Featured Studio

Clio Dill Design

August 2018

We love Clio Dill's approach to design. Her process is driven by structure and research with a splash of whimsical imagery. We chat about the structure her Typography 1 class introduced to both her life and design work, her positive psychology focussed passion project, 0.4 Magazine, and how she found many of her now-favorite designers.

When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?

I fell in love with design when I took Typography 1 my sophomore year of college. My professor Benjamin Franklin massively influenced me and I was obsessed by the logical and problem-solving approach by which he framed design. Type 1 introduced a set of rules and structure — something I didn’t realize I was looking for in my life at that time. I had just come back from a semester-long sabbatical, which was prompted by an early mid-life crisis when I had been considering transferring schools and switching my area of study to nutrition and psychology. However, when I went back to Washington University in St. Louis and began Type 1, I knew that design was what I wanted to do.

What are your three must-read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?

Creative Mornings - Creative Mornings is an awesome online resource for design talks. They also do monthly events for the creative community all over the globe. I’ve found many of my now-favorite designers by watching the taped talks online.

Oh Shit, What Now? by Craig Oldham - ‘Oh Shit, What Now’ is a book I picked up in London, and was the only souvenir I brought back to the states. The author, Craig Oldham, writes candidly about his experience in the design industry and gives straightforward (and funny) advice. The object itself is also cool, printed on heavy beermat board pages.

Say Hi To - Say Hi To is another blog that is great for discovering new design crushes and inspiration.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

Ngaoi Parr, Ryan Carl Studio, Gemma Mahoney, Verena Michelitsch, Noah Baker.

Ngaoi Parr is really inspirational. I came across a Creative Mornings talk she gave about how she designed her ideal day, and then ultimately her whole life around this ideal day. I thought it was really cool how she emphasized the importance of self care and leading a happy life in conjunction with running a successful design practice.

Gemma Mahoney -love her work. Her design is extremely thoughtful, curated, and her color palettes are beautiful.

Ryan Carl Studio -his design incorporates a lot of primary colors and clever word plays. I admire that he does a lot of work for himself in order to keep practicing every day.

Verena M -love her work and especially her passion project Sand & Such! It seemed to align with a lot of the intentions of 0.4 Magazine and the design is beautiful.

Noah Baker -he is a friend from school who has been doing big things! He’s at Medium now and is kind of the typography king.

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Be hungry to learn and be motivated, not discouraged, by other talented designers around you

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Any passion projects/collabs you would like to share?

0.4 Magazine is a passion project that I began a couple of years ago now. It’s a scientific-based print and online editorial, with a focus on positive psychology. 0.4 aims to address the sorely lacking resources for mental health and make academic information more accessible to the general public. Doo Doo Brand is a collaboration project that I’m excited about. I worked with artist Mia Trachtenberg, who was actually my freshman year roommate in college, to design her website for her clothing brand. She’s extremely talented and I am really proud to be part of that collab.

What advice would you give students starting out?

Be hungry to learn and be motivated, not discouraged, by other talented designers around you. Expect criticism, take it gracefully, and just roll with it (one of my favorite professors ripped up the first book I ever designed so he could reorder the pages and handed it back with red marks all over it). Be involved in the design community, locally, physically, digitally, etc. Engage in visual research — it is a vital part of the design process (this is something I didn’t learn until way later on and my work massively improved once I began to invest my time studying the work of designers I admired.) Also, don’t forget to look to the past — learn the rules before you break them. Typography is a key part of design, not an add-on. And don’t be afraid to ask for help or reach out to someone you admire! I still do this all the time.

What do you think the design community could do more of to give back?

Let’s make design that brings more people together, raises awareness of issues, and engages with other academic fields to translate important messages for wider audiences.

2018 for you in a sentence.

It never hurts to ask for what you want, you design your life and the people in it.

Website: cliodilldesign.com

Instagram: @cliodilldesign

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