Sunday, March 30, 2008

the "low"down

There are few blogs I read frequently. As you can see, I rarely update my own (that is going to change I promise). The blogosphere is littered with so many design-centric blogs that I get dizzy just trying to keep up with them. One exception I make is for designer Abby Clawson Low's brilliant Hi + Low, where she relays her creative musings to loyal readers. Here's the best part: Abby is a successful design director who's designed for Kate Spade & Jack Spade, West Elm, and Chronicle Books. Recently, I was lucky enough to get to know Abby a little better through a casual email-interview. For all you future designers out there, here is definitely someone whose career is worth emulating.


1. Aside from hosting one of the best design blogs on the net, what do you do on your downtime when you're not designing?
Once a week, I teach a senior portfolio design class at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan. And about twice a week I spend time with a Latino youth group (teenage girls) in Midwood, Brooklyn doing various activities -- all of which is a lot of fun. And other than that I hang with the husband (he's great).

2. When and what was your first interaction with design?

I would say in my childhood. I was surrounded by all kinds of interesting and thoughtful design at home. My mother is an artist/designer/teacher and my father, though a doctor, has always had an eye for graphically compelling objects (he even has incredibly beautiful handwriting). His record collection alone (several hundred albums) was inspiration enough for me -- with the many incredible album cover designs and amazing music. My mother's taste in fashion and design has always been inspiring, as well. I remember several incredibly graphic and unique wallpapers from our first home that I am still trying to get her to remember the make! And throughout my childhood, I observed my mother reupholster, sew, paint, and refurbish almost every piece of furniture in our home. There was always a project.

3. And now, which current designers/artists (other than yourself) are "on your jock", doing incomparable work?
There are several -- many I have worked with in the 9 or so years I've been in New York City. JP & Allison Williams, Yael Eisele, Ludovic Drouineaud, Alan Dye, Paulina Reyes, , Cheree Berry, Gillian Schwartz, Katie Hatch, Mordechai Rubinstein, and Anisa Suthayalai. There are, of course, others.

4. I know you've done work for Kate Spade & Jack Spade, what do you like and dislike about fashion-related design?

Fashion is a tough one. I love the interconnectedness it has with art and design. There is always a strong corrolation with one or the other in each developing fashion season. And being able to rethink/reinterpret a brand along the lines of each new season is always exciting and challenging. Things never get boring in fashion.

On the flip-side, fashion can often times be a very shallow and catty world. Hopefully, in those instances you are surrounded by amazingly thoughtful and wonderful people (as was my experience at Kate/Jack Spade).

5. Typeface that best describes your personality is…?

Courier. It is a generic, modern, traditional all-in-one font. And I trust the look of it.


6. Design motif that inspires you…?
Good question. Just about everything inspires me.

7. Ice cream vs. gelato, why? (I work at a food magazine and this is something I always am curious about)

Ice cream (although who doesn't also like gelato?). My Grandpa Barlow made the best homemade strawberry ice cream EVER (with strawberries from his backyard). I became hooked at a very young age.

8. Is there such thing as bad design? If so, what is it?
I know bad design exists, but I believe that to be a very subjective call to make. Which brings to mind the advertisements in the NYC subway cars -- I spend way too much time thinking about who the designer was behind each ad and what inspired them, what their background is, why they took that particular job and why they chose to solve it the way they did. You never know where they may have been coming from and if it was at all successful with the target audience.

9. Top 3 albums of all time…(Sorry, was watching High Fidelity last night.)

Arthur Russell, Calling Out of Context
Beatles, Rubber Soul
Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3

10. You're the bomb. Thanks for putting up with my overuse of the word "design".
No problem. This was fun.

(all images courtesy of http://abbyclawsonlow.com)


annie said...

Dude, this is awesome.

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