An Article about WRKDesigns

Here’s an article that I was interviewed for almost a year ago by a Syracuse University student. I didn’t realize the article had come out, or how to link to it. But I Googled myself and found it! So here it is, it’s actually quite nice:

Faces of the Future
The Pattern Maker
By Kathleen Corlett

Whitney Daniels’ design has been known to follow her to bed when the day’s work is done, or show up while she’s out shopping. Daniels, 25, creates surface designs, or patterns that repeat, in her home-based Syracuse studio and office space to sell at trade shows in New York City two to three times per year.

The simple 2-inch and 4-inch square designs are some of her favorite projects because of the artistic freedom that comes with making them, says Daniels, who regularly updates her business’ blog with three to five designs weekly. Her surface designs have graced button pins, notebook covers, and a pair of pajamas by Soma Intimates.

What she called her small claim to fame was a pastel geometric packaging design for Crabtree & Evelyn lotions. “It’s not like it has my name on it,” she says, “but when I saw it in stores, I knew it was mine.” She recently sold a floral design to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and hopes a duvet will soon be covered in her black-and-white roses.

A year and a half after Daniels graduated from Syracuse University in 2009 with a degree in communications design, she paid the $32 fee to register a new business at the Onondaga County Clerk’s office: WRKDesigns. Nine months later, surface design makes up only half of her work and she spends the rest of her time creating business cards, brochures, website designs, and logos. The average project lasts three weeks, from the time she begins researching other designs to when her client chooses his favorite from a selection of prototypes, and the two work together to make tweaks.

She also joined the Near Westside Initiative Business Association, a support organization created last July for small businesses and entrepreneurial development in Syracuse. “[Whitney] really represents the type of people we’re trying to support in the neighborhood,” says Michael Short, the association’s deputy director. “[They are] young, creative people invested in the community who are looking to expand businesses, build skills, and possibly hire more within Syracuse.”

The group gave her the opportunity to redesign its logo and network with other small businesses, and she’s still building her client list. As the group’s resident designer, she has picked up small jobs for business logos and brochures and spread her name through word of mouth.

Keeping a steady stream of clients poses one of her toughest challenges: “It’s a difficult market out there for anybody, but especially [for] design, which isn’t always top priority for businesses on a budget,” Daniels says.

Currently, this design multitasker makes postcards and trade show displays for Green Cleaning Technologies, a local eco-friendly cleaning supply company on Teall Avenue, while designing business cards for the Landscape Elf, and working on a book design for a Post-Standard photographer. Meanwhile, she is preparing to showcase her freelance design work at the next New York City trade show.


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