rampdesign #3

Pretty Package: Jessica Walsh

Good design can be used to inform, inspire, delight. But only if a brand stays true to itself and doesn’t aim to please everyone. Says Jessica Walsh. The creative director knows what she’s talking about. She also knows how to perfectly position herself as well – as her commitment to community and social causes show. With Jessica Walsh involved, these initiatives are bound to look good too. Makes sense. Because for Walsh, beauty is a part of functionality.

  • Interview
    Michael Köckritz
  • Fotos
    &Walsh
What drives you?

What motivates you in your work?Pushing forward our creative work, building our diverse team, and growing our business is what drives my productivity and gets me up in the morning. The work we do through our social impact initiatives such as Ladies, Wine & Design and Let’s Talk About Mental Health gives me a sense of purpose. Even when I have a lot of work on my plate, which is more often than not, I find the energy to keep going from connecting with other humans and trying to do some good in a sometimes dark world.


Can you briefly describe your studio for us?

Since I was young, it was always my dream to have a studio that was entirely my own. &Walsh is a creative team based in New York City. With our strengths in brand identity, campaigns, commercials and social strategy, we work with brands in early stages, advising on products, identifying audiences and helping to shape the brand from the ground up.

How would you describe your work? Is there a typical style?

People have described my personal work as “colorful, bold, emotional, surrealist and provocative”. I do have certain visual sensibilities, and I’m drawn to that surface as themes in my personal work. With that said, we don’t have one set style for our branding work with clients. Our goal with brands is to help them discover their own unique brand personality through our strategy phase. All our creative work is a reflection of this: from copywriting and typography to color choices and the images we create. This helps a brand build equity in something true and honest to them that helps set them apart from their competition. I don’t believe in putting my own personal style onto a brand unless it’s a match for the brand’s personality and makes sense for the brand’s goals and target audiences.

1/3
“A great brand is like a great person: true and honest about who they are and unafraid to show their true colors.”
Jessica Walsh
What role does beauty play in your work?

When we experience something beautiful, we often feel pleasure. Beauty evokes an emotional response in us. There are many different types of things that we can find beautiful across our five senses. We can see, taste, touch, smell or hear something beautiful. Beauty is a combination of shape, form, color and composition that pleases our aesthetic senses, especially sight. Beauty is not specific to one type of style – nor is it superficial. It creates an emotional response that is hardwired in us. Our brain releases dopamine when we experience beauty, similar to when we go on a good run, have sex, do drugs or eat chocolate. Beauty is a part of functionality in many types of creative work. Research has shown that beautiful environments make people behave better, lowers crime, and even helps people heal in hospitals. People choose to buy products based on the beauty of the package design. As designers and creators, we can’t ignore something so closely tied to functionality.

What constitutes “good design” in general? 

Good design is in my opinion both beautiful and functional. It’s successful at what it’s trying to achieve or communicate. Good design can be used to inform, inspire, delight, sell products or tell a story. It can also make complex topics easier to understand, make experiences simpler, reduce waste or drive attention to a cause.

Do female designers have a harder time getting recognition?

When I was in college, there were only a few women to look up to in the industry. It was a men’s club at the top. Looking at my contemporaries today, many of my favorite creatives are other women. The gender balance is improving for a number of reasons: from women’s movements, increased awareness and intolerance of sexism, men splitting parenting duties, and generally there being more women idols and mentors. With that said, we still have a way to go to equality. Privilege still plays a huge part in who receives accolades and power in our industry: gender, ethnicity and upbringing obviously still impact your chance of success or even being exposed to a field like design. But we’re making great strides from where we were a few ­decades ago.

What is the importance of design for the success of companies in general today?

I believe that the content is the most important part of a brand’s image. That means the product or service or the organization itself usually leaves the largest impression of the brand on a consumer’s mind. If you put great packaging on a poor product, you’re only going to go so far. If the product is already good, however, great design can make a product experience truly great and enhance the experience for all involved. It can help sell more products, increase awareness of a brand, build brand loyalty, tell stories and make emotional connections with consumers.

“When you try to please everyone, you wind up with a ‘vanilla’ brand that says nothing.”
Jessica Walsh
How does design translate what is at the core of the brand?

We believe that great branding work illuminates a brand’s true voice and personality. Too often we see brands fall back on identity trends that make them look like everyone else: whether that’s corporate Swiss modernism or more recently the “start-up brand” look and feel. The result is that these brands end up looking the same. When your brand looks like everyone else, it’s difficult to differentiate in the competitive landscape and create something memorable and timeless. At &Walsh, we aim to create timeless brands that stand out from the competition. To do this, when we onboard our clients, we will take them through a “brand therapy” phase. This is done through a combination of an onboarding website, stakeholder interviews and brand therapy workshops. The goal of these sessions is to help brands “find their weird”. Too often brands are told to suppress idiosyncrasies or opinions out of fear of how consumers will respond. The problem is that when you try to please everyone and avoid anything that might offend someone, you wind up with a “vanilla” brand that says nothing. No one hates those brands, but no one truly loves them either. We’ve seen that the most successful brands stand for who they are unapologetically. A great brand is like a great person: true and honest about who they are and unafraid to show their true colors. “Finding your weird” does not mean all our brands turn out bizarre. We help each brand discover what truly makes them unique, who they are at their core.

“Our goal with brands is to help them discover their own unique brand personality through our strategy phase.”
Jessica Walsh
How do you manage to make informed decisions in a complex world that can have a long-term and positive impact on society?

As a business owner, I aim to make a positive impact by working with clients that share our mission to make the world a better place to live. We accomplish this through design and with informed products and ideas. Geltor for instance is a sustainable and Earth-conscious protein brand. Another great example is Isodope, a.k.a. Isabelle Boemeke, a Brazilian model and influencer who has dedicated her platform to the fight against our current climate crisis. As a creative, I make sure I dedicate part of my time to personal projects that have long-term and positive impacts. Besides the social initiatives I’ve already mentioned, there’s also Pins Won’t Save the World, which raised over $120,000 in only three months and donated 100% of the profits to the charities under threat from Donald Trump’s administration. With the Sorry I Have no Filter photographic image series, the goal is to show my thoughts and emotions without a filter, in response to Instagram becoming a place where people try to show off their life in a pretty package – and I’m guilty of falling into that trap myself. [laughs]

Michael Köckritz

Michael Köckritz

Editor in Chief
As a journalist, author, artist and media maker, Michael Köckritz succeeds time and again in creating both attention-grabbing and sustainably stimulating impulses in the context of contemporary and future topics as well as lifestyle and luxury worlds. As publisher and editor-in-chief, he has realised a whole series of book and lifestyle magazine formats that have regularly won numerous national and international awards over the years. The car culture magazine ramp, the men's lifestyle magazine rampstyle and the design magazine ramp.design are published internationally and are considered style-setting.

Similar articles

Our Bestsellers

  • ramp #63 Happy on the Road
    ramp #63 Happy on the Road
    20,00 EUR
    Happy on the road? You bet. For any respectable car culture magazine, after all, being happy on the road is a mandatory prerequisite. Over time, and with a little bit of luck (which is, after all, a close relative of happiness), these feelings cheerfully blossom into an emotional foundation that ...
  • rampstyle #30 Blue Skies
    rampstyle #30 Blue Skies
    20,00 EUR
    After “All Summer Long” here’s our follow-up issue with the title “Blue Skies”. Of course. Because readers who know a little something about the English singer and songwriter Chris Rea will have already noticed how we’ve come full circle here. The blue sky as a symbol of hopeful optimism about what’s to come.
  • ramp #62 Wild Things
    ramp #62 Wild Things
    20,00 EUR
    Just heading along, the journey itself a wonderfully blank page that presents itself to us with a cheerful unpredictability, as an inspired playing field for trial and error, for curiosity and spontaneity, unexpected surprises and flights of fancy. Wild and untamed. Just like life itself.
  • Director’s Cut: Luxury
    Director’s Cut: Luxury
    125,00 EUR
    Luxury is enticing and exciting, polarizing and provocative, not to mention that it is good for the economy. But the essence of luxury goes far beyond the material. Luxury appeals to our senses, our dreams and our desires. It immediately evokes images that are as precise as they are diverse. Luxury also triggers some pretty clear opinions – both favorable and unfavorable.
  • rampstyle #29 All Summer Long
    rampstyle #29 All Summer Long
    20,00 EUR
    Barcelona in summer. With Alvaro Soler - and a Porsche 911 SC. An approach to the phenomenon and the person Yves Saint Laurent. We spoke with Udo Kier in Palm Springs, and Luc Donckerwolke in his garage. And then there's the cover - and the associated story of House of Spoils.
  • Porsche 911 Everlasting Love Stories
    Porsche 911 Everlasting Love Stories
    99,00 EUR
    Sixty years of the Porsche 911 – sixty years that stand for very personal, highly emotional relationships of love involving this sports car. Stories marked by love, lust and passion. Captured in this high-quality illustrated book.
  • ramp #61 Love Is in the Air
    ramp #61 Love Is in the Air
    20,00 EUR
    Blue skies, the scent of fresh grass, the warmth of the moment – but above all: sunshine. The light of the sun’s rays, scientists say, is the decisive factor at the beginning of the warm season that triggers the merry mix of happiness hormones which energetically drive us headlong into the summer.
  • rampstyle #27 By the Way
    rampstyle #27 By the Way
    20,00 EUR
    Did you know that between thirty and fifty percent of all scientific discoveries are the result of coincidence? Velcro, Viagra, X-rays – sometimes people find things without even looking for them, but they are rewarded with an unexpected alternative.
  • rampstyle #28 Into the Great Wide Open
    rampstyle #28 Into the Great Wide Open
    20,00 EUR
    An exclusive fashion editorial with Tim Bendzko. Unseen pictures by photographer Anouk Masson Krantz. A conversation with star director Guy Ritchie and a somewhat different interview with musician Dan Auerbach. All this and much more awaits you in this issue of rampstyle.
  • Director’s Cut: The Lamborghini Book
    Director’s Cut: The Lamborghini Book
    100,00 EUR
    Author texts, expert interviews and aesthetically pleasing imagery do the brand justice in all aspects and make the book a must-have for all car fans and Lamborghini enthusiasts. Alongside exclusive design sketches, an overview of all series models with full technical specifications completes this extraordinary and ambitious book project.
  • The Lamborghini Book
    The Lamborghini Book
    100,00 EUR
    Author texts, expert interviews and aesthetically pleasing imagery do the brand justice in all aspects and make the book a must-have for all car fans and Lamborghini enthusiasts. An overview of all series models with full technical specifications completes this extraordinary and ambitious book project.
  • ramp #60 Too Cool to Handle.
    ramp #60 Too Cool to Handle.
    20,00 EUR
    A magazine about coolness? Among other things. But one thing at a time. First of all, it’s off to the movies. There’s this businessman from Boston who helps relieve a bank of a substantial amount of money. The insurance companies are on to him, but they can’t prove a thing. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of...
  • ramp #59 Tomorrow Is Yesterday
    ramp #59 Tomorrow Is Yesterday
    18,00 EUR
    “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” was the title of an episode of the television series Star Trek, and although it was the nineteenth episode overall, it was the first to flicker into German living rooms fifty years ago this May. The story revolved around timelines and time travel.
  • rampstyle #26 Good News
    rampstyle #26 Good News
    15,00 EUR
    Two thin ovals far up inside a circle, a curved arc below, sketched on sunny yellow. In a split second, our brain has combined the elements into a smiling face, instantly putting us in a good mood. Wonderful! A smiley like that just feels good.
  • Men’s manual - Best of rampstyle by Michael Köckritz
    Men’s manual - Best of rampstyle by Michael Köckritz
    29,00 EUR
    Existential questions are answered here: How do I build the perfect sandcastle? How do I start a band? Is there a perfect record player? (Spoiler Alert: yes, there is). Men´s manual is a supergroup of sorts: ramp and teNeues throw together their concentrated expertise in lifestyle.
  • ramp #63 Happy on the Road
    ramp #63 Happy on the Road
    20,00 EUR
    Happy on the road? You bet. For any respectable car culture magazine, after all, being happy on the road is a mandatory prerequisite. Over time, and with a little bit of luck (which is, after all, a close relative of happiness), these feelings cheerfully blossom into an emotional foundation that ...
  • rampstyle #30 Blue Skies
    rampstyle #30 Blue Skies
    20,00 EUR
    After “All Summer Long” here’s our follow-up issue with the title “Blue Skies”. Of course. Because readers who know a little something about the English singer and songwriter Chris Rea will have already noticed how we’ve come full circle here. The blue sky as a symbol of hopeful optimism about what’s to come.
  • ramp #62 Wild Things
    ramp #62 Wild Things
    20,00 EUR
    Just heading along, the journey itself a wonderfully blank page that presents itself to us with a cheerful unpredictability, as an inspired playing field for trial and error, for curiosity and spontaneity, unexpected surprises and flights of fancy. Wild and untamed. Just like life itself.
  • Director’s Cut: Luxury
    Director’s Cut: Luxury
    125,00 EUR
    Luxury is enticing and exciting, polarizing and provocative, not to mention that it is good for the economy. But the essence of luxury goes far beyond the material. Luxury appeals to our senses, our dreams and our desires. It immediately evokes images that are as precise as they are diverse. Luxury also triggers some pretty clear opinions – both favorable and unfavorable.
  • rampstyle #29 All Summer Long
    rampstyle #29 All Summer Long
    20,00 EUR
    Barcelona in summer. With Alvaro Soler - and a Porsche 911 SC. An approach to the phenomenon and the person Yves Saint Laurent. We spoke with Udo Kier in Palm Springs, and Luc Donckerwolke in his garage. And then there's the cover - and the associated story of House of Spoils.
  • Porsche 911 Everlasting Love Stories
    Porsche 911 Everlasting Love Stories
    99,00 EUR
    Sixty years of the Porsche 911 – sixty years that stand for very personal, highly emotional relationships of love involving this sports car. Stories marked by love, lust and passion. Captured in this high-quality illustrated book.
  • ramp #61 Love Is in the Air
    ramp #61 Love Is in the Air
    20,00 EUR
    Blue skies, the scent of fresh grass, the warmth of the moment – but above all: sunshine. The light of the sun’s rays, scientists say, is the decisive factor at the beginning of the warm season that triggers the merry mix of happiness hormones which energetically drive us headlong into the summer.
  • rampstyle #27 By the Way
    rampstyle #27 By the Way
    20,00 EUR
    Did you know that between thirty and fifty percent of all scientific discoveries are the result of coincidence? Velcro, Viagra, X-rays – sometimes people find things without even looking for them, but they are rewarded with an unexpected alternative.
  • rampstyle #28 Into the Great Wide Open
    rampstyle #28 Into the Great Wide Open
    20,00 EUR
    An exclusive fashion editorial with Tim Bendzko. Unseen pictures by photographer Anouk Masson Krantz. A conversation with star director Guy Ritchie and a somewhat different interview with musician Dan Auerbach. All this and much more awaits you in this issue of rampstyle.
  • Director’s Cut: The Lamborghini Book
    Director’s Cut: The Lamborghini Book
    100,00 EUR
    Author texts, expert interviews and aesthetically pleasing imagery do the brand justice in all aspects and make the book a must-have for all car fans and Lamborghini enthusiasts. Alongside exclusive design sketches, an overview of all series models with full technical specifications completes this extraordinary and ambitious book project.
  • The Lamborghini Book
    The Lamborghini Book
    100,00 EUR
    Author texts, expert interviews and aesthetically pleasing imagery do the brand justice in all aspects and make the book a must-have for all car fans and Lamborghini enthusiasts. An overview of all series models with full technical specifications completes this extraordinary and ambitious book project.
  • ramp #60 Too Cool to Handle.
    ramp #60 Too Cool to Handle.
    20,00 EUR
    A magazine about coolness? Among other things. But one thing at a time. First of all, it’s off to the movies. There’s this businessman from Boston who helps relieve a bank of a substantial amount of money. The insurance companies are on to him, but they can’t prove a thing. That, in a nutshell, is the plot of...
  • ramp #59 Tomorrow Is Yesterday
    ramp #59 Tomorrow Is Yesterday
    18,00 EUR
    “Tomorrow Is Yesterday” was the title of an episode of the television series Star Trek, and although it was the nineteenth episode overall, it was the first to flicker into German living rooms fifty years ago this May. The story revolved around timelines and time travel.
  • rampstyle #26 Good News
    rampstyle #26 Good News
    15,00 EUR
    Two thin ovals far up inside a circle, a curved arc below, sketched on sunny yellow. In a split second, our brain has combined the elements into a smiling face, instantly putting us in a good mood. Wonderful! A smiley like that just feels good.
  • Men’s manual - Best of rampstyle by Michael Köckritz
    Men’s manual - Best of rampstyle by Michael Köckritz
    29,00 EUR
    Existential questions are answered here: How do I build the perfect sandcastle? How do I start a band? Is there a perfect record player? (Spoiler Alert: yes, there is). Men´s manual is a supergroup of sorts: ramp and teNeues throw together their concentrated expertise in lifestyle.