Half british and half chinese Danielle Huthart is the founder of award-winning design studio, Whitespace, an Hong Kong-based creative branding and design agency. Whitespace has an impressive portfolio: their diverse group of clients include Clinique, Swire Hotels, Miele, Press Room Group, Gensler, CHANEL and Converse, just to name a few. Danielle ten years ago also founded Premiere Issues an online magazine cover archive. Discover more about her after the jump!
Could you please tell us more about your background and career?
I studied typography and graphic design, and began work immediately after university as a web designer, creating websites for rap stars, cultural institutions and haircare products. After a decade in New York, I moved back to Hong Kong in 2003 and founded my own creative studio. We’re now a team of 10, and we work with small-scale to large corporate clients, creating brand identities and interactive experiences for them. In between I’ve taught and lectured students in the local universities, and have devoted time to nurturing young creatives in our studio while initiating side projects like a curated city map, and exhibiting our archive of magazine first issues.
How would you define your design aesthetic?
Simple, honest and relevant.
Could you please tell us about your project “Premiere Issues”? How did it start and what’s coming up next?
It began with a first issue and then grew into an online archive that contains over 250 covers. We continue to collect premiere issues, and held an exhibition to celebrate its 10th anniversary. A redesign of the site is next.
How has the design market been affected by the global financial problems?
It’s taught designers to do more with more with less.
To which of your Whitespace’s projects are you most fond of? Why?
We love what we did with the branding of Creatively Active Minds as it took a while to get all the details of the logo and identity elements just right. It was also the process of collaboration — we are proud of the journey as much as the destination.
Being self-employed can often mean you’re working 24/7 – how do you maintain a good work/life balance?
I try to maintain the 8/8/8 rule — 8 hours of sleep, 8 hours of work and 8 hours of play, though it often looks more like 6 hours of sleep, 16 hours of work and 2 hours of play somewhere in between.
What is the most interesting place you’ve ever travelled to? Why?
It’s hard to define “most interesting” but I suppose a place that I never get tired of is big cities, like New York, or London or Tokyo. These places are fascinating because of their extremes, their character and chaos.
What are your favorite art/design venues in Hong Kong?
Favourite venues are Spring Workshop in Wong Chuk Hang and PMQ, and our friends smaller galleries and studio spaces sprinkled across town.
Who is the woman you’d like to see featured/interviewed here?
Sofia Coppola, Sheryl Sandberg, Angelica Huston, Natalie Massenet, Phoebe Philo, and… Coco Chanel.
File under: Interview