Whenever I come down with a bad case of writer’s block, I turn to images and design for some much needed inspiration. Immersing myself in someone else’s imaginative world helps bring my own ideas to the forefront and often encourages me to attack that blank document once more. Looking to fellow creators for guidance can help stoke your creative fires, turning a lackluster project into one you’re proud of.
Whether you connect with bright colors, playful design, or smart minimalism, stop waiting for inspiration to strike: go out in search of it! To get your creative juices flowing, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 graphic designers to watch in 2016. I even asked our designers here at Ceros to contribute some of their favorites.
Who are some of the graphic designers you’ll be looking to for inspiration in 2016? Leave a comment with your top picks!
Who she is: Meg Lewis is the founder of Ghostly Ferns, a collection of freelance artists and designers based in New York City. She focuses on brand and product design, specializing in “creating emotional connections between [her] clients and their audience by adding personality to their brand.”
What she works on: Working with “happy companies” is Meg’s forte. She defines these on her bio page as “any business working toward making the world a healthier, happier place.” Meg has worked with Lovely & Co., Wellcoin, Barkpost, and NYC Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s Cities for Action campaign.
Why I like her: I find Meg’s playful icons and use of bright colors energizing. There’s an instant warmth when looking at her work, and I feel transported from the icy rain of NYC to a sunny park in Florida. Meg is a definite go-to when I need a little sunshine in my life.
Who he is: Born and raised in New York, Jon Contino is the owner and creative director at Jon Contino Studio. He has won many awards for his work and his honors include: Cannes Lions Winner, Clio Key Art Award Winner, Comm Arts Award of Excellence ‘15, and the AAF Seattle Addy Award.
What he works on: Jon has worked on international campaigns and advertising materials for films, album covers, and print publications. You may recognize his designs from Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Swimsuit Issue, 20th Century Fox’s The Book of Life, or the Barnes & Noble Classic edition of Stephen King’s novels.
Why I like him: Jon’s designs are bold, raw, and hit me right in the gut (in a good way). His use of pencil and paper evokes a realness, an almost palpable texture reminiscent of chalk drawings on asphalt. Deeply genuine and widely accessible, Jon’s work would feel at home on a brick building in Brooklyn or a glitzy billboard in Los Angeles.
Who she is: Based in Sydney, Gemma O’Brien specializes in typography and illustration. She made a name for herself at 21 with an experimental video depicting her body covered in hand-lettering.
What she works on: Gemma’s stunning typography and illustrations are recognizable world-wide. She has worked with many brands, including: Woolworths, The New York Times, Smirnoff, and Canon. She has also directed a new title sequence for Play House, a children’s show in Australia.
Why I like her: It’s so easy getting lost in Gemma’s whimsical art. Her style is fluid, exciting, and completely original. She doesn’t simply rely on pretty script—Gemma breathes life into words, telling stories that echo through each letter.
Who she is: An award-winning designer that specializes in everything from typography to brand management, Claire Baxter does it all. Based in Dallas, she’s the Senior Creative at digital agency and game studio Ludomade.
What she works on: Claire is well-versed in many different creative disciplines. She focuses her wealth of imagination on mediums like, photography, print design, digital design, and UX design. Dreamworks, JC Penney, Bergdorf Goodman, Scholastic, and Gamestop are a few of the many companies she has worked with.
Why I like her: Claire balances approachability with unique and playful design. She expertly draws on many different mediums to create sleek, one-of-a-kind concepts. Her charm and wit shine through in all of her designs—even her website is a fun and engaging space to explore.
Who she is: Joanna “Asia” Pietrzyk is based in Stockholm and works as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. She started the Instamissimo project in early 2014 where she illustrates Instagram photos that inspire her.
What she works on: Focusing on illustration and graphic design, Asia’s work can be seen on tote bags and in editorial spreads. She has worked with companies like Gap, Papyrus, Princeton University Press, Paper Culture, and Procter & Gamble.
Why I like her: Asia’s quirky, textured illustrations are what caught my attention. Her work is smart and simple, favoring soft hues and an uncluttered aesthetic. Asia’s designs make a big statement through a quiet elegance.
Tobias van Schneider
Who he is: Born in Germany, Tobias van Schneider is an award-winning designer working in New York City. He’s the lead product designer and art director at Spotify and also serves on the AIGA Board of Directors in New York.
What he works on: From creating new products to helping brands develop identities and interactive experiences, Tobias is a seasoned design professional. He’s worked with companies across the world, including many well-known brands like: Red Bull, BMW, Google, Toyota, Ralph Lauren, and Sony.
Why I like him: Bold and immersive are words that come to mind when looking at Tobias’ work. His art envelops you, pulling you into his world with the use of sharp text, vivid colors, and extraordinary details. Tobias’s designs are smart and exquisite—they demand your attention.
Who he is: Will Bryant works and lives in Portland, Oregon. He’s the owner of Will Bryant Studio and won the Young Gun by the Art Directors Club in 2013. Will strives to blend “humor with commerce, fun, and positivity” in all his projects.
What he works on: Will works in many different mediums, including illustration, sculpting, and photography. You can find his bright and charming work in campaigns for Fiat, Google, The White House, Nick, Jr., Girl Scouts of the USA, and Target.
Why I like him: A lover of fun and whimsy, Will’s designs are bright and playful. Will’s charming use of bright color and interesting patterns are a testament to how big his imagination is. His work is an excellent reminder that art doesn’t have to be serious for it to be great.
Who she is: Based in London, Kate Moross is an award-winning designer, art director, illustrator, and director. She’s the owner of Studio Moross, which works with companies on branding, commercial, and creative projects.
What she works on: Kate focuses on a wide-range of design mediums. Her work can be seen on magazine covers, murals, and in the fashion world. Studio Moross even created the visuals for One Direction’s On the Road Again 2015 tour. Some of her other clients include: Vogue, Converse, Walkman, Topshop, Glastonbury Festival, and Virgin.
Why I like her: As Kate states on her bio page, she is the embodiment of color. Her work is fun, energetic, and magical. The way she uses contrasting colors in her designs ensures no elements fade into the background. It’s easy to get lost in her portfolio, finding new geometric patterns to explore and different typographic art to pour over.
Who he is: Born in Australia and currently residing in New York City, Luke Choice is a multidisciplinary designer, jumping between typography, illustration, and 3D design. Before coming to the United States, Luke taught himself 3D design while living in Cambodia.
What he works on: Preferring to work in a variety of mediums, Luke uses many different design mediums to create his art. He’s been freelancing under the name Velvet Spectrum since 2007 and some of the brands he works with include: Nike, HBO, Playstation Network, American Express, and Adidas.
Why I like him: Luke’s design choices are experimental and fearless. I love that he blends 3D and illustration to create original, dynamic works. Not only is his art fearless, there’s an emotional presence in each of his pieces. There’s a heartbeat pumping through each of his designs. They pop from the screen, feeling vivid and alive.
Who he is: Ken Wong is an Australian illustrator, graphic designer, and digital artist. He has provided art direction for console and mobile games. Ken finds inspiration in retro games, traveling, and the Smashing Pumpkins.
What he works on: All of Ken’s work is digital, but most projects begin as drawings. He also works on designing games for iPads and iPhones. His projects include Monument Valley and Alice: Madness Returns.
Why I like him: Ken’s work reminds me of the storybooks I read as a kid (and still love as an adult). It’s imaginative, vibrant, and fantastical. Exploring his portfolio is like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. With each piece containing so many details, you’ll find something new in his art with each viewing.