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Featured on Sep 28, 2011

Roanne Adams

"Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions."


Roanne opened her design studio in TriBeCa in 2006 after being awarded New Visual Artist (20 under 30) by PRINT magazine. With a keen eye for style and a skill for distilling brands into their most succinct form, Roanne is trusted and respected by clients and collaborators alike. In 2010, she was named by NY Times Magazine as one of six “New York City’s outstanding, up and coming design professionals”, and in 2011 she was among the select winners for ADC Young Guns 9.

Roanne has a BFA in Communication Design from Parsons School of Design. While at Parsons she worked for Honest, Surface to Air and Lansing-Dreiden. Prior to launching RoAndCo, Roanne worked as a graphic designer & art director at Wolff Olins. 

Roanne's unique perspective on branding and the creative world has fueled the growth of her company, and attracted the interest of talented designers, photographers, artists, and clients.

In 2010, you were named by NY Times Magazine as one of six “New York City’s outstanding up and coming design professionals.”  Do you have any advice for recent graduates who want to pursue design as a career?

My advice to graduates would be - Wow, you have a wild journey ahead! First off, you need to be as passionate and charismatic as you can. The job market is tough, and employers are looking for people who are serious self-starters and beyond motivated. I can't stress enough the importance of knowing your design programs in and out. You need to know how to use all of the Adobe programs like the back of your hand. It’s impossible to get your fantastic ideas out into the world these days without seriously leveraging technology.

I found that I didn’t learn much about the industry until I was out in the working world. When I was in school I was far more interested in the craft - which I think is what design school is for. It’s the only time that you can really focus on your craft and fine tune your style. I didn’t know much about the practical side of the industry like print production, budgets, proposals, pitches etc. As a designer, I think it’s incredibly important to understand your craft as well as your business no matter where you work or what type of design you do.

What’s your favorite holiday?  Do you do anything special to celebrate it?

Halloween! My husband Johnny and I like to coordinate our costumes. One year we were flashers and created our own nude suits, and another year we were post apocalyptic riders (sort of metal meets Mad Max). If you Google search "Day of the Dead costumes" we are the first Google image to pop up (thanks to Refinery29)!!

What were some of more memorable challenges that you ran into when transitioning from working at Wolff Olins to starting your own design studio?

There were a ton of fun challenges - like figuring out how to register my sole proprietorship with the city of New York, get myself health insurance, figuring out how to write proposals and invoices, as well as how to manage employees and win new business. I luckily kept good relationships with my co-workers from Wolff Olins and teachers from Parsons so all my questions were answered. I also bought a bunch of books on how to run a design studio and how to create budgets. The transition felt natural and the growth of RoAndCo has been organic. At the beginning, my motto was "baby steps". Now it’s all about "leaps and bounds"!!

Web Designer, User Experience Designer, Founder, Design Director, Designer