Angular forms and vivid colors suffuse designer Elana Schlenker’s work with a sense of playfulness, but it’s impossible to miss the well-crafted compositions she brings to her projects. Schlenker attributes this to her editor’s eye—she previously worked as a book designer for Princeton Architectural Press, and at the same time, she was publishing Gratuitous Type, her own graphic design magazine. “At Princeton Architectural Press, I reached a tipping point when I realized that I had to choose between my job [there] and my studio practice,” she says. “I decided it was time to try it—it’s been the best career move I’ve made so far.” Traveling between her plant-and-book-filled home studio in Pittsburgh and the Pencil Factory in Brooklyn, Schlenker creates design work for clients using a variety of media, curates Gratuitous Type and runs Less Than 100, a pop-up shop that promotes parity to close the gender wage gap. Her ambition for the future? “I’d like to buy a storefront studio space to house a more permanent office for myself and Gratuitous Type,” she says. “The nice thing about Pittsburgh is that there’s lots of affordable space to do something like that!”
Humor and emotional connections enrich the work of this Cape Town, South Africa, artist.