Graphic designer captures the mood

Kit Kinseth, senior designer for Interweave Knits and Knitscene

Personal BIO:

I grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. After beginning my higher education at the University of Iowa, I changed my mind on school and decided to travel. Boy, did I travel, actually living solely out of a backpack from 1993 – 1999! I've lived in California, Maine, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona, Nepal, and Italy. My adventures included: living in a tent in the middle of Saline Valley, California at a hot springs with wild donkeys, a summer in La Conchita, California with 4 male surfer dudes, living in a little cabin among the trees while working at the Lodge salad buffet at Sequoia National Park. (I loved this beautiful place and the fantastic people I knew there). One season I hiked all the major routes in Nepal…Annapurna, Everest region and Langtang National Park. Later, my husband and I traveled through Chile and Argentina.

While working at a ski resort in Steamboat Springs, Colorado I decided it was time to go back to school. Colorado State University is where I took my first fibers class and LOVED it! The idea and experience of working with string and yarn by weaving and stitching was revolutionary to me. Therefore, a double major in Fiber Art and Graphic Design is what I pursued! Fateful was a class tour of the Interweave offices. After graduation and an internship at Interweave designing ads and working on layouts, a job offer soon followed.

So what does a graphic designer in a knitting magazine do? Here is some of what is on Kit's TO DO list:

I choose the color palette for each magazine spread. I love COLOR.

To keep color choices fresh and interesting a variety of resources are tapped. Magazines are perused (confession: I rip up a lot of magazines), upcoming fashion trends are studied, new movies are noticed, many sources of information and inspiration affect from where I pull color palettes.

Early in the production process is a little thing called the "art direction meeting" where all of the garments included in a particular issue are laid out on a conference room table. We divide the garments into groups based on color, style and knitting technique. Each grouping has its own mood and feeling that I will use as a guideline in many of my future design decisions. Also on the art direction meeting agenda is talk of our options for different photo shoot locations and which models would meet our needs.

We decide what the issue is all about: the attitude and message that we want to convey to the reader. For example, in the Interweave Knits Summer 2011 issue, our goal was to keep the mood fun! We shot it in a garden greenhouse to feel really fresh and summery (even though it was deep in the heart of winter). Lots of pretty yarns are featured in the Summer issue and so I wanted some neutral backgrounds to really showcase the bright colors.

At the shoot itself I work with the photographer, stylist, models and editor to get those really great shots for the magazine. It is part of my job to help make sure that the images we capture are consistent with the look and feel that we agreed upon during the art meeting. The photos taken are scrutinized during the photo shoot while still in the camera. Creative collaboration happens with the photographer at the time of the shoot so that we get what we want visually. Later, a selection of photographs is made based on the lighting, model poses and most importantly the way the projects are displayed.

For our Interweave Knits Weekend 2011 special issue the theme is about our relaxing weekend activities; therefore, more about the experience. I like to crop out to show more of the scene surrounding the garment in Weekend. There are some really great projects coming in this issue so I enjoyed playing my part in showcasing exciting techniques and beautiful yarns. Just wait until you see the amazing projects in the October color-work story and may I say, laid out beautifully!

The next task I have is to lay out photos in a side-by-side manner on my computer screen. I am arranging images that pair well within the separate groupings and I consider graphics and type that will contribute to the magazine theme. I think about the knitting customer and which photos will be informative for her/him when deciding to make or in the process of making the garment. After finally settling on the photography layout, I consult with the magazine editors.  A little back and forth photo selection and placement discussion ensues to make everything in the spreads come together harmoniously!



We considered each of these layouts for the Summer 2011
yarn review on page 8. If you have the issue, you know that we
went with the top left layout.

I perform little detail tweaks to make the photos look their very best and each page of the magazine is scrutinized for perfection before we send it off to the printer.

The process sounds so simple but what makes my job extra exciting is at the same time we are working on one issue we are knee-deep in the next few issues as they progress. For example, we just went to press yesterday with the Interweave Knits Weekend special issue and in two short weeks I will submit the Fall 2011 issue of Knitscene. In the back of my head I am planning ideas for photo shoot locations for Knits Holiday Gifts and the Knitscene Winter issue all coming up very soon. Whew!

Kit's other job: MOMMY

I became a mother in August of 2006. My little guy Kai is now a pre-school graduate and off to big-kid school in the fall. In September of 2010, our family welcomed baby girl Quinn. Interweave allows me to work from home 3 days a week so I can be near my kids. I feel so lucky to have a fun, creative job and still keep close to my little ones.

Being a working mom can be very challenging, as many of you know. I am still learning everyday how to balance the work I love and valuable time with my family. My husband will tell you how frustrating it is when I am up until 1am with the computer on my lap or when I'm up at 5 am working before the kids wake up. I feel like one has to be extremely organized to pull this feat off successfully. I do have help: an amazing nanny who spends time with our family. You have seen my children in a couple of Interweave Knits issues as models. My son Kai's "girlfriend" is a model in the Summer 2011 issue. He will tell you they are married because they got married at preschool. I missed the wedding.

I hope you have enjoyed meeting our graphics designer Kit! My next blog post will be about our brand new Yarn Group intern, Amanda Williams.


Until next time…take care,



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