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Katie Kirk is a graphic designer and illustrator living and working in San Francisco. With a love of vector art and patterns, she is always in the mood to scheme, collaborate and create. With her husband Nathan Strandberg, she started multi-disciplinary design boutique Eight Hour Day.

Katie and Nathan aspire to live a designed life(style)—where work, play and inspiration are all equal and integrated organically. In 2009, Communication Arts certified them "Fresh"; in 2010, HOW featured them in a cover story. Eight Hour Day’s client list includes Target, the New York Times, Chronicle Books, Wired and the Walker Art Center. Their children's book Eli, No! was recently released under Abrams Publishing and the duo just completed One Year, a yearlong journey around the US in search of inspiration.


A Mix That's As Organic As Possible

If you have a degree in what field is it? A BS is design communications from University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Which designer (or design studio), other than yours, do you most admire? I am completely in love with Werner Design Werks for so many reasons.

What’s the strangest request you’ve received from a client? Well, when we did branding for Manifest Digital they requested a glyph language. That was pretty awesome work.

If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing? Probably running a bakery.

What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign? Oh good God, I wouldn’t even know where to begin...

From where do your best ideas originate? I think they’re a mix of things I see online, things I see in real life and things rolling around in my head.

How do you overcome a creative block? I usually start looking around online to see if I can get the creative juices flowing again.

What’s your dream project (not client, but project)? I would love to do more product-related design for ourselves.

Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design? Baking.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? Try to allow the mix to be as organic as possible.

What product/gadget can you not live without? My 17" MacBook Pro.

What’s your favorite quote? “Lots of people have talent, but it’s the hard work that sets you apart.” —Bob Croslin

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Trust your instincts. Learn to do it better next time. Sometimes you have to remind yourself it's just a job.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? It’s a marathon, not a sprint.