Ilana Greenberg


Ilana Greenberg is the Creative Director of Graphic Design USA (GDUSA), a news magazine for graphic designers and other creative professionals. For over two decades, she has overseen and elevated the overall identity and design of the print magazine, 5 national design competitions, as well as the company’s website and social media coverage. When not at GDUSA, she designs for many educational organizations including Girls Who Code, Greene Hill School, NYC Opt Out, and Change the Stakes. Ilana began her career at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she worked in both the Special Publications and Editorial departments. Ilana is also a painter and illustrator and owns an art gallery in her beloved hometown of Brooklyn. Her popular paintings are sold online through national retailers including Ethan Allen, One Kings Lane and Minted.

Has the pandemic changed your workplace and your workflow? Do you expect to return to pre-pandemic ways of working or will any changes become the ‘new normal’?

I am so fortunate that I have been able to transition rather seamlessly to a virtual workplace. Graphic design, as a field, has always been dependent on online communications, so I haven’t found the shift to a remote lifestyle that challenging. At the magazine, I now receive files electronically, rather than going into the office, but the design and production process has not changed at all. Working from home hasn’t interrupted my digital workflow but it has changed where and when I work. Before the pandemic, my husband would leave before 6 am to teach high school Math and my two teenagers would be out the door not long after that. Finding time to focus on work was much easier before my kids began learning remotely from their bedrooms and my husband started live streaming to his students from our living room. Now I must find the time to design between making lunches, dodging unwanted zoom appearances, and unwittingly learning about quadratic equations. I do believe that things will eventually phase back to pre-pandemic conditions, but I also think that many people will permanently be working remotely and that face time, for the foreseeable future, will only be FaceTime. Even with the cramped quarters and erratic schedule, I am very thankful to have a great job, while so many others are suffering and out of work.

What do you expect 2021 to hold for graphic designers and the design business? Have the challenges of 2020 changed the way you think about your job and career or the role of design?

I think that 2020 has elevated the role of the graphic designer and 2021 will only increase the need for effectively-designed communications. One longtime client is an Italian restaurant called Barbalu. Once the pandemic hit, Barbalu and all other NYC restaurants were forced to shut down indoor dining. Designers had to quickly pivot to create take-out menus, upgrade online delivery services, facilitate outdoor dining structures, and modify signage to meet health regulations. I also design for many nonprofit institutions and new opportunities for design work came from schools and charities that required pandemic-related information added to their literature and websites. Graphic designers are at our core communicators. During challenging times, it becomes even more essential to inform and educate others through simple and smart design.