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Design Studio  |  "As One" Illustrations

The project

Fjord, a global design strategy and consulting firm, asked me to create a postcard for the Austin, Texas studio so they could send handwritten notes to their clients, colleagues across Fjord offices, and to each other. I knew I wanted to create something that represented Austin’s uniqueness: a laid back yet technology-driven town, that also paid homage to the Texan in them. Having grown up in Austin, and being a designer, I already had a good sense of both. For designers especially, space has a strong influence on our work, our wellbeing, and our creative inspiration. The Fjord Austin studio space is on historic main street (now called Congress Avenue). Texas was first colonized in the 1800s by ranchers and was a rough and dusty place. Historic downtown Austin mainly housed saddle making and ranching supply shops, food supplies, saloons, and one hotel. The building Fjord now calls home was originally a wholesale dry goods store. To work in a beautiful space rich with history (and ghosts), when most offices in Austin are in cheaply built glass skyscrapers, leaves a mark on those who visit Fjord Austin, and those who work there. I drew my inspiration for this card from the architects who came before me.

The outcome

Fjord Austin loved the illustration so much, that it wanted to expand upon the idea. Fjord has studios all over the world and I thought it would be a beautiful project if a designer in each Fjord city were to draw their own building in the style I defined, to co-create a work of art showcasing the spaces they all call home. Fjord’s motto is “As One” and I felt this type of collaborative project really embraced the idea of connectedness, despite the geographic difference. I reached out to designers across their North American studios asking them to draw their buildings so I could create a collaborative poster in time for them to share with the rest of North America at their annual conference. The Austin building is arguably the most beautiful, but the illustration style I defined turned even the most seemingly bland buildings into works of art. Some of the designers in the different cities struggled with their identity in a space they felt didn’t fit them and some were hesitant about drawing their building for that reason. It was incredible for me to see how those designers changed their mindsets after seeing their spaces in a new way. They found a new beauty and peace in their space from the project I created.

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