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Q&A with Jessica Walsh

Multi-disciplinary designer from NY | Studio Sagmeister & Walsh

I am a multi-disciplinary designer who lives and works in New York. I am a partner at the studio Sagmeister & Walsh. Our studio works on a wide range of design from branding, commercials, advertising, book design, illustrations, products, packaging, to installations and exhibitions. I am interested in creating emotion and concept driven work with beautiful form. I always try to approach the process in a playful way with a sense of humor. I want people who view my work to experience or feel something: whether it makes them think, brings them joy, or inspires.  

© Jessica Walsh, SAGMEISTER & WALSH

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designer Jessica Walsh


The best tool is my mind.  I value concept as highly as beautiful form, and I always start with the idea first. The heart of much of what I do is discovery through experimentation. Often the best ideas come out of spontaneous play. I think play is essentially a mindset, where I allow myself the space and time to experiment and take risks without being afraid of failure.

Once I have an idea, that’s when I determine what method is best to bring that vision to life. I use all sorts of tools to create my work. For creative software I use indesign, illustrator, photoshop. Sometimes it’s paint, or good old fashion pen and paper. Sometimes I create more elaborate 3d structures by hand, and use photography to bring the final image back on the computer. I like to vary my mediums, to keep things exciting and fresh. 

Ideal work environment

Messy desk filled with books and papers, a coffee cup near by, surrounded by people I trust and admire. 


Ideas and inspiration comes from everything i've ever seen or done or dreamed in my twenty seven years on Earth. Creativity is all about making unexpected connections, often times mixing existing ideas in new ways. The more experiences and knowledge I have in your conscious (or subconscious), the more interesting connections I can make. I frequent museums and shows and look at all kinds of creative work: painting, sculpture, fashion, furniture design to photography. I go to shows, listen to music, and have conversations with friends. I read books about psychology and science, and blogs about popular.  These things all influence me. I try to not look within my own field for inspiration, or to take inspiration to heavily from one area, as that's when I run into danger of repeating things that have already been done. 

Admire most

In terms of graphic design, I respect the work of Paula Scher, Eike Koenig / HORT, Designers Republic, Tibor Kalman, Stefan Sagmeister, Chip Kidd, George Lois, and Herb Lubalin, among many others. However I don't look within the field of graphic design for inspiration. I am inspired by sculpture, furniture, fashion, psychology, music and sciences. I think it is important to gather a wide variety of inspiration from life outside of your specific medium to develop your own unique taste and perspective to bring in to your work. I've found this strategy helps avoid being overly influenced by one person or piece of work or trend.  I am inspired by all sorts of creative fields from fashion to furniture to fine arts.  A few off the top of my head in no particular order: Steve Jobs, Charles and Ray Eames, Carl Jung, Wes Anderson, Salvador Dali, Giordiano Bruno, Michelle Gondry, Albert Einstein, Steven Hawking, my mom.