Kayla Kern, Designer

What do you do?

I am a Graphic Designer, Art Director currently working at NYLON Magazine.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

I run by what makes me happy and to continually have an equal balance of input to output.

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

It might be hard to sum it up into three things, they all kind of happened at once.

In 2013, it was the combination of wrapping up my undergrad at Minneapolis College of Art and design. Shortly thereafter I was offered to move to New York to work with an illustrator in a small Brooklyn studio. It was a big jump for me as I never imagined living in New York, but over the years it has been the best thing that has happened to me. This city has changed me in so many ways I never anticipated. There are so many people here motivated to do big things, people who really care and It’s hard not to get sucked up into that. Not just in the work and things we create but the way in which I have learned to put my energy into the things that matter.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

At this point I have a lot of ideas sitting in my notebook, waiting. I like to have all my ducks in a row before I jump into something new. Outside of my own personal projects, I have been working with Anna Wolf on the online edition of Tidal Mag, something I have been doing since it has started and I am very excited to watch it grow as it has evolved over the years.

What is your dream project?

I would love someday to open up a storefront/studio. I love being able to meet new people and having unexpected conversations. New York is such a big place, but you quickly can see we all have something in common. Creating a space to facilitate that is definitely a dream of mine.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

Over time I have been given so much great advice, it has always been the short and sweet that sticks with me. My dad always encouraged me to do what I felt driven to, “Go have fun and don’t worry about anything else.” Someone else once told me shortly after I moved to New York, “Hangout here for a while and see what happens.” New York is an incredible city and as hesitant as I have been to stay here, it has been through the words these that have helped me see the light when it’s easy to be so unsure.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

To be completely honest, I usually have my headphones on and forget to turn on any music at all. I do however start most days listening to side B of Bon Iver, Bon Iver album.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

Absolutely! I am surrounded by women that make me want to do my best, that encourage me to do things I normally would shy away from and that has made me grow in ways I never imagined. It definitely hadn’t always been that way. There are seemingly more men in this industry, and at times I have felt greatly outnumbered. I have learned that that shouldn’t prevent me from doing my best.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

Being in a creatively stimulating environment changes everything for me. It’s the little things that go unnoticed that really make me excited. When I worked for Mike Perry it was really being in his studio space that allowed me to let down my guard of the expectations of what I thought I should be making, and just make without hesitation. Sometimes getting swept up in what everyone else was doing hindered my ability to make with my own voice. I want to see more people doing what they want and stop following the trends. As unique individuals we can make an impact to change this world. We can’t stop chasing our dreams.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change? (for example, female leadership in the field, pay rates, working for ‘exposure’, workplace culture, diversity in the field etc).

All of those things! Equality has been on everyone’s radar as of lately.

How can we find our more about your work?

@kaylakern / Kaylakern.com

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Ashley Huhe

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