As another successful Design Week Tallahassee draws to a close, organizer and graphic designer Brittany Gress reflects on her goals for next year’s event. Founded by designer Stephanie Irigoyen, Gress first attended Design Week by chance three years ago and was delighted to stumble upon a community of likeminded people. She felt energized by Irigoyen’s spirit, and took on organizing responsibilities for this year’s event, which included five workshops, five socials and four talks given by local and national designers. For coming Design Weeks, she is hopeful that more local designers will become inspired to step up into leadership positions.
As a member of the local American Institute of Graphic Arts chapter, Gress also wants to remind designers of the year-round events they can take part in, such as monthly Designer Drinks meetings and Coffee & Creatives meetings every second Wednesday of the month.
“Design Week has a very simple mission to have locals in Tallahassee be uplifted, share their ideas and learn,” says Gress. “It should make you more excited about what you love to do. I want people to walk away inspired and with a friend or two.”
This year’s theme, “Imagine” spoke to Gress’ vision of having designers become invested in the city and what they can achieve together. Gress says this is sometimes a challenge, as designers tend to be more introverted, but that establishing a support system where they are celebrated and showcased is imperative in order for their community to grow. Gress feels design stands apart from other fine arts as a more straightforward medium of communication.
“You can reach people by writing to them or talking to them but when you see something that speaks to you that is something that is immediate, intense and stays with you,” describes Gress. “It’s an effective way of communicating because it gets to the heart of a problem.”
Starting out as a creative writing major, Gress ultimately graduated from Florida State University with a degree in design.
Gress says she is also grateful to Julietta Cheung, who was her professor of typography, text and media, for giving her the tools to investigate her design ideas to their fullest extent. Currently, Gress takes on projectbased work, which is reflected in her somewhat eclectic style. She’s drawn to stark, contrasting colors and will work in blacks, whites, reds and sometimes golds, though she’s continually challenging herself to branch out.
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