Zenzile Sky Lark


Zenzile is a multi-disciplinary visual-ist with strong emphasis in design and art direction, and over 10+ years in both in-house and advertising ecosystems. She believes design to be the skeletal structure that binds to the muscular nervous system of her art direction/editorial work. She sees design as the vehicle for communication and information- however without being culturally tone to the disparities and intricacies of human life, design is just that. As a minority in her field she believes in the power of sociology and the study of the human psyche in her work to make visuals that touch as well as open hearts.

Zenzile is currently an Art Director at Madwell and was a Design Lead at Girls Who Code prior. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Virginia Commonwealth University along with an MFA “Designer as Author & Entrepreneur” from School of Visual Arts.  You can find her living life through vibrating floods of color and abnormal form while submersing herself in positive sensations through her many spotify playlists, and enjoying the perks of everyday life.

Zenzile has studied under some of the world’s famous design geniuses such as Stefan Sagmeister, the late Milton Glaser, Allan Chochinov & Kevin Brainard.


As we pivot into a post-pandemic era marked by societal challenge and change, are you optimistic about the future of Graphic Design to support and shape commerce, culture and causes? Are you optimistic about the future of your own firm?


With the rise of covid I have seen the rise of user generated content. As a creative this is something I always foresaw coming- more viewers of branded content wanted to have their own voice included into the conversation whether  about product or culture. We saw more rawness, no filters, no typographic hierarchy or even gridded lines. Covid escalated this so-called “movement” in art and design. Even though it has been a struggle to quickly adapt as someone that has a grassroots design education in form and function, I found beauty in unscripted expression. I am indifferent to the future- I have always been an advocate for change and community action efforts. However as a designer I still feel the need to inform with form and function. UGC (advertising speak for user generated content) is on the rise but we still as human beings are reactive to color and iconographic signage that either tickles or enlightens. Those editorial decisions will always be in the hands of those who wield both the art of form and function as well as human psychology. In these times, one does not come without the other. It would be considered tone deaf.


We are seeing an increased focus on Package Design to advance the brand, tell the story, amplify the experience, forge an emotional connection with consumers at the moment of truth. Do you agree and, if so, what advantages does packaging have over other graphic communications? Also, do you see any notable trends regarding package graphics and/or package production?


Brand loyalty is out the window in this current age. We no longer showcase years of alliances to legacy brands especially after the sustainability movement has exposed many of them and their supply chains. This especially goes for generation z and their focus on value, access as well as authenticness. I’ve noticed the yearning for “no frills”, big bold type limited grid use and organic humanist forms and bright highlighter colors paired with neutrals. There is an excitement for new influence and breaking the norm, casting models that are self made through social media- breaking barriers in body and skin dysmorphia as well as diversity imbalance. Typography that is variable, bold and often made by smaller foundries. There is a need to be a part of the conversation by casting elements from and made in the same social ecosystems as the audience. I will never forget my first days of design school in the early 2000s where I made a print ad with gradient on gradient form with type. I was told this was wrong and to take it down in critique. I am happy to see a new world where this innate desire of mine to make something spirited exists. Rules are made to be broken, philosophy can also be questioned.