Featured Studio

Kati Forner Design

August 2018

We chat with Creative Director Kati Forner about her very analogue college education, the design scene in LA, her first baby due in December (congrats!) plus we bond over our love for the design coming out of Mexico at the moment (we'll see you soon Mexico City!). 😍

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?

My dad is an artist and an art history nut so growing up I was exposed to painting and composition. However, it wasn't until halfway though college that I found an interest in graphic design. The design program was focused heavily on the basic design principles. We didn't even touch a computer for the first two years. Lots of memories using ruling pens and Color Aid paper. It's fun to look back at those initial assignments and explorations and see how they still influence my work today.

What is the design landscape like in your city and where do you fit in?

When I first moved to Los Angeles I was confused by the design scene. I was finding mostly large agencies with corporate, heavy-handed, masculine, design or more entertainment industry focused shops. Not to say it was bad, just a different aesthetic than mine. I originally came from the larger agency world prior to moving here, but I was over that. I did it already. It took me a while to find the smaller LA studios who's work resonated with me. That's honestly a big reason I decided to start my own thing. I knew that you can really stand out here by doing sophisticated, clean and thoughtful design. I'm pretty sure I would still be working at those corporate agencies if I didn't land in Los Angeles. I'm very grateful for my path.

What do you look for in a great client?

Hands down, trust. Mutual trust always always leads to the best results. It's no surprise to us that our most recognized and successful projects have been developed with the most trusting clients. Our design decisions are not arbitrary. They are informed by years of experience and the best of clients respect and trust that.

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Our design decisions are not arbitrary. They are informed by years of experience and the best of clients respect and trust that.

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What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate?

Someone with a point of view, who is eager, willing to learn, and not above any task (aka no ego). I am also drawn to designers who are familiar with and have a good grasp on design principles, but are also willing to break the rules.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?

Loving the design coming out of Mexico, especially from Futura and Anagrama (duh). It's also refreshing to see the interesting and inspired corporate design work from Collins, which can be challenging with the big clients. Glasford & Walker's work is so clean and sophisticated, but always has these great unexpected elements. Foreign Policy's layered approach to branding is great too, mix-matched yet still cohesive.

What's on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months?

Exciting things! I'm in talks to create a potential new partnership. It's a goal to make that happen in the next year. I also have several projects launching soon that I can't wait to share, including branding and collateral for a restaurant opening in New York, and branding and packaging for an all-natural skincare line as well as a luxury household supply company. And in my personal life... my partner and I are expecting our first baby in December. I'm looking forward to the juggle!

Website: katiforner.com

Instagram: @katiforner

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