People to Watch in 2011
ASSOCIATE PRINCIPAL & PROJECT MANAGER
CARBONE SMOLAN AGENCY
Whether managing large-scale marketing and branding projects for luxury hospitality clients such as Angst Hotel and Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, or a top-to-bottom rebranding project for law firm Sullivan & Cromwell, Rachel Crawford believes that starting from a strategic foundation and building strong client relationships are the keys to success. She particularly enjoys the process of understanding complex structures to help distill and clarify key messages, and working through the content management and editorial process. Crawford makes it a priority to be involved in all aspects of the branding process, from scope and schedule through strategy, design and implementation. When leading the branding initiative for startup company Aether Apparel, a high-end sportswear line, she oversaw the successful building of the brand identity, including an e-commerce website, coordinated advertising campaign, and seasonal catalogs. Clients have included Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, Morgan Stanley, Taubman Company, W Hotels and Helen Keller International. A native of California and Oregon and graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Crawford thrives on a fusion of design, promotion and entrepreneurship.
Where were you born, where do you live, did this effect your design style or sensibilities?
I was born in the East Bay Area CA and grew up there and outside Portland OR. Now I’m a Brooklynite through and through after almost 10 years in New York, and the last 5 1/2 in Brooklyn. My personal style is a healthy mix of crunchy granola, preppy and hipster, and I’m inspired by everything happening in Brooklyn (furniture, jewelry, music, food, art) in the last few years.
If you were not a designer, what would you do?
I would either be a food writer or work in film. I've always fantasized about being a production designer for cool indie movies, but mostly because of the Craft Services table.
What advice would you give a design student or young professional just starting out?
My number one mantra when things get intense is “no one’s going to die.” Take a deep breath. There’s no reason for this job to give you an aneurysm, although I make no promises about high blood pressure.
Josef & Anni Albers + all the designers I work with
Don’t really have one, but I do quite like Verlag.
New York Times Crossword App
Favorite TV Shows?
Bored to Death, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Wire, Mad Men
Disgrace by JM Coetzee, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, A Coney Island of the Mind by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
The Big Lebowski, Amelie, In the Mood for Love
Radiohead, always and forever
Favorite Fine Artists?
Egon Schiele, Degas’ charcoals
Gmail, Design Sponge, The Kitchn
Compulsively checking my email
New Year’s Resolution?