Steph Lee, graphic design manager for Disney Consumer Products, Games and Publishing, is energized by nature and exploration of the outdoors.
Throughout her nearly 15-year tenure with The Walt Disney Company, Steph’s creative vision has shaped countless projects, but she’s spent the last three years focused on creating happiness through National Geographic apparel, the perfect role for an aficionado of the outdoors.
As a designer, Steph helps transform the iconic storytelling of National Geographic Explorers into apparel, intertwining her passion for the planet with her artistic spirit.
“National Geographic believes that when people understand the world and create an emotional connection, they care more deeply and take responsibility for it, and I believe in this wholeheartedly,” Steph reflected. “To play a small role in this and use my skills as a graphic designer is a rewarding experience.”
Finding Inspiration in The World We Share
Steph says she draws inspiration from the great outdoors on many of her excursions.
“I enjoy exploring the natural wonders of the different countries I’ve visited, be it hiking through a caldera of a volcano on a tropical island, or kayaking along the glaciers of the Pacific Northwest,” Steph shared.
Last fall, Steph played a pivotal role in creating National Geographic’s first non-licensed lifestyle apparel collection available in North America, inspired by the ocean and the marine life that calls it home. More recently, she helped design the National Geographic spring line highlighting the beauty of the Serengeti. This fell under the season’s theme of “Protected Places,” a topic in which Steph is personally invested.
“Backpacking and hiking through different national parks has made me more aware and respectful of nature. So, educating and sharing knowledge has always been a key point to include when coming up with the creative direction,” she added.
Capturing Scenes from the Serengeti
Through the spring collection, she aimed to spread knowledge about the Serengeti, highlighting everything from the wildlife to the landscape and natural surroundings. This guided her team’s exploration of color palettes and design motifs unique to the area, including the bold colors from sunrise to sunset.
“Plus, every day I was learning something new or interesting about different locations, plants and animals. I also got to work with people who specialized in their fields, like nature photographers and journalists,” Steph said.
Some of her favorite items were the National Geographic Elephant Hat for Adults and the National Geographic Giraffes Semi-Cropped T-Shirt for Women. The elephant cap’s unexpected colors and all-over print provide a nice splash of color, and the T-shirt shares information about how the giraffe can be an early warning system to alert other animals about predators.
Items from the National Geographic Lifestyle Collection are available on shopDisney.
A Collection with Purpose: Putting Possibility Into Practice
When embarking on a design project, Steph aims to ensure the product is compelling, trend-forward and relevant, but also something fans are proud to support.
“When one wears National Geographic branded apparel, you are supporting their mission by spreading awareness and educating people, all while looking fashionable,” Steph explained.
Learning about the environment and inspiring others to help safeguard “Protected Places,” is central to Disney’s efforts to support a healthier planet for people and wildlife.
Your purchase has purpose. Every purchase helps support the U.S.-based National Geographic Society, an impact-driven nonprofit organization with global reach that uses the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. To learn more, visit natgeo.com/info.
*The jellyfish sweatshirt pictured in the header image was part of the debut National Geographic Lifestyle Collection and is no longer available.