Zanna Haines

Holiday Cover Photo Spotlight: Graphic Designer Susannah Haines Talks Shop

By this point, we hope you have already heard that Graphic Designer Susannah Haines is the winner of our holiday cover photo contest! We have been proclaiming it from the Facebook rooftops, and we are so excited to feature her insight and work on our blog. OFP has a long history of design excellence, and it is so fun for us to learn about others in the creative community. We hope you enjoy Susannah's perspective and aesthetic influence--we certainly have. What was the inspiration behind your Facebook cover photo design?

Like many of my projects, this design was inspired by nostalgia. My design was based on one of my favorite holiday songs, “There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays” by Perry Como, and my own memories of childhood holidays spent making cookies, unwrapping presents, and playing in the snow. I wanted to incorporate a feeling of childlike simplicity and joy, something relatable that would trigger positive memories.

How did you come to be a graphic designer? Is this something you went to school for, or did you find it in a more roundabout way?

Graphic Design has just always been something that I felt I wanted to do. I think my obsessive compulsion for organization and clean lines combined with my need to create designed spaces drove my decision to go to school and really apply myself in the design field. I went to Savannah College of Art and Design and I dabbled in other majors (such as Illustration, Metals & Jewelry and Fibers) and I just always felt like graphic design fit.

What is your number one design principle?

My number one design principle is hierarchy, I want the viewer’s eye to be led through the design.

What is your number one design pet peeve?

My number one pet peeve is the use of bad fonts. A designer’s choice of fonts determines how the audience and consumers perceive a company or a brand. I wouldn’t give my money to a bank that uses Comic Sans.

Which software do you prefer—Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop?

I work in Illustrator or InDesign most of the time, but lately I’ve been assigning myself small side projects to push my skills in Photoshop.

What’s been your biggest challenge as a designer?

I think that my biggest challenge as a designer (and as a person) has been self-doubt and fear of taking huge risks. I’m starting to get over it.

What’s your opinion of Helvetica?

Helvetica is like air- it’s everywhere but you never think about it. I don’t dislike it- its clean, simple, and easy to read, but I think it should be used very cautiously and only when it is the very best answer, otherwise it can be perceived as a lazy choice.

What kinds of projects do you gravitate to?

I love doing packaging, and I love working with brands that have a vintage or retro feel.

What design publications, groups, media, etc. inspire you? Are you a member of a local ad group?

I find my inspiration in Print Magazine and Communication Arts, but I get most of my ideas browsing Pinterest and Behance. I’m a member of AIGA which is another great source of knowledge and inspiration.

How do you envision your future as a designer? What would be your “dream job”?

I really enjoy freelance work because your work is never the same from project to project, and the opportunity to work on different brands is really fun. My dream job would be designing at a small firm in a big city.

Do you have samples of work that you would like to share with us?

I recently did the logo and packaging for Blind Bettie’s Famous ‘Shine, a brand of moonshine and gourmet cocktail mixes. The design has a homemade and heritage feeling and all boxes and labels feature hand stitched details.

One of my most recent projects was done as part of an intern Random Acts of Kindness initiative. My fellow intern Jennifer DiMenna and I created a series of small notes with compliments and posters with tear-off compliments to take. We hid the notes and posters in corners and cabinets in the office for our coworkers to find and take as they needed.

Additional examples of Susannah's work can always be found at