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Which creative, dead or alive, do you most admire and why?

We asked members of our creatives roundtable slack and accountability groups who inspire them in their creative business.


I’ve always loved the work of Luba Lukova. Illustration is not one of my skillsets so her ability to capture complex and powerful concepts in her somewhat simplistic — yet skillful — illustrations has always impressed me. And Paula Scher. I identify with her type-heavy solutions and think she is very down-to-earth when she discusses her work. CARA CAPIZZI

Luba Lukova, Delta Blues, 2012, Silk-screen


I’m a longtime admirer and fan of web designer Brad Frost. His website and blog are chock-full of wisdom and passion about the world of the web. But, I most enjoy are his Tweets where he shares tidbits about design, of course, but his personal life as well including the ups and downs. It helps me keep things in perspective. Like this tweet which pretty much sums up my approach to business: 



Steve Martin. Of course, he’s well known for his groundbreaking comedy and movie roles. But he’s also an accomplished short story and essay writer, playwright, musician, and art collector. His comedy and writing are informed by his study of philosophy and the eccentricity of human nature, and I love the way he creatively integrates those themes into his work. He’s also incredibly humble. When he made television appearances with his bluegrass band, he insisted on talking about the accomplishments of the members of the band and their music, not about himself. CAROL TUITE


The first is Doyald Young, he came to speak at an AIGA MN luncheon that I attended. It was so fascinating to hear him speak about his craft. I purchased a few of his books and love to look through them to get inspiration. Being from Minnesota, I would also have to list Joe Duffy. I still remember his quote about working in Minnesota during the winter: “What else is there to do besides work when it’s 40 below outside?” JEN LEONARDSON

I admire so many people.

I admire so many people. I believe there is so much to learn from every person we come across in our lives even if they don’t consider themselves creative. I believe we all are creative in one way or another. But if I have to pick someone, definitely is my mom — a chemical engineer by profession, but her creativity ranges from cooking, baking, sewing, crafting, candy making, to the most random solutions to fix a problem around the house or help someone in one way or another. She’ll always find a creative solution to help keep things moving forward. KARLA PAMANES


To this day, my role model is Janine Vangool of uppercasemagazine.com — she is a local creative whose passion for publishing has reached audiences worldwide. Intelligent, strong, and a woman with heart. She lives her life the way she runs her business which attracts other creatives to her. CRYSTAL REYNOLDS


So many to admire … I’m a designer and a plant person so many of those I admire are creatives in the plant world: Francoise Weeks, flower designer extraordinaire, Megan Twilegar, urban nursery woman in Portland, Debra Prinzing, founder of Slow Flowers, focusing on sustainability grown and locally sourced flowers, Barbara Blossom Ashmun, Lorene Edwards Forkner, botanical artist …. the list goes on and on! CHRISTINE RAINS

I’m going to go with Tinker Hatfield, creator of the iconic Jumpman logo. He is well-known and considered legendary, but is not himself a huge personality. His work is synonymous with great design and has had an incredible influence and impact on the culture. People still buy and collect the Jordan sneakers he designed over 30 years ago. REGGIE HOLMES

I guess, I’d say, Norman Rockwell, because I really loved the way he told a story in his paintings. He influenced me at a young age and I admired his work, probably pursuing art and design because of him. JEANNINE PAPELINO

I am so inspired by a non-creative.

I am so inspired by a non-creative, Mel Robbins. She is honest about her journey and keeps me loaded with simple ways to improve life and business. CASSIE BRKICH

My professor Don Adleta from Ohio University is the person I admire most. His perpetual calendar has received global recognition. It’s strategic, calculative, and the design is unsurpassed. All of these qualities I bring into my own work. He’s an inspiration. JENNY POFF

Oh my, I admire so many creatives. But right now Paula Scher comes to mind. She’s an icon in the design community and a trailblazer for women in this field. She speaks openly about her experiences, stays true to her beliefs, and gives back to institutions and organizations that need it. TARA HOOVER

Christine Bennett Design is one of my favorite creative people. I met her at a previous job and was instantly drawn to her warm and funny personality. When I struck out on my own, she graciously provided guidance to get me up and running. I’m still inspired by her passion — to try different things – from painting techniques to bookmaking. And she sends the best snail mail. NADINE NOBLE

I would have to say, William Pène du Bois, the author of The Twenty-One Balloons, my absolute favorite book. EMMA MCGOLDRICK

There are too many to list.

There are too many to list. But during the pandemic, I’ve really missed being able to see art, so I’m craving Robert Motherwell’s paintings. I find abstract and gestural painting really motivating. It helps me think about color and shape and contrast in a less formulaic way. I love how Motherwell can stop a brushstroke short, or leave something hanging, or make something half fucked up to feel really intentional and beautiful. I can play it quite safe sometimes, and art like that reminds me to push both myself and my clients’ expectations, beyond the ordinary. JENN COLE

Jessica Hische is the creative who I envy the most! She’s slightly younger than I am, endlessly talented, and — online — appears to have a perfect life. It’s hard not to compare yourself to other people of a similar age and career path — their accomplishments vs. yours. But then I remind myself that I’m pretty darn happy with my life and wouldn’t actually want to do a lot of what she does. (But that house, I do want that house!) LIBBY VENTURA

I really admire Jessica Hische. Elements of her early career paralleled my own, and I appreciate her candor when she talks about how her career evolved. Her lettering work is beautiful. DEB DULIN

I have been a Louise Fili fan for decades — both for her beautiful, typography-oriented design work as well as our shared love of Italy. I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to connect with her and now proudly display one of her art prints (in Italian, of course) in my office. LIDIA VARESCO RACOMA

The creative I most admire is Milton Glaser because he had a conscience, created for a great many mediums — not just print — including interiors (restaurants, museums, supermarkets, universities for example). He has little to no respect for advertising- it’s about lying. NANCY CUTLER

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