Process Ten: RoAndCo
Posted: April 29, 2014
As part of our city profile on New York in Process Journal Edition Ten, we speak with Roanne Adams, founder of award-winning design studio, RoAndCo.
Roanne opened her design studio in 2006 after being awarded New Visual Artist (20 under 30) by Print magazine. With a keen eye for style and a skill for refining brands into their most succinct form, Roanne is trusted and respected by clients and collaborators alike. In 2010, New York Times Magazine named her one of ‘New York City’s outstanding up and coming design professionals’. In 2011 she was among the select winners for ADC Young Guns 9, and most recently, Roanne was a jury member for the 91st annual ADC Awards. Roanne lives in Brooklyn with her husband Johnny and daughter Phaedra.
Roanne, you had an extraordinary resume even before you started RoAndCo in 2006. Can you please tell us your journey of becoming a designer? Is there one piece of advice in particular that you would give to designers who would like to follow a path similar to yours?
Why, thank you! My journey to become a designer was pretty typical; I fancied myself an artist but didn’t have the guts or the patience to pursue art as a career so I took the safe route and studied graphic design at Parsons. Thinking back to the type of art I actually made, it was always very graphic. From a young age I became obsessed with fashion magazines, album cover artwork and skate graphics and would try to recreate them in my drawings. I would labour for days over one drawing to try to get it to an almost photo-realistic place. So in the end I think it was a very wise career move for me to let go of the pencil and take up the computer!
One piece of advice isn’t enough, but if I had to narrow it down, I’d say learn your programs (Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, After Effects, etc.) inside and out. I think that one of the most frustrating things for a young designer is to have all of these incredible ideas and the drive to create, but lack the tools to make those ideas come to life.
What was the first project completed under the RoAndCo name? Has your process of working evolved since that first project? If so, how?
A project that we worked on very early on was branding and art direction for a young up-and-coming fashion designer and friend of mine named Abigail Lorick. I took all that I learned from my days at Wolff Olins working on OshKosh and applied it to Lorick. I got to work on all aspects of the brand, from strategy and art direction of her fashion shows to designing patterns for textiles. It became an amazing collaboration and really set the standard for our service offering, type of client, and the way I wanted to work with clients.
Our services have evolved and our scoping process has become much more sophisticated, but the goal is still to work with passionate, creative business owners who want to collaborate with us and lean on us to take care of all of their design needs, from creating their e-commerce store to art directing their seasonal campaigns.
We would love to hear a day-in-the-life description of a RoAndCo designer. Is your studio typical of what we may imagine a design studio to be like?
In most ways, we maintain a pretty typical design studio routine. Although we try our best to create an extremely organised and efficient workflow, we also understand that creativity doesn’t always follow rules—so each day ends up being quite special. It is a very fast-paced and creatively intense environment because we’re so passionate about what we do.
Days can become busy very quickly, with designers working on multiple projects at once and me juggling my time between overseeing design projects and running the overall business. RoAndCo is a collaborative studio, which means designers are constantly sharing ideas, inspiring each other, discussing projects together and working to come up with outstanding solutions for our clients.