Talent Talks: Interview No. 4 with Kate Johnston

The format Talent Talks is a newbie to this year’s TYPO. Curated by designer and professor Kali Nikitas, eight refreshing positions from all over the globe share their truly creative work. Apart from sparkling self-initiated projects and inspiring design artefacts, they are showcasing most notably how cool it is to work with cool people.
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by Verena Thaller, Michael Kress, Leonie Hesse, David Jablonski & Christine Wenning

Self portrait by Kate Johnston


What was your dream job, when you were a child?

I wanted to be a poet, actually, which is kind of funny because I think typography is a lot like poetry.


Position by Kate Johnston

Position by Kate Johnston (Monotype)

What makes you different?

I think there aren’t that many other studios who are really focused on mission driven work. All of our projects have to do with helping this cause.


What is a no-go for you? Which project would you reject?

I think this a funny question because sometimes you really need money. Of course I always say “oh, I would never do a project from a big evil corporation,” but I don’t know, if I really needed work, I could maybe justify it to myself. A wonderful woman (our Treasurer) once said: “It’s just capitalism. All the money is dirty. Get the money and then you do something good with it.” I think this is an interesting model.

Position by Kate Johnston

Position by Kate Johnston (Monotype)

What triggered you to go solo and found your own studio?

I just really see the need. In my case it is organising feminist spaces in Los Angeles. I think, it always has to do with seeing or feeling a need.

Advice to young talents by Kate Johnston

Advice to young talents by Kate Johnston (Monotype)

Where are you heading?

I’ve come from a smaller branding and identity practice and I’m now heading to a larger strategy and consulting practice.




Kate Johnston is a graphic designer and co-founded the nonprofit organization Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW)

womenscenterforcreativework.com | Pants Magazine

Kate Johnston

Kate Johnston

Design Studio (Los Angeles, USA)

Kate Johnston is a graphic designer. Her practice melds the forces of language, identity, community building, communication and emergence. In 2013, she co-founded the nonprofit organization Women’s Center for Creative Work (WCCW), with a mission to cultivate LA’s feminist creative communities & practices. Kate currently serves as WCCW’s creative director. She is also principal of Radical Rules design studio; founder and art director of Pants Magazine; founding member of Confetti Confidential collage collective; and ComArts part time faculty at Otis College of Art and Design. She holds an MFA in Graphic Design from CalArts and a BA in Classics from Pitzer College. Kate lives and works in Los Angeles.