This post is brought to you by our friends at Mailchimp
Mailchimp champions authenticity, originality and expressiveness—we believe building a successful brand and business requires staying true to yourself. By creating unique narratives using exaggerated proportions, off-kilter concepts and unexpected combinations, our signature illustration system celebrates the idea of individual expression and imperfection. And in this series on PRINT, we celebrate the brilliant creatives who use their visual alchemy to help us reach all-new heights.
Her clients include The New Yorker, The New York Times and MIT. Her accolades include the Golden Pen of Belgrade, a Society of Illustrators Golden Medal and features in numerous outlets. And for good reason: Sarah Mazzetti’s work speaks powerfully in a bold voice all its own.
Around a year ago, we reached out to the Milan-based creative because we were deeply drawn in by her craft; she draws by hand, but retains a strong graphical quality, and her interesting and expressive characters bring a unique voice to the Mailchimp ecosystem.
Here, we catch up with Mazzetti about her work for the brand and beyond.
What materials (or programs and devices) do you use?When it comes to commissioned work, I usually draw by hand with a brush pen or pencil and color digitally (with Photoshop)—but my personal work is fully handmade, and I use pretty much anything, from Ecoline markers to pastels. Portability is also fundamental for me because I like to travel and be able to work from different locations. I’ve never owned a desktop computer.
Have there been ways that working with Mailchimp is different from other clients?
I consider every project different and specific; every client comes with his own audience and references, and his own tone of voice, so a similar topic can be approached in very different ways depending on who is commissioning the illustration. When I work for Mailchimp, there are a few aesthetic aspects that lead the way I design an image: the limited range of colors and consequent need for a bold, not-too-chaotic composition—and then there’s the tone of voice. I go for a fun, lively and also quite ironic approach to the way I illustrate a concept.
What does your workspace look like?My desk is always very messy—I go from working by hand with different materials to working digitally on a daily basis, and everything I might need has to be around me, so a certain amount of chaos is part of the process, I would say.
Your work has a lot of movement and energy—what techniques do you use to convey that liveliness?
I think it’s just a matter of design; creating movement within a static image is something I’m very interested in, and I always try to push that aspect further by using smooth lines and unexpected ways to deform shapes and characters.
What are your stylistic influences?There are so many: Illustration and design from the ’60s and ’70s are still a key influence in terms of clever composition and color combinations, but also modern and contemporary art and contemporary painting are very present in my universe these days.
Who are your favorite illustrators and designers?Alex Steinweiss, Dino Buzzati, Nicole Claveloux, Leonora Carrington, Edward Bawden, Push Pin Studios, Kitty Crowther … there are so many.
Where do you find inspiration away from the page?When I free my mind from stimulations. I very much need to build my own empty and silent space sometimes; one thing I especially love to do is read at the park or on the beach.
What’s your best advice for illustrators working today?Keep on experimenting and have fun in your practice. That’s the most important part you need to preserve. And be open to exploring and learning new things; renewing oneself is key for a fulfilling career.