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jay schwartz

jay schwartz


Jay Schwartz is the founder, creative director, and visionary behind IdeaWork Studios, an interactive agency with offices in Santa Barbara, Las Vegas, and New York. Since its establishment in 1999, the agency has earned an impressive reputation in the fitness, hospitality, restaurant, nightlife, gaming, and luxury industries. Schwartz’ fine art background led him to pursue graphic design at an early age, and he has designed award-winning work for clients like MGM Resorts, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, PUBLIC Hotels, Crunch Fitness, Jean-Georges Restaurants, and Cirque du Soleil. The studio has been recognized with a remarkable array of awards, showcasing the firm’s exceptional and diverse work, while remaining true to the founding premise: to be the antidote to the big agency experience. Schwartz has made a purposeful decision to be a small firm, focusing on efficiency and quality. He is also an accomplished street painter, having traveled all over the world creating murals on the pavement using chalk pastels, and been featured at festivals throughout the world.

Where were you born and where do you live now? How does that affect your design sensibility?
I was born in Los Angeles and currently live in Santa Barbara. Having offices in multiple locations, I spend a great deal of time in Vegas and Manhattan. The contrasting lifestyles inspire me all the time. I love the sophistication of New York, the over-the-top “Vegas” of Las Vegas, and the laid-back beach sensibility of Santa Barbara.

Who would you say is the most influential graphic designer of the past 50 years? How have they influenced your design?
It's a toss-up between Paul Rand and Paula Scher. Rand’s approach of distilling a brand’s essence into a single mark changed the advertising game. Scher’s bold and playful style continue to inspire. I’m drawn to the clean and bold aspects of their work.

What is your greatest strength and weakness as a designer or design manager?
My greatest strength is my ability to cut away that which is unnecessary. My weakness, of course, is my lack of a filter in critiques. I call it as I see it, regardless of how it sounds coming out of my mouth.

Favorite Color?
Favorite Typeface?
Yes. I’m a type whore. But I could not live without Helvetica Neue 35
Favorite App?
Paper for iPad. Life-changer
Favorite TV Show?
Game of Thrones
Favorite Book?
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Favorite Movies?
Inglorious Basterds, Empire Strikes Back, Caddyshack, Goodfellas
Favorite Musicians or Bands?
Too many to name. Metric, Swedish House Mafia, Jay-Z, Pixies
Favorite Fine Artists?
Beckmann, Botticelli, Benton, Picasso
Favorite Gadget?
My phone or my iPad
Bookmarked Websites?
Basecamp, Tick, Nowness, The Verge, Daily Beast, Carbonite, Facebook, Twitter
Talent You Wished You Possessed?
Mindreader or invisibility
Mantra or Saying You Live By?
“Happy wife, happy life” and “It is what it is” and “Perfect is the enemy of great”