Interview with Esther Wu

An American In Paris ©2015

An American In Paris (Eiffel Tower and Title Treatment by Esther Wu)

Esther Wu is a graphic designer and educator. In this interview Professor Wu shares a little bit about her life, interests and projects. Professor Wu currently teaches Typography 2, and has previously taught Advertising Design, at Queens College, CUNY. 

KW: Tell us a little bit about your background?
EW: I grew up in suburbs very close to Philadelphia. My father is a retired microbiologist and my mother a retired computer programmer. As kids, I was the “Good Grades Girl” and my brother was the “Cool Artist.” He could always draw really well. His talent, my apparent lack of it, and our upbringing probably kept me from considering any creative endeavors until much later. But he also introduced me odd and unusual art and to off-the-beaten path culture like Tetsuo The Iron Man and Raw. You might say he introduced me to the idea of creativity. I also had a cousin, Justin, who was very into modern art and he took us to see Anselm Kiefer and Duchamp, among many others and these trips stand out in my memory as eye-opening.

KW: You have a degree in Biology and subsequently worked as a biomedical researcher. What was your favorite all time science course?
EW: I liked Physiology and Evolutionary Biology. I liked the principles of science and the theory more than the practice of it, and the Evolutionary Biology course gave me a deeper appreciation of Evolution. It’s an elegantly simple and (in retrospect) obvious idea. And nothing in Biology makes sense without it. Physiology taught me the intricacies and complexities of physical processes. The kidney is so amazing!

KW: How were you able to transition into a designer?
EW: I had been taking Continuing Ed classes for a year or two when I naively thought I would switch to being a designer. I didn’t have a drop of real experience and in retrospect I really didn’t know anything about the industry. But I figured if I went back to school and got a degree in design, I’d be a designer. So I applied to a bunch of grad schools.

I decided to go to SVA and it was possibly the best 2 years of my life so far. We lived in a big, candy-coated bubble of Design. And by the end of it, through a professor in the program, I was freelancing at SpotCo, a Broadway ad agency, which was a huge foot in the door.

Matilda (L) ©2015 Picnic (R) ©2015

Matilda (L) Picnic (R)

KW: Did you have any connection to the theater before you started working at SpotCo?
EW: Not really. I like theater as much as an average person. I’ve seen a lot of shows now, just from working in the industry. One of the big perks is free tickets.

The only theater I used to seek out, before working in the industry, was Shakespeare. I think I liked seeing different interpretations of the same material. I love that about design as well. If you give people the same source material, each result will be completely different.

Esther Wu ©2015

The Last Ship

KW: What were your favorite projects from SpotCo? Did you have much artistic freedom?
EW: My favorite has to be one of the last projects I did there, The Last Ship. For some reason, we had tons of time to work on it. It was around the holidays; maybe that had something to do with it. But in any case, I and two other designers had weeks to work on it (which is rare), so we just kept making comps. We were all painting things, which I hadn’t really done before, and really pushing it. It was a lot of fun. And the producer on that show has a great, artistic eye and vision for what he wanted, but it wasn’t a limited vision so we had a lot of room to create.

Our Creative Director, Vinny Sainato, gave us a huge amount of freedom, and just the right amount of direction. All the designers I worked with were pretty exceptional. There was a lot of mutual trust and respect in our department and for me, working with amazing people really kept me on my toes and wanting to pull my weight. My work improved a lot as a result.

The Last Ship ©2015

The Last Ship

KW: How would you describe your style? Your process?
EW: It’s evolved a lot over the past few years. I can’t seem to stick to any routine, so it varies a lot too. Sometimes I do lots of research, reading, looking for reference imagery. Sometimes ideas simmer in the back of my mind and now I know from experience if they will work out or not. Then I sit and start to make things and it comes out quickly. It took many years of trial and error to get to this point, and I still do go down some blind alleys. Many times, I have one kernel of a thought, I start to make something, and it turns into something else, and the act of making also very often leads to other ideas.

As far as style, I don’t think I have one. But I think I have a sensibility. As an historically shy person, I hope that my work is un-shy.

©2015

Ordinary Days (L) and The Beauty Queen: Leenane (R)

KW: What are your favorite types of projects?
EW: I like to do things that are different stylistically or technically from things I’ve done before. And I like to work with my hands if I can. I do a lot of brush type these days, and I like to do calligraphy. I like buying different pens and trying them out. Sometimes I cut paper, gouge wood. For a project I’m working on, I am trying to create insects out of cloth. Not sure it’s going to work out, but it’s fun to try.

KW: Do you have any desire to create motion-based projects?
EW: I did some in school, and realized I was not good at it. But I have collaborated on commercials based on key art I’ve designed, which I enjoyed and would like to do again.

KW: What’s currently on your reading list?
EW: I’ve been full time freelancing for a little over a year. I’m currently reading The Money Book. It’s about setting up a financial system for freelancers.

KW: Why did you decide to go freelance? And what have been the greatest pleasures and challenges?
EW: Things were changing at SpotCo, and I had been there for four years, so I felt I wanted to try something different. The freedom is great. I’m not a person who can easily maintain a daily routine so taking the obligation of showing up to work every morning was very freeing. I like making my own decisions about time. That said, time management is one of the greatest challenges. As a freelancer, you have to do EVERYTHING yourself. And I prefer to do things myself, but time management becomes the boulder you push up the hill every day.

KW: What designers/artists to you look to for inspiration?
EW: I believe anything you see anywhere that makes an impression can be inspiring.

The last Valentino couture show was amazing. I look at lots of type and lettering artists: great technicians like Doyald Young, Mortimer Leach, Herb Lubalin, Louise Fili; contemporary artists like Dan Cassaro, Simon Walker, Kate Moross and Ken Barber.

Photography is really inspiring, especially when designing for theater. Erwin Olaf, Frank Ockenfels. Today I’m looking at David Slade, who is DP for tv and movies, but has a beautiful, creepy style.

Most of the people I work with are super creative and have great vision. I find that very inspiring.

KW: What have you learned from teaching Graphic Design?
EW: I am still in the infant stages of learning to teach design, so I haven’t come to a lot of hard-won insights. Design (especially typography) is an elusive, slippery thing and sometimes seems like something not to be talked about, only to be done. Yet here we are talking about it. And we have to as a way to perpetuate it and to learn about how things are perceived by others. I suppose that’s the only way it can work. I’ll be sure to ask myself this question again.

An Enemy of the People ©2015

An Enemy of the People

KW: What skills are needed to become successful in the field? What advice do you have for students on how to break into the field?
EW: Observe.
Learn to see.
Edit.
Do good work (Good work opens doors).
Be a pleasure to work with.

KW: What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
EW: “Go too far.” The first person I ever worked for as a design intern (Darren Cox, CD at SpotCo) told me this. And I say it now in my classes too. If you go too far, you can always walk it back, but if you haven’t gone far enough, it will never be good. Milton Glaser has said, “Just enough is more.” Sometime you have to go past “just enough” to see the line and head back. And there are really no consequences to going too far in design, especially if you’re in a supportive and creative environment. I sense that a lot of students are afraid to go too far or afraid of breaking “the rules.” I think it’s good to take rules with a grain of salt.

________________________

KW: Kathryn Weinstein, Associate Professor, Graphic Design, Art Department, Queens College, CUNY
EW: Esther Wu

 

 

Illustration Summer Session 2 with Elizabeth Sayles

Left: The Totoro Forest Project, by Xu Feng, Spring '15 Right: The Totoro Forest Project, by Jiemin Yang, Spring '15

Left: The Totoro Forest Project, by Xu Feng, Spring ’15
Right: The Totoro Forest Project, by Jiemin Yang, Spring ’15

Spend July improving your illustration skills, and and earning credit. We will work on drawing skills, storytelling, metaphors, sequential illustrations and color technique. Plus field trips!

ARTS 188 – VT: Illustration I
17374
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

ARTS 259 – Illustration II
9383
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

ARTS 359 – Illustration III
9385
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

 

Design Intern–paid

Ignition Holdings LLC is seeking a design intern in our New York office to support the team in developing big ideas, and innovative design solutions. The selected candidate will work directly with ignition’s Executive Creative Director—also located in the NY office. Responsibilities will include supporting new business presentations and experiential concept development that span all forms of media including digital, social, print, video and live events.

Our ideal candidate has a passion for experiential marketing and is a smart, conceptual thinker, whose inspiring ideas and strategic thinking help create truly innovative experiences.

You will work alongside Copywriters, Art Directors and Creative Directors and play an integral role in creating amazing work for our impressive range of clients.

Responsibilities

• Conceptual ideation around brand experiences that cross media.
• Work with copywriters and creative team members to concept, develop, design and execute original and innovative solutions across experiential, print, digital, social and video
• Image searches
• Production of high quality comps and mock-ups
• Present ideas clearly and simply to internal team and clients
• Participates in team brainstorms and other ideation sessions
• Assists in developing presentation materials for new business pitches
• Assist the creative team in developing final designs for production

Qualifications

• Candidate for BA Degree in Visual Communication, Advertising or Graphic Design
• Strong design, art direction and typography skills
• Ability to translate strategic insights into awesome ideas
• Understanding of the role of a creative brief, how work should flow from it, and how to develop ideas against it
• Stays current with industry/advertising trends
• Organized self-starter, extremely attentive to detail and able to adhere to tight deadlines
• Works well independently and as an highly integrated team member
• Proficient in Adobe InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator and PowerPoint
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills
• Previous design internship experience a plus

Submission Process
Please submit the requested items listed below to: ignition.recruitment@ignition-inc.com
• Cover Letter
• Resume 
• Please provide either a link to your online portfolio or attach a PDF of your work.

Make sure to title the subject line of your email: “Design Intern / NYC / [Your Name]”
INCOMPLETE SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED – Please follow submission process. 

ignition is the industry leader in experiential marketing, delivering fully integrated experiences that drive positive actions and attitudes between people and brands. ignition’s account team has a priority focus around globally and locally managed experiential programs. Working with Fortune 500 companies, ignition makes a global impact in a multitude of ways. Part of the Havas Sports & Entertainment network, we succeed because of the unique human energy of our team, and our mission to make a positive difference in people’s lives through pioneering mind-brightening experiences around the world.
Learn more about us at: http://www.ignition-inc.com/

 

L+R | DIGITAL DESIGN INTERNSHIP (Paid)

L+R is a Brooklyn-based user creative agency that merges strategy and aesthetics. This means we combine research, observation, and analysis with exploration, intuition, and creativity to produce engaging design solutions. We’ve applied our philosophy on projects of all shapes and sizes. Services we offer include Brand Strategy, Web Experiences, Mobile Applications, and Interactive Marketing.

Why Us
We’re a startup creative agency with no shortage of energy or drive. We have highly collaborative team members, an ambitious growth strategy, and consistently exciting projects. We’re looking to continue to build out a top-tier creative interactive production department to work together on executing projects across many different types of platforms.

Skills
• You can design entire award winning digital products from start to finish.
• You are very knowledgable about strategy, design, and technology.
• You work well in a team environment and can be a leader when needed.
• You can execute high quality work at a very efficient rate.
• You are very personable and excited to become a part of the L+R family.

Included Perks
• Unlimited sick and vacation days.
• Bike and pet friendly office.
​• Paid lunch and transportation.
• Daily stipend.

Apply
To apply, email jobs@levinriegner.com with a link to your online portfolio, resume, and a brief description about yourself.

Intern can expect to learn

Experience working on apps and websites from strategy to implementation, with an emphasis on visual design. Interns can also expect to learn project management and communication skills in addition to agile workflows.

Application Details

To apply, email jobs@levinriegner.com with a link to your online portfolio, resume, and a brief description about yourself.

Summer Design Internship–Paid

Dailymotion, one of the leading video sharing platforms in the world, is looking for a graphic design intern to start this summer. Dailymotion is a global video-sharing site that aggregates quality video content for users to discover and enjoy. Based in Paris, France, Dailymotion is a French-owned tech company with offices located worldwide, including offices in New York City and Palo Alto.

DESCRIPTION
Graphic Design internship opportunity – May 12 – Aug 16 with a possibility for an extension. We are looking for a design intern to assist the design department at Dailymotion’s NYC office. The design intern will assist the design team on daily tasks as well as have opportunities to be involved with more complex digital design projects.

⁃ Seeking someone with a good work ethic; a problem solver; a builder of knowledge of web trends and good design choices; open-minded; a yes-person
⁃ Know Photoshop and/or Illustrator; After Effects is a bonus but regardless, interns should be prepared to learn basics of After Effects during their time at Dailymotion
⁃ Would be curious to know about other skills and software knowledge – in particular, these three areas: motion graphics; video editing, front-end development
⁃ LOOKING FOR: people interested in digital graphics, digital web trends, and in some cases, digital visual strategy

QUALIFICATIONS
– Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Premier Pro)
– HTML/CSS knowledge, a plus
– Great candidates are also looking to further their career in digital design, including building their skills in front-end coding and/or video editing.
– Strong portfolio

Other skills expected to be honed:
⁃ Preciseness in production of digital graphics
⁃ Building knowledge of After Effects (and/or Illustrator, Photoshop)
⁃ Learning about the teamwork involved, regarding how a campaign, production or project comes together, including understanding roles of colleagues like project manager, marketing team, content team, ad-ops.

Intern can expect to learn

Day to day projects include:
– Creating social media graphics
– Editing videos for Instagram and Vine
– Designing ad units and custom web skins
– Designing web pages for internal and marketing materials
– Newsletter templates
– Designing company swag (t-shirts etc..)
– Opportunity to work with motion graphics.

To Apply

Please submit the requested items listed below to:robert.boehm@dailymotion.com
• Cover Letter
• Resume
• Please provide either a link to your online portfolio or attach a PDF of your work.

Interview with Esther Wu

An American In Paris ©2015

An American In Paris (Eiffel Tower and Title Treatment by Esther Wu)

Esther Wu is a graphic designer and educator. In this interview Professor Wu shares a little bit about her life, interests and projects. Professor Wu currently teaches Typography 2, and has previously taught Advertising Design, at Queens College, CUNY. 

Tell us a little bit about your background?
I grew up in suburbs very close to Philadelphia. My father is a retired microbiologist and my mother a retired computer programmer. As kids, I was the “Good Grades Girl” and my brother was the “Cool Artist.” He could always draw really well. His talent, my apparent lack of it, and our upbringing probably kept me from considering any creative endeavors until much later. But he also introduced me odd and unusual art and to off-the-beaten path culture like Tetsuo The Iron Man and Raw. You might say he introduced me to the idea of creativity. I also had a cousin, Justin, who was very into modern art and he took us to see Anselm Kiefer and Duchamp, among many others and these trips stand out in my memory as eye-opening.

You have a degree in Biology and subsequently worked as a biomedical researcher. What was your favorite all time science course?
I liked Physiology and Evolutionary Biology. I liked the principles of science and the theory more than the practice of it, and the Evolutionary Biology course gave me a deeper appreciation of Evolution. It’s an elegantly simple and (in retrospect) obvious idea. And nothing in Biology makes sense without it. Physiology taught me the intricacies and complexities of physical processes. The kidney is so amazing!

How were you able to transition into a designer?
I had been taking Continuing Ed classes for a year or two when I naively thought I would switch to being a designer. I didn’t have a drop of real experience and in retrospect I really didn’t know anything about the industry. But I figured if I went back to school and got a degree in design, I’d be a designer. So I applied to a bunch of grad schools.

I decided to go to SVA and it was possibly the best 2 years of my life so far. We lived in a big, candy-coated bubble of Design. And by the end of it, through a professor in the program, I was freelancing at SpotCo, a Broadway ad agency, which was a huge foot in the door.

Matilda (L) ©2015 Picnic (R) ©2015

Matilda (L) Picnic (R)

Did you have any connection to the theater before you started working at SpotCo?
Not really. I like theater as much as an average person. I’ve seen a lot of shows now, just from working in the industry. One of the big perks is free tickets.

The only theater I used to seek out, before working in the industry, was Shakespeare. I think I liked seeing different interpretations of the same material. I love that about design as well. If you give people the same source material, each result will be completely different.

Esther Wu ©2015

The Last Ship

What were your favorite projects from SpotCo? Did you have much artistic freedom?
My favorite has to be one of the last projects I did there, The Last Ship. For some reason, we had tons of time to work on it. It was around the holidays; maybe that had something to do with it. But in any case, I and two other designers had weeks to work on it (which is rare), so we just kept making comps. We were all painting things, which I hadn’t really done before, and really pushing it. It was a lot of fun. And the producer on that show has a great, artistic eye and vision for what he wanted, but it wasn’t a limited vision so we had a lot of room to create.

Our Creative Director, Vinny Sainato, gave us a huge amount of freedom, and just the right amount of direction. All the designers I worked with were pretty exceptional. There was a lot of mutual trust and respect in our department and for me, working with amazing people really kept me on my toes and wanting to pull my weight. My work improved a lot as a result.

The Last Ship ©2015

The Last Ship

How would you describe your style? Your process?
It’s evolved a lot over the past few years. I can’t seem to stick to any routine, so it varies a lot too. Sometimes I do lots of research, reading, looking for reference imagery. Sometimes ideas simmer in the back of my mind and now I know from experience if they will work out or not. Then I sit and start to make things and it comes out quickly. It took many years of trial and error to get to this point, and I still do go down some blind alleys. Many times, I have one kernel of a thought, I start to make something, and it turns into something else, and the act of making also very often leads to other ideas.

As far as style, I don’t think I have one. But I think I have a sensibility. As an historically shy person, I hope that my work is un-shy.

©2015

Ordinary Days (L) and The Beauty Queen: Leenane (R)

What are your favorite types of projects?
I like to do things that are different stylistically or technically from things I’ve done before. And I like to work with my hands if I can. I do a lot of brush type these days, and I like to do calligraphy. I like buying different pens and trying them out. Sometimes I cut paper, gouge wood. For a project I’m working on, I am trying to create insects out of cloth. Not sure it’s going to work out, but it’s fun to try.

 Do you have any desire to create motion-based projects?
I did some in school, and realized I was not good at it. But I have collaborated on commercials based on key art I’ve designed, which I enjoyed and would like to do again.

What’s currently on your reading list?
I’ve been full time freelancing for a little over a year. I’m currently reading The Money Book. It’s about setting up a financial system for freelancers.

Why did you decide to go freelance? And what have been the greatest pleasures and challenges?
Things were changing at SpotCo, and I had been there for four years, so I felt I wanted to try something different.

The freedom is great. I’m not a person who can easily maintain a daily routine so taking the obligation of showing up to work every morning was very freeing. I like making my own decisions about time. That said, time management is one of the greatest challenges. As a freelancer, you have to do EVERYTHING yourself. And I prefer to do things myself, but time management becomes the boulder you push up the hill every day.

What designers/artists to you look to for inspiration?
I believe anything you see anywhere that makes an impression can be inspiring.

The last Valentino couture show was amazing. I look at lots of type and lettering artists: great technicians like Doyald Young, Mortimer Leach, Herb Lubalin, Louise Fili; contemporary artists like Dan Cassaro, Simon Walker, Kate Moross and Ken Barber.

Photography is really inspiring, especially when designing for theater. Erwin Olaf, Frank Ockenfels. Today I’m looking at David Slade, who is DP for tv and movies, but has a beautiful, creepy style.

Most of the people I work with are super creative and have great vision. I find that very inspiring.

What have you learned from teaching Graphic Design?
I am still in the infant stages of learning to teach design, so I haven’t come to a lot of hard-won insights. Design (especially typography) is an elusive, slippery thing and sometimes seems like something not to be talked about, only to be done. Yet here we are talking about it. And we have to as a way to perpetuate it and to learn about how things are perceived by others. I suppose that’s the only way it can work. I’ll be sure to ask myself this question again.

An Enemy of the People ©2015

An Enemy of the People

What skills are needed to become successful in the field? What advice do you have for students on how to break into the field?
Observe.
Learn to see.
Edit.
Do good work (Good work opens doors).
Be a pleasure to work with.

What was the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Go too far.” The first person I ever worked for as a design intern (Darren Cox, CD at SpotCo) told me this. And I say it now in my classes too. If you go too far, you can always walk it back, but if you haven’t gone far enough, it will never be good. Milton Glaser has said, “Just enough is more.” Sometime you have to go past “just enough” to see the line and head back. And there are really no consequences to going too far in design, especially if you’re in a supportive and creative environment. I sense that a lot of students are afraid to go too far or afraid of breaking “the rules.” I think it’s good to take rules with a grain of salt.

 

 

 

 

Illustration Summer Session 2 with Elizabeth Sayles

Left: The Totoro Forest Project, by Xu Feng, Spring '15 Right: The Totoro Forest Project, by Jiemin Yang, Spring '15

Left: The Totoro Forest Project, by Xu Feng, Spring ’15
Right: The Totoro Forest Project, by Jiemin Yang, Spring ’15

Spend July improving your illustration skills, and and earning credit. We will work on drawing skills, storytelling, metaphors, sequential illustrations and color technique. Plus field trips!

ARTS 188 – VT: Illustration I
17374
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

ARTS 259 – Illustration II
9383
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

ARTS 359 – Illustration III
9385
MoTuWeTh 9:00AM – 12:50PM
07/06/2015 – 07/30/2015

 

Jules Feiffer and Neil Gaiman on Thursday, May 14 at 7:00 pm–FREE

jules

The 92nd Street Y would like to invite all students and faculty to be our guest at a live conversation between Jules Feiffer and Neil Gaiman on Thursday, May 14 at 7:00 pm
1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY

To learn more about the program and reserve your complimentary tickets, go to the webpage at the link below, and order tickets using the promo code “DRAW”

https://www.92y.org/Event/Jules-Feiffer-Neil-Gaiman

Jules Feiffer in Conversation with Neil Gaiman

Everyone knows a Feiffer illustration when they see one: His characters leap across the page, each line belying humor and psychological insight.

Over Jules Feiffer’s prolific 70-year career, his nimble and singular imagination has given us new perspectives as well as biting satires on politics, love, marriage and religion—alternating with stories imbued with the playful anarchy of a child. Feiffer’s varied output includes children’s books (The Phantom Tollbooth and Bark, George), plays (Little Murders), movies (Carnal Knowledge and Popeye), comic strips (most notably in his Pulitzer Prize–winning Village Voice comic strip of 42 years) and graphic novels (The New York Times bestseller Kill My Mother).

Join him as he talks with author Neil Gaiman about his life, his work and his new book,Out of Line.

Jules Feiffer will sign copies of Out of Line after the event and signed copies of Neil Gaiman’s books will also be available.

 

Inside Out. Polish Graphic Design and Illustration in the Making

Marta Ignerska, Baàtycka Syrena, Wyd. Muchomor  (1) copy

Inside Out. Polish Graphic Design and Illustration in the Making,

The exhibition organized by Culture.pl for WantedDesign 2015 in New York City, will feature the best of what Polish graphic design and illustration has to offer turned inside out! Curated by Agata Szydłowska for Culture.pl, Inside Out will focus not only on the end product – the poster, the book, the dress, the plate, the magazine, but but also on the creative process. The exhibition will flip the designs inside out and show how they are made.

Sunday, May 17
10:30-11:30 AM
The Terminal Stores, 11th Avenue (between 27th & 28th Streets) Conversation Room
Inside Polish Graphic Design
A conversation moderated by Ellen Lupton, Senior Curator Contemporary Design, Cooper Hewitt,
Smithsonian Design Museum.
With Jacek Mrowczyk, Agata Szydlowska, and Krzysztof Lenk.

Decoding Tech: Launching Your Career Above & Beyond

Tech is the fastest-growing industry in New York City with job opportunities for various career tracks. As a relatively new and unique industry, tech is coded in the language of iteration, culture fit, seed funding, and startup jargon and knowledge. Join us for an event that explores, beyond the code, what it means to work for a startup or tech company and how to launch your new career in tech.

Thursday, May 14, 2015
7pm – 9pm
C4Q HQ, 31-00 47th Ave, Suite 1105
Long Island City, NY

To register for this FREE event, please visit bit.ly/decodingtech