Five Inspiring Designers You Didn’t Know About

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In one way or another, almost everyone has some interest in design. The field is so expansive that there has to be at least some aspect of design that is intriguing to you. Whether it is that stunning building you see while walking down the street or that luxurious purse in your closet, attractive design is hard to ignore. And behind every great design is a talented designer. Sure, we are all familiar with Louis Vuitton and Versace, but there are hundreds of inspiring designers that are not well known doing amazing things.

Proenza Schouler

Founded in 2002 by Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, Proenza Schouler is a New York based design company that focuses on luxury accessories and womenswear. The name Proenza Schouler derives from the maiden names of the designers’ mothers. The designers trained under Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors before forming their own design company. Proenza Schouler has won several awards in its short existence. Examples of design awards won by the company include the Perry Ellis Award for New Talent, the Vogue Fashion Forward Award and the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award. Proenza Schouler has collaborated with several celebrities, including Charlize Theron, Kirsten Dunst, Gwyneth Paltrow and Amy Adams.

(Images: Proenza Schouler Resort Collection Spring 2010 via

Mike Rohde

Mike Rohde is an accomplished graphic designer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Rohde specializes in icon design, web usability, corporate identity development and user interface design. Rohde is an extremely busy graphic designer. He has founded or worked for over 10 different design firms. Rohde has designed blogs, community websites and various web applications. He obtained his education from a technical college in the Milwaukee area. If you want to learn how to become a graphic designer like Rohde, but don’t have the ability to relocate to a technical college or university, there are several excellent online design schools that provide graphic design courses.

To view samples of Mike’s work, visit his website Rohdesign.

Perkins & Will

The best thing about great design is that it is all around us. Take a look at your surroundings the next time you are walking down a city street. I’m sure you will see that beautiful architecture looms large all around you. The architects Perkins & Will have been innovating trends in architecture for over 75 years. They have designed some of the most visually stunning and famous examples of modern architecture over the past decades, and they have not lost any of their creativity. Recently, the firm designed the world’s most expensive home belonging to the fourth richest man in the world, Mukesh Ambani of India. The home, located in central Mumbai, is estimated to be worth over one billion U.S. dollars. The firm designs everything from civic and cultural centers, to corporate headquarters’ and higher education institutions.

Ambani Residence, Mumbai, India

August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Kempinski Hotel & Residences, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Barbara Barry

While well-designed architecture is very important, it would be nothing if the interior spaces weren’t welcoming and comfortable. Interior designer Barbara Barry created her business in 1986 and has been creating attractive spaces ever since. Barry focuses on the lighting in every room and works with color blocks to make sure everything comes out just right. She has designed rooms for former NBA coach Pat Riley, talent manager Michael Ovitz and financier Eli Broad.

(Images from Barbary Barry’s Portfolio.)

Albertus Swanepoel

Albertus Swanepoel, one of the top hat designers in the nation, has been fixated by fashion since he was 7 years old. At that time, you could find Swanepoel creating outfits for dolls. Still obsessed with design in his 20s, Swanepoel sold his most prized possession, a piano, in order to attend fashion school. Nowadays, you can find his work in runway shows for Marc Jacobs, Peter Som, Carolina Herrera, and one of my personal favorites as mentioned above, Proenza Schouler.

(Image: Albertus Swanepoel Fall 2010 Men’s Collection)

Jameson Carney is a 20-something, artist and culture fanatic from the mid-west. In his free time you will find him traveling the world and advocating for online education.

  • Interesting article fun to read about something else :)

  • Good design is not hard to find, and inspiration is just about everywhere. These people / firms have elevated design to a different level in their own fields of specialty. It’s great to see their works being featured and recognized. Thanks!