Ken Schwartz studied illustration at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and art psychotherapy at Philadelphia's Hahnemann University Hospital. After publishing his master's thesis on the diagnosis of schizophrenia through drawing, he began to apply his psychology background to his true passions: marketing and design. Over the past decade, Schwartz has worked with a broad spectrum of clients, including Miramax Films, PepsiCo, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, CNN, Volkswagen AG, Bliss and Chaka Kahn. Schwartz presently leads the graphic design department at the The Luxury Brands Group, a global conglomerate consisting of W Hotels, St. Regis Hotels and Resorts and The Luxury Collection, where his team is currently involved with launches in the Asia Pacific, Latin America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In his free time, Schwartz can be found listening to NPR, people watching in local city parks and drinking coffee.
Is graphic design a growth industry? To have prospects, designers must evolve into what the world considers a creative professional to be. A graphic designer is no longer just a person who solves problems through type. The market expects a designer to understand how technology can creatively advance clients' brands and ideas. Doors will open once designers step outside of the comfort zone of tradition.
Do graphic designers have a special responsibility to promote a green society? Graphic designers are in a challenging position. They may want to promote a greener society, but the goal may not be in line with their clients' visions and budgets. At the end of the day, most clients are not looking to save the Earth; they are looking to launch a project within budget, so they don't get fired. With this in mind, I try not to push my values on others and take comfort in knowing I carry out environmental practices in my personal life. However, I see a trend of clients finding out that green is good PR; they are getting involved as a means to project the image of a brand that cares. Looking good isn't the right reason to participate, but the net is better for everyone. At this point, it seems the Earth will take what it can get.
ONE THING I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IS my family. In the first season of The Apprentice, Trump said: "People who had bad family relationships growing up can't be successful in business, because they never learned to work well with people." As corny as it sounds, I find this to be pretty on-target. While a lot of contemporary leaders are smart, they, too, suggest that brilliance is secondary to being able to relate to, and get along with, others in the work place. I am fortunate to come from a family that went out of its way to model a positive life. Every once in a while, I realize just how lucky I am to have the past I had and to still have my family around to learn from.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
"Epistrophy" by Thelonious Monk
FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS
FAVORITE TV SHOWS
For me, the internet is mostly about accessing information immediately, as opposed to seeing what people are doing creatively. Theonion.com continually has innovative content. They are not solving global issues or anything like that, but they have retained my attention for almost a decade and kept me laughing, which is important. Also, I love experimenting with new food, so I'm constantly looking for the cross streets of restaurants on nycitysearch.com and reading their reviews. Lastly, I make sure that my own site, www.elschwartzodesign.com, is actually functional.