source: Audi of America
Meet Audi Media Designer Stephanie Schweitzer. After graduating from the West Virginia University and a job in retail, Stephanie made her way to Audi of America, and since, has followed the brand’s path strongly. Through detail, she manages to combine her unique personal style to bring life to Audi design, whether it’s on a banner or a t-shirt. Let’s dive in and learn more about a day in the life of Stephanie.
Where would you say your inspiration comes from?
As cliché as this sounds, everywhere. I look to other designers, handwritten fonts, architecture, furniture, cars, neon signs, tattoos – anything can be used as ideas for good design. Then, there are my go-to design websites that are filled with “daily inspiration” boards that I scour whenever I’m traveling or just walking around the city. I always see things.
There is design everywhere! And there are design firms I follow heavily that do branding for big companies. My eyes are always open and moving everywhere, constantly soaking things in. Nothing is too big or too small to pull inspiration from.
How would you describe your style?
Outside of my “Audi life,” I have a very minimalistic/colorful/playful style to my art. It’s a little hard to inject your own style into your work when there’s a much defined corporate identity. But I feel like I’ve kind of created my own little “Audi style”, as some of my friends at work say I “Stephicate” things.
In a nutshell, how would you best describe your role?
Constantly designing things to look beautiful while weaving Audi DNA throughout it.
What do you enjoy most about design?
What I enjoy most about the graphic design and media design world are a few things. First and foremost, I get to use computers as a tool to make my visions come to life. I’ve always been a geek and enjoy working on computers. Also, the industry is always changing, whether it be software or design trends, it always challenges you and keeps you on your toes, forcing you to think in different ways and grow an arsenal of skills. I don’t do well in environments that never change because I don’t think we learn anything from those surroundings.
Aside from the Audi t-shirt collection, what else have you been able to create for the brand?
I’ve created such a wide spectrum of things for Audi besides the t-shirts. I’ve made Photoshop mockups of special edition R8s and TTSs. I’ve done your typical poster and banner projects. Various logos for programs around the company. I’ve provided graphics for a restored VW van that resembled an old Rally Car support vehicle. I’ve created flip books, glass invitations to training events – just to name a few.
What’s one of the most memorable projects you’ve had the chance to work on?
It’s hard to just pick one because I feel like they’re all so different and hold different values for that point in time. It’s like the more they trust you and understand your passion and your goals, the more likely you get pulled into bigger and impactful projects.
If I HAD to pick just one, I would say the most memorable project I’ve worked on is the R8 special edition vehicles I mocked up on the first year I was with the brand. There was a lot of proving to do, and weight on delivering what they were asking for. It involved a lot of “Frankenstein-ing” of pieces from other cars, but long story short those two R8s went into production and were real-life tangible objects. It was pretty mind blowing to see the mockup in Photoshop to the actual produced vehicle.
What’s the best part about your job?
Being able to come to work every day and know that I’m at the right company doing things people dream of doing. If you don’t get excited and pumped up about all the amazing vehicles we have in our garage, or our lobby or what is being produced in other departments, I don’t think anything will. I’ve always had a passion for automotive – really anything with a motor strapped to it. So this blending of Audi and graphic design is a perfect hybrid for me to get jazzed and so invested in my work.
And when you’re not at Audi creating “Stephisticate” design, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time and during the week when I leave work, I’m typically indoor skydiving. It’s another passion of mine and it’s always therapeutic and very calming as bizarre as that sounds. Nothing else is on your mind when you’re in the tunnel. On the weekends you can find me checking out dive bars/pop-up bars/new restaurants/speakeasies, new museum exhibits, being a D.C. tourist and checking out new parts of the city. Those are probably my top things.
When can we expect to see the newly designed t-shirts, and where can we find them?