For Chicago-based Alexa Viscius, it was the all-encompassing elements of design which drew her attention to the medium. Alexa is consequently a creative with many titles, she’s an art director at design studio Normal, she’s a photographer, a graphic designer and a musician too.
Studying at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Alexa’s traditional design training “mirrored the Bauhaus curriculum,” a process which saw photography gradually become “a central facet of my design process and my photos often appear within the work or serve as inspiration,” she tells It’s Nice That. The quality of Alexa’s photographs filter into her designs physically and through mood, especially in her use of Kodak porta400 film, which “provides my photos with an attractive grit, a grainy texture that also informs my design aesthetic,” she explains.
“Like design as an art form, my process is ephemeral, and permeated my daily life,” says the designer on describing the particular style she’s crafted. “I find beauty and charm in the colours, shapes and images laden throughout Chicago’s Brutalist architectural landscape, underground music dives, and estate sales filled with vintage furniture.” The latter provides her work with a certain ornamental design flair, as “layouts often manifest from vintage magazines I stumble upon combing an estate sale,” she points out. Alexa’s portfolio is full of muted colour palettes, resembling an old publication that’s been left out in the sun too long and faded into something better. It’s this palette combined with bold typographic choices and layered photographs which make Alexa’s work what it is, and why an array of music clients keep knocking on her door.
Alexa’s actual design process is a lot quicker than the delicate results may seem, explaining that she compulsively creates work, “and design quickly without overthinking”. Approaching design in quite a sporadic way makes for the best result with Alexa’s eye on screen: “While designing, my Adobe illustrator file or cutting table exists in total disarray until a sweet spot appears and the right idea manifests itself,” she points out. “Then I say, “Oh! There it is, done!”