Jessica Walsh : What the launch of ‘&walsh’ means for graphic design
What the launch of ‘&walsh’ means for graphic design (2019)
Following 10 years alongside Austrian designer Stefan Sagmeister, Jessica Walsh announced her step back from the NYC creative agency 𝘚𝘢𝘨𝘮𝘦𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 & 𝘞𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘩 in July of last year. The duo have an extensive list of celebrated clients, ranging from Silicon Valley juggernauts Snapchat and Apple to the musical likes of Jay-Z. Though the two continue to collaborate & remain friends, Jessica’s departure and the launching of ‘&𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘩’ marks an intriguing point of transformation for the design industry, magnifying major gaps within gender equality at the corporate level.
Walsh studied graphic design at the private Rhode Island School of Design before meeting Sagmeister in 2010. The duo bursted onto the design scene in notable style 2 years later, announcing their alliance through a naked portrait of them standing side by side. The multi-talented illustrator has made her name a staple in the graphic design community through her brilliant ability to fuse eye-popping colour palettes with award-winning typography. Aside from her various accomplishments in graphic design, Walsh is also behind the popular project ‘𝟺𝟶 𝘋𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘋𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨’, a social experiment she created that went viral and has since had its cinematic rights purchased by the Warner Bros. With a growing list of accolades, the birth of Walsh’s independent agency ‘&𝘸𝘢𝘭𝘴𝘩’ acts as a powerful statement in the realm of design. Gone are the days of a female artist or designer depending on a male counterpart to direct or embody their vision. Walsh would expand on this idea in an interview with De Zeen, pondering the fact that though 70% of design students are female, less than 5% of CEO’s at creative agencies are female.
In her quest to combat the above sexism in the industry, Walsh has founded the ‘𝘓𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘞𝘪𝘯𝘦 & 𝘋𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯’ initiative to connect & empower creative women. She also delivers regular lectures/talks across NA & Europe shedding light on the issue.