Meet the Team

Meet the Team

Emily Cotler

Emily Cotler

Creative/Art Director, Visual/UX Designer, Sits in the Chair Where the Buck Stops

  • Once stood within 50 feet of The Queen (indeed!)
  • Cares deeply for the word “whom,” appropriate apostrophes, and the Oxford comma
  • Ideal escape from cyberspace: Colorado snowboarding

Read more about Emily’s history…

Jennifer Zapf

Jennifer Zapf

Project Manager, Graphic Designer, Site Updater, Organizer Extraordinaire

  • Loves a well designed document
  • Expert at organizing with dollar store bins
  • The Alps are her happy place
Judyth Collin

Judyth Collin

Project Assistant, Copywriter, Site Updater, Print Wrangler

  • A hummingbird once landed on her hand
  • Reads a lot
  • Likes to garden
Ruth Poliakon

Ruth Poliakon

Developer, Project Manager, Queen of Documentation

  • Firmly believes she would be a great street racer
  • Was not complete before she watched Dirty Dancing for the first time
  • Is your go-to person for identifying that weird bug you saw
Mikhail Twarogowski

Mikhail Twarogowski

Lead Developer, Graphic Designer, WebFont Wizard

  • Made his own coffee mug
  • Owns a “Hall of Fame” of junk mail with misspellings of his name
  • Knew a turkey with the temperament of a house cat (RIP Butterball)
Diana Tsoi

Diana Tsoi

Billing Manager, Jacklyn of All Trades, Master of the Spreadsheet

  • Usually figures it out without reading the manual
  • Has no fear in composting your trash
  • Zen place, island beaches

Clients: Who to Contact at Wax

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Photography of Emily by deborah sherman photography; all other photos taken in-house.

Emily’s History

How does an UCLA History major get herself into advanced design class? “I camped outside of Professor Kathleen Bick’s office for two weeks begging for an audience. I wasn’t in the design program, but I was really drawn to design and wanted to do an independent study. I persisted… she finally relented. I got an A.” Not exactly what one would call a typical start, but an example of Emily’s undeniable drive when it comes to something she’s passionate about.

Many more design classes followed, leading to employment and creative partnerships with industry professionals including Kelly Goto and Shelby Tupper. In her ten years of experience prior to opening Waxcreative Design in 1998, Emily was immersed in graphic design. From wedding invitations, medical packaging, and silkscreening to menus, corporate newsletters, and CD packaging, Emily created a wide spectrum of communication designs before ever signing on to the internet. But she wouldn’t reroute her road to business ownership for anything, stating, “Schooling only takes you so far in this industry. Experience — including both a honed ability to understand audience as well as the ability that only some accomplished designers have to see design potential in raw content — this is a major key to success.”

That, yes. But also hunger.

In the late 90s Emily heard the call of the web — or rather, her sister’s nonstop badgering for a workable and attractive website that both showcased her as an author and furthered her career goals. This was new. This was innovative. This was something that Emily couldn’t resist. It fed her creative side while stretching her technical muscles. Armed with her newly-learned HTML skills and a decade’s worth of invaluable experience, Emily set to work on what would become the first version of (redesigned for the fourth time mid-2014, with a major under-the-hood overhaul in 2017 —  go visit! It’s sublime.)

Web Redesign 2.0: Workflow That Works

Other sites followed quickly. Then in early 2000 Emily partnered with web design powerhouse Goto to write a book that would prove to become a web industry standard. Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow That Works, is the second edition that was released almost five years later, just as CSS was replacing tables. Translated into 14 languages, this book continues to be a staple in web design departments and firms across the globe and included in college-level and post-graduate curricula. It’s still in print and selling well.

Over 100 highly acclaimed sites after that first incarnation of, Emily’s excitement for her craft is as fresh as it was when she parked herself outside of Professor Bick’s office that fateful fall day.

And in addition to being Waxcreative’s Creative Director, Emily also served as editor-in-chief of FairyRoom, where her I’m-so-proud achievement was a literary analysis she penned on the comparative credibility of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath. Well-rounded, indeed.

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