In small but mighty design studios, and on big, talented teams; within corporate walls or from the comfort of home studios—wherever you look today, countless creatives are making important contributions to both the design industry and the world at large. Most definitely there are more than 100 of these design heroes—more like thousands upon thousands. But because putting together a list that long would quite possibly kill your friends at HOW, we’re limiting ourselves to 100 this year.
That said, tell us in the comments below or on Twitter who you would add to this list of designers everyone should know! Now, say hello to the first 50. And stay tuned for part 2 coming soon!
HOW 100: A Listing of 100 of the Most Talented and Influential Creatives Working Today Part 1
1. Jason Mayden
Mayden, who spoke at the recent Adobe 99U Conference, is a former senior designer turned Global of Innovation at Nike who, based on experiences with his own son, went on to cofound Super Heroic, a company devoted to empowering children with the power of play. The company’s focus is on creating quality play performance products, technology and services for elementary school–aged children and families. Stay tuned for an interview with Mayden over on PrintMag.com.
— JASON MAYDEN (@JasonMayden) April 28, 2018
2. Jennifer Morla
Morla is president and creative director of Morla Design in San Francisco, as well as an adjunct professor at California College of the Arts. She’s been recognized by virtually every organization in the field of visual communication and is the 2010 recipient of the AIGA Medal. Her work is part of the permanent collections of MoMA, SFMOMA, the Smithsonian Museum, the Denver Art Museum and the Library of Congress. She’s been on the SFMOMA Board for Architecture and Design since 1995, and is also a member of the Board of Directors at Letterform Archives, a nonprofit center for inspiration, education, publishing and community. Find out more about Morla in this interview on PRINT, and keep an eye out for an exclusive on PrintMag.com. with the team behind Letterform Archives.
3. Antionette Carroll
Carroll is the founder and CEO of Creative Reaction Lab, where they educate, train and challenge youth to co-create solutions with Black and Latinx populations in order to design healthy and racially equitable communities. She’s also a speaker, TED Fellow, and cofounder of Design + Diversity, the only conference that focuses on diversity issues in the design field and provides a platform for constructive conversation among those who design, innovate and lead.
Excited to share that Creative Reaction Lab and our Equity-Centered Community Design process was named a @FastCompany World Changing Idea Finalist in General Excellence and Urban Design! Check out the other finalists and winners: https://t.co/zK6Xqrpi4X #WCIAwards pic.twitter.com/72Egllyr4x
— Antionette Carroll (@acarrolldesign) April 9, 2018
4. Jessica Rose
Canadian designer and artist Rose is the art director of Wallpaper magazine in London. Having designed more than 100 magazine covers—from Toronto Life to The Sunday Times Magazine—Rose is working on the graphics for a new book with Laurence King publishers called How to Sweep a Room. Keep an eye on PrintMag.com for an in-depth interview with Rose.
5. Hanah Ho
Ho is a New York–based art director, designer and strategist who keeps a close pulse on culture and trends and approaches projects with the intent to build and improve graphic systems by prioritizing both clarity and delight. She was a member of the Hillary for America design team and then went on to join The Original Champions of Design, where she’s been ever since. Last fall at OCD, she worked on the rebranding of Advertising Age, developing the brand guidelines and leading implementation across their digital channels.
6. Alex Center
At HOW Design Live 2018, Center brought smiles to everyone’s faces as he shared a bit about his journey to becoming a “successful designer.” Center summed it up quite simply: He cared. A lot. In fact, he cared the most—and “caring is not the same as hard work or hustling,” he was careful to point out. This former design director at Coca-Cola just this year launched his own Brooklyn-based brand and design company, CENTER. Learn more here.
7. Matthew Manos
Manos is the founder and managing director of verynice, a global design-strategy consultancy that ignites movements, builds brands and changes perspectives, helping businesses, nonprofits and governments expand their capacity for impact through design-driven innovation. He’s also an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, and is the creative director behind Models of Impact and Give All, with books including How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free and Toward a Preemptive Social Enterprise. HOW is lucky to have Manos as an online contributor as well. Check out two of our favorite articles he’s written this year:
8. Kat Holmes
Previously the director of inclusive design at Microsoft—where she led the development of Microsoft’s award-winning Inclusive Design toolkit—inclusion expert Holmes is the founder of KATA, where they help companies to cultivate an inclusive mindset and practices in existing product development processes. In 2017, Holmes was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business. She’s also the author of Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design, forthcoming from MIT Press, and founder of design.co.
9. Yo Santosa
Creative director, entrepreneur and self-proclaimed dreamer Santosa got her start with a degree from Art Center College of Design. She went on to become an art director at yU+co, a faculty member at Art Center and, finally, the founder of renowned branding agency Ferroconcrete. Here, she helped her first client, Pinkberry, to grow from one store to a global brand with more than 200 stores worldwide. But the accomplishments don’t stop there—Santosa is also the woman behind two start-ups, three Emmy Award nominations and an LA print publication. Learn more about Santosa’s career path here.
10. Kate Moross
Moross is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator and art director based in London. She runs Studio Moross and is known for the colorful, energetic magic she incorporates into music videos, textiles, identities, murals, fashion and magazine covers.
11. Todd Radom
Radom is one of the world’s foremost sports-centric graphic designers. HOW recently talked with him about his new graphically driven book called Winning Ugly, which released on May 15.
12. Simon Endres
HOW Design Live 2018 speaker Simon Endres is a partner and chief creative officer at Red Antler, a leading brand company for startups and new ventures. Based in Brooklyn, Red Antler is a multi-disciplinary team of strategists, designers and marketers. Under Endres’ leadership, the team builds rich, emotionally resonant brand systems that engage consumers and achieve business goals. Endres has created brand experiences for top companies including Casper, Allbirds, Brandless and Zagat. Before Red Antler, he was an accomplished visual artist, cofounder of Team ProAm, and teacher at Parsons School of Design.
13. Jazmyn Latimer
Latimer is a lead designer at Code for America, where she started Clear My Record, a tool that makes it easier to dismiss or reclassify low-level offenses, giving people a second chance. On CodeForAmerica.org, she writes that she “likes to work on problems that affect the lives of the most vulnerable and underserved people in our society,” and ever since joining Code for America in 2015, Latimer’s focus has been on utilizing both technology and design to untangle the criminal justice system.
14. Eddie Opara
Recent PRINT Regional Design Awards judge Opara is a multi-faceted, award-winning designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and technology. He joined Pentagram’s New York office as partner in 2010, and his clients have included Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Grace Farms, the Menil Foundation, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Queens Museum, Princeton Architectural Press and more. He’s a senior critic at Yale University’s School of Art, a member of the Alliance Graphique International, and author of the book Color Works, published by Rockport. Learn more about Opara over at PrintMag.com.
15. Christoph Miler
It’s Nice That recently featured Christoph Miler and Isabel Seiffert (#16) in their Ones to Watch 2018 list, and HOW agrees they deserve the recognition. Miler is one half of the Zurich-based design studio Offshore, where their projects focus on editorial design, typography and storytelling. According to Miler and Seiffert’s website, “going offshore means to elude closed territories and start to connect elsewhere,” and this embodies one of the studios’ key principles.
16. Isabel Seiffert
Seiffert is the other half of Offshore, where in addition to client work, they also explore “critical issues of design, media and globalization” through side projects such as Migrant Journal, a six-issue print publication that critically explores space and migration. Miler and Seiffert are coeditors and designers of Migrant Journal, which is also edited by Justinien Tribillon, Michaela Büsse and Dámaso Randulfe.
17. Stephen Gates
As Amy Conover wrote earlier this year on HOW:
There is a transformation afoot in the world of design, and Stephen Gates is at the forefront of it. That’s why he has just been named head of design transformation at digital design and prototyping platform InVision—a new role “designed” just for him and for our times.
Read more about Stephen’s thoughts on in-house design and his move to InVision here.
18. Kevin Wick
As executive creative director at Seattle-based digital agency Smashing Ideas, Wick upholds design thinking, empathy and user-centric design as the be-all, end-all. But even then, he believes that one piece of work, one design isn’t where true impact happens. Instead, he wants to facilitate whole groups to change their values and behaviors, leading to a better user end experience that consequently holds better business value. As he puts it, he strives to be a cultural change agent, driven by informed design thinking.
19. Tish Evangelista
Years ago at Chronicle Books, Tish discovered a love for seeing design from a wider perspective, realizing the overall creative direction in addition to crafting and fine-tuning the design details. This ultimately led to starting Character, the full-service branding and design agency behind hundreds of brand launches, relaunches and cross-channel experiences for brands including Oculus, Google, Amazon and Fitbit. Both Tish and Character’s first big project was redesigning Pottery Barn Kids with the challenge of avoiding trend-driven approaches; instead, Tish found inspiration for this work in Victorian paper cutouts and the bright-eyed depiction of childhood found in Norman Rockwell’s work. The result is timeless work grounded in ideas rather than style.
20. Justin Peters
Peters, a recent judge of the PRINT Regional Design Awards, has been solving complex branding challenges around the globe for more than two decades. As CSA’s executive creative director, he leverages a deep understanding of global markets, geographies and cultures to breathe fresh and enduring life into brands of all shapes and sizes. Peters is a lifelong member of AIGA, and a design critic at both Rhode Island School of Design and The University of the Arts. He’s received multiple design awards, both internationally and domestically, including the Presidential Design Award for his work with the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum. Read more about him over at PRINT.
21. Matt Faulk
Faulk, CEO and ECD of BASIC, the award-winning, San Diego–based branding and experience design company, was recently recognized by San Diego Magazine as one of 10 creative professionals in the city who are driving culture forward. Under Faulk’s lead, BASIC is designing e-commerce platforms in what the young founder has coined as the ‘experience economy.’
22. Rachel Martin
This former AIGA national director of The Living Principles for Design began her career in advertising at BBDO Worldwide, and is now founder and design director of Rachel Martin Design, where they’re all about working with socially conscious brands and “good people who do good work in the world.” The studio is devoted to creating high-quality sustainable design that innovatively solves problems and creates meaningful change. According to the studio website, Martin herself believes that “designers have the power to lead the way in communicating the importance of positive social and environmentally responsible messages.”
23. Wiliam Stout
Though best known as one of the premiere dinosaur artists of the 20th century, the fascinating William Stout has done it all, from movie posters and film production to comic books and theme park design. Read more about this artist and designer over at PrintMag.com.
24. Mike Rice
Rice is creative director for Amazon’s brick-and-mortar book stores, where he leads creative strategy, exploration and execution across all customer touch points for the Amazon Books brand. Formerly, Rice served as design director at brands like Whole Foods, PepsiCo and Procter & Gamble. He’s also a judge of this year’s HOW In-House Design Awards (deadline: June 4) and recently shared his thoughts on books, leadership and in-house design—check it out!
25. Elena Woznick
Woznick got her start as a student at the School of Visual Arts and is now a junior designer at Barton F. Graf, where she led design for the agency’s Coverage Coalition initiative. After the Trump administration made a 90% cut in the ACA’s advertising budget and shortened the enrollment window to half the time, Barton F. Graf (and partners from the industry) set out to help more than 80 million people get the information they needed in order to enroll in affordable healthcare. Without ever getting political, the agency started a rally cry in the industry to make up for the cut in advertising, resulting in hundreds of thousands of donated national media and a 179% increase in enrollment.
26. Patrick McNeil
27. Meghan Newell
Newell is a art director, designer, illustrator and animator with more than a decade of experience. Currently senior art director at Lyft, Newell led the creation of the Lyft Economic Impact Report that took home a win in HOW’s In-House Design Awards last year. We’re thrilled to note too that Newell is a judge of this year’s HOW In-House Design Awards (deadline: June 4)
28. Silas Amos
Amos, who currently works as both a creative director and strategist, was a founder employee of branding agency jkr, where he spent 25 years. He recently spoke at HOW Design Live (as part of The Dieline Conference) about his time as jkr’s strategic director on the overhaul of brands such as Budweiser, which led to his becoming increasingly excited about how technology is evolving the way packaging is designed and put to work.
Client: HP Inc. | Partner: Smirnoff/ Diageo | Design and illustration: The Yarza Twins | Animation and Pack photography: Officina Poligonale | Training Films: Ed Rolfe | Concept, Strategic and Creative Direction: Silas Amos
29. Adam J. Kurtz
Kurtz is a New York City–based artist, author, designer and speaker who’s not afraid to talk about things that matter in his work. His books 1 Page at a Time and Pick Me Up have been published in more than a dozen languages each, and his most recent book, Things Are What You Make of Them, is full of insights and inspiration for anyone who makes art (or anything else for that matter).
30. Gail Anderson
New York–based designer, educator and writer Anderson is a partner, with Joe Newton, at Anderson Newton Design. Formerly, she served as creative director of design at SpotCo, and as designer, deputy art director and eventually senior art director at Rolling Stone magazine. Anderson’s work has received awards from numerous major design organizations, and has also been included in the permanent collections of the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, the Library of Congress, and the Milton Glaser Design Archives at the School of Visual Arts. She is the recipient of the 2008 Lifetime Achievement Medal from the AIGA and—in recent and exciting news—will be receiving a 2018 National Design Award from Cooper Hewitt, in the category of Lifetime Achievement. Huge congratulations to Anderson. Keep an eye on PrintMag.com for a soon-to-be-published interview with her!
31. Adam Ladd
Cincinnati-based Ladd is an award-winning graphic designer and type designer with experience in both branding and art direction. Over the years, in addition to freelancing with branding firms and clients, Ladd has served as the art director and designer for HOW and Print magazines, as well as an in-house designer with Vineyard Community Church. You’ve probably seen his work featured in various books and blogs, and you may have also watched his widely shared viral branding video, which gathered 1,000,000 views in one week. In recent years, Ladd has released a number of gorgeous fonts, several of which have been licensed by Harley-Davidson, Disney, Trader Joe’s, Penguin Random House, EatingWell, ad agencies, individuals, and more, and have been in use for print, web and apps. His most recent typeface, Quiche, is a high-contrast sans serif with ball terminals. This 52-font family—which comes in multiple weights and styles—is pictured below.
32. Paul Woods
Woods is chief creative officer of Edenspiekermann, a modern digital branding agency with a penchant for design-thinking methodologies. Obsessed with user-centric design and an outspoken promoter of digital design innovation, Woods takes a user-centric, process-driven approach that is the thread that runs through Edenspiekermann’s work. He also advocates for a**hole-free agencies, working on a number of social-based/community design projects like the Red Bull Amaphiko Academy which, with Woods’ direction, enabled social entrepreneurs to tell stories to a wider audience.
33. Taylor Levy
New York City–based Levy is the other half of art and design practice CW&T. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College, where she studied film and computer science, as well as a Masters Degree from ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program) at NYU and from the MIT Media Lab. On her website, she shares that her work is “about surfacing the inner workings of digital electronics. This takes on a variety of forms, from low level electronic sculpture to software.”
34. Brett Lovelady
As the founder of San Francisco–based design firm Astro Studios, Lovelady is the man behind one of the world’s most innovative design companies of 2018, according to Fast Company. Under Lovelady’s guidance, Astro Studios combines industrial design, brand communications, a keen sense of aesthetics and technological expertise to improve the human experience. A self-described “creative capitalist”—meaning he understands how to make the most of creative opportunities—Lovelady has been an active voice in the industry since founding Astro Studios in 1994, advocating for design at the highest levels of corporate influence. Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with Lovelady here on HOW!
35. Amy Schwartz
Amy Schwartz, who specializes in branding and digital experiences as creative director at Bright Bright Great and previously was the design director at Cards Against Humanity and Blackbox, had some great insights to share at the recent HOW Design Live about how we can become the mentors we wish we had. Read some of her takeaways here.
36. Hajj Flemings
Leading brand strategist Flemings inspires people and brands to build, launch and grow their ideas. He recently talked with verynice founder Matthew Manos about design, civic innovation and crushing the digital divide. Check it out here.
37. Viet Huynh
Huynh is a communication designer at Slack, the collaboration hub we all know and love. You can find his latest work—from personal projects to freelance branding for his “ride-or-die local barber,” who gives him the best fades he’s ever had—on Dribbble and on his website. Huynh is also a judge of this year’s HOW In-House Design Awards (deadline: June 4).
Neon sign design created for Slack’s 4th Anniversary Party.
38. Jason Tselentis
Educator, author and designer Tselentis is a beloved and integral part of the HOW and PRINT brands, and a respected voice on the HOW and PRINT blogs. His background includes print and interactive design work for corporations, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations and charities, and he’s currently an associate professor at Winthrop University’s Department of Design, where he teaches visual communication design, brand strategy and development, web design and typography. In his book Type, Form & Function, he explores typography fundamentals for the novice to advanced designer. And in Typography Referenced, which he co-authored with leading educators and professionals from around the world, you’ll find nearly every aspect of typography and lettering.
39. Leland Maschmeyer
Maschmeyer is the chief creative officer of Chobani, which Fast Company ranked as the 9th most innovative company in the world just last year. In 2016, Forbes named COLLINS—the design consultancy that Maschmeyer cofounded and ran as CCO—as an agency defining the future of brand building. His work has earned honors from Cannes, One Show, Fast Company, AICP, Effies, and Type Directors Club, among others, and is also included in the MoMA’s permanent archives. A faculty member of the School of Visual Arts MFA program, Leland teaches “Systems Design” and “Designer as Entrepreneur.”
40. Sagi Haviv
“Listen to your idea and hear what it needs to look like.” Some words of wisdom spoken by Haviv at the recent HOW Design Live in Boston, where the topic of his keynote was the many things he learned from the late Ivan Chermayeff. Haviv is a partner and designer at Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv, where he’s designed more than 60 identity programs, including logos for the Library of Congress, Harvard University Press, Women’s World Banking, CFA Institute and Conservation International.
— Marcela Luna (@marcela__luna) May 1, 2018
41. Khoi Vinh
A longtime blogger on his website Subtraction, Vinh has since 2015 been with Adobe, where he works on Adobe XD. If you’re interested in regular updates from this respected voice in the UX world, Vinh says he’s recently started writing down thoughts, ideas and notes exclusively for subscribers to his (free) newsletter, and you can sign up at the bottom of posts like this one.
42. Tina Roth Eisenberg
A couple years back, PRINT featured a list of 50+ practitioners of communication and graphic design who have earned fame in the design world and beyond for what they’ve achieved and accomplished. Eisenberg was, of course, among those featured. The Swiss designer has many labors of love. Some of our favorites include the Swiss Miss design blog, CreativeMornings and Tattly.
43. April Greiman
Jason Tselentis wrote about Greiman recently in “The Most Influential Designs of the Past 33 Years“:
Greiman was an early adopter of computer technology, including the Apple Macintosh, embracing digital media when others shied away from it. Greiman pioneered what would become known as the California New Wave of design and typography. She used pixels to digitally paint and draw, incorporating imaginative textures, graphics and shapes with type and image. Part of design’s past, present and future, she continues to practice design through Made in Space, where she leads a multidisciplinary consultancy.
44. Jessica Walsh
What is designer, art director and illustrator Walsh up to these days? Well, creative agency Sagmeister & Walsh just launched a new project called Sorry I Have No Filter. The studio has created designs for jackets, tees, socks, pins, pillows, mugs, iPhone cases and more to raise money for their nonprofit initiative, Ladies, Wine & Design, which launched only two years ago and already has chapters in more than 170 countries. They also just launched a new website for ladieswinedesign.com, where you’ll find a city map showing all the chapters’ websites, interviews with badass creative ladies from around the world and more. The initiative was inspired by the realization that women can sometimes be competitive with each other, and their goal is to bring women together to form positive relationships so that they can lift each other up, share resources and inspiration, and help propel each other forward.
45. Stefan Sagmeister
Steven Heller said it well in his biography of Sagmeister on AIGA, written when Sagmeister received the 2013 AIGA Medal:
Inspirational and intriguing designer Stefan Sagmeister is recognized for his unorthodox, provocative designs that tweak the status quo and question the designer’s role in society.
What’s he working on today? According to his Instagram, Sagmeister & Walsh has a project on the subject of beauty in the works, and they’re asking you to send them a picture of the most beautiful human-made thing you can think of.
@emf.n writes: One of the most beautiful things to me are my pen nibs. The detail on the nib itself and what they can create with time and patience. ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ For an upcoming S&W project on beauty, please do send us the most beautiful thing you can think of. It should be human made, ⠀ – like an object, a piece of architecture or a city. Please no nature pictures, animals or beautiful people. Please do include a short description and your IG address. ⠀ ⠀ Please mail a .jpeg or .mov file featuring either a white or black background to: Stefansagmeisterig@gmail.com
46. Zipeng Zhu
Art director, designer, illustrator and animator Zhu was a PRINT Designer of the Week a couple years back, and we’re still just as enamored of his bright designs and blown away by his talent today. We highly recommend spending some time in his online portfolio, and following him on social media. He is everywhere on the internet, he says.
47. Paula Scher
As said on Pentagram’s website, Scher has been at the forefront of graphic design for four decades. But that’s no surprise to those in the industry. We know her work well, and we’re forever eager to see what comes next. Over at PRINT, you’ll find a glimpse into a conversation with Scher about technology in design.
48. Tobias van Schneider
Germany-born, Austria-raised and now NYC-based van Schneider works at the intersection of product design and brand identity, and does it well, with clients including Red Bull, NASA, BMW, Google, Wacom, Sony, Toyota, Ralph Lauren, Bwin and more. After working as lead product designer and art director at Spotify and serving on the AIGA board of directors in New York, van Schneider cofounded Semplice, a portfolio tool for designers. He’s also a contributor to the HOW blog—check out his take on why your portfolio may be the reason you don’t have the job you really want.
49. Mona Patel
Patel is an entrepreneur and bestselling author who’s been designing better human-centered interactions for the past 20 years. Having begun her career with organizations like NASA, BMW and Microsoft, she’s helped some of the world’s largest brands to understand what customers need and to design systems to meet those needs. Mona’s UX agency, Motivate Design, supports companies like First Republic Bank, BlackRock, Jet.com, Tumblr, Coca-Cola, Chick-Fil-A, and PayPal with U/UX research, design, strategy, workshops and staffing services. Also a sought-after speaker, Patel was recently on stage at HOW Design Live, where she took attendees through a crash course on market and design research methods, from thorough and traditional to new, proprietary.
50. Che-Wei Wang
Wang is the ‘CW’ of art and design practice CW&T, where for nearly nine years they’ve been designing and manufacturing products intended to last for multiple generations. Check out their website for some of their latest stunning creations, including an already-funded but still running Kickstarter for a single-use forever launch clock.