Design Links: A Chain of Creative Inspiration, Part 11


Editor’s Note: This is part eleven in Emily Potts’ inspirational series, Design Links. Every other week she features three artists whose work offers fresh, fun, and stimulating creative inspiration. Each artist picks the next link—someone who personally inspires him/her. Check out the tenth part in the series, featuring Evah Fan, Son Ni, and Chihoi here.

Chihoi is inspired by ….

Hai-Hsin Huang

She inspires me because her works show so many ridiculous situations in everyday life that I realize that it cannot be done without curiosity in life.


“Horror of Happiness” is a series of paintings and drawings that examine the comfortable contemporary life in which we live. Accidental circumstances are expected to happen in the way we have been rehearsing for, like being tortured while smiling. Hai-Hsin’s has her way of capturing the ridiculous moments, and her color sense magically blends the horrible and the funny.

Scanned Image 1

“Folder Attack Issue 1 – Buddha Jumps” is a collection of comics made by five Taiwanese fine artists who normally don’t draw comics. Hai-Hsin’s work shows her talent in drawing too. The beefy and sexy characters make it a creepy and funny piece.

Starting anew ….

Emily Potts is inspired by ….

Andrea D’Aquino

Andrea’s work is just incredible. I love that she combines watercolor with collage using found materials to create crazy, beautiful images. It’s a powerful collision of styles that resonates and really makes an impact with viewers. She recently illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for Rockport Publishers, and I was blown away by her take on it. The characters and scenes magically come to life through these often perplexing adaptations at Andrea’s hands.


This single slice of cake with all those layers of imagery, just blows me away. Who would think to do that? The textures go against the cake layers, but it works.


I love Andrea’s take on Alice. In her own words: “In the end, my Alice is a bit of a perplexed observer, even with a slight ‘WTF’ expression. This is what the book is about for me. It’s about seeing things through her eyes, more than it is about her as a character.”

Andrea D’Aquino is inspired by …

Rachel Willey

Her work is so inspiring that I chose her to collaborate with me as book designer on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. She came to me through John Gall, a true hero in the world of book design, which already says a lot about her talent. I’m educated as a graphic designer myself, but part of doing good work is knowing when to work with someone better than yourself, and who can add something to the process. I also felt that we were “on the same page,” so to speak, about design in general, so it was a natural and effortless fit.


Now there’s a title that could have easily begged for a vast array of cynical and obvious directions. I love this one, as it contrasts high and low so beautifully: elegant and timeless typography plus that rude blast of the spray can in garish hot pink. So recognizable as the language of shaming and bullies everywhere, yet not so immediately obvious as a solution for a beautiful book jacket. The juxtaposition with elegance makes it work. So smart and well done.


Again, this cover shows off the strength of restraint. Beauty plus darkness, mystery. There’s no question that I’d pick this out of a pile first. It does not strive to tell me everything contained, or encapsulate the topic literally. I appreciate that, this is a cover that respects the reader’s intellect. Gold is used for richness, but nothing ornate or fanciful about it. We’re hypnotized by smart design.

Come back in two weeks to see who inspires Rachel!

T8185 (1)Delve into the vibrant history of contemporary illustration with Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts. Whether you want to learn more about the flagrant idealism of the 1960s, the austere realism of the 1970s, the superfluous consumerism of the 1980s, the digital eruption of the 1990s, or the rapid diversification of illustration in the early 2000s, get an in-depth look at the historical contexts pertaining to the important artifacts and artists of the illustration industry in the latter half of the 20th century. Get it here.