Kate Moross: Business Grrrl

Kate Moross isn’t ashamed to be a child of the MySpace generation. After all, the 26-year-old designer owes much of her success and many of her clients to aptly using the early social networking site. As a “post post punk punk,” the internet helped define Moross’ business focus of “Art + Music + Grrrl.”

Equally influenced by the Riot Grrrl movement, despite not living it, (“I wasn’t in America at this time, not I was listening to progress music, because I was…10”) and the pre-packaged British Pop capitalist “Girl Power”, Moross describes herself as hybrid, “Kathleen Hanna and Geri Haliwell squished together.” “I’m not about being underground,” Moross told TYPO attendees in her Friday evening presentation. “I’m about making money.” How she goes about making money lends itself heavily to the DIY aesthetic. Since her late-teens, Moross pounded both the actual pavement (creating concert posters/fanzines and selling them at shows or warehouse parties) and the virtual pavement (messaging clients on MySpace and offering to code their pages). Soon she found herself landing projects that were huge opportunities, despite not necessarily having the skills or knowledge. Rather than turn them down, she took them full on.

© Jason Wen

“I’m DIY without the politics,” Moross said. “Do it yourself and if you can’t do it learn.” She described a live mural project in the window of the Oxford Circus Top Shop she did in 2007. Not knowing what supplies she’d need, she rang up a more experienced artist so she could arrive prepared. “If you think you have a chance of doing it creatively, but maybe don’t have the skill, just go for it,” advised Moross. “You’ll work out the hairy bits.” In the spirit of capitalist DIY, she’s also made a career of reinvesting the profits from her commercial work into projects she loved. For example, work for Cadbury funded her record label. She also works on trade, scoring a sweet Christiana bike for building a website. Addressing the idea of “selling out,” she recognizes that punk wouldn’t back it, but it would back making and selling your own things. Moross does a lot of this both through the internet (where she models her wares) and through the occasional pop up shop.

She’s also partnered with established bands to commission unique designs, even doing Olympics shoes for Adidas. What’s next? Moross recently split herself into two businesses: Kate Moross – “the colorful, typographical, triangu-al, mural person” and Studio Moross, focusing on music-based work. Certainly DIY and collaboration will continue to fuel both projects. Recognizing the social aspect of the internet playing such a huge role in her career, Moross emphasized that “continual sharing is really important.”
Kate Moross

Kate Moross

Kate Moross is a graphic artist, art director and filmmaker from London who has a fascination with three-sided shapes, illegible typography, and freeform lettering. She has worked prolifically within the music industry designing for artists and labels such as Tom Vek, Zomby, Hearts Revolution, EMI, Sony, Island and Warner. She also works as art director for Simian Mobile Disco, Jessie Ware and L-Vis 1990. Her commercial clients include Nike, Kiehl's, Glastonbury, Nokia, and Cadbury. At the start of 2012 Moross set up a new creative design practice, Studio Moross, expanding her team and working with some of the freshest new design talent.

By Meghan Arnold