1. How long have you been at HZ?
Technically, it will be 8 years total in August. I’m an HZ boomerang—I left for about a year, but now I’m happy to be back!
2. Is there a design trend you really love (or hate)?
I love “modern” retro style—as opposed to vintage or “old” retro—and taking stylistic influences from recent decades like the 1980s and ’90s. Think early PCs, MTV, and video games. I especially love the ’80s (a complete stranger recently told me my style reminded him of Madonna in the ’80s, and it was basically the biggest compliment of my life). Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed a resurgence in several design motifs that dominated the decade—bright, bold colors, neons and pastels, gradients, and geometric shapes and patterns. Big brands like Spotify, Premier League, and Instagram have all successfully jumped on these trends, and they’ve set the stage for even more brands to imitate their style.
Otherwise, I also love hand-lettering, mono-weight line illustration, and botanical motifs, even though these are all now way overdone. #basic
3. What other designers inspire you?
I have long been inspired by Paul Rand and Saul Bass.Their work can appear very simple and minimal, yet the thinking is often complex and deeply rooted in purpose and function. They both found unique and interesting ways to use shapes, symbols, color, and negative space to create meaning and tell a story visually. Other longtime inspirations include pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.
Lately, I find myself looking to Instagram for inspiration. I follow dozens of fellow designers, illustrators, photographers, hand-letterers, stylists, even tattoo artists. I scroll through my feed several times a day—it’s a bottomless well of inspiration! Some current favorites: Friends of Type, Anna Bond, Emily Blincoe, Vega Hernando, Liam Ashurst.
4. What would your absolute dream client be?
Anything music related. I’ve always dreamt of doing work for a record label. But if I were to keep it more local, I’d love to work with music venues like I.M.P. (9:30 Club, Merriweather Post Pavilion) designing posters and promotional materials.
5. Tell us a bit about your design—what influenced some of your decisions?
I’m passionate about branding, and so I decided to consider my dream client and rebrand DC’s beloved music venue, the 9:30 Club, with one very important caveat—the logo had to stay the same. The 9:30 Club logo has remained largely unchanged since the club’s opening in 1980, and changing it would be (in my opinion) a total sacrilege. Also, this tends to be a restriction that our clients request of us during rebrands, and it’s always a good challenge to work around.
As part of the rebrand, I’ve redesigned the 9:30 Club website, as well as a corresponding flyer system and social posts. Outside of their trademark logo, the club’s current messaging is a little inconsistent. I’ve created a system that introduces bright and vibrant colors, but allows room for flexibility across applications. The introduction of duotone photography creates a consistent look and feel across the board, something I’ve borrowed from Spotify’s recently refreshed look. This style also allows for more economical printing solutions. My overall goal was to capture and express the vibrant personality of this D.C. gem.