Monika is the Co-founder and Design Director at TRÜF, a Los Angeles-based Creative Studio Obsessed with Designing Better Brands. With a finger on the pulse of fashion and pop culture, she infuses her unique sense of style and attention to detail into everything TRÜF creates. Armed with multiple design awards and pedigrees from New York’s top digital and advertising agencies, she’s able to keep our design direction smart, stylish and on-schedule… unless Mad Men is on.
10 questions for Monika Kehrer:
What did you do before becoming a designer?
I’ve always been creative and was always drawing, painting, designing, etc. even before school. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything else!
Where do you turn for inspiration?
Traveling to see new cultures and environments is a great way to get inspired, even just going down to the beach for a walk. Movies, television, art museums and books are also great. And, of course, the many design awards galleries like Communication Arts, Print RDA and Awwwards!
Which are your favorite studios, designers or agencies?
I’m really into what Mucca, Berger Fohr, Hyperakt, Sagmeister Walsh, Brent Couchman, Happy Monday, ITAL/C, Your Local Studio and Phoenix are doing right now. Really strong, fresh ideas rooted in classic design principles. I love studios that have been around for 10 or 15 years who are still doing fresh work, who can hang amongst the newer firms.
Is your city a good place for designers?
Yes, especially for digital design. It’s Silicon Beach, dude.
Which technologies are you excited about?
More elaborate man buns and beards.
Do you listen to music while you work? Describe your playlist.
It’s so eclectic. Anything from jazz to reggae to electronica to hard rock. Adam is the DJ around here. Royal Blood and Mark Ronson feat. Mystikal and Bruno Mars is a cool new favorite. I’ve been known to take a dance boogie break from time to time.
What are you cultural influences? (Music, books, films, ideologies, etc.)
I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Knick and all the great scripted shows which are also very art directed. I find Movies to be a huge influence particularly ones by visual directors like Stanley Kubrick, Steven Soderbergh, Wes Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Paul Thomas Anderson and David Fincher.
Have you got an academic background or are you self taught?
I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a crayon, so I think I was born with it. Studied at Moore College of Art & Design and College of Visual Performing Arts at Syracuse for undergrad. Did a stint at School of Visual Arts in NYC. Since then I continue to grow & learn just by working and absorbing all the newest technologies and techniques.
What do you do in your free time?
Read books on my Kindle outside on the terrace (gotta love that LA weather!) Walk on the beach. Go to Movies. Watch a lot of TV. Play Two Dots. Hang out with husband, dog and friends. Text with old friends in NYC.
Where do you see the industry in 5 years?
I’m hoping that tailor-made, high-quality design will make a comeback, and that companies will want to spend the time & money to create something well-made for their brand to stand out. There are too many cheap and crowdsourcing resources for brand identity and web design that is flattening the industry.
Are you working on any personal projects?
Sadly, no. But I’d like to start drawing with a stylus on my iPad. Some amazing things being done with Procreate, for example.
If you could give one piece of advice to newbie designers, what would it be?
I think it’s essential to know not only the latest in digital design and how to do front-end code, but also know something about print design & production, as well as the essentials of design principles of layout, space, cropping, grid systems, color theory and typography. Those things never go out of style and are always needed no matter where web design may take us.