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Interview with Kristin Casaletto

Home > Designer Interviews > Kristin Casaletto

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Kristin Casaletto (KC) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Kristin Casaletto by clicking here.

Interview with Kristin Casaletto at Monday 24th of April 2017

FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
KC: I've been drawing and creating since I was a little girl. I didn't really find out what graphic design was until I got to college, but it seemed like the most natural direction to take so I could work and be creative on a daily basis. I was also able to combine my love of drawing into an illustration degree as well and it's been a wonderful compliment to my design work.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KC: I work for Sasquatch, a medium sized agency in Portland, Oregon. We specialize in 3 main areas: Eat, Drink & Play. Within the Drink category, we've carved out a packaging department focused on beer, wine and spirits.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KC: Design is visual language and problem solving.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KC: I love designing packaging for alcohol brands. A lot of times it's such a blank canvas and there's a lot of room to inform the brand direction by what you create.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KC: Not sure I have one favorite, but pretty much anything from Stranger & Stranger is wonderful. They are definitely one of my hero companies.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KC: First thing ever? I think a logo for my brother-in-law's company while I was still in college and still figuring out what graphic design was. After college, it was a set of informational kiosks for the Miners' Memorial Park in Pittsburg, Kansas. The park was started by my grandpa, Louis Casaletto, to honor the coal miners from that area.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
KC: Paper! I love print pieces. I think it's amazing what you can do with paper, especially with new print technology and the beautiful papers we have access to now.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KC: This might sound a little backward, but I think I feel most creative when I'm looking at work by other people. It doesn't really have to be graphic design work. I just love seeing how other creatives' brains work and what they have built, designed, created, etc., and how they've pushed the boundaries. Architecture, interior design, typography—all of it gets me really excited and inspires me to create things that I hope are also pushing boundaries.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KC: I think it's important to start with messaging first, then go from there. Even if what you've made is pretty, if you're not saying the right thing with your design it's not going to be successful.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KC: It really depends on what I'm working on. If it's something that excites me and pushes me creatively then I'm usually feeling a mix of passion, motivation and anxiety. The anxiety part is key. For me if I don't feel a little bit of that, I'm probably not pushing out of my comfort zone enough.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KC: There's pride and sense of accomplishment. That's why I love working in packaging. It's usually a show piece designed to catch someone's attention. You get to put a lot of creative energy into it and it's exciting to see the final product.

FS: What makes a design successful?
KC: Back to messaging first. Are you reaching your intended audience? Is the message there? Then definitely aesthetic beauty is huge. You have to draw someone in with your design and grab their attention.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KC: Is it aesthetically pleasing? Does it stand out from the rest? Is it conveying the right message and reaching the audience it's meant for? There are a ton of aspects to good design, but these are high on the list for me.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KC: As designers, we have a huge responsibility to society and the environment to constantly be educating ourselves about new, greener technologies and then to educate our clients with this info. We have a lot of power to inform how people think as well, so it's important to know where you stand on certain issues as a designer.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KC: For one, designers are younger and younger these days. It's natural that designers start early now with the access they have to technology. I think that also creates a need for a lot more digital design as well.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
KC: March 4th & 5th in Portland, Oregon. I'm not sure when the next will be.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KC: Inspiration comes from everywhere. Signs on the street, architecture, magazines, antique shops, vintage books and online sources. I also like looking at some of my favorite blogs: The Dieline & Oh Beautiful Beer, but it's also interesting to just scan through Pinterest sometimes.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
KC: I think my design style is pretty diverse. I like to try new styles a lot and challenge myself to do things differently than I have for previous projects. I always want my work to feel fresh and new instead of staying in the same style.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
KC: Portland, Oregon. I'm sure the cultural heritage of where you live affects everyone's designs to a certain extent. Politics, cultural aesthetic, worldview, etc. of the area you live would all affect design. The pros of where I live are many. I have access to a huge design and art community and there's excitement in those areas. Cons are probably lack of cultural diversity.

FS: How do you work with companies?
KC: We try to maintain a close partnerships with companies and build relationships. We like to work with people local to the area so we can get more face-to-face time, but we work with clients from all over.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KC: I think it's important for companies to educate themselves on the design process before going into it. Often times clients aren't aware of the steps it takes to create thoughtful and beautiful designs. There is an extremely wide range of designers in the world. If they are barely charging anything for their work, they might be skipping some important steps. Be aware of that before choosing a designer.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KC: There's a lot of research up front. Learning about the client, what they do and who their target audience is. There's also a lot of stylistic research to be done. What style best represents the client and is there a direction that is more appropriate. Next comes concepts and sketching, into design rounds before landing on a final product.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
KC: That's a tough one. I'm going to have to think about it.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KC: Walk my dog and get ready for work. Head to the office and coffee is first thing. Depending on the day, I'm either in a bunch of meetings or researching or sketching for current projects.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
KC: Try lots and lots of things to find what you're passionate about. And if you don't have a job that is giving you great portfolio pieces to land an even better job, then create your own work. Don't wait for client projects. Create some passion pieces. Maybe you redesign your favorite brewery's packaging or the book cover of one of your favorite books. Just create some work you're proud of and that you put a lot of effort into so you can show off your talent.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KC: A few positives are getting to be creative on a daily basis, work with other creatives and usually work with clients that are really interesting. One negative can be stress when you're expected to design on demand.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KC: Do no harm

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KC: Curiosity, computer skills, composition & typography skills, communication

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KC: The Adobe Creative Suite, namely Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign. I love my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. I take it pretty much everywhere and I'm always sketching on it. Whether it's for a new design or just doodling some illustration pieces, I just like how accessible it makes creating wherever I am.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KC: I keep a written planner and fill out my weekly goals and schedule. I'm a visual person so having a digital calendar isn't enough for me. I like the have my planner with me all the time so I can easily reference what's going on.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
KC: That's not an easy question to answer. It really depends on the project.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
KC: Where do you get your inspiration?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KC: Probably my first job in Portland. I was able to work on wine packaging and it's when I discovered how much I enjoy packaging work. It was a brief experience, but it provided me with a portfolio that led to bigger things down the road.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KC: Widmer Brothers Brewing, Redhook Brewing, Craft Brew Alliance, Double V Distillery, Colter's Creek Winery, and more.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KC: Spirits packaging is up there. I like being able to combine illustration with design as well.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KC: Keep growing and learning. I'd love to get more spirits projects. I really enjoy working on the packaging for spirits. I also want to help other designers find their passion and grow as well.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KC: A combination of both. I usually start alone by doing some research and sketching, then I bring my ideas to my team and we discuss our combined thoughts and the direction we'd like to go.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
KC: Nothing I'm able to talk about currently

FS: How can people contact you?
KC: By phone or email, either way.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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