Photo Collage

For our process and skill class we were asked to take as many pictures as possible sequently  of an event or objet to expand the sensation of depth,moment in time, and interesting point of view. Here is some inspiration that I found from David Hockneys´s work. 

paint_trolley1985 telephone pole

It´s amazing how you can still see a complete piece of something modifying the perspective direction and order of the objects.

Here it´s my work!! I chose Coca -cola because it is a product with a lot of history  but mainly because it is distinguished all around the world.Changing the direction of the pictures and playing with shapes created a much more exciting and creative work.

coca-cola

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AAS Graphic Design Presents Ryan McGinness: Studio Process

Some of you may have seen the emails and posters floating around campus for this event. I decided to swing by to check it out. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was my first time attending an AMT, Parsons event.

Ryan McGinness Event Poster

The event started off with Julia Gorton, Director for Graphic Design and Printmaking, giving a brief introduction of the guest panel: Ryan McGinness, Jess Dang and Pierre Tardif. After the introduction, we watched two short films. One can be seen on Jess’s reel. The second was the short film directed and produced by Jess Dang on Ryan McGinness’s process in solving his design problems in the studio. Then, the panel was welcomed to the stage where it took off with Pierre sharing images of his typeface called “Ryan McGinness.” This typeface was based on Ryan McGinness’s unique handwriting. Pierre saved the notes and to-do lists Ryan gave him (when Pierre was working for Ryan) and later developed this typeface.

Ryan McGinness Typeface

Ryan McGinness Typeface 2

The panel then shared with the audience what they do, how they all connected with each other and their process and challenges in their own work. The story of how they are all connected is quite intriguing. It all began with Pierre noticing Ryan’s work and falling in love with it. At the time, Pierre worked in a toy store and Ryan designed a ball that the toy store carried. One day, someone came in wanting to know how many they have left in stock and Pierre was really excited that others knew about Ryan as well. A few weeks later Pierre received a package in the mail with a note from Ryan thanking him for checking on the stock of the balls and a signed book. Pierre then decided he wanted to personally thank Ryan so he went to his studio and pretended to be delivering a package and met Ryan. Later, Pierre was given the opportunity to work for Ryan. Pierre and Maria Wan knew each other from Parsons. That is also how they know Julia. Maria also worked for Ryan. Jess discovered Ryan’s work through a book she purchased and later gave away to a friend. Jess was a MFA Film student at USC and knew that Maria worked for Ryan and asked Maria to connect them post graduation. Jess and Ryan connected and met in person and it launched into this short film project which we were given the opportunity to see. This really shows that the people to you know and the connections you make matters!

Ryan McGinness Panel Ryan McGinness Panel 2

The panel discussion and the followup Q&A portion of the evening was definitely the highlight for me. Both Ryan and Pierre studied Graphic Design in school and have expanded their work to other mediums. Pierre said that Graphic Design provides the visual training to allow us to do so many other things, which I never really thought of. To be honest, I didn’t and still don’t know what aspect of graphic design I would like to explore in-depth. For now, I just want to focus on obtaining all the skills and soaking as much in as possible. I have learned to realize that life will work itself out and opportunities will present itself at the right time.

Ryan talked a bit more about his process and how particular he is with keeping everything the same format. He has a lot of sketch books that are all the same size. He emphasized that keeping everything in the same format is crucial. His sketch book is his idea book and encouraged everyone to just keep sketching. He puts everything and anything on the pages with ink. He also keeps all of his sketch books and archives them every year. He also loves to-do lists and calendars. He is very particular about the sizing and formatting for that as well. He used to create his own to-do pads and calendars by cutting 8.5″x11″ sheets in half lengthwise and gluing them together in a pad. Later, he found a printer (Ginko Press) that would print these pads for him. You can buy it from Ginko Press or from his online store RM Store.

Another thing that he loves doing is to create books. These books are compilations of his works and allows him to compartmentalize his life. For him, the books literally symbolize the end of a chapter for him. He used to do this annually with all the projects he completed that year. He described this process to be very fluid. He would collect materials, take pictures of process and how things are made. Again, he would follow his format and keep the books at 8.5″x11″.

The process he takes to approach a new design problem is always start with sketching. It is very important to sketch before moving to the computer or other technological mediums. Ryan loves to sketch and again, it is always the same format, India ink on paper, chiseled tip pen in three different sizes. He always starts with thumbnails in his sketch books and then move to 22×30″ paper leaving a 2″ border. He moves in a linear progression as he always ends up with a sketch of a sketch. The sketches then turns into a drawing leading to the final solution. The solution then goes to the technical stage which then translates into a digital image.

All three panelists agree that routine in their work is important to them as it sets down the parameters of what needs to get done and make decisions in a timely manner. There are also systems to allow for creativity and craziness to happen. Flexibility in the projects themselves will give them change and variety.

Time management is key in design. Ryan explains that he isn’t good at prioritizing as everything has the same level of importance to him. As mentioned previously, Ryan is big on to-do lists and will keep them all over the place in the studio. The things that makes it on the list is what is important for him to complete. He mentioned that sometimes he will procrastinate by doing other smaller projects that he knows he can complete faster first. He also used to make time sheets to keep track of where all his time goes. He would log the number of hours he spends on a project and also administrative time to see what is sucking up time. For Jess, learning to walk away from her work and take breaks was pivotal. By doing this, it makes it more manageable and realistic not only for herself, but the client as well. Julia shared that for her, it’s the 30-minute train ride that she finds herself to be the most efficient. As a designer, you will need to find you own method to control this madness. It is also very important to make time for yourself in your creative practice or you won’t have a creative practice.

Sometimes, as designers, we get stuck. Ryan said he doesn’t really get stuck because he has so much to do and not enough hours in a day to complete everything. Don’t we all wish we could be like him and not ever have to worry about getting stuck? Pierre said that when that happens to him, he will walk away from it. If there is time, he would sleep on it. For Jess, to get unstuck she would get on a plane and travel to stimulate her mind. Letting go for a bit and enjoy a nice meal or catch up with a friend also helps.

My key takeaways from the session:

  1. Sketch, sketch and sketch! Just keep sketching and don’t treat my sketchbook as a precious thing, put any and all ideas that come to mind into the sketch book. It can be chicken scratch. Sketchbooks do not need to be perfect!
  2. Track my work hours to determine where I’m spending most of my time and adjust my process. This will help me figure out where all my time went when a deadline is approaching and I’m not close to where I want to be.
  3. Get unstuck by leaving the work for a bit, sleep on it, go out and explore more, try new things and travel.

It is nice to know that I am doing something right already. I went out and had some fun this week…

Trapeze

A Career Grows in Brooklyn | Ingrid Carozzi | AAS GD 2007 |

ingrid_spreads_3We are proudly announcing the launch of Ingrid Carozzi’s new book “Brooklyn Flowers”. It was released on May 5th and was produced by one of largest publishers in Sweden, Massolit Förlag. It is a beautiful and highly informative instructional book containing simple flower arrangements made with methods used at Tin Can Studios. There are also lots of images from the Tin Can Studios as well as street scenes from the Brooklyn neighborhoods around the Studio such as Red Hook and Williamsburg. The gorgeous photographs were all shot by the critically acclaimed photographer Paul Brissman who used a Hasselblad, the professional photographers’ favorite tool. Eva Nyqvist was the co-author, who writes for a wide variety of publications such as Elle Decor and Gourmet. Sadly for us New Yorkers it is only available in Sweden for now but is being currently translated into German. There is already talk about books two and three…

Conversation with Ingrid Carozzi

Ingrid Carozzi has been gaining momentum since she graduated from Parsons and shows no signs of slowing down. Her successful flower design studio based in Brooklyn, with a second location coming on line in her native Stockholm, has orders through next year. She is currently booked through 2016 with TV appearances, an executive women’s conference, and an event for the largest auction house in Sweden. Some of the country’s highest profile companies are among her clients.

Ingrid Carozzi in front of her studio in Red Hook in Brooklyn
Ingrid Carozzi in front of her studio in Red Hook in Brooklyn

Ingrid credits Parsons for a great deal of her success. “Without Parsons, I would be nowhere,” she says. “I learned how to communicate well and how to critique work without offending others. This helps me with business because talented freelancers are very happy to work for me.” Her Parsons training also fortified her color strength, an essential talent in working with flowers. “I understand the properties of color — hue, value and intensity — after taking a great color theory course with Kelli Glancey.”

Color Theory Applied
Color Theory Applied

She also was able to improve her sales and marketing efforts as a result of becoming a solid photographer at Parsons in my Process and Skills class. “You can create the most beautiful floral arrangement in the world, but if you cannot capture it, it won’t matter how good you are.” 

 “You need to know how to brand yourself,” explains Ingrid. “My experience in graphic design was essential for my success. I am able to design, build and update my website as my business blossoms. As a former PR person I know how to market myself, too.  These are all things that Parsons helped me to understand. It really is one of the best design schools in the world”.

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After graduating from Parsons, Ingrid was presented with a slew of freelancing opportunities. It was a request from a former colleague from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce (SACC) that led to her watershed moment. “SACC asked me to come up with some ideas for floral arrangements for the Royal Green Award Gala Dinner at the Mandarin Hotel which was attended by the King and Queen of Sweden.” At the time, she had been designing business cards and branding for a salvage wood company called Recycled Brooklyn. Since she had access to a plethora of farm crates she had the idea to use them as the vessels for her flowers. When Ingrid brought in her arrangements, fate intervened: the executive chef had, unbeknownst to Ingrid, created a menu that matched her arrangement, even using some of the same ingredients such as crown dill and rosemary.

“I was hesitant, because at the time I wasn’t a florist. I was a designer, but I never say no to a challenge. After that I realized this was something I really love 100%,” says Ingrid. “Once I got started, I knew this was something I should have been doing all along. I launched Tin Can Studios a year later.”

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Press

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Ingrid Carozzi, who sources her dahlias and anemones from tristate farms, leans wild and loose, using “blender” flowers like ranunculus to unify her high-contrast bouquets. To contain them, she forages vintage measuring cups, test tubes, and wine bottles—often from Dead Horse Bay. While Carozzi focuses primarily on weddings and corporate events (Cointreau and the Pierre Hotel are clients), she’s more than happy to accent your desk or dinner table. All South Brooklyn orders are delivered by bicycle.

vogue_press

 

Upcycling is the M.O. of Tin Can Studio’s Ingrid Carozzi, based in Red Hook, who recently published Brooklyn Flowers in her native Sweden. Some of her most collaborative wedding projects have been with clients who have provided vessels from their personal collections for her to work with. “There’s more character, and history [that way],” says the florist who regularly transforms everyday objects like wine bottle or tin cans into vases, and who’s been known to handcraft wooden crates from repurposed wood and dig up old bottles from landfills. These choices are responsible as well as aesthetic. “I love the contrast of the patina of something old with new, fresh flowers that are so alive,” says Carozzi whose services include arriving at the end of a wedding to disassemble arrangements and “turn them into mini bouquets to be passed out when guests leave. It is so lovely when people can bring a little piece of the wedding with them.” Here, from Tin Can Studios, wedding flower inspiration for brides-to-be with a feeling for history.

TV

Ingrid TV_1

TV4 Sweden

Interview and edit: Katarzyna Gruda
Guest Editor: Certainly Studio
Photography: Paul Brissman, Ingrid Carozzi & Katarzyna Gruda

A better world by design

 

Jim Wagner | AAS GD ’04 | Certainly Studio

For Certainly Studio, it’s good business to work with businesses that do good works. The studio provides a wide range of design to many clients, but the heart
of the operation is in collaborating with organizations and corporations who are making the world better.

There are many people who follow a game plan for their careers — they know what they want and they go after it. Jim Wagner was not one of those people… immediately. He came late to design after working in television for 20 years. And it wasn’t until he graduated from Parsons in 2004 that he began to actually think about how he was going to earn a living in New York from the passion that came with his newly acquired skills.

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“I really hadn’t even considered what I was going to do after graduation. I went on a few interviews and met with recruiters and decided that I just wasn’t going to be a good pool designer in a big studio,” confessed Wagner.

So he doubled-down and started his own company, Certainly Studio. He came to that decision while in Asia in 2004, and upon his return, met with a mentor, the ABC News anchor Charles Gibson, who asked him some pivotal questions. He wanted to know how Wagner’s design studio would be different from the thousands of others out there, and how he planned to build on his reputation as a responsible and creative manager.

“They were good questions. And frankly, they provided the framework for my business plan. Since my first degree was in journalism, I really cared about the message. And with my second degree in design, I felt like I was able to meet my clients’ needs wearing two hats — a powerful combination.”

His company’s philosophy is that content is made stronger with good design; and design is made stronger with good content. Taking a step at a time and going in the right direction is more his style.

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“If you’re headed somewhere that you want to go, or like how today feels, then tomorrow is probably going to be just fine.”

It sounds passive, but for Wagner, being rigid when it comes to design is not a good process. One must to be open to opportunities and take advantage of circumstances as they present themselves. So what direction did Wagner’s studio path take? Working for clients who have agendas that mirror his own set of beliefs and causes. For firms that like to collaborate and do important work. And with people who are respectful and at the top of their industries.

“When you start out, you take every job because you have no choice. But, as you grow and develop, you are able to be more selective about who you work for and what you care about.”

These decisions have resulted in Certainly having a core of extremely smart clients who are passionate about their work. These companies and organizations are truly changing the world.

For instance, Certainly works with the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science. They really ARE changing the world. The Weizmann Institute campus is in Rehovot, Israel. They employ around 3,800 scientists, graduate students, highly skilled research technicians, and the staff which supports them. They come to work every day with the goal of solving the most challenging problems facing humankind: global warming, world hunger and malnutrition, cancer and other diseases, safety and security, to name just a few. For more than 60 years, the Weizmann Institute’s curiosity-driven scientists have made thousands of landmark breakthroughs, and they continue to strive to make thousands more. Supporting this kind of work has really been not only gratifying for Wagner and Certainly Studio, but it also provides collaboration with extremely gifted people doing important work.

Weizmann Institute Annual Report

Certainly has also forged a very meaningful and long-term partnership with the SLE Lupus Foundation / Lupus Research Institute. These organizations are on the cutting edge of Lupus medical research and are known for their innovative approach to research and patient services.

“When you walk into their offices, you feel their passion; you sense their commitment. Every member of the staff is
laser-beam-focused on curing Lupus. So to help these passionate people position and package their important messages with great design is truly an honor.”

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Certainly’s client list includes many other non-profit organizations who do amazing work including the Women’s Forum of New York and the YMCA of Greater New York. Certainly also works with many prominent businesses that are doing mind-blowing things in the private sector.

One stand-out relationship is with the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI). Certainly has worked with the New York-based company for more than four years.

“You just can’t imagine the brain power in their offices. It was intimidating at first, since the principals of the company are truly geniuses.” Their mission is to forecast turning points in economic growth and inflation for their clients. Needless to say, I had to do a LOT of homework before our first meeting,” explained Wagner.

 ecri Logo

“Certainly has provided brand and design support to ECRI over the years and attempted to make their brand as strong as their intellectual product. Which is a very tall order. But I’m proud to say, that their phenomenal success and branding have been in lock-step and provides Certainly some of our most rewarding design pleasure,” admits Wagner.

Wagner and his team have won many awards. Yet he says the pleasure that comes from working with smart people on meaningful projects is a much bigger source of pride for Certainly Studio.

AWARDS_CERTAINLY_Logo

 
 

American Graphic Design Awards (12)
Broadcast Designers Association (1)
Promax International Awards (5)
Daytime Emmy® Award (1)

Interview and photography: Katarzyna Gruda

Spotlight | Jennifer De Klaver | Featured on NBC Today Show | AAS Graphic Design Alumna

After graduating from the University of Washington with a degree in Business Administration, Jennifer began working in corporate events. However, it was during her time as a flight attendant for Alaska Airlines, that her interest in design became re-invigorated. She started working on some of her own design projects and realized she wanted to formalize her education. After some research, she found and was accepted to the Parsons AAS program and headed to New York. “I was riding by in a taxi”, she said, “and as we passed Parsons I said to myself, I’m going to go there”. And sure enough she did!

Shortly after graduating from Parsons in 2005, Jen started her own design company in New York and quickly gained a following of clients such as Colette Malouf and the Chelsea Art Museum. With her increased notoriety, she was contacted by Target, who offered her a job as senior art director at their headquarters in Minneapolis. It was there that Jennifer found her stride. Working at Target gave Jennifer the opportunity to have a hand in many aspects of design, including creating catalogs, directing of photo shoots, collaborating with designers and leading castings in New York and Los Angeles. She also headed up some of the larger campaigns such as Club Wed, and was a part of the “Big Idea” committee.

Target catalogs
Target catalogs
Target Valentine's Day
Target Valentine’s Day

With all the expansive knowledge she gained while working at Target, and after a brief tenure as VP of operations at an online invitation company in Los Angeles, she became Creative Director for the Canadian clothing company Joe Fresh. It was her team that was tasked with launching the brand in the US, and she oversaw the re-branding of the website, gave extensive photo direction, and made Joe Fresh a staple in the US, all in less than six months!

Joe Fresh web
Joe Fresh web
Joe Fresh home
Joe Fresh home

In her next position as VP of Creative at West Elm, Jennifer led a team to develop monthly catalogs, digital design, packaging and signage.

West Elm Catalog

Most recently Jennifer’s entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and she launched together with business partner Jen Worthington, bella j.  , a lifestyle beauty / gift brand of over 25 beautifully packaged products that are sold online, at Nordstrom and various boutiques. The brand is playful and colorful and comes to life with Sujean Rim‘s illustrations (another Parsons alumni). Inside each product is a hidden charm with some of the candles even containing a $10,000 diamond necklace – its the Cracker Jack / Willy Wonka of beauty gifts! They even sell notebooks in some beautiful patterns which are great for sketching! Parsons students take note!

bella-j. advertising campaign
bella-j. advertising campaign
bella j. advertising campaigne
bella j. advertising campaign
bella-j. packaging
bella-j. packaging

Here are bella-j. candles on the Today Show as Jill Martin’s featured choices for Mother’s Day perfect gifts!

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For those people who are interested in taking a left turn in their career, Jennifer is a shining example of what can be done with a little bit of bravery and a lot of creativity. “I learned so much at Parsons AAS Graphic Design and was inspired by some so many of the professors”, she said. When asked if she had any regrets, she simply stated “No regrets!” !

Q: I wish I’d known before I started… 
A: That you didn’t need to know anything about graphic design before you start! The Parsons AAS GD program is so comprehensive.

Q: What is your favorite typeface?
A: It’s a really hard decision, but right now I’ve been loving the clean lines of Brandon Grotesque Light. 

Q: What advice do you have for students who are just starting out? 
A: Do as many internships as you can. You’ll learn so much in the classroom but it’s just as important to know how to apply your skills in real life.

Interview by Kiel Guba, AAS GD
Photography and edit: Katarzyna Gruda

How to spot America’s most loved beer? Look for Betsy the purple cow

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After two weeks and thousands of votes, Newburgh Brewing Co.’s Cream Ale beer label was crowned the 2015 winner of CNBC‘s Most Loved Label competition.

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Since we never tried the beer – our belief is that the man behind the design is responsible for the win. After all it was competition for the most loved label and not the best beer. The label was designed by Philadelphia-based design firm Modern Good run by Matthew Bouloutian, a former adjunct faculty at AAS Graphic Design.
It features Betsy the cow which was created for a poster for the Cream Ale a few years before.

Modern Good_NBC_4BeerPosters
Four Beer Posters for Newburgh Brewing Company
Here is what Matthew Bouloutian told us about process of the design:

 

Our can design first began in 2012 when we created Betsy the Cow (with her two little side kicks) as the main subject for a promotional poster for Newburgh Brewing Company’s first beer, their cream ale. This poster along with 5 others, one for
each of their beers, was produced with the intention that when Newburgh Brewing decided to package their beer they would already have an iconic solution to represent each one. Each poster revolved around a unique illustration for the beer based on its name or character. Two years passed before the can design project became a reality. When it came time to start distributing the beer in cans,
I used our icon of Betsy, the established typography and colors from the poster to design a label, which basically looked like the poster with some adjustments. Chris Basso, the head brewmaster at Newburgh Brewing ultimately felt it wasn’t exciting enough and pushed for something more. I was surprised but Chris felt strongly about making something adventurous. He mentioned that other breweries had done some trailblazing in packaging their beer. At this point I had to do something very different. Our cow icon was already in use and wasn’t going to change so the design had to. 
After exploring design ideas we arrived at this patchwork, wraparound design which was engaging to pick up and explore. It allowed us to feature our beer icons as well as the town of Newburgh and other bits of information about the beer and spirit of the brewery. It also didn’t look like any other label we’d seen. There was lots to look at, read and discover. It has a pop/craft impression that is lighthearted but conveys a respect for heritage. The shelf presence is strong and I’ve heard that it’s been very successful in terms of sales… but who knows if that’s our can design or the beer! I’d like to think it’s both. Cheers.

Newburgh Brewing Website
Newburgh Brewing Website

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 3.25.41 PM

Paul Halayko, Newburgh Brewing Company, discusses the inspiration behind his cream ale beer, and the craft brewing craze.

Editor: Katarzyna Gruda

Spotlight | Jason Booher | Book Cover Designer | AAS Graphic Design Faculty & Alumnus

Parsons AAS Graphic Design Alumnus (’05) and Faculty Jason Booher talked with current student Kiel Guba about how he came to Parsons, how he got his first
job, and his experience as a book cover designer and teacher

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After obtaining a degree in English Literature
at Princeton University, Jason pursued his childhood dream of becoming a high school English teacher. His career started by teaching
at Eton College in England (he had to wear
a tuxedo to class!) and then Trenton High School (NJ). While he enjoyed teaching, he felt that something was missing from his life. He
quit and bounced around for a few years living in England and Australia where a friend hired him as a personal chef. Despite Bondi Beach beckoning him each day, Jason continued to paint and draw (something he has desperately tried to fit into his schedule as an undergrad) and attempted to make a graphic novel.

When he returned to the US, he took a continuing education course at Parsons on a whim, and through it found out that graphic design existed everywhere and about the Parsons AAS GD program, which he chose as his path into the design world.
“I never really knew about graphic design, let alone considered it as a career,” he says, “but when I started attending classes, I knew immediately it was what I should have been doing all along. Parsons’ AAS Graphic Design was perfect and intense; it really felt more like an MFA program”.

After graduating, Jason started designing book interiors part-time at Dubé Juggling. This freed him up to shop his portfolio to designers he would want to work for, specifically looking for book cover design work. “By the end of school, I figured out graphic design is about selling something”, Jason says “and I knew I would only be able to design well if I was selling something I believed in—I believe in books”.

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02.-Gone-away_angelmakerUltimately he landed a job in the art department at Penguin, and soon after found himself in his dream job designing book covers at Alfred A. Knopf. His wife, Helen Yentus, is also a designer and they collaborate often on projects, although he admits with their current jobs they have less times to work together. Jason is currently the Art Director at Blue Rider Press as well as a part-time History of Graphic Design professor at Parsons.

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Jason’s work is evocative without being heavy-handed – his covers have just enough information to draw the reader in without revealing too much. They are beautifully and thoughtfully designed and speak both to his great understanding of literature as well as his talent for design.

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Q: How do you come up with a cover design for a book?
A: It’s different every time. Reading the book is important. Sometimes I sketch starting with the title and author. Sometimes I am making thumbnails from the very beginning. Sometimes I have a clear idea immediately of what I want to do and start there. Sometimes I read the book and then wait for months until I start really coming up with something. Most of the time I have some idea that I then work through and throw away and move on from there. But I love the process. I get to fall in love with each book and work to find something visually interesting that connects to it’s soul.

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Q: What is your favorite typeface?
A: I don’t have one. Type is contextual. But maybe Futura.
Q: What is some of the best advice you received from a Parsons professor?
A: Something I learned very early in my first graphic design class with Julia Gorton has always stayed with me. In the critique of our first projects she burned into us that your design should not be like everyone else’s; it should be unique within its context. That’s something I try to keep in mind each time I start a new project.
Q: Who is your favorite graphic designer?
A: That’s an easy one—Helen Yentus.

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Q: You have been teaching design in the AAS program now almost as long as you have been designing, has that affected how you design?
A: There has been no experience or thing that has effected my design or how I think about design as deeply as teaching the History of Graphic Design. Beyond the exposure to great historical designs and soaking in the relationships that I find within them, I was forced to develop a language of design that moved beyond critiquing contemporary designs (either my students’ work or my work in progress). I had to find a way to speak about or discuss design outside the glossy historical narrative with students, a way to move into designs that weren’t their own. Most examples of this kind of dialogue I have found in books have not been helpful to me, because the language used doesn’t relate to how I think about design. However, Paul Rand’s words from his Conversation with Students have. “Design is relationships.” That’s were I start, and it opens up designs in almost any direction I want to push myself and the students.

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Through teaching, as much as designing, I quickly came to believe innovation in formal execution to be as important (or perhaps more important) as conceptual expression in most design. Certainly in book packaging. Looking at formal relationships in historical designs as a way to find a unique visual moments in contemporary designs is what my class is about. And it is what I passively and sometimes actively do in my own work. At the very least, I certainly benefit from an accumulation of discussions of various effective relationships. And because I have had to verbally express why I think things work, I can look at something I am designing and not rely on intuitive instinct as to why any given relationship is or isn’t working. Surely I use intuition when I design. But for some reason being able to talk about the decisions I am making intelligently (as in it is intelligible) with another human designer has given me a way to push things further.

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Editing and photography: Katarzyna Gruda