Dena earned her design chops in the glossy magazine-world of New York City, working with demanding, top-notch art teams at O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, Men’s Health, Fortune,YM, Entertainment Weekly, Marie Claire and Bon Appetit, among others. During her tenure she worked with many of the most talented graphic designers, photographers, editors, and illustrators in the print industry from around the globe.

Several years ago Dena gave up her Ft.Greene, Brooklyn co-op to relocate to the burgeoning tech hub of Raleigh-Durham to launch her own design and branding firm, Verdesca Creative. Drawn by the vibrant entrepreneurial scene, Dena’s design work covers a wide range of content, including branding, logo design, social media, packaging, infographics, trade show displays, or any other type of collateral material a business could need. 

Her design and art direction has appeared in American Illustration and American Photography. Her awards include six gold and four silver medals from The Society of Publication Designers and a gold medal from the Society of Illustrators. Dena was an integral team member of both O, The Oprah Magazine and Men’s Health when they each won the highly coveted General Excellence award from the American Society of Magazine Editors — the industry’s top honor from what’s been dubbed the Oscars of the print world. 

Dena’s recent clients run a wide spectrum. She designs all the packaging for a start-up craft cidery from New York, Kings Highway Fine Cider, now distributed in six states. She designs reports for major international health and human rights organizations, like Americares (with a 9-billion dollar annual budget), UNICEF, Civilians in Conflict, and the international peace advocate, the Stimson Center. She has a passion for small businesses and start-ups, recently developing a lookbook for the bespoke urn manufacturer, Granville Urns. She designs all the collateral for a magnolia tree farm, Weston Farms, and refreshed the logo for a wildly popular popsicle shop, Locopops, where she also designed the interior and ran an expansion fundraiser. Other clients include New York Times best-selling author Beth Kobliner, international paper manufacturer Domtar Corporation, online career platform The Muse, AgingCare, First Bank, The Scientific Research Honor Society, Duke University Law School, and the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

During her free time Dena volunteers at the Animal Protection Society of Durham, helping hard-to-place dogs adjust to indoor life and find healthy, happy homes. She donated time at Plant-A-Row, a grassroots network of food pantries and local gardeners who share fresh produce for those in need, as well as at SEEDS, which educates kids about the value of growing, cooking, and sharing good food. Dena is active with the Coalition for Affordable Housing and Transit in Durham and she’s worked on the Durham mayor Steve Schewel’s committee to pass the $95 million Durham Affordable Housing Bond. She’s been a volunteer art teacher at the Boys & Girls Club and is a coordinator for her local Mutual Aid Fund. She judged Society of Illustrators student scholarship competitions, critiqued portfolios for the Art Director’s Club, and loves mentoring aspiring illustrators and designers alike.