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M.AD Insighter Series

Design and Brand with Zuzanna Rogatty

Apr 14, 2021 - 04:00pm

Overview

Zuzanna Rogatty is a Polish designer and art director based in New York and Honolulu.
She works across disciplines sharing her time and mind between working on complex identity systems for global brands and lettering passion projects in which she relentlessly pushes the limits of typography.

Zuzanna is a designer at COLLINS. She has worked with a diverse range of clients including M.AD School of Ideas, Google, Bon Appetit, AIGA New York, Esprit, Dropbox, Dolby, It’s Nice That. Her work has been recognized by Young Guns and the Type Directors Club, among others. She previously worked at Pentagram. She graduated from University of Arts in Poznań with an MFA in Visual Communication and School of Fine Arts in Bydgoszcz, where she comes from.

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FULL TRANSCRIPT

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So my name is Zuzanna Rogatty. I am a designer, and I come from Poland, which is here, and Poland is known from our pirogi, which you might be familiar with. And after spending 27 years in Poland, I moved to New York. I work for a New York-based design studio, Collins, but I am currently based in Hawaii in Honolulu.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So when Hank invited me to run the presentation for you, he reminded me that I’m going to talk to students, so I thought it may be worth to share with you the background story of my journey, and just show you how I came to the point where I’m at currently, and how my education and self-education looked like.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I remember when we met firstly with Hank and Pippa, and the first question which they asked me was if I always knew who I wanted to become in the future. And I feel I was very lucky to always knew who I wanted to become, and since I was six years old, I knew I wanted to be some type of an artist. So I was supported by my family, who is quite artistic, and a fun fact is that my mom is a graphic designer. And so I always followed my dad’s words, who repeated to me and my brother that if I find my passion in my life, I won’t ever have to work in a job which I hated, or I won’t ever feel like I have a job. I will just do my passion.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So the natural step of my education was to go to an art school. I went to School of Fine Arts, where I spent six years, and I went there when I was 12 years old, and I graduated when I was … teen. And I spent six years on painting, on drawing, on making sculptures, on studying history of art, screen print making, and also developing my photos in a photo lab. You name it, I was prepared for an art craft, and I was prepared to become an artist in the future.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So the other natural step after six years in the school was going to University of Arts, where I spent five years. And, again, in total, I spent 11 years, so one third of my life, on drawing and painting. But besides that, I obviously touched on all of the types of graphic design. So I also learned packaging design, branding, infographics, interface design, and that was the moment when I got interested in typography in my type classes.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

But the class which I think influenced me the most was my poster design class, and we just talked about that with Hank five minutes ago, but you may be familiar with the Polish School of Poster movements, which happened in between 40s and 80s in Poland, and the leader of that movement was Henryk Tomaszewski. And so Polish posters got recognition thanks to their very simple form and thanks to their smart ideas hidden behind the concepts. And so we started doing awards around the world in different poster design competitions.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so, as I told you, because of the idea, they got recognized, and the reason for that was that we were under oppression in Poland. So in between 40s and 80s, firstly, there was the second war, so we were under German oppression, and then straight from the war, we went to being a Communistic country, and being a part of the Soviet Union. So because of that, we had a censorship, and we couldn’t say, we couldn’t comment anything freely. There was no freedom of speech in general. So anytime when designers wanted to comment on the situation, they had to hide the message under a smart idea, under a smart composition. And a big part of that movement was also the movie poster design.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so whenever there was a movie screened in Poland which came from the west from Hollywood, the Polish designers had to make their own Polish version of the poster, which very often was actually better than the original one because the western poster was just not allowed to be promoted. So here you are looking at the Alien movie poster for example. That’s the Pink Panther. Harrison Ford in … I forgot the name of the movie, but whatever. Indiana Jones. And so you can see here that’s apocalypse times, and so you can see here that they have that beautiful painting quality, and it’s because the fact that many of the poster designers were actually professional painters. And so the poster was the only medium where they were able to express themselves, because the art galleries were shut down in those times because the high culture was too exclusive, and it was not a proper culture for masses.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So that’s another Star Wars movie poster, which I actually have a print out back in Poland of. A Hitchcock movie. So you can see here that some of the poster were super graphic and very simple in their form, and other ones were full of sense of humor, which was actually another very significant element of the poster of the Polish School of Poster, and my favorite one I think so far.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And the other part of the poster design was that also the country was very poor back then, so people had to make everything by their hands. So thanks to that, all of the lettering, all of the typography was handmade, and it was also very common for that movement. And one of my favorite designers from those times is Waldemar Swierzy, so now you are looking at the Muppets poster made by him, and what I love about his style is being the ability to make something so expressive and full of energy and movement and musicality by using so limited tools and just a few strokes and a few colors.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And now you are looking at his other portrait, and so Waldemar Swierzy was a professor of my professor at University of Arts. So I’ve learned from his student, and I went to his poster class at my college. And that was one of the most valuable lessons which I got during my education at the college, and so he taught me the way of design thinking and also the way how to cope with just being a designer, and how to come up with ideas.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So the main rule of that class was that we had to come up with plenty of ideas, as many as possible, and the final outcome didn’t matter at all. It was all about the process and all about the concept. So we always had to bring all of our sketches, just make on paper, and the Illustrator digital files were not allowed in the most of that part of the process. And so I remember one of the most important lessons which I got was when I came for to review my idea, and I showed my poster on the screen, and I spent like a few hours of honing the details of my poster. And they looked at the poster together with his assistant, they looked at the poster, they closed the screen. They turned away, they looked at me, and they said “We know that you can make it beautifully, but now we want you to make it ugly.” And so it pushed me to explore, to experiment, and to never settle down on obvious and trivial ideas. And that was their mantra as well.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So one time, [inaudible] and his assistant, [Martin Markowski], they forced us to prepare to stab meat for a poster design competition. So it was a super tight schedule. We had one night to prepare the poster, but that was the idea, that it was just limited, and the idea had to be clever, simple. And so I submitted the poster. It was a festival of art and music, and I won the competition. And so I’m going to touch on that later, but just saying it right now.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So actually, during my education at University of Arts, after my third grade, I spent my summer vacation doing an internship, which I got in one of the best web design studios in Warsaw. And so during my third break, I got interested in web design, in interface design, because I saw a niche there. So I’ve learned how to code, and I just submitted my portfolio to the most experimental and successful studio, and I went there for three months. And I’ve learned that web design, it’s not what I want to do in my life.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So after that, after spending the fourth year at my university, I went to another summer internship, and I got hired full time. So basically my fifth grade I spent studying full time in one city, and I was working full time at design studio in another city at once. So the design studio, which back then at that moment, they were one of the best design studios as well, and so I’ve learned everything about branding, about packaging design, which I got to learn how to produce packaging. I learned how to design way finding, so we ended up going to construction sites. I even designed a collection of skis.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so after four years in Poland, I was in a moment when I was a senior designer at a studio. I had experienced freelance. So I came up with an idea that, okay, I want to experience more, and I want to learn from the icons of design. So I applied to Pentagram in New York, and I wrote three emails. Nobody responded to me. And so, after six months trying to get an internship … Actually, I wanted to have an internship on Paula Scher’s team. I didn’t get that. And so once I came up with an idea that maybe it’s worth to talk with the partner of the studio in person.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I just saw that there was a design conference in Barcelona of Barcelona, where Luke Hayman had a lecture. So I flew to Barcelona. I went to him, I talk to him, and I got an internship with him for four months. After that, I got hired by an [inaudible], and I ended up staying at Pentagram for a year. And I met Paula Scher. I met Michael Beirut, who, fun fact, he has Polish roots.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So after that, I finally landed at the happy family of Collins Studio, in which I honestly feel that I am back at the university because, for me, it’s the place where the culture meets the commercial design industry. So any time we do research, we just source our inspiration, we always come back to the history, and to the history of culture, of art, and the history in general. So I, honestly, feel like I’m just at Hogwarts at school.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so I showed you the whole journey of education, and it’s just a very traditional way to go from an art student. I went to the art school. I had an internship, and then I got the full time position at the design studio. And it’s like a classic way of a career. But what matters the most in my design experience and what I got influenced by the most was everything what I did around my daily responsibilities.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I, honestly, didn’t sleep much in my 20s, and so when I started to get into typography classes, I started to get interested in calligraphy. So I went to plenty of different calligraphy workshops, and after hours, I studied and I practiced calligraphy. That brought me into lettering as well, so I went to a different workshops with lettering, and I took classes with Jessica Hische, Gemma O’Brien, and Martina Flor, and also I got into sign painting, which I was pretty obsessed with. Which, honestly, is the hardest technique, in my opinion.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I also got into painting my own lettering murals, and all of that experience, and all of that exploration of different typography techniques brought me into exploring and developing my own style in lettering. And everything was supported by plenty of lectures and design conferences, which I went to. So I went to Barcelona. I went to Type in Berlin a few times. I went to Reykjavík. I went to Belarus. You name it. And so, as you can see, I just expanded my skills after hours beyond my branding work, and it obviously means that if you have more skills as a designer, you can just do more, and you are aware of more.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So it’s very hard to describe who I am as a creator, as a designer, because I’m a designer, art director, illustrator. So anytime if we have a branding project … We actually recently had a branding project at Collins where I was able to develop an illustration style. We had, I don’t know, if we have a word mark to design at Collins as well or any of my commissions, I am able to do it by my own. But when you become a professional, you get to outsource a lot because it’s simple. There’s no time for that for you as a designer, and it’s worth to know what you talk about and what you work with, and how to talk with a designer who you collaborate with.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, coming back to the poster, which I designed for the competition, that was actually my first professional experience in branding. So the award for winning that competition was to design the whole branding for the whole festival, and that brought me into six years of collaborating with the organizers of the festival, and from that festival, they brought me into a film festival, which they also organized, and which I was an art director of for five years. So I got to design their five editions, and each of them was different.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so what’s funny is that was my first branding experience, and it happened in real life. So if I made any mistake, it was printed out and put on a wall in the festival, or screen in the theater. And so I got to know how it works in reality.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so that was also the first time when I got to work with a design system. So lots of applications in these two festivals were produced by an exterior designer. So the designers came from the sponsors of festival, so they designed the applications by themselves, and I had no control of it. So I had to make as clever a system to just be proof for their own interpretations of my design.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So that was the first design project. The first student project, which actually ended up of being realized and of being produced in real life. Another one was actually my first typeface which I designed, which was inspired by the artwork of my grandfather. So my grandfather was a sculpture artist, and he specialized in monuments and in metals. And I never got to meet him because he died a year before I was born actually, and so I did my own research, and I think our task of our type classes was to design a font based on a historic lettering.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I did my own research in my family archives, and I designed a typeface just inspired by my grandfather’s work. And so I got recognized by that, so it ended up in MOMA Warsaw as a part of exhibition, and I represented Poland in Design Week in Iceland in Reykjavík.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Another student project was another typeface. It was actually my final project, my masters project, and it was a script typeface inspired by old neon signs which were very common back in Communistic Poland again. And so they were created by artists, and I loved their expressive gesture, and their script and handmade quality limited by a neon sign, so it has that factory feel somehow.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I got inspired by the neon signs. I worked on that project for two years. I develop a typeface, which it was my final project, and after publishing the project on Behance, I got invited by the Type Designer’s Foundry to release the font together with them, and out of a sudden, I became a part of a team of superstars designers. [inaudible]

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so I showed you those three projects because I truly believe that there’s a recipe for a good design. So if you have an idea, and you have a good execution, a high quality execution that you always get a good piece of a design. So think about it as a house. So if you want to build a house, and you have an idea. So let’s say your idea is a foundation of a house, and you have a great idea, a great concept, but you never get to execute it because, I don’t know, you like to brag about it, you are too lazy to do it, you just leave it as it is. Nobody can see your vision.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

If you have an idea, but execution is poor, nobody pays attention to it. If you have a decent execution, but there is no concept behind it, it fails. And to be honest, I see it very often in design competitions, in application for jobs that there’s plenty of pretty nice design, but there’s absolutely no idea behind them. And so me, it’s always skill.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I just judged a design competition recently, and we had, I think, 50 submissions in typography category, and I think from 50 there’s only three which actually had an idea behind the typeface, and the rest of them is just exploring a pure form and nothing else. So the successful design is when you have a great foundation and a great execution.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So another very important part of exploring your own style and working on your own projects is to publish them. So you want to share it. You just have to share it with the world because it doesn’t exist if you don’t. And so one of my projects which I did and that you may be familiar with that, it’s called 36 Days of Type, and it’s an open call project on Instagram, which happens on Instagram, and the idea is that for 36 days, you design one letter per day. And you just have 24 hours for each, and you have to publish it. So, for me, I think it happened back in 2018. That was my playground to experiment.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I worked at the design studio back in Warsaw for, I think, almost four years already, and I was tired of all of the limitations of being an employee designer and also of the briefs and also just the branding work. So I just said, okay, that’s that. I can just do whatever I want to do. I’m going to use a limited color palette. I’m going to always use black background, and just explore, and try to break all of the rules of typography. And I got recognized for that, and I got the TTC award for that, which brought attention of Karan Singh, who was working with It’s Nice That and Dropbox on a project, and he invited me to do a collaborative poster with him. And you can see a whole case study of that project on It’s Nice That page.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so, thanks to that, it also brought attention of Google Doodle, who invited me to design one piece for them for International Woman’s Day for them.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Another one. When I was leaving Pentagram, I just designed a goodbye card for them, and my idea was just to send that to everybody on the office email, and that’s it. And I published it in my portfolio, and that brought attention of Bon Appetit, who invited me to design the cover of their magazine, [inaudible], and also a few spreads inside of the magazine.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So anything which I create with excitement and curiosity propels me through my work, and my audience can sense that. And self-initiated or solo projects, they gave me all of my jobs.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So one of the examples of projects like that was a branding project, which I designed when I was still back in Warsaw, and I worked at the studio, and that was the only time when I was actually free to lead the project. And I didn’t have any leadership above me, and I was just able to do whatever I wanted to do. So that was a branding design for a fashion designer, for [Vasina], for her fairest and personal fashion label. So designed the whole printing, all of the applications, like bags, like tags, labels, and also I got to design a pattern for her pieces of clothing.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

The other one was a branding which I designed actually for friends. So my friends six years ago, they started a pop-up vegan ramen shop back in Warsaw, and they asked me to design their logo for a banner for a pop-up. And they didn’t have any money, and I think they offered me free ramen for my entire life at their store. And it started as literally a banner on their pop-up, and it expanded as a six-years project, which I am still working on. And now, today, they are working on their fourth location. And during that time, through collaborating with them, I gained their trust. So I’m, honestly, free to do whatever I want to do in their any location.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And these few projects were actually the ones which I showed both at Pentagram and both at Collins, where I applied for jobs. And I think that I might show a few more lettering projects for Collins, but basically, that were the leading ones. So the first one is showing that I have skills in lettering, and I have my own style. The second one shows that I’m able to design branding. And the third one shows that I’m able to merge both of them.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So in that very complex way, I just wanted to share with you that you never know how a project will end up, and what you’ll gain by any of the commission. If it’s a logo for a bowl of ramen for your friends, or if it’s a poster competition, or if it’s just your personal project, it can result in getting a job in a design studio, or getting a commission. So I always try to use my every opportunity and every chance to use every project to explore, to learn something new, and to experiment.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And so freelance itself initiated projects, gave me the freedom to experiment, and gave me the freedom to explore my own voice, and being recognized for them gave me the confidence in my own skills and in my voice as well. So your own voice is your biggest value, and I’ve learned how to follow my gut, and also your voice is something which is impossible to copy. So there are attempts to copy different styles, but if everything comes from the bottom of your heart, it’s just impossible to steal that from you.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I don’t want to underestimate that full time position talking about all my personal influence work because I think I found the balance in my career. And the full time position has always given me the knowledge, the mentorship, the design ethics. I’ve learned so much from different design projects of different scale, of different fields, and I also get the support. And by putting my name next to a design studio name, I just gained a respect, and everything gave me the confidence. So one propels the other ones, and as I told you, for me, I think I couldn’t do one without the other one, and that’s how I find my balance.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So one example of a project which it’s an example of where the lettering and my personal experience meets the professional branding experience, and you may be familiar with that one.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So that was a wonderful opportunity, and I had lots of fun working on the project, and it was a pure pleasure. I won’t talk about the project today because I talked about it a year ago to a group of students. You can listen about that on Brand New. So let’s go to the discovery section.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, as I showed you at the beginning, I did quite the journey. So I think I’m 29 today, and I’m turning 30 this year. It’s a scary, scary year, but I think I moved for around 20 times in my life already, and it always has given me a wonderful experience of meeting different people, different backgrounds, different cultures. So back in Poland, I was quite well settled down, and I had great position. I had a great personal life, but I decided to change something, to experience something new because I felt that was the only way to learn something new, which I had no idea about. So I moved to New York, and then I ended up in Honolulu.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I always wanted to learn for as long as possible, and even if it meant regressing in my career. So, as I told you before, I was quite successful in Poland, so I did all of the steps of the career. So the school, the internship, personal project which gave me the freelance commissions that gave me the full time position. I was already a solo art director, and my next step would be to open my own studio. That’s a job already of course, but I just thought that if I opened my own studio, I would do it for the rest of my life, and I wasn’t ready to settle down. I wasn’t ready to make that decision.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I decided to jump back a few steps, and do an internship with Pentagram. And, actually, it just worked as a trampoline. And so another of the most important aspect of the design path and journey is fun. So everything beyond design grants me. So as you’ve seen, I traveled quite a bit in my life, and so I lived in different countries and different states, and I started in the eastern European country. Then I went to New York, which is the melting pot of the entire world, and I met so many different people. And now I live on a tropical island, and I surf every day. And I have no idea what’s going to happen next, and that’s what propels me through my life.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And what’s important, I’m also learning about now how to take breaks. So take breaks, but don’t really. If you really want to be successful in your career, you always have to be step ahead. So as I told you, I didn’t sleep much in my 20s, and that doesn’t change. And so learn the rules, and then break them. You have to know the rules first. And what’s the most important is have fun, and that’s what I’m trying to do every day in my design career.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Thank you.

Stephanie:

Wonderful. Thanks, Zuzanna. Do you have time for a few Q and A?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I do. Of course.

Stephanie:

Fantastic. So anyone can just go ahead and unmute themselves when you have a question, and we’ll take a few. And we’ll see where it goes from there.

Hank:

Hey, Stephanie, one thing about having fun, Zuzanna is now a surfer in Honolulu.

Speaker 4:

Zuzanna, thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us what brought you to Hawaii?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Oh, so during the pandemic when the pandemic hit, we started to work remotely at Collins, and so after spending I think five months in Brooklyn in small apartment, New York is not the best place to live actually in your apartment. It’s all about the social life in the city. I remember I went to Rockaways to surf, and it took me two hours both ways to go to the beach and back home. And then I remember sitting down on a bench by a subway, and I thought why the hell I am still in New York if I can work from anywhere? Why wouldn’t be I on the tropical island surfing everyday when it’s hot and beautiful? So that’s what I did.

Emily Pruitt:

Hi, Zuzanna. My name is Emily [Pruitt], and I am currently getting my master’s through the program. Just wanted to say thank you, and I remember when they released the rebrand, and I remember looking at it with my roommate, being like, “Oh, my gosh, this is so cool.” And she actually commented in the chat that she wants to fill her house with all of your art.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Hey.

Emily Pruitt:

I was just wondering, what inspires you? Your style is so unique, and it’s really cool and modern and fun. Where do you draw that inspiration from to create things like that?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Thank you. It depends on the project obviously. If it’s a visual identity project, printing project, I always get back to the history of art and history of culture. I just try to source my inspiration not from other people design, and not to base my inspiration on the current and temporary design, but always in the history. Because that’s what never dates. It never ages actually.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

And in terms of my lettering projects, I think my biggest inspiration is actually street lettering, street typography, because at some point, I’ve realized that all of the calligraphy is beautiful, but it’s so repetitive. The lettering is super well, cute, honed lettering. It’s beautiful, but, again, it’s so common and repetitive. And type design, it actually, to be quite honest, at some point, it started to bore me because it’s so much work behind it.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I remember just walking on the street, and looking at graffiti, and I thought, oh my God, there is so much beauty in this wacky street art, and it’s also a part of typography that that’s what inspires me the most.

Bethany:

Hi, Zuzanna. I’m the roommate, Bethany, and, yes, I did say I want to fill your house with my art, because I do. And I laughed a little bit because I grew up in New York, and I grew up going to the Rockaways every other weekend and not surfing, because I’m terrible at it.

Bethany:

But my question to you is a similar mindset. I don’t know. One of my biggest struggles is being perfectionist and not having fun with my designs, and that’s when I start sliding down. So how do you keep that youthful mindset, and push having fun to the forefront, and keep it enjoyable for yourself?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I feel you on that. So, yeah, at some point, I also realized that my kit of tools will be always as simple tools as possible. So I never spent too much time on my, let’s say, design piece. So if I do a lettering, and whenever I’ve done any, the most successful ones were the ones I made literally in a few hours or in an hour. And I always know that if I have an idea, a vision, I sketch it on a piece of paper, and transfer it to Illustrator immediately. I do it, and I leave it. And I always leave it for a few days. I come back to it, and I just add a few elements, and it’s done, and it’s always the most successful.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, yeah, it’s important to not to spend too much time and not to overthink, because you actually edit out all of the honesty and all of the energy from your idea.

Bethany:

Awesome. Thank you. Thanks for making time for us.

Speaker 7:

Hi, Zuzanna. How are you?

Nawani:

Hi, Zuzanna. I’m [Nawani].

Speaker 7:

Oh, sorry.

Nawani:

Sorry.

Speaker 7:

I just want to thank you for presenting the work, and I want to ask you something about breaking the rules. Of course, that’s going to make have fun with it. Usually, it takes a lot of courage for you to do that probably, to break the rules to make sure that you’re going to achieve something that is going to make your work outstand, because usually who stays inside the lines usually doesn’t get that word across, and it’s going to be safe. What do you do with the fear? How much do you push after breaking the rules that keeps you going?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

It obviously depends on the situation, right? So if it’s branding work in a studio, there are obviously limits. So if there’s a limit for, let’s say, a logo, it has to be legible, right? So I can’t push not too far. But if it’s my personal project, I obviously have no fear, and the project which taught me that was the 36 Days of Type, in which I had no limitations. And then, after publishing that, and after getting recognized, I realized, oh, so whenever I actually have fun and I actually do whatever I want to do, it works the best.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, yeah, I have no fear.

Speaker 7:

Good.

Lauren:

Hi, Zuzanna. Oh.

Nawani:

Hi. I’m going to go.

Lauren:

You go ahead.

Nawani:

Hi. Okay, cool. My name is Nawani. I’m in the art direction program in Atlanta, and I really related to you on the fact that you have so many interests, and how you just explored and started learning a lot. So my question to you is how do you showcase yourself through your identity or your brand when you have so many interests to companies or in an interview, or something like that?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

How do I introduce myself on interviews?

Nawani:

Yeah. Introduce yourself, or showcase yourself, knowing that you have so many interests. How do you appeal to them knowing you have a lot of interests?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I think I’ve discovered what’s my the biggest skills and my the biggest [inaudible]. So I think that’s just lettering and branding, and I always focus on those two fields. And my goal is to merge those two, as you’ve seen, so I don’t show the work which I’m not that interested in to actually work in the future. So I never actually showed any packaging project or any way finding because I’ve done that already, but it’s not my dream project for the future.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I think that’s the most impossible to focus on what you actually want to do.

Lauren:

Hi. I’m [Lauren] and I was wondering about how you get settled and reconnect to your intuition and your creative juices once you’ve moved. I’ve also moved many times in my life, and every time, it throws me through a little bit of a loop. So I was wondering what you do to ground yourself in a new area.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I think that actually that energy and that change is what brings me the excitement. So whenever I move, I start from exploring the culture which I am not familiar with yet, and I always give myself a bit of time. And then I just sit by my desk, and start to design.

Speaker 10:

Hi. I have another question, if we still have time. So I love the Venn diagram that you created about good design, of saying just with a good idea and proper high quality execution, that is good design. And it’s almost so simple that it’s extremely complex at the same time. And so I’m wondering, have you ever been in situations where you have a good idea, and your only obstacle is the execution? And where that ever becomes an issue, how do you troubleshoot and overcome if execution is the issue, but you know you have an idea worth executing?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, yeah, I think that’s why I’ve touched on so many different areas of design that I made sure that I’m able to execute on many different fields. But if it’s something which I am honestly not interested in doing, I recently started to learn how to outsource.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, currently, I am working on my own typeface, and I told you that the process of developing a typeface, it’s extremely boring for me. But I had an idea, and I really want to throw it out to the world. So I actually started to collaborate with a type designer. So I drew in glyphs all of my characters, but then I passed it onto a type designer who is working on kerning, on making sure that everything is working as a file, as a system.

Speaker 10:

Thank you.

Diana:

Okay, hi, Zuzanna. My name is Diana. I’m quarter one. I’m actually going for copywriting, but you do have this incredible understanding of art. It’s been present in you since you were little. For someone like myself who, by the way, I’m 30, and is starting off now, what would you say, honestly, to keep it motivating and knowing that I don’t have all that experience.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

What would I say if you are not inspired you mean?

Diana:

Starting now in my life.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

It’s never too late. And I feel that it’s the same as I said about the fear, right? Honestly, throughout my life, I always followed the rule that it’s better to regret that you did something rather than you didn’t. So that’s why I took all of the steps and took all of the risks of even moving to the US, which was highly, highly hard, and harsh, and starting to live in a different country using a different language on a daily basis, and starting to work in a design studio not using Polish, which I was used to. Or even to go to a different continent without knowing anybody.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I think you get to explore and experience so much more than it’s just better to do it rather than don’t.

Diana:

Thank you.

Vlada:

Hi, my name is [Vlada]. I’m the first quarter of physical design, and I actually have a question about your plans, your future. You said you want to open a studio. And where is it going to be? Where do you see it, back in Poland or in USA, or somewhere else?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

I have absolutely no idea, and that’s what’s exciting as well. I have no idea where I am going to be in a year, and I’m quite sure that I’m not going to come back to Poland anytime soon, but I don’t know. I don’t even know when I’m going to open my own studio, but I am not ready for that yet as well, just like I wasn’t ready three years ago.

Vlada:

Thank you. It’s interesting because I’m also not from USA. I’m from Russia. [inaudible] But it’s really interesting. It was a great lecture. Thank you.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Thank you.

Speaker 13:

Hi, Zuzanna. Thanks so much. I really enjoyed that, and I’m just curious with all that you’ve done, and you have the end of your story plotted out. But between now and then, what are some things you’re interested in? I see you’re doing a lot of motion stuff. Are you interested in film make things, or along that line? What are some of the future trends that you see maybe if not for yourself then out there? Maybe you don’t care. Maybe you just surf it, but, yeah, what do you feel is coming up in your bones?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Yeah. I honestly don’t care about trends, and as I said, I feel that the biggest power is in your own ability to express your own voice and your own point of view. So it’s the same. I have no idea where I am going to be in a year personally, so I have no clue where I am going to be at in my design practice in a year. Or tomorrow even.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So I just stay open-minded, and I receive commissions, and I just go for them, and I experiment. So what’s important for me is just to always stay inspired, so I always try to be active, like going to museums, listening to podcast, to lectures. And so, for me, being in Hawaii, personally, I don’t have that whole cultural part of New York here, which I enjoyed so much. So I’m just making sure that I’m still on the top of it, and I stay inspired.

Speaker 13:

Awesome. Thanks.

Speaker 14:

Hey, Zuzanna. Kind of going off of that, I was just curious how, since you’ve moved around a lot and lived in a lot of really amazing locations, how that’s influenced your design, and if those environments spark new things in you? I’m sure they do. I just was wondering if you could speak to that.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Yeah. They did a lot. I think I became a whole different person and a whole different designer after moving to New York, because I got to meet so many different designers from around the world, especially at Pentagram. Because the studio there, it’s like, I think, 80 designers working there, and everybody is from somewhere else. So just seeing that and seeing different backgrounds and the high quality work just motivated me, and it just changed my whole perspective.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So, yeah, moving out from Poland, which it’s not too huge, after spending a few years of working there, I literally knew everybody in the field. So just going out from that small world and changing the environment gave me a lot of new motivation and influence and inspiration.

Speaker 14:

Wow. Yeah, thank you. That helps a lot. And I feel like going to Hawaii is another small area. So that’s going to be an interesting change for sure.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Yeah, totally. I feel that anyplace is like Hawaii. I remember my first trip to Barcelona. Somehow it influences my color palette. I don’t know how it works, but after going to Barcelona, I was just inspired by the vibrant graffiti, which is all around that city. And mural artwork, which is everywhere, all over the place. So, yeah, I try to get a little something from everywhere I go.

Speaker 14:

Beautiful. Thank you so much.

Hank:

Are we good here on the questions? Anybody got another question they want to pop in before we …

Speaker 15:

I just want to say thank you. Sorry, Hank.

Hank:

Oh, no. Go ahead. That’s what I want you to do.

Speaker 15:

I just wanted to say thank you, Zuzanna, because it’s so inspiring to feel that you have so much faith and confidence in yourself, and that your journey doesn’t have to be predetermined. Because I think there’s a lot of anxiety as an artist of what’s next. I have stopped and started and started over so many times, and to see someone like you who’s made such beautiful work, and who’s stopped and started and started over, I don’t think you’ve ever stopped though. Anyway, it’s very cool. So great work, and hope to meet you one day. And thank you so much.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Thank you so much. Thank you. I am happy to hear that.

Speaker 16:

Sorry. I just wanted to ask a quick question on where you get your inspo for color palettes? And also thank you for the talk. I needed this inspiration this week, so thank you.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Where did I look for my inspiration for what, excuse me?

Speaker 16:

For color palette. Sorry, for example, the 36 Days of Type.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Honestly, I have no idea. I have no answer for that. I feel that I’m always in that field of just vibrant colors. And the colors which I have used in the last nine years, they always shifted somehow. And I remember my friend who is a Buddhist, he explained to me that there is a theory behind the colors which you use, so you can actually explain in what place in your life you are by which colors you use. So I started with reds and blues, and now I think there’s no artwork which I did where I didn’t use any pink color actually. So that’s the main theme of all of my work.

Speaker 16:

Thank you.

Hank:

Are we good here? Do we have some [crosstalk]-

Speaker 17:

Can I ask one last question?

Hank:

Yeah.

Speaker 17:

So, basically, you do so many different skills, so when you’re transitioning from work to work, is there something that is hard to do the click to start designing an interface from then working with type?

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Yeah. A change of a workplace is always challenging, but I feel that I’ve gained so much experience already and confidence that it’s a different environment. But graphic design, the rules are always the same, even if it’s on another continent. So, yeah, interface design. I also got to work on web design at Collins as well, but luckily we don’t spend too much time on it, because, again, we outsource that. But if we work on a branding project, we always get to design a home page.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

So having that experience helps to work with an interface for the future developers or the future people who followup on that project. So it’s always good to have all of the knowledge and all of the skills in your pocket, so anytime it’s needed, you actually have it and you know what you talk about.

Speaker 17:

That’s awesome. Thank you.

Hank:

Zuzanna, thank you so much for coming today and being a part of this, and sharing with everybody. And I think everybody will go away inspired big time, and there will be a lot of bright colors and balloon type coming out, and all kind of neat little graphics because of your inspiration today. And so we really do appreciate it.

Hank:

And it goes without saying we really appreciate the work you put in on the M.AD brand, and helping with that huge project. And we thank you. We’ve got one of the best identities on the planet thanks to you.

Zuzanna Rogatty:

Oh, it was my pleasure, and thank you for the invitation today. It was a pleasure to share my story.

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