Looking to add some design inspiration to your Instagram feed? We recommend following Russell Shaw. The freelance art director, designer, and illustrator is a New York Times best-selling book illustrator and designer, and his work has received PRINT Magazine’s “Best In Class” designation for hand-lettering. And with clients that include Porsche, Target, New York Magazine, and HarperCollins, his reputation clearly precedes him.
“I love working with individuals who see the world as something to contribute to rather than take from,” Shaw states on his website. “My favorite work is helping people take their wild ideas and turn them into tangible experiences — and bringing creativity, impact, and delight into each experience that is made along the way. To me, the beauty of brand identity design is not in any one single expression of the work, but in the magic of how it gains momentum when it all fits together.”
Talking about his background with The Design Kids, Shaw admitted that it was his love of infinite detail that ultimately led him into design, rather than a studio art. “I actually went into college pursuing studio art,” he said. “But one day, one of my professors approached my drafting table in a painting course and, in front of the whole class, said – and I kid you not, this is verbatim, because I have never forgotten it – she said: ‘Watching you try to create art is like watching someone drive nails through their fingers.'”
That remark stuck with him. “What she meant was that I was too tight, too obsessed with detail, and too focused on getting things absolutely perfect. And she was right. I was not mad; I think it steered me away from something I just did not have in me,” he explained. It was soon after that it all clicked and Shaw realized he could actually make a career out of graphic design. He hasn’t looked back ever since.