Designers shouldn’t be the source of what’s superfluous and detrimental, she concludes. “Objects and artifacts need to have meaning and purpose to be worthwhile.”
It’s a philosophy that’s clearly present in Sterns’ graphic design portfolio, including her packaging designs as exhibited in the August 2014 issue of Novum. Professional execution, demonstrating a strong grasp of the basics in color, form and typography, are her hallmarks—“classic with a modern spin,” as she puts it.
A native Southern Californian who moved north to the Academy for her MFA, Sterns worked as an in-house packaging designer at Williams-Sonoma while attending grad school. Since graduating in spring 2014, she’s been freelancing and doing contract work for a company out of San Francisco and Bali, Indonesia, called Indosole. Since the latter repurposes recycled tires to create footwear, it’s a client close to her heart.
“I simply love being part of a design team where I believe wholeheartedly in the product,” she says, adding that she secretly hopes Indosole sends her to Bali to conduct research.
The packaging designs by Sterns that appears in the August issue of Novum range from freelance assignments to student work, including her MFA project. Reflecting on her years at the Academy, Sterns says she gained more than technical skills. “During the first year of grad school, I learned the value of slowing down. Design, like life, is a process, and you have to have patience in the process or you’ll just be unhappy.”
Work-life balance, Sterns emphasizes, is important to her. Now, following a brief post-grad school break and with her MFA in hand, she’s got her eye on a full-time job—with an employer that matches her commitment to positive social and environmental responsibility.