students engaging with cardboard binoculars
web presentation of quick and draw application
web design of a brand called sunroof
A man with a sunglasses in bright sunlight

Alumni Spotlight: Adam Katz

Apr 02 2019

Julia Marsh

As a Creative Lead within the Creative Lab at Google, Adam Katz works on projects that range from the serious to the not-so-serious. For this Class of 2012 alum, inspiration seems to stem from the next generation of designers.

Tell us a bit about your most challenging and interesting projects within the Creative Lab at Google.

I’d say each project I work on is challenging and interesting for different reasons. It can be a challenge because it is a complex and sensitive story to tell like Project Debug, it can be interesting in that it is explaining and inspiring users through research such as Quick, Draw! and it can be both challenging and interesting in untangling some of the complexities that are Google such as branding and product design seen in the relaunch of Google News.

Which designers do you admire most? I admire designers that can lead and inspire younger designers and others through their actions. I also admire designers who create tools, focus on change and think about the bigger picture.

How do you stay inspired?

I stay inspired by meeting other designers, coders and people who are passionate and driven about the things that they are making and the problems that they are solving. I also stay inspired by teaching and being surrounded by younger designers.

Which design trends do you love? Which trends make you cringe?

I’m not sure I really love any trends. I guess I would say I love the trend that good and classic design and designers still shine. I love how works by Milton Glaser and Saul Bass still come up in moodboards and inspiration decks. I cringe at design trends around UX and UI that are here today, and gone tomorrow.

We also hoped to learn what insight Adam could offer now that he’s spent some time outside of the program.

What advice would you give incoming students?

I would say make the work that will challenge you, push you and that you will learn from. Make the work that you will be proud of and take some chances you’re in school.

What is your favorite part of the MFA Design program?

My favorite part of the MFA program was my fellow students. I’ve never before been surrounded by such immense talent that I had access to at all times. We were all going through the same problems, all pushing each other and all there for each other. Many of us are still close.

How has the program’s multidisciplinary approach helped you?

I consider myself a design generalist which SVA definitely supports. I learned to be an expert in areas that I cared about but also have knowledge and abilities in how to speak to other areas of design.

What impact has SVA MFA Design had on your career?

Without SVA MFA Design I wouldn’t be in a place that values ideas. I learned how to put together a pitch, how to do a narrative and how to inspire people towards a vision. All of which are integral in my day to day at Google.

To connect with Adam, shoot him an email or stop by his personal website.

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