Amy was a joy to interview. Her energy and creative vision is apparent and bonus: she’s hilarious. She has been working professionally as a designer since 1996 and now works downtown in an office she shares with three other local businesses with whom she collaborates on her design projects. Collaboration is a big theme at Amy McAdams Design, she met her office mates at a local co-working space, works on community design projects pro-bono, uses local printers and vendors and is interested in nurturing and developing a community of support amongst her peers. Plus, she’s a mother to two little boys ages 3 & 1.
1| Can you sum up your aesthetic in three words?
Poppy. Thoughtful. Playful.
2| Any tips for aspiring graphic designers?
My one tip to aspiring graphic designers is to volunteer. Use your design for good in any way you can. When you volunteer your skills, you’ll meet new people, learn more about the city you live in and be able to have a voice, creatively, in your community. A lot of times, graphic designers are beholden to their client and that can mean your voice can feel stifled. When you donate your creativity, you’re able to put your own creative stamp on the project.
3| Describe your typical day.
My typical day: Rush around, along with my husband, to get myself and my two sons ready for the day. Anywhere from 30-50 minutes driving said kids to daycare and getting to one of two places: my downtown office or the SpeakEasy. Drink coffee. Say hi to friends. Answer emails. Figure out the hierarchy of my workload. Put out fires. Design. Eat lunch. Design. Answer emails. Pick up kids from daycare. Play. Eat dinner. Bedtime. Negotiations with 3-year-old about why he needs to sleep. Drink. Veg out with husband on couch and/or work on projects that are of the hottest priority. Sleep. Repeat.
4| What other artists/ makers do you admire?
Andy Warhol and Charlie Harper are creative inspirations from way back. I’ve always loved what Jason Munn from The Small Stakes has done with minimalist poster design. Locally, Aaron Scamihorn, Casey Roberts and I love how collaborative and unifying the USI guys are.
Amy’s design reference books. One of them features her design for the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange logo.
5| What makes a handmade item valuable?
The time, love, labor and money invested by the maker. The idea has to be dreamed and then the pieces have to be put in place. There are a lot of steps that happen before a piece gets placed on a shelf or in a package.
Amy’s current favorite handmade item, a Horrible Adorables original owl named Frankie.
6| What do you wish people knew about what you do?
The amount of ideas that don’t ever see the light of day whether because of time or money restraints. The thought that goes behind each piece and each element of the design. The details that aren’t seen by the end consumer. The love invested in each piece.
7| Where in the world would you most like to travel?
Oh, jeez. This is tough. Everywhere but, mostly, Europe. I’ve never been.
8| Current favorite music
Felt, Luna, Brian Eno, Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel, and The Beta Band.