Behind the Design :: Interview with Pam Golafshar
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in News by Heather Hamilton
Some things are just meant to be and I consider crossing paths with Pam Golafshar one of those things. Pam was living in London when we first connected. She and her husband were friends with my husband in college and when I was looking for a designer for a few projects (pre-Zoe Organics), my husband suggested I contact her. Pam and I immediately clicked and have now been working together, from opposite sides of the world, for about 5 years.
Pam is a freelance designer and the genius behind Yellow Heron Design. She currently lives in Hong Kong with her husband and two beautiful boys. Pam has been able to take my vision and abstract ideas and put them into designs and colors that reflect them perfectly. She challenges me to think outside of the norm and not to rush the creative or operational process.
Several years ago when I shared with her my business plan and concepts for Zoe Organics, she was immediately on board and has been a huge source of encouragement and creative support from day one. It has been exciting for us to watch as the company has evolved these past two years. If you missed my blog post a few weeks ago, sharing the process that led to our brand new look, you can read it here.
I asked Pam to share a bit about what led to our our new designs and how being a mom and traveling the world have helped to shape who she is. She inspires me and I think she will inspire you as well.
Please share a little bit about how you became interested in design. What led you to the path you are on?
I studied music in college – piano performance and composition – and then I left school after three years to tour with my band and do music full time. It's actually during my years with the band (LP Outsiders) that I became fascinated in laying things out on a page. I started just playing around and little by little began helping design things for us – posters and album art, etc. I learned by having to figure out how to solve each problem I came up against, feeling completely overwhelmed for several years because I knew how much I didn't know, if that makes sense. But I've always loved the challenge. So I suppose you could say through my love of music I discovered my love for design.
What most excites you about design or a certain type of design project?
The thing I love most about design is that when it's done well, a flat piece of paper or screen can carry the viewer into a certain realm of emotion or feeling, almost as if the design is a vessel. You always hear it said that design is communication, but as a designer I always hope for even more than that.
You have been with Zoe Organics from inception; how have you seen the company evolve over the past two years that has influenced these new designs?
I feel so privileged to have been there from the beginning, and see the company evolve in some pretty incredible ways over the past two years. (Has it really been two years already?!) I think the original design suited ZO really well – I feel like the company began as this small and sweet little baby... but now she's all grown up!
Consumers in the organic skin care market have largely grown up during the past two years as well; they've become much more sophisticated, and they know exactly what they're looking for. I think subconsciously I was trying to capture this sense of confidence with the rebranding of ZO – confidence and a newfound sense of playfulness.
Share a bit of your process for creating these new designs for Zoe Organics. What was your inspiration?
I love playing with colors if given the chance, and this redesign felt like the perfect opportunity to expand the color palette for ZO. The subtle pastels of the original design suited the brand at the beginning, but to continue with this palette would have been extremely limiting. The Zoe Organics of today has become so much more than how the company started out, so the look needed to be bolder, brighter, more exciting and modern.
I also thought about what I would be looking for as a consumer myself. If I was standing in the store in front of a huge selection of organic skin care brands, what I would be looking for, in order to purchase things for myself and my family? Designing and creating the right tone for the brand was really important, because for potential customers, there is only a flash, a fraction of a second, for a brand to make the right impression. The front of the label, the logos, the colors – these all have to convey what the company is all about, in that fraction of a second. This idea is the one that has always pushed me during the redesign process.
What or who do you gain inspiration from?
Well, nothing if I'm having an off day, but absolutely everything if I'm riding a creative surge! My favorite resource for inspiration is probably the Behance network, which is a website and community of designers around the world; they always have great articles for creative professionals, and there are some really great designers there who provide a steady source of inspiration.
I also love architecture/interior design magazines (my favorite is Dwell), as well as fashion design – and when I'm having a really creative day, putting on my favorite album or song of the moment, on repeat, is an amazing tool for keeping me in the sweet zone.
I have always been fascinated by the places you have lived and all of your travels. How has this influenced your career as well as your personal growth?
I have grown so much as a person since I started traveling, throughout the U.S. and then around the world. And now that I call Hong Kong my home, I have the privilege of having an outside perspective, which I value greatly. My life hasn't always been easy, but I wouldn't change a thing.
You are a busy mommy of two young boys. How do you strike that delicate work/family balance?
Right now my studio is at home, so I'm still working on achieving balance! I'm actually struggling with not having a commute – as strange as it may sound, I'm missing the opportunity to rest my mind between home and work, to just have some sort of a buffer. Regardless, though, having a door that can be closed for that physical separation of space has been something that's been important for me and my family; that way I can be fully with them when I'm done with my work day.
I won't get into the whole working-mom-guilt thing here, because that's a whole other issue by itself, and one that isn't easily solved. But I think at the end of the day, as a woman, as a mother and as someone who has my own business, the pinnacle of achievement for me would be a sense of contentment, of peace. And I get to see that in glimpses, but overall of course I'm still working on it....
Ok, I have to ask... what is your very favorite color?
I would have to say green... a somewhat dark yellowish-green. Our living room rug is this color, and it's so soothing and delicious to look at!