Astrid Stavro on joining the COLLINS family and the exciting challenges her new role will bring
With a stellar reputation for delivering groundbreaking design work on a global scale, it’s hard to know what to say about Astrid Stravro that hasn’t already been said. Joining the team at COLLINS, the internationally-renowned designer brings her talents to a new role as VP, Creative Director. Chatting with us at TBI, Stavro shares her admiration for the US-based design company, as well as the passions and ambitions she plans to fulfil.
PT Hello Astrid! How are you?
AS I’m good, thank you! Enjoying my first morning cuppa tea.
PT Congratulations on your move to COLLINS. Why did you decide they were the right studio for you?
AS Thank you, I’m thrilled to be part of the COLLINS family. After several conversations with Brian Collins and Leland Maschmeyer, I realised that besides the ambition to create timeless and meaningful work, we shared the same passion, curiosity and ways of thinking about the transformative power of design. The conversations resonated deeply. I felt inspired and energised. When Brian and Leland asked if I would be open to working together, it was a no-brainer.
When Brian and Leland asked if I would be open to working together, it was a no-brainer.
PT How would you describe what you do in your role as VP, Creative Director?
AS One of the things that I love about COLLINS is the craft and attention to detail approach of small studios but for large-scale clients and audiences. This requires distilling complex business challenges into compelling ideas and easy-to-understand visual systems. It means helping clients understand their purpose and role in the world, inspiring them to imagine what their businesses can become. As Brian says, “Design is not what we do. It’s what we make possible for others.” I look forward to pushing our clients and ourselves out of our comfort zones to create the best possible work.
PT What approach to creative direction do you take?
AS Working very closely with the creative teams and clients. Collaboration is key. Nothing great is made alone, no pun intended!
PT With COLLINS being primarily US-based, what do your workday and schedule usually look like between the different time zones?
AS The name of our previous firm, Atlas, reflected the fact that we worked for clients across the globe. It was the same at Pentagram, and it’s now the same at COLLINS. We have international clients, and there are team members across every imaginable time zone. This means that my workday and schedule are flexible. Naturally, there are occasional early morning or late evening calls, but I work mostly in my timezone. The afternoons, when the New York and San Francisco offices are awake, tend to be busier.
PT Having previously run your own, smaller studio with Atlas, how has your role and approach changed since being involved with larger organisations such as COLLINS and Pentagram?
AS The role is the same, but at a larger scale, the challenges and complexity change.
Design is a language, with a vocabulary, grammar, syntax and rhetoric.
PT Prior to design, you studied literature and philosophy. How do you think these fields have shaped your approach to design? Do they continue to do so?
AS Definitely. Literature and philosophy have had – and continue to have – a huge influence on me both personally and professionally. I have always been fascinated by content and its relationship with form. What I love about design is that it’s about so much more than design. Design is a language, with a vocabulary, grammar, syntax and rhetoric. It sits at the intersection of language, science, engineering, mathematics, sociology, history, psychology, architecture and art. It’s where everything collides.
PT What goals do you have in mind for 2023 at COLLINS? And beyond?
AS As Alan Kay said, “We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it.”