HI THERE. I’D RATHER SKETCH, DRAW, PAINT—OR SCRUB A LASAGNA PAN—THAN TALK ABOUT MYSELF. SO HERE’S AN EXCERPT FROM A RECENT Q&A WITH AN EDITOR ON THE SUBJECT OF CREATIVITY.
WHAT I DO
I help creative people, small businesses, and non-profits communicate their talents and reveal their purpose through branding, marketing, web sites, packaging, and other forms of graphic design.
EARLY DESIGN INFLUENCES
That’s easy. It all started in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which doesn’t sound like a creative place, but all those endless acres of land and sky definitely helped inform my love of negative space. My mother is a retired attorney and artist—hence my love of color—and my father is a retired physician—ditto my appreciation for precision in all things. My passion for architecture and interior design was shaped by our century-old four-square house, and the fact that my mom was president of the Grand Forks Historic Society.
I went to the University of Notre Dame to study engineering, but in my sophomore year, right around the time I discovered a thrift shop with amazing mid-century furniture, I became fully obsessed with all things design. I switched my major, spent the next few semesters cramming design credits, and graduated with a BFA in graphic design and several pieces of iconic furniture, including a black and white Thonet desk that still delights me every day.
FAVORITE PART OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
That fuzzy point where I take the pile of research and legwork I’ve done on the client and the market, and start looking at it creatively. New connections form, sparks begin to fly, and things just continue to gain momentum when I start designing.
CREATIVE ICONS I ADMIRE
I always seem to be drawn to the eccentric types like Louise Nevelson—those sculptures! The texture! The detail! The mascara! I also have the utmost respect for Ray and Charles Eames. I love that their creativity wasn’t limited to one medium and that they lived in their own world and let their creativity wander.
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: ZOE MARIN; RAY & CHARLES EAMES; DETAIL FROM NEW CONTINENT BY LOUISE NEVELSON, ST. LOUIS ART MUSEUM; UNTITLED, BY SELMA MICHAELS; NOTE CARDS FROM THE GRAPHIC SERIES BY ZOE MARIN
DESIGNING BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
AND OTHER PEOPLE WHO APPRECIATE
THE PRINTED PAGE.
IF I WEREN’T A DESIGNER…
I’d be a research scientist, an advocate for children, a painter, and a builder of chairs and pretty boxes.
I would almost sell my soul to live in an Eichler Mid-Century mod, especially the design with a central outdoor courtyard.