Kate Moross on her unorthodox approach to work and what she considers good design

The multi-talented creative talks starting a business and what makes her visual style different.

If there’s one thing that Kate Moross is good at, it’s breaking the rules. The designer, illustrator, art director, and founder of Studio Moross is undeniably one of the most sought after collaborators in the design world and it’s not hard to see why. A quick glimpse of her colourful, energetic, and infectious illustration work and it’s clear why enormous brands like Cadbury, Topshop and Parklife Festival have clamoured to work with her.

“I like originality, weirdness, simplicity…there’s nothing specific where I go, ‘Oh, this is great,’” Moross says of how she sees design when we sit down with her following her talk at the 2017 Design Indaba Conference. “I can enjoy really macabre, dark photography as much as I can enjoy beautiful, colourful architecture. For me there are no rules about what’s good.”

Intrigued and inspired by the unconventional, when Moross travels, she’s not looking to visit the most prestigious art gallery or get her hands on a copy of a beautiful art book. Instead, you’re more likely to find her in a local grocery store admiring the region’s food packaging or walking down a random street checking out what that area’s telephone booths look like.

“Those things, that kind of design,” she says, “is what I find interesting.”

It’s from this unorthodox curiosity that much of Studio Moross’ work emerges. They work differently in comparison to many other design companies, with each employee managing their own projects and communicating directly with their clients. Moross believes this allows for an efficiency that others find hard to manage and she sees this level of professional engagement as something that truly sets Studio Moross apart.

With a vast array of projects that range from the creation of the stage visuals for One Direction’s On The Road Again World Tour to the development of the entire brand identity and visuals for the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, Studio Moross’ work is eccentric, unexpected, and in no way conforms to what most would consider graphic design to be. Perhaps that’s why, when we ask Moross what she’d be doing if she weren’t a designer, her peculiar response comes as little surprise.

“If I wasn’t a designer, I’d probably be a detective,” she laughs. “I like solving problems and I like conspiracy theories and crime and criminology and that’s just kind of like a weird hobby I have. So I’ve always liked to imagine what it would be like to be a detective on the police force.”

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