Jessica Walsh: Play by Your Own Rules Melbourne Event Wrap

Last Friday Jessica Walsh touched down in Melbourne from New York.

I was so excited!

Jessica Walsh is one of my favourite designers. At age 25, she became partner at one of the most well-known design firms, Sagmeister and Walsh, in New York City. She is a talented and fearless designer, art director and illustrator and focuses on branding, typography and art installations. She describes her work as “bold, emotional and provocative”.

IE’s design team and I attended at a conference at Deakin Edge where Walsh gave a presentation called “Play by Your Own Rules”.

Jessica was cool, personable and hilarious at times. Being very open about her sources of inspiration and her ways of working she described herself as a ‘player’ meaning she uses the value of play as a tool for creativity and innovation. ‘Creative play’ is an important mindset where you allow yourself to experiment, take a chance and make new things.


Jessica highlighted five important things about the play process:

  1. The value of play

  2. The value of creative constraints

  3. How to enter a state of mind where you can play

  4. The value of putting your voice in your work

  5. The value of having a personal side project

Using her recent work at Sagmeister & Walsh as examples, Jessica demonstrated how she created her own rules to help guide her to the solution.

Aizone – A luxury department store in the Middle East. Jessica’s style is bold with very strong visual language. She often combines typography, illustration, photography and lighting.


Frooti commercial – Jessica designed a whole new visual language for Frooti, one of India’s oldest and most beloved mango juice brands using the idea of a miniature world brought to life.

40 Days of Dating: The Book – Jessica Walsh and long time friend Tim Goodman turned their relationship into an experimental dating game which went viral. Warners Bros bought the movie rights so stay tuned.


Through all of her projects, Jessica’s advice was: “You don’t need a huge budget or the perfect clients to make the work you want to be making.” She also recommends you “do work you love and are passionate about, and look outside of the world of graphic design for inspiration.”

I applaud her. What an inspiration.