HEAD OF DESIGN WOLFF OLINS, NEW YORK NY
Lisa Smith is an award-winning Creative Director with expertise across a variety of design disciplines, from branding, print and advertising to exhibition design. After starting her career in London, she joined Wolff Olins New York in 2011. Lisa led the firm’s creative team in the execution of the highly acclaimed re-brand of USA Today garnering a coveted Silver Lion at the Cannes Lions Awards as well as a Fast Company Innovation by Design Award. She has worked across a range of categories including fashion, retail, hospitality, museums, media, healthcare and technology, for clients including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Zocdoc, Grubhub, Expedia, Microsoft and Getty Images. Lisa is a high-energy design leader with a strong vision and skill in inspiring and motivating teams.
WHERE OR HOW DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOR YOUR DESIGN WORK?
I’m pretty much inspired by everything around me. Even after being in New York for so long it can still feel new and exciting, from things I see on my journey to work to signage, fashion, and food to the people I meet. I love art, too, so whenever I can visit museums and galleries I’m in my happy place.
HOW DOES WHERE YOU WERE BORN, GREW UP OR LIVE NOW AFFECT YOUR DESIGN SENSIBILITY OR STYLE?
I was born in New York, but grew up outside of London in the countryside in a little village called Wendens Ambo. I spent my teenage years escaping and traveling into London so I could go soak up the arts and culture. This all had a huge influence on the the places I wanted to work for and the work I’ve created. Browns, where I got my career start, was very much inspired by pop culture across time, not only in London but also in New York. The founder Jonathan Ellery would always share bits and pieces with us from his trips there, until we both went together to work on one of his exhibitions. After that, I was hooked and found myself taking a job there years later. I’ve been in New York for eight years now and still have no intention of leaving.
A spectrum, I could never choose just one!
I love old letterpress and wood type fonts
FAVORITE TV SHOW?
At the moment American Horror Story
I love any music biography that can transport me to another time: Marianne Faithfull, Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, currently reading Kim Gordon Girl in a Band
True Romance, Almost Famous, In the Mood for Love, The Royal Tenenbaums, Frances Ha, the list goes on
FAVORITE MUSICIANS OR BANDS?
It’s eclectic … Velvet Underground, Björk, Saint Etienne, Daft Punk, The National, Grimes
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA?
FAVORITE FINE ARTISTS?
Andy Warhol, Martin Parr, David Hockney, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Paul Davis
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
It’s two-fold, having high energy and high ambitions, not knowing when to slow down
TALENT YOU WISHED YOU POSSESSED?
I wish I could sing … in tune!
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Be humble, not an arsehole
IF NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
Either something in fashion and textiles or a chef.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
Design is a crooked path, who knows where it’s going to lead you.