructions. She is very conscientious, is quite knowledgeable, and pays very close attention to all the details. Melanie is definitely the person you should work with if you want to make sure your project is a success. I look forward to continue working with her in the future.

Gregg MacMillan
President, TechneGraphics

style, chemistry, flexibility

Melanie shows creativity, style, skill, chemistry, reliability, flexibility, and speed. She works hard at getting it right and attention to detail. Truly enjoyed working with her!

Sandra Vogel
President, VCC, Inc.

versatile + creative artist

Melanie is one of the most versatile and creative artists I know. Her work is both beautiful and modern and she has a real knack for expressing complex ideas in a clean design.

Melanie is extremely easy to talk to and takes great notes, which makes working through the initial visionary stages very comfortable and efficient. Throughout the project she asks great clarifying questions and is very accommodating in the revision process.

It is always a joy to work with Melanie and I look forward to having the opportunity to bring her in on a project again. I feel very fortunate to be able to recommend her to clients who desire to work with an extremely competent business woman who is also an award-winning artist.

Marjorie Signer
Owner: Austin, Berry, Sidders

keen eye for type + color

I hired Melanie to perform an array of design tasks as part of a very fast-paced new magazine launch. She delivered what I needed--and then some--on time and always with an awareness of how the work was going to be incorporated into the whole. She has a keen eye for type and color, great attention to detail, and is dedicated to delivering superior work.

Jane Beard
Editor, F+W Media

a legend

Melanie is a legend; best artist in our industry.

Steve Ragan
infosec journalist & researcher

creates beauty

You create beauty.
That is amazing.


extremely pleased

Melanie for the past two years has designed our invitation and reply card and we have been extremely pleased with the results. She works was able to secure a paper donation and helped keep the cost down on each invitation. In the non-profit world that is huge. I would recommend Melanie to anyone wanting superior work.

Annemarie Barnett
Events Director
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

unparalleled work ethic

Melanie went above and beyond on a recent project we worked on. I asked her to do "X" and she completed "Y" and "Z" before I had even thought of them! She's extremely proficient at design and her work ethic is unparalleled.

—Peg Stookey
Founder, The Legacy Center

detail, integrity, dedication

Melanie took on a deep project [Bounce, P+G] with fine detail and artistic integrity, and helped us put a strong product redesign on shelf with a great new look, and we couldn't have done it without her dedication. Her attention to detail through both the creative and production process was phenomenal.

Dan Barczak
Senior Brand Designer, Hyperquake

professional acumen

As President of AIGA Cincinnati, I have had the opportunity to interact with Melanie Warner on multiple occasions; most recently Melanie offered her insight and professional acumen having been chosen as a select participant in this year's Roundtable Discussion. AIGA Cincinnati has utilized the annual roundtable discussions as an effective way to gather and focus feedback from members at the local level on issues that are addressed while later meeting collectively at the local and national level.

As the Principal of Hotiron Creative, LLC, Melanie has been proactive in supporting AIGA Cincinnati and the design community at-large through her continued participation and willingness to offer her input and opinion which is always solicitous and genuine. I have come to recognize Melanie as a significant professional in the Cincinnati marketplace; it is without reservation and at the highest endorsement that I recommend Melanie Warner.

Patrick Schreiber
President, AIGA Cincinnati

on time + on budget

Melanie is a highly creative individual who always comes up with excellent concepts and follows through with great attention to even the smallest details. She has always delivered on time and on budget.

Michelle Perry
Owner, Incite Visual Communications

attention to detail

Melanie is an excellent designer and has a tremendous attention for details. She produces an excellent product and is a strong advocate for her customers. We enjoy working with Melanie.

Dave Sperry
Owner, Speedpro Imaging

makes graphic sense of it all

Melanie is able to take a general idea, and make graphic sense of it all. She is detail oriented, EASY to work with, creatively sound, and brings structure to almost every situation into which she is placed. I would heartily recommend Melanie as a design resource at pretty much every level.

Kenny Snowball
Design Director, Rocket Science

fabulous logo design

Melanie did a FABULOUS logo design and ad layout work. Very well done.

Jim Hyland
Owner, The Hyland Studio

amazing layouts that sell

Melanie designed some amazing magazine layouts on really short notice for me when I worked at Writer's Digest. She also designed several entire special-interest publications for me, again, on really short notice. The SIPs had a very fresh, modern look and, as such, sold quite well.

Kara Uhl
Managing Editor
Writer's Digest magazine

love her description

I LOVE the BSides Las Vegas logo and am excited to meet artist [Melanie] today! Love her description: “The solarpunk themes and retro psychedelia/folk-art style represent aspects of the hacker mindset: self-taught curiosity, DIY resourcefulness, right-to-repair autonomy and moral conscientiousness.”

Jen Easterly
hacker and CISA Director

knowledgeable, creative

Melanie is a fantastic graphic artist. Besides her amazing graphic art skills, she is an amazing Mac operator. Our company was having some challenges with a few of our Macs and she went above and beyond and was able to figure out the problem, which was no small task. She is a very personable, detailed and knowlegeable creative person. I would hire her again without hesitation.

Bill Landrum
Production Manager, dunnhumby

creative problem-solver

Melanie is an outstanding designer, with great creative problem-solving abilities. She is very knowledgeable about technology and production as well, so her designs are not only beautiful but effectively produced. It is also a pleasure working with her. I would highly recommend Melanie as a design professional.

Clare Finney
Senior Designer, F+W Media

innovative concepts

Melanie did a great job of coming up with an innovative concept, working within my budget, and meeting the production schedule. Her work is getting compliments from my consulting peers.

Heather Haley

among the best designers

Melanie is among the best graphic designers to work with. She not only does an excellent job with graphic design, I also relied on Melanie to be a project manager. I felt comfortable with Melanie being in charge of our largest client base, finding the right look/feel for the project, getting it done on time and in a professional manner. Great results, personable, expert in her field, excellent value, on time, high integrity and creative. Her attention to detail is remarkable and I highly recommend her.

Kristi Loeffelholz Edwards
Fons and Porter’s Quilting

ads that get results

I recommend Melanie to ALL my clients that need ads designed both for print and online properties. She is prompt, her ads create results and all my clients have expressed gratitude for recommending her.

Cristy Adamski
Advertising Manager, F+W Media

meets deadlines + budget

Melanie has completed multiple magazine projects for Writer's Digest. She's project-oriented, creative and consistently meets deadline and budgetary guidelines.

Maria Schneider
Writer's Digest magazine

production, photography

Melanie is a hardworking professional who can efficienlty and effectively manage projects. She's very knowledgable about her craft and her attention to detail make her an asset for any design project. Her talents are many, from design, layout, digital production to photography, she approaches them all with the same artistic eye.

Jamie Markle
Publisher & Editorial Director
F+W Media

professional + creative

I have had the opportunity of working with Melanie as a co-worker at Hyperquake and as a contractor for Hotiron Creative. Her level of professionalism and creativity made working with her a pleasure. I look forward to future collaborations and would highly recommend her to others.

KC Dunstan
Web Developer

listens + understands

Melanie is a wonderful creative with the capacity to listen and understand what her clients want. Her work is on target and on message.

—Monika Roberts
Senior Account Manager
Creatives on Call

What You Get with Logo Design

  • my best solution to your problem for one flat fee
  • logo files in vector formats, including alternate versions if needed, e.g., single-color or reversed for dark backgrounds
  • color codes in RGB/HEX for screen, and CMYK/Pantone for print
  • all rights to Final Deliverables*

What You Need to Know

  1. “How much does it cost?” For custom work, I give custom quotes. Let’s take a moment to get to know each other before you ask.
  2. *For trademark design, I transfer all rights and title to you, for only the Final Deliverables (none of the sketches or rejected concepts), after the final invoice is paid.
  3. Design fees do not include needs beyond the scope of your design quote. Third-party commissions (such as development, photography, or illustration), and licensing or purchases (such as stock art or fonts) will be priced separately.
  4. Your deposit is non-refundable and will serve as a project kill fee. We can always pick up where we left off and finish the project later, though.
  5. I do not use machine generated art or generative AI to create bespoke designs.
  6. All design work is original and presumably** protectable by US copyright law.
  7. **You are responsible for your own trademark search and filing, despite my earnest efforts to create something entirely unique for you.
  8. I get to use the design I do for you for my self-promotion.
  9. Hold onto that ZIP file I send you. I don’t retain client files forever.

Things I’ll Do for Money

Design logos, vectorize existing logos, social media assets, business cards, Winamp skins, strait-laced branded materials, slide decks templates and presentations, visual identity systems / brand guidelines, book covers, book interiors, long-form documents, coins, crests, stickers, ephemera, media kits, corporate stationery, sales materials, business forms, magazine templates, packaging, product graphics, icons, diagrams, vector illustration, exhibits, art direction, photography/creative direction, publications, web and mobile interfaces, email marketing, ads, mediocre copywriting, and concept-driven, integrated marketing campaigns.

Things Beyond the Scope of Design

Web/UI development, website maintenance, tech support, coding, copywriting, audio, video, animation, learning your tools, teaching your staff, participating in your company collaboration tool, extraneous meetings, pass-through expenses, business consulting, and travel.

How to Hire Hotiron Creative

I kindly request that new clients complete the project questionnaire. After I receive your responses, we’ll get together on the phone, then I’ll give you a cost estimate. Your answers to the questionnaire help me get to the heart of what you need. You have all the answers, and it’s my job to ask the right questions. After all, “knowing is half the battle.”

Please review the full questionnaire ahead of time, then get in touch.

What to Expect

It’s not magic; it’s basically the engineering design process, but with fewer occupational hazards. :) After we agree on a budget, timeline, and scope, I’ll work according to the creative brief, then we’ll compare deliverables to the brief to make sure the job is done right.

How to Pay

  1. PayPal
  2. Venmo
  3. Cash App
  4. ACH (ask for details)
  5. Mail: PO Box 352, Rigby, ID 83442, USA
  6. cold, hard ca$h
  7. NO cryptocurrency, trades, discounts, or IOUs.

Design a hotter brand

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“It took me a few seconds to draw it, but it took me 34 years to learn how to draw it in a few seconds.”  — Paula Scher