Portfolio—Design | Writing | Content Creation

Aliyah Marr Bullet point CV

  • Co-founder and Creative Director of SmartFounders
  • Roving Creative Director specializing in startups
  • Creative Projects Advisor
  • Creative Advisor/Creative Coach
  • Senior Art Director for Digitas
  • Senior Designer/Analyst for Aaron Marcus Associates
  • Art Director for the Hummer eLearning project for the US Army
  • Content Creator
  • Instructional Designer
  • Course author (Photoshop, Illustrator, how to design for the web) for Knowledge City, MediaBistro
  • Visual Designer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Game Designer Programming / Design
  • Design Teacher (School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design)
  • Corporate Trainer (Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, PremierePro, AfterEffects / WordPress / Apple)
  • Published Author—15 books on creativity, personal development: self-help, how-to genres
  • Gymnastics teacher: ages 2-adult
  • Creative content writer/editor
  • Graduate École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, France


I studied fine art at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, France. When I returned to the USA, I put in a few years as an illustrator before I gravitated to visual design. Then I was asked to teach illustration at a local college, and I started creating online courses (e-Learning) while I designed for local clients.

A move to NYC put me in a bigger pond, and I found myself working at Digitas and other design firms/ad agencies with Fortune 100 clients. I landed plum jobs at the top design schools in New York City, teaching interactive media, design, video editing, motion graphics, and interactive programming at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and The School of Visual Arts. In addition, I have given seminars and workshops on multimedia and created many online instructional movies for designers through Media Bistro. Teaching is one of the best jobs I have ever had because I love to inspire my students to achieve their best. I carry this forward in my work as a corporate trainer and creative coach.

In parallel to my career as an artist/designer, I have been a prolific writer, first authoring scripts for e-books, writing copy for ads, articles for magazines, and blogging since 2006—for example, my design blog FreshAsylum. In 2008 I published my first book, Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity—since then I have published 11 more books on creativity, personal development, and social change. ~ Aliyah Marr


 Skills | Testimonials | LinkedIn Profile


Portfolio of Aliyah Marr

I have spent most of my professional life as a visual designer and educator. Once you learn the principles of good design, you can apply them to everything you do. As a freelance art director/creative director, I have helped launch several successful startup companies, aided entrepreneurs, and over the years, have collected a client list that includes Fortune 500 clients, such as Morgan Stanley, IBM, American Express, and Chivas, but I’ve also enjoyed the dynamic of working with smaller businesses.

My career as a visual designer has had a lot of variety, to say the least: I have created/programmed websites and interactive games, edited/created videos, created opening title sequences and motion graphics, edited sound, created props for feature films, and designed print pieces. As an art director/creative director/creative lead, I have led teams of designers to produce major pieces, such as the Hummer project for the US Army, an interactive e-learning program with video, text, graphics, and voice-over instructions on how to fix the Hummer in two languages: English and Farsi.

As an interactive artist, my artwork has been featured in the Siggraph conference and national shows, such as Digital Concentrate.


Film Design

I  worked as a graphic designer for two feature films, Little Man Tate, and The Public Eye. This was an exhilarating and exhausting job. As a designer, I was responsible for designing many of the props: I designed signage, logos, and book covers.

Because I was hired as a non-union freelancer, I did not receive credit for either film. However, working on set for two major films was definitely one of the most interesting jobs I have ever had. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Game Design

I have designed and programmed many games over the years. Here are a couple of samples of games and game-like user interfaces I made in Flash (you will need the Flash player—not viewable on smartphones).

I was invited to show my work in the international art gallery at the annual Siggraph conference and my interactive artwork was featured in an interactive exhibit, Digital Concentrate at Purdue University.

Gallery of Art

This site is an interactive art piece that contains interactive art, videos, and 2-dimensional artwork spanning a 10 year period. I designed and programmed this art gallery of my artwork in Flash; it includes a lot of animated elements, interactive functionality, and easter eggs for you to find. Be sure to check out the Open Studio … … Continue reading

Transformational Tarot Copyright 2004 Aliyah Marr

Transformational Tarot

The Transformational Tarot by Aliyah Marr. I created The Transformational Tarot as an interactive game.

How does the Tarot work? I have to admit to being a skeptic in the beginning. I even created my first deck without any belief in it or any real experience with the cards. I thought the Tarot was for credulous fools. But after I created the Transformational Tarot computer game, I tested the programming by running a few readings of my own: the results were eerily accurate. When I posted my game online, people wrote me that their readings were the best they ever had. … Continue reading

More Game Design  –>

Graphic Design | Visual Design

I started out as a fine artist, went into illustration, then into interactive design, and finally returned full-circle into print design when I started designing books.

There is something very satisfying about practicing “pure” graphic design again. There is no need to consider how the page will look on different screens and devices (“responsive” user interface design), and no concern about the typefaces or changing layouts.

And while what-you-see-is-NOT-what-you-get, the freedom to practice pure design again is quite heady: the images against the white paper, the “color” of the body copy, using negative “empty” space in the design. Ahh. So satisfying. Fun, beautiful. Like Happy Cat Sushi. Below are some examples of graphic design layouts for a coffee-table book.

More Visual Design Projects –>

Design for Social Media

It is really interesting how graphic design skills are applicable to every medium. I have been involved in social media since I published my first book in a WordPress blog and tweeted excerpts from it for two years after publication. Recently, a client approached me to help her spend less on Google Ads. I recommended that she start pinning on Pinterest. She had a lagging, bare-bones, Pinterest account and almost no social media presence outside of YouTube. Since her product is very unique within several defined niches, I thought the Studio Productions product line would be perfect for Pinterest because we could create boards for each use/market.

More Design for Social Media  –>

Exhibit Design

While I have created thousands of web pages, interactive interfaces, and print pieces, I don’t often get to do exhibit design. The following examples include the signage for an exhibit by the famous National Geographic photographer, David Doubilet, and a few concepts for PCT, an auto parts distributor.

David Doubilet

I was commissioned to design the logo and signage for the David Doubilet “Below” exhibit, sponsored by National Geographic and Rolex. … Continue reading

PCT Exhibit Design

I don’t often get to do exhibit design. Here are a few concepts for display of PCT auto parts in a free-standing exhibit in Pep Boys store. … Continue reading

More Exhibit Design Projects –>

Instructional Design | E-Learning Videos | Content Creator

I have created online videos and interactive teaching interfaces for most of my career as a designer. In addition, I have taught software (technical training) for various clients. As a design teacher for Pratt Institute, The School of Visual Arts, and Parson’s School of Design, I taught courses in Flash, Premiere, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator along with design.

My client list includes Knowledge City, Graphics/Create Magazine, Media Bistro, NYC Economic Development Corporation, and the U.S. Army.

One of my first jobs as a teacher/designer involved making instructional videos on software for a digital magazine. I had to create a project, write the script, do the voice-over, and create the videos. Each course involved six videos of three minutes each. I got really good at creating projects that demonstrated how to use the program in a real-world situation. I did the same kind of work for Media Bistro years later.

One of the biggest e-learning projects I worked on was the Hummer multimedia repair manual for the Army. I designed and programmed the user interface, and then headed up a team of designers to create the interactive movies. The manual included text, video, voice-overs, graphics, and sound in two languages inside an interactive interface. The final project included hundreds of files and movies. We achieved this herculean feat in less than 6 months.

I am also a corporate trainer/workshop leader and public speaker with over 20 years of experience. My clients have included the Department of Defense, the IRS, The NYC Economic Development Corporation, and trade shows. As a design teacher for various design schools, I learned to adjust my material and delivery for different learning styles.

Aliyah Marr is wonderful to work with. Her original, idiosyncratic work consistently gets a positive response from our users. She has become a favorite of our subscribers! Aliyah’s enthusiasm and cooperative nature make her a joy to work with.* ~ Benjamin Kessler,Web Editor, INSEAD Knowledge at INSEAD (current position)

Recently, I created two 3-tier courses for Knowledge City on Photoshop and Illustrator. Each course required the following: over 9 hours of usable video content, course curriculum development (outline), a 100-question quiz. This project required the following skills/expertise.

  • SME (I am the subject matter expert as well as the designer/author)
  • Expertise in the course material
  • Instructional Designer
  • Curriculum Development
  • Script Writing
  • Video Content Creation (screencasting)
  • Video Editing
  • Voice-over Talent
  • Quiz creation

Book Design

I love designing books that are not just pretty faces, but beautiful inside and out. Check out the interiors of The Tarot Key and The Creative Life in 365 Degrees to see what I mean.

In 2007 I started writing my first book, Parallel Mind, The Art of Creativity and have now written my 11th book, The Avatars of Eden. This set me on a new career as an author, editor, and book designer. As a creative coach/consultant, I have designed, edited my clients’ books, and helped many of them through the publishing process.

The Creative Life in 365 Degrees

The cover uses very simple graphics; a circle in an elliptical orbit around the title. The image offers a visual pun that contrasts the idea of 365 days vs. 360 … Continue reading

The Myth of Race

The image is of a push-up toy that I bought in Chelsea a few years ago. Tension is conveyed by the jarring offset of the foreground and background colors. … Continue reading

Anonymous was a Woman

The 3D illustration was created by pouring sand over a painting of Venus by Sandro Botticelli. Then I created a swirl to reveal the lips. … Continue reading

Make Me an Offer I Can’t Refuse

The “gangsta” theme of this book provoked a title made from a ransom note. Cut letters from a newspaper were scanned and used to … Continue reading

More Book Design Projects –>

Below are some examples of the work I did for Media Bistro: my job was to create instructional videos to teach web design to subscribers of their e-Learning division. Their work process did not allow me to edit my work, so all the videos had to be shot in one take. It was a bit challenging to read from a script while showing examples on my computer in real-time. The managing editor, Ben Kessler, told me that I was one of the subscribers’ favorite instructors, probably because I liked to bring an element of humor into my work.

*I created over 100 video tutorials on web design for Media Bistro’s online e-learning division over the course of a few years.

The Gummy Bear Awards for Sticky Websites

I coined the “Gummy Bear Awards” for this tutorial on how to make websites “stickier” with good UI design. … Continue reading

Design Police Report 5 Web Design Crimes

In this tutorial series, I get to be a police officer and report on crimes in user interface design.  … Continue reading

Lessons From the Bauhaus for UI Designers

How to apply basic design principles from the Bauhaus movement to contemporary UI design. … Continue reading

More Instructional Design Projects –>

User Interface Design

I have designed and developed hundreds of pages and sites both for large and small clients. In addition, I taught user interface design and game programming at the top three design schools in NYC: Pratt, The School of Visual Arts, and Parsons School of Design. I love to push the boundaries of interactive design with innovative work.

My accounts include Fortune 100-500 clients such as IBM, Chivas, Motorola, American Express, Morgan Stanley, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, but I also have designed for smaller clients.

Gallery of Art

This site is an interactive art piece that contains interactive art, videos, and 2-dimensional artwork spanning a 10 year period. I designed and programmed this art gallery of my artwork in Flash; it includes a lot of animated elements, interactive functionality, and easter eggs for you to find. Be sure to check out the Open Studio … … Continue reading

Wordpress theme banner. Aliyah Marr Graphic Design

The Tarot Cafe

With the modern responsive Wordpress themes, it can be a challenge to make a header graphic that looks good on both a large computer screen and a phone. … Continue reading

Mexico Real Estate

Initially, I loved to push the boundaries of interactive design but now I choose to work almost exclusively with Wordpress sites such as this one. … Continue reading

More User Interface Design Projects –>

Writing | Copywriting | Content Creation

I love to write, especially when I use it to teach. If I can throw a little humor into the mix, all the better. Following is a small sample of some of my work. In the course of my professional career as a freelance art director/creative director, I have had to create content for my clients for websites, brochures, e-learning courses, etc. I have worked as a copywriter, content creator, scriptwriter for tutorial movies, and the author of articles for various magazines. In addition, I am the author of 11 books on creativity, self-development, and social change.

How do You Like Them Upside-Down Apples?

The more often a potential customer sees the Apple logo, the more the idea of owning an Apple is implanted in his subconscious mind. … Continue reading

What Do Women Really Want?

How do you advertise to women? Any copywriter should try to understand how a woman thinks. As a woman, my answer is: we are not thinking, but feeling. … Continue reading

Baldness as a Brand

As a designer, marketer and all-around cultural observer, I must say that I love Seth Godin. But it is not his trim physique that attracts my attention, it is his head. … Continue reading

Robots Vs. People

Good copy should be written for the target audience. Page content that is pertinent to your product or service makes it easy for the user to buy from you. … Continue reading

More Writing / Copywriting –>

After One Session With Aliyah

After one session with Aliyah a 50-year old deep emotional trauma was dissolved and in its place is pure love. The process seemed effortless and the sorrow is gone. “After One Session With Aliyah”

Dee H.

Aliyah helped a dream come true for me…

Aliyah helped a dream come true for me—we worked together to launch my first book! I am so grateful for her expertise and commitment to her work. She listens carefully while advising to ensure the best outcome and she stays focused to help reach deadlines. Thank you, Aliyah.  “Aliyah helped a dream come true for me…”

Kyra Oliver
Entrepreneur, Founder, and CEO of Your Own Utopia

Be Amazed

Amazing talent and super easy to work with. “Be Amazed”

Don Durban
Planet X

She Never Gives Up

Within a month or so, she had negotiated a TV advertising deal… “She Never Gives Up”

Wesley Negus
Technical Sales Account Manager at Texas Instruments

Be Empowered

Aliyah has a special gift in that she can get to the root of your personal and professional issues very quickly. “Be Empowered”

Mark Ninci
President of SD Tech Services, Chief Technology Officer, MktMetrics

A Favorite of our Subscribers

Aliyah Marr is wonderful to work with. “A Favorite of our Subscribers”

Benjamin Kessler
Web Editor, INSEAD Knowledge at INSEAD

Fresh, Bold Ideas

Fresh, bold ideas and outlook when it comes to the creative. “Fresh, Bold Ideas”

Sharon Fleischmann
Faculty member at School of Visual Arts

I recommend her!

Knowledgeable with professional publishing techniques; she taught me a lot along the way… “I recommend her!”

Ben Luman

Extraordinary—Out of the Box Thinking

I am hugely impressed with Aliyah’s extraordinary ability to create new channels of business… “Extraordinary—Out of the Box Thinking”

Roy Baldwin

‘Likely to Recommend’ Score of 10

I was able to get my answers to my questions and fully understand the steps in learning the product. I was able to stop and ask questions [during the corporate training session], and then repeat when necessary. ~ anonymous student review of Adobe After Effects corporate training class, April 2018  

I Can’t Say Enough Good Things About Aliyah

We work as a team and she gets to know your goals and stumbling blocks… “I Can’t Say Enough Good Things About Aliyah”

Cheryl Roshak

A Very Original Mind

I find Aliyah to have a very original mind. “A Very Original Mind”

Baker Vail
Owner, Small World Maps LLC

Solution-Oriented Life Coaching

…extra-ordinary intuitive insight, years of hands on experience in life coaching. “Solution-Oriented Life Coaching”

Darrell Bell
Independent Transportation Professional

A Transformational Coach

A powerful example of creative vision and leadership. “A Transformational Coach”

Linnie Ennis Krauland
IC Connex

Creative & Results Oriented

Aliyah is a very creative and talented professional that is a joy to work with. “Creative & Results Oriented”

Russell Youngblood
Instructional Technologist at NASCO

I strongly recommend Aliyah Marr

Working with Aliyah was a blessing. She listened to my higher vision and guided my rewriting with precise suggestions. She truly has the ability to unlock a writer’s potential. Aliyah’s style is sweet and sincere. She cares about the power of words. She has excellent ideas and exchanged ideas with me freely which allowed me… “I strongly recommend Aliyah Marr”

A Great Mentor

Aliyah is a great teacher who has awakened strengths that have been dormant in me.
“A Great Mentor”

Enrique Leyva


Here is a list of my skills. While no one can actually claim guru-level expertise on so many things, I taught motion graphics, video editing, user interface design, and user experience design at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and The School of Visual Arts in NYC.

As a design teacher and corporate trainer, the topics/software I have taught are in boldface and marked with an asterisk below. If something isn't listed here, just ask, chances are I know something about it.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud*
  • Adobe Creative Suite*
  • advertising
  • After Effects*
  • art direction*
  • book design
  • Adobe Captivate
  • brand development
  • brand management
  • branding
  • business creation
  • business development
  • business strategy
  • client management*
  • CMS
  • communications
  • concept development*
  • content creation*
  • Creative Director
  • content management
  • content strategy
  • copywriting
  • corporate branding*
  • corporate identity
  • corporate training
  • creative direction
  • creative strategy*
  • creative writing
  • customer service
  • digital media
  • Dreamweaver*
  • e-learning publishing
  • editing
  • Flash*
  • graphic design*
  • Google Analytics
  • illustration*
  • Illustrator*
  • logo design*
  • packaging
  • personal branding*
  • photography
  • Photoshop*
  • Premiere*
  • print design
  • product design
  • product development
  • product ideation
  • public speaking
  • publishing
  • seminars
  • social media manager
  • software training
  • technical trainer
  • typography
  • user experience design*
  • user interface design*
  • video editing*
  • video production
  • visual design*
  • voice-over
  • website analysis
  • WordPress*
  • workshops



 Skills | Testimonials | LinkedIn Profile

Art Director | Creative Director | | Content Creator | Visual Designer | Corporate Trainer | Instructional Designer