Steven Harrington

#DesignerSpotlight: Steven Harrington Addresses Social Ties with Playful Visuals in Branding

Feature Image Source: Steven Harrington Portfolio

What makes a visual design captivating enough to be recognized? Its aesthetics — and Steven Harrington is effective at grasping attention with this quality of design. While today, everyone’s involved in searching for a striking idea, there are some designers who simply want things to look visually pleasing.

I have seen artists produce all kinds of works, and ones that aren’t classified as appealing, are said to have an amazing story behind them. Even in storytelling, the most important thing is “presentation”. It’s vital to understand that any type of information needs to be visually attractive since this is what people respond to.

Nevertheless, we all must know that idea plus aesthetics equals to a complete design. Harrington from California also has a reason behind his design style. His goal is to use art and design to sew connections with people, and share experiences, feelings, knowledge, and information. In an interview the designer said, “You are creating for a dialogue and you want [your work] to be refined and crafted: you want people to look at it and talk about it.”


Before further studying his design, let’s get to know a bit more about Harrington.

Designer’s Background

Harrington has lived his entire life in a dynamic, sprawling and ethnically rich city – Los Angeles. In another interview, Harrington suggested his love for L.A. and how he never required to live anywhere else since most inspirations sprout from his own backyard. He’s traveled to many countries for leisure and exhibitions but has always returned to find himself more attracted to this city.

He was born and raised in La Verne, a suburb in the furthest East of Los Angeles. It was at this time when his interest in art and design developed because he was surrounded by sub-cultures of his society, such as that of skateboarding and music.

Realizing his crave for design, he spent most of his youth years making fun-filled and wacky CD covers and band posters. He later extended his creative hands to reach other forms of visual communication, like branding and marketing. After graduating from California Institute of Arts, he co-founded National Forest, his design company.

His Style and Context

If you see Harrington’s work, it is surreal and psychedelic with multiple colors creating visual harmony, and a lot of iconography. From skulls and a deformed yin-yang to other mundane and popular culture objects. Almost everything created on his canvas has an expression, gesture or feature that talks to people in a visual language. According to Harrington, visual symbols are “psychologically embedded in all of our minds without even knowing it.”

Harrington makes all kinds of things one could ever imagine from fashion to souvenirs and paintings to a lot more. The entire context of infusing his style into different things is to build social ties with a mass audience. Harrington owns “You and I”, a shop with all his design works on sale.

All of his works echo vibrancy, and are framed around the motive to make people responsive towards his work, to see it and feel connected. For Harrington, it is easier to explain meanings to his audience using visual elements rather than words.

Learn more about his design style in the infographic below. Check out Steven Harrington prints for inspiration in this infographic.

Steven Harrington

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A visual design blogger passionate about interactive, experiential and captivating techniques designers, marketers and brands use to accentuate messages, tell stories, and spread awareness. I’m a visual addict like Alice, who finds books (or anything) without pictures boring! My writings focus on graphic and web design, branding, and visual marketing. My hobbies are to write poems, draw zentangles, read mysteries, and watch YouTube videos.

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