PRINCIPAL, PETTYPIECE & CO., BROOKLYN NY
Pettypiece & Co. is a boutique graphic design studio founded by Suzanne Pettypiece in 2013, located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Pettypiece started out her career in magazines, as an editor overseeing art directors and designers. After hundreds of cover critiques, dozens of photo shoots, and one traumatic relaunch, she learned that she belonged on the other side of the desk and far away from magazines. Today, she designs brand identities for small business owners; works with organizations serving kids, such as 826NYC and the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.; and helps nonprofits with powerful missions ‒ PEN America and DKMS ‒ stay on message by designing all types of collateral: books, websites, event branding, packaging, and more. Suzanne is a GDUSA American Graphic Design Award winner.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Born in Indianapolis, the land of corn and basketball. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for over 10 years.
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
I will forever take courses at the School of Visual Arts.
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
Right, literally, and left, figuratively.
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
I get a solid eight hours of sleep and am whatever that makes me.
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU’VE ALWAYS IDENTIFIED WITH?
Murakami’s Tsukuru Tazaki comes to mind for obscure reasons.
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
I love music ‒ listening to it that is. I once knew how to play songs on a piano.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TV SHOW?
I watched WAY too much television. And way, way too much MTV, but that was back in the day of Matt Pinfield and Liquid Television, so I’m okay with that.
LAST BOOK YOU READ?
The second book of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet, The Story of a New Name. I’m now finishing up the third in the series.
An older cat, the Lucs, who I like to pretend is still a kitten.
WHAT LANGUAGES ARE YOU FLUENT IN?
Despite a solid seven years of studying French, sadly only English.
My Life As a Dog
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
Can’t say I have one. But I do find myself seeking out more work from Kiki Smith.
826NYC, the incredibly important and creative nonprofit organization founded by Dave Eggers, dedicated to supporting underserved students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills. (Full disclosure: my husband is the executive director.) Original design for the storefront was done by Sam Potts, and Chip Kidd’s done work for them too ‒ a designer’s dream to be affiliated with it all.
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Reading, collaging, and completing an unfinished adult novel and self-publishing a middle-grade novel.
WHAT’S THE LAST COMPLIMENT YOU GOT?
That I inspired a friend to call the members of the House Oversight Committee.
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING?
Books. I actively try not to, but can’t help myself.
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN?
DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN MENTOR OR INSPIRATION?
Yes! All the instructors I’ve had at SVA. Kevin Brainard, Richard Mehl, Sue Walsh, Anita and Zeppetelli. I recently had a terribly cliché dream that they were all on a panel judging me as a designer.
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Design lots of stuff. Start with one concept. Pull down a new page or art board. Refine. Pull down a new page or art board. Refine. Repeat 10 times. Sleep. Look at them all again, and start eliminating. Sleep. Refine.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
An editor, which I’ve already been.
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
Take a breath.