This month’s art is by Holstee’s very own graphic designer, Leah Duffney. Based in the cozy woods of Vermont, she loves creating compelling visual solutions that help tell a brand’s story and make an impact. Leah believes integrity is an intricate balance between doing what is right in your heart and taking action.

Leah Duffney

Where is home for you?

Home is in the mountains of Central Vermont. 

What is your definition of a successful life?

A successful life is one you can look back on when you’re older and feel pleased with the journey you’ve lived. You are able to look back at all the adventures you’ve taken, accomplishments you’ve made, reflect upon the “downs” you’ve had and are proud of the person you have become. A successful life is one of integrity—always taking action and following your heart.

Integrity Art

Describe your perfect day.

My perfect day is when I find balance in productivity and self-care. I love being able to start my day in a way that allows me to feel full and ready to take on the rest of it! This could be a range of things like going to the gym or sitting on the front porch in the morning sun and listening to the world around me.

How did you get into design?

I was always a creative thinker—even as a child I was constantly drawing and coming up with new ways to challenge myself creatively. I took as many art courses in high school as I could and when I took my first Graphic Design class, I knew it was what I wanted to pursue as a career. What I love about being a designer is that there are so many facets in the industry—so many different areas and styles to explore. It gives me the ability to continue challenging myself and discover new ways to creatively problem solve.

Where do you find inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere! I can’t seem to walk into a store without looking at or taking pictures of inspiring branded materials—packaging, signage, product design, etc. I also look on Pinterest but most of my creative inspiration comes from Instagram! I have an absurd number of Instagram collection boards of designs, styles, techniques, and project ideas that inspire me -so when I start a new project or want to challenge myself, I can easily look back and reference those inspirational pieces!

What's your dream design project?

I don’t necessarily have a “dream” project but any opportunity to create compelling graphics/branding to support a business is always the most fulfilling part of my job. I love taking a business’ story/mission and creating its visual direction. I find joy in designing cohesive elements that tell an engaging  story that makes an impact. 

Integrity Art

Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?

There are so many people I am inspired by! I have to start by saying that Wassily Kandinsky, a 20th century artist known for his geometric shapes and lines, is someone I draw a lot of inspiration from. He is believed to be the first artist to arrive at a true and complete abstraction. One of my favorite pieces by him is titled “Composition VIII”.

But there are many modern day designers and thinkers that I am inspired by—too many to list but I have to share a few!… Olivia Herrick, Carli AnnaAmy Bridgeforth, Morgan Rapp, Kim Lincoln, Kelsy Stromski, and the teams at Outline & Stitch Design Co! These are all people and teams that I look up to when starting a new project because of their unique outside-the-box thinking, creativity, use of color and typography, and influence in the creative community. 

What was the inspiration behind this design?

Throughout my life and my career, my goal was to always follow my heart. It was never about following the money or doing things I don’t agree with—it was always about doing work and making decisions that were fulfilling and made an impact in some way, shape, or form. Design has always been something that felt natural to me so I knew that I had to follow that path, even if I didn’t know exactly what that path looked like. (I still don’t! And that’s why it’s a journey.)

So, I wanted to create a piece that reminded people to follow their inner truth and rise up to it, especially when the going gets tough. We are our integrity—our work, our decisions, our words and if we stay true to that, we will always find our way.

At the moment, what is your favorite…

Color: I love so many different colors but my ultimate favorite is matte royal blue—not specific at all, right? Ha!

Food: Oh food, my favorite thing of all! Sushi and anything pasta related are top of the list.

Song: Honestly, I have never had a favorite song! I like way too much music to just pick one. I love everything from pop, R&B, reggaeton, hip-hop, country… the list goes on. It entirely depends on my mood.

Quote: The details are not the details. They create the design.” – Charles Eames


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