Introducing Ashley!

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest changes you will see on DWL in the coming weeks is the addition of new writers. So let’s meet the first: Ashley Rutter! Ashley and I (and Brian too) actually went to school together at Syracuse several years back. We were technically a year apart, but ended up in a few of the same classes during our junior and senior years. Back then, sitting through 6+ hour critiques every week allowed us to get to know each other pretty well as fledgling designers, so I’m really excited to be working together again in this whole new environment. Ashley’s posts will launch every Monday and focus on photography (mostly of the mobile variety), one of her biggest passions. So without further ado, let’s get to know her a little better.

First, tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

After studying Communications Design at Syracuse University, I started out my career in package design before moving into advertising and B2B communications. And I am currently a Senior Art Director at Ryan Partnership where I work on digital campaigns for Dove (personal care, not chocolate) and Simple. I design everything from large scale websites and activations to small scale emails and banner ads. I also run a blog called Girly Obsessions, which is like a second full-time job. My “free time” is spent taking and editing photos, traveling, baking, going to concerts, reading and catching up on my DVR.


Where are you located? Do you feel like your surroundings have an impact on the work that you do?

I am located in Fairfield, CT, although originally from Maryland, which might have more of an impact on me than my current surroundings. I love being close to the city which is great for finding inspiration, but overall, I feel like my life is spent online which I think impacts me the most.


Tell us about a recent (or current) project you’re excited about.

I’m really excited about a project I’m currently working on for Dove. I can’t give details since it hasn’t launched yet, but it’s a high profile project, and the design is 100% mine. No one else has touched it and it was approved by the client as-is, in the first round. Something that rarely happens. So for that reason alone, it’s now my favorite project. As far as projects outside of the office, I am currently working on this years Girly Gift Guide for my blog, which is something I love creating!

Does a “typical day” exist for you? What does it look like?

Yes and no. I do have a full time job, but like any designer, it’s never 9-5. I would say the only thing that’s “typical” about my job is that I show up every day.


What does your workspace look like right this minute?

I would like to say that I have some amazing workspace filled with inspiration and reference and sketches, but I don’t. My workspace usually looks like this:


Camped out on the couch with my laptop, iPad and two doxies. I do have an office with a desk and a large display for doing more intense design work, but I usually prefer to work while watching reruns of The Big Bang Theory.

What’s inspiring you right now?

I am continually inspired by Kate Spade. Not necessarily by the products they sell (although I do own my fair share), but by what the brand stands for: living colorfully. Everything they create is whimsical and charming, but bold and graphic, with just the right amount of girly sophistication. I also love their use of color, pattern and typography.

Who are your heroes (professional or otherwise)?

This is always a hard question for me to answer. I can’t just name one or two specific people. I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many talented individuals, professionally and personally, who inspire me on a daily basis — people I respect and look up to and push me to do my best work.


What’s the last thing you saw online that made you laugh, smile, think or take action?

The last thing that made me laugh was a round-up of Jennifer Lawrence quotes — that girl is a sound bite machine! But the last thing that made me take action was this site: As in, I ordered one. I love technology and gadgets, and even though Coin is still working out funding and details, I support any product that works with my phone and clears up space in my wallet!


When you get the chance to disconnect, where would we find you?

Probably in front of the TV — I’m addicted. Or reading a book. Or, in a perfect world with unlimited funds, I’d be in my weekend house in Provence. With unlimited prosecco.

Rapid-fire round. Give us five current of-the-moment favorites:

  1. Typeface: Hipster Script
  2. App: Paper
  3. Website: Buzzfeed
  4. Word: Sparkle
  5. Book: Vanity Fair 100 Years

Courtney is the founder of Design Work Life and Seamless Creative, a small design studio she runs with her husband Brian. She now splits her time between developing brand identities for small businesses and soaking up (and passing along) as much inspiration as she possibly can.

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