Meet Naomi Tao

Meet Naomi Tao

Brand Manager at Proper Brands


Naomi is a Saint Louis-based designer, food enthusiast, and vagabond. She explores how creative outlook plays a vital role in life—an awe-inspiring landscape, an obscure roadside attraction, a great meal with strangers, and even a trip that has gone awry— and uses those experiences to pursue inventive ideas. Through constant exploration of design, nature, food, and culture, Naomi seeks to cultivate human connection through storytelling and creativity.

How did you get started in design?

I grew up in a very creative family and was encouraged to pursue the arts since I was young. I was lucky to have a great art teacher and mentor through high school and carried that education to the University of Southern California where I majored in Fine Art.

What career accomplishments are you most proud of?

Finding unique work that combines my interests, design, and lifestyle is one of my favorite things about my career as a designer. I’ve been lucky enough to build brands from the ground up and work on a wide breadth of projects across multiple mediums. It’s pretty wild to see brands and packaging that I’ve designed on shelves across the nation.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I find inspiration from nature, travel, architecture, and spending time with other creatives in different industries.

How do you deal with creative burnout?

When I’m a little burnt out, the first thing I do is go outside and work in my garden. Sometimes all I need is to focus on practical tasks to allow my creativity to reappear naturally.

What piece of advice would you offer to fellow creatives?

Never stop searching for your creative voice. Create and create often because everything is an experiment.

What is one book that all creatives should read?

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

What is your favorite place in St. Louis?

Forest Park

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By AIGA Saint Louis
Published May 1, 2023