me@clairesmalley.com

I am an art director, graphic designer and educator specializing in content, publication and web design. With more than ten years of professional experience working across print and digital media, I organize information to be clear, accessible and engaging. My work is founded in beautiful typography and thoughtful concepts. Explore my portfolio.

Expertise

Art Direction

Content Design

Content Strategy

Editorial Design

Identity Design

Publication Design

Typography

UI/UX

Web Design

Background

In preschool I skipped nap time to draw. As a teenager I sang in classical competitions. In the closet of my childhood bedroom lie boxes of journals. I’ve always loved to create. But my passion for creativity was only partially fulfilled by the arts—I didn't just want to make art, I needed to solve problems. 

When the head of the graphic design department at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) showed me work by Marian Bantjes and used words like letterform and serif, I fell in love with typography instantly. Design gave me the opportunity to use the creative and logical parts of my brain in tandem. I could be meticulous and obsessive and then stand back to consider the big picture.

At MICA I majored in graphic design and minored in creative writing, choosing electives like publication design and bookmaking. Later, I studied publishing while earning a Master of Art from London College of Communication. As I absorbed their histories and philosophies, I came to appreciate the shared demands of design and storytelling: the simultaneous awareness of what is both on and below the surface; a balance between the literal and the abstract.

Over the course of my career, my portfolio has expanded to include websites, brand identities and data visualizations. While teaching visual web design at General Assembly, I created lesson plans, led critiques and honed my ability to offer constructive feedback and mentor both designers and non-designers alike. As a professional graphic designer and then senior design manager at 2U, I hired, managed and art directed a team of editorial content designers while collaborating with writers, editors, senior leadership, and strategists to solve marketing challenges—from producing keyword-driven blog posts to designing websites on behalf of major universities.

I am a communicator, maker and organizer who thrives when challenged. I love to make and execute plans, play with new materials and create order where there is chaos. Outside of my professional work I enjoy using recyclables to make toys for my son, researching perennials for my garden and attempting DIY home improvements.

Approach

I believe that design is not an act of decorating or beautifying but rather organizing and integrating images and text to capture the attention of a specific audience and provide an engaging, visual experience.

Successful design is grounded in research. Visual elements are selected not based on the designer’s personal preferences, but on the concept and meaning behind what is visible. The story drives the design; form follows function. In the words of typographer and book designer Jan Tschichold, the designer is a “servant of the written word.”

Things That Lose You
Book design, bookbinding, illustration, writing

Creative Play School
Web design, visual branding, writing

Prescribing Parks
Illustration, infographic

VoteVA
Web design and development, content development, writing

Home Book
Book design, content development, editing, print production

Correction
Book design, bookbinding, content development, photography

Freedom's Journey
Web design, editorial design

Alice's Adventures
Book cover design, illustration

Food Deserts
Web design, infographics

Guide to the Common Core
Web design, illustration, animation

Mohawk Paper Book
Book design, bookbinding

Issue Mapping
Illustration