This month we’ve decided to introduce our readers to 24 year-old New York City-based graphic designer, Rachel Topping.
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, she fostered an appreciation for the art of communication at an early age. As a child, Topping would write, illustrate, and even bind her own books, but it wasn’t until high school that she discovered her love for graphic design.
What separates Rachel from her peers is the simplistic approach she takes to her designs. Self-described as “really clean and minimal, mainly type-and-image,” in the past four years, Topping has worked with notable brands including but not limited to AOL, Complex Media and Jay Z’s full service management company Roc Nation.
During our brief conversation with the NYC creative we talked humble beginnings, inspiration, influences and life outside of design. Check it out in it’s entirety after the break!
RESPECT.: When did you begin creating art and at what point did you decide to go all the way with it and turn it into a career?
RT: “I began creating art when I was little. I would write books and illustrate/bind them. I would spend full weekends making scary stories and drawing the covers. I never really thought of that as anything until it later evolved into my passion for print/design. In high school I learned about graphic design and I kinda just decided that’s what I was going to do–I never even questioned it.”
RESPECT.: Would you say your art gives a glimpse of your life and who you are? If so, as an artist do you ever feel uncomfortable sharing certain parts of your life?
RT: “I’m a big fan of minimalism, and that definitely shows in my work and lifestyle. I like to keep things simple: exact and non-frivolous. I try to use simple products, eat simple foods, keep things as natural as possible. I definitely don’t feel uncomfortable sharing those parts of me–if anything I’m always trying to help other people to embrace a simple way of living. The challenge sometimes comes in wanting to be fully understood–there are so many layers to being in the world of hip-hop/design–and my style could be kind of confusing to some people. On one hand I’m ranting about organic carrot juice, and on the other I’m wildin’ out to OG Maco.”
RESPECT.: Where have your talents taken you? What kind of opportunities?
RT: “I’ve been blessed to have an inside view on a lot of powerhouses in music/entertainment, from FADER, to Complex, to Roc Nation, and now working with other labels like Def Jam. I got to see a lot of different aspects of the music industry, editorial, marketing, etc. It has kind of molded me into who I am today.”
RESPECT.:Who are your influences? Any upcoming collaborations with other artists or brands?
RT: “Lately I’ve been heavily influenced by streetwear brands. These clean aesthetics are really my wave and super inspiring. Especially brands like I Love Ugly and Stampd. The black and white aesthetic is my shit. I’m working with Noisey on some more extensive stories as a photographer, but I’m really on the hunt for a great streetwear brand to link up with.”
RESPECT.: How would you describe your approach to design?
RT: “With anything I do, I’m always asking myself “how is this unique? How do I keep it original?” I think thats the key factor to good design, avoiding cliches.”
RESPECT.: What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
RT: “Lately I’ve been digging deep into Eastern Religion. Visually its that clean, natural approach that I just love. Take a place like Bali, where everything is so perfectly arranged and simple, but still authentic and natural. I’m trying to find ways to incorporate that into my work.”
RESPECT.: What are you passionate about besides your work?
RT: “I’ve been really blessed with a positive outlook on life. I’ve never really questioned IF I can have something, I’ve always just gone for it. My mother instilled that in me. I really want to teach more people how to truly shoot for the stars, train themselves to be happy. The theory is called the law of attraction–Will Smith speaks on it a lot, and its helped me a ton. I just want to help those around me to be successful, to never deny themselves of what they truly deserve in life.”
Check out her portfolio on www.toppconception.com
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