Print to Web: How Julianna Goodman Made the Switch

Julianna Goodman, owner of julianna goodman / design + art direction in New York, has a resume worth envying. Her first job post-graduation was at Razorfish, a hot web company at the moment. But she actually worked in a small part of the company that focused on branding and print projects. Later, she freelanced for Apple on the second revision of the iPod packaging and spent a couple years as a permalancer for MoMA, where each exhibition became its own branding/identity exercise. Here’s how she moved from all that exquisite print work into the digital realm.

julianna goodman, interactive designer interview

Photo by Leslie Williamson

When and why did you decide to make the switch from print to interactive design?

I worked at MoMA about two years as a permalancer, and then took some time off during the summer to work on a self-initiated animation project. This was my first experiment working digitally. It was through working on this project that I discovered there is room for a more tactile aesthetic sensibility within the digital space, and working with time, sound and motion for the first time very much challenged and inspired me.

After finishing this project, I coincidentally received an invitation to interview for an associate web art director position at Kate Spade New York. I had always felt like Kate Spade was another brand that supported great design, so I accepted the freelance offer, and eventually ended up signing on full-time.

It was a fantastic opportunity, as their entire e-commerce experience was in the process of being re-launched. There was a lot of opportunity (and need) to create rich content that would support sales and engage their customer base.

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Were you intimidated when you first started to learn about web design?

Yes. I think initially the idea of creating a user experience, digitally, was a huge shift in my design thought process. Additionally, the emergence of a two-way conversation through social media was a new consideration as well. As this began to tie into everything we were doing online, suddenly there were a lot of new things to think about, simultaneously. And very little time with which to think it through!

What’s your job like now? What kind of interactive projects do you work on?

I decided to leave Kate Spade last summer because I had some independent projects I wanted to devote some time to, one being an idea for an app that had been churning around in my head for some time. It’s an interactive children’s book and is currently in the development phase. I can’t say much more about it at this point, but I feel like it’s a great marriage of all of the things that I love with regard to working digitally. I also still engage in a lot of branding projects. Often, however, those now often involve a digital component and/or focus.

What do you think is the hardest thing for long-time print designers to grasp about interactive design?

Creating a user experience that is engaging, elegant, logical and efficient. Newbies should work closely with trusted developers and/or UI designers for continual feedback as they design!

On the flip side, what do print designers know that’s an advantage in the interactive space?

There are many aspects of print design that carry over interactively: A great book designer’s sense of pacing, for example, could enrich an interactive experience enormously. Attention to typography is crucial and sometimes not as carefully considered within the interactive space. Print designers have an acute sensitivity to typography which will eliminate the “type as afterthought” issue I see so often interactively.

Do you think designers need to focus on one or the other? Or is it possible to do both?

While I am a firm convert into the digital realm for a multitude of reasons, I am still a firm believer in everyone having and following their own passions. I still love (print) books—I always will and feel that great print designers are rare and should be treasured.

But from a career perspective, and due to the current job market, I would encourage designers to develop a skill-set that lends itself to interactive projects. It’s simply where a lot of the jobs are these days, and everyone needs to make a living!

Julianna Goodman created this stop-motion animation with iStopMotion and Adobe Premiere. It uses paint chips, tape, found images, type and a paper bag.

White at Kate Spade New York, Goodman worked on this series of interactive online videos for summer 2010. All the videos were shoppable: Viewers could click through to summer collection pages.

Goodman’s interactive projects include this fall 2010 online campaign for Kate Spade New York that gives the color wheel a creative spin.


  • Creative direction: Theresa Canning Zast
  • Design direction: Yael Eisele
  • Web art direction and design: Julianna Goodman
  • Development + programming: Angel Espejo and Darek Matuszczak
  • Designers: Charles Watlington, Natalie Herrera, Sara Kim, Nikki Huffman and Meghan Eplett