Shaping The Future Of Design
Career Development We sat down with Jessica Walsh, a designer and art director working as a partner at a New York City design firm, to talk about typography, freelancing, coding and the ever-evolving design industry.
Jessica Walsh lectures about design at creative conferences and universities across the nation. She also teaches design and typography at The School of Visual Arts in NYC.
Mediaplanet: When did you know you wanted to be a creative professional when you were older?
Jessica Walsh: When I was 11, I started coding and designing for websites. I started doing freelance web work for individuals and small businesses for a few years. Then I had the idea to create an HTML help site that offered free graphic templates for other kids. Google advertising had just started during that time, and I put one of the ads on the site and was shocked that I could make money doing something that I truly loved and considered to be a hobby. I've aimed to do that ever since.
"One of the most important things for me is to keep challenging myself and learning and growing as a designer and human."
MP: How did you become partner at Sagmeister & Walsh?
JW: I had been working with Stefan at his studio for two years and we worked together very well. In 2012, we started to have conversations about how we could continue to collaborate in a way that was mutually beneficial for the both of us. I was already in charge of most of the client work at the studio, and had been thinking of starting my own studio so that I could receive recognition for the work I was doing. Stefan was interested in spending more time on the studio’s self-initiated projects like "The Happy Film.” We worked out a partnership that allows us to do both things and helps each other out in the process.
MP: What has been the most fulfilling part about doing something that you love?
JW: My grandfather always said, "When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life." The most fulfilling thing is waking up every day and wanting to do what I do. I find joy and fulfillment in it and continue to find new types of work that interest me. One of the most important things for me is to keep challenging myself and learning and growing as a designer and human.
MP: What advice do you have for young, creative professionals entering the workforce?
JW: I suggest trying not to worry so much about earning a huge paycheck right away. When you’re young you should find studios or designers you really admire and try to work and learn from them. Try to find your creative voice and show your personality in whatever kind of work you are doing. Work hard and do the type of work you love doing. Stay passionate and persistent. Good things usually follow.