Every great designer has been inspired by another. So if you’re keen on a creative career in graphic design, you'll need to know who the leaders are.
Although Fred Woodward, Alan Fletcher, Bob Gill and Paula Scher might be the obvious ones to follow or research, at Shillington, we think it's also good to draw inspiration from the latest talent.
Whether you’re moved by the Mavericks that challenge the norm or designers with their distinctive flair, here’s an expert’s view, a ‘who’s who’ that every novice graphic designer should know.
1. Kati Forner
Kati Forner is a Los Angeles based designer with over 12 years’ experience in print, digital design and production. She began her professional career in Chicago, working with several innovative agencies. Five years ago, she launched her creative studio in LA where they’ve since developed comprehensive identities for beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. Her style is minimalist and elegant, and we especially love her recent editorial design for Victoria Will.
2. Marta Veludo
Currently working in Amsterdam, Marta Veludo is inspired by pop culture, folk art, pound shops and Tumblr, fascinated by inventions, colour, movement and compositions. Whether in the digital realm or on a three-dimensional scale, she combines different disciplines and mediums to build engaging experiences. Clients include Adidas, Reebok, LEGO and Vice. A recent highlight project was her redesign for the "all the time" Staples primary school black book, commissioned by Staples and Departamento.com.
3. Kate Moross
Kate Moross is an art director, illustrator and graphic designer. Their work spans art direction, moving imagery, typography and illustration. In 2012, Kate founded Studio Moross, a London-based multidisciplinary design company as an expansion upon their work and a way to collaborate with other creatives. We love their recent live mural at Uniqlo's flagship store on London's Oxford Street.
4. Alex Trochut
Born in Barcelona, Alex Trochut established his design studio in his home city before relocating to New York. Through his design, illustration and typographic practice, he has developed an expressive visual style that has attracted the attention of clients such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Apple. He recently lectured at Shillington in New York too. Expect to see a lot more of Alex on the scene.
5. Gabby Lord
Gabby Lord is an Australian designer and art director, living in Berlin. Passionate about design for both print and screen, she works on a diverse range of projects for brands such as Jetstar, Qantas and Red Bull Music Academy. Aside from her work, she also spends a lot of time writing a weekly newsletter called OMGLORD – one we'd highly recommend subscribing to.
6. Leta Sobierajski
Leta Sobierajski is an independent designer and art director based in New York City combining traditional graphic design elements with photography, art, and styling to create utterly unique visuals. Her work is incredibly diverse, ranging from conventional identities to brilliantly bizarre compositions. As of October 2016, Leta began a design studio with her husband and collaborator, Wade Jeffree, in which they focus their great eye on projects ranging from branding, art direction, installation, to video. Her Instagram feed alone is worth a follow.
7. Ben J. Crick
Originally from Australia, Ben J. Crick is now based in New York City, working on everything from small passion projects to branding and identity systems for brands as big as Spotify and Coca-Cola. Design Week named his work with Collins for Spotify as some of the most globally defining to date.
8. Annie Atkins
Annie Atkins specialises in graphics for filmmaking, which means that she makes any graphic pieces outlined by a period film script. Like postage stamps and banknotes to help create Wes Anderson’s fictional State of Zubrowka or shopfront signs and fake passports for Steven Spielberg’s New York.
9. Will Bryant
Based in Austin, Texas, Will Bryant's work is full of humour, fun and positivity. With clients ranging from Nickelodeon, Dropbox and Google, his illustrations and installations are bursting with colour. We loved his limited edition artist series for Shacksbury Cider.
10. Frank Chimero
Frank Chimero is a designer, illustrator, and author working as a visual partner across branding, publication, and digital projects. Aside from recognition from Print Magazine and The New Yorker, in 2012, he wrote and published The Shape of Design, a little, philosophical handbook about making things for other people. The book in classrooms around the world, but its message has found a home in all kinds of creative disciplines, from chefs to woodworkers.
11. Ben Grandgenett
Ben Grandgenett is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer and art director, born and raised in Nebraska. He graduated from The School of Visual Arts in 2013 and is currently the Deputy Art Director at The New York Times Magazine.
12. Morag Myerscough
Morag Myerscough is the award-winning brains behind Studio Myerscough, which she founded in 1993, and one of the UK's most prolific designers. Combining traditional graphic design and typography with craft, her work is always bold and eclectic, often eccentric. She has designed many exhibits for London's Design Museum, including its only permanent one.
13. Chip Kidd
Chip Kidd is an award-winning graphic designer and writer based in New York. His groundbreaking book jacket designs for Alfred A. Knopf are most notable. And he's worked with hundreds of other writers, including John Updike, Katharine Hepburn, Cormac McCarthy, Henry Louis Gates Jr., James Ellroy, Karen Russell, Michael Crichton, David Sedaris, Sharon Olds, Orhan Pamuk, Paul Simon, Neil Gaiman, and Haruki Murakami.
His first novel, The Cheese Monkeys, was a national bestseller. His most recent book, Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design is the first book to teach graphic design to children and has over 60,000 copies in print.
14. Llew Mejia
Llew Mejia is an illustrator skilled in hand-drawn illustration, pattern and print, packaging, branding, and computer-generated illustration. In his younger years, his family travelled back and forth between Mexico and the Southwestern United States. As a result, he is bilingual and has a unique perspective on American as well as Mexican culture. Clients include Apple, Google, Starbucks and Nike.
15. Jessica Walsh
Jessica Walsh is a designer and art director working as a partner at NYC based design firm Sagmeister & Walsh. She lectures about design at creative conferences and universities internationally. She teaches design and typography at The School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her work has won numerous awards, and her impressive client list features Jay-Z, Museum of Modern Art and The New York Times. We love her visual identity for Milly, the fashion brand founded by designer Michelle Smith.
16. Elana Schlenker
Elana Schlenker collaborates with brands of all sizes, specialising in visual identities, interactive work and printed matter. Select clients include The New Yorker, Princeton Architectural Press and Condé Nast. Aside from her commissioned projects, Elana publishes Gratuitous Type, an occasional magazine of graphic design featuring interviews and projects from leading creatives, and she runs Less Than 100, a travelling pop up shop dedicated to achieving gender wage parity.
17. Lauren Hom
Hom Sweet Hom is the studio of Lauren Hom, a designer and letterer based in Detroit. Known for her bright colour palettes and playful letterforms, Lauren has created work for clients like Starbucks, Google and YouTube. And her work has been recognised by Communication Arts, the Type Directors Club, and the Webby Awards. Lauren is also the author of the popular blog and book Daily Dishonesty.
18. Jessica Hische
Jessica Hische is a lettering artist and author with a "tendency to overshare and a penchant for procrastiworking." Currently based in San Francisco where she shares a studio with fellow lettering artist Erik Marinovich, she has just launched a new book entitled Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave in partnership with Penguin Workshop. We love her new identity for Oddfellows, a design and animation studio based in San Francisco and Portland.
19. Timothy Goodman
Timothy Goodman is a designer, illustrator and author. His art and words have populated walls, buildings, packaging, cars, people, shoes, clothing, book jackets, magazine covers and galleries all over the world. Clients include Google, Samsung, Uniqlo and Netflix, to name just a few. And he has also recently launched his global collection of clothing with Uniqlo.
20. Mike Kus
Mike Kus is a UK based designer, specialising in branding, graphic design, illustration and photography. He has a worldwide client roster, and his work is often featured in design-related publications. Mike is also a regular speaker at design and tech conferences. We loved his project for Getty Images, where he designed a set of three posters exploring the design possibilities of combining imagery with graphic design and typography.