This week, we interview Abby Brewster, Senior Designer at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
I’m a Senior Designer, so my goal is to bring our strategy and big ideas to life. I help us visualize consumer insights and all the thinking that went into these projects, but I also take what Fahrenheit creates and I help us visualize how it’ll look in the marketplace.
When do you feel most creative?
I actually feel most creative when I have more restrictions and limitations. I think having more guardrails forces you to problem solve. It gets you to be creative not just making things that look cool, but making things that solve a problem.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
I love starting with a grid notebook or graph paper. I think it goes back to my love of these initial limitations and challenges. Subconsciously, I like starting with an underlying framework. You can tell looking at one of these notebooks: in the beginning I start within the lines, and then by the end I’m breaking out of the grids.
Where do you call home?
Home is New Jersey! I love New York but I am a country mouse at heart. When you think New Jersey, you don’t think farmland, but that’s where I grew up.
What do you never leave home without?
I never leave home without…forgetting something. I always try to do too much in too little time.
When did you first get into the field of innovation?
Formally, at Fahrenheit, which was a happy accident. The people drew me in but then I really fell for the work I got to do. I get to create things that do more than just look cool but support a bigger idea. But I guess before Fahrenheit, I still innovated. Growing up our parents told us to be very self-sufficient. If something was broken, we had to figure out how to fix it. That way of thinking and problem solving started when I was young.
What innovation are you most proud of?
For me, it was the work I did with this leading essential oils and wellness company. Design was a big part of that project and its success. It was a great example of how the design team supports Fahrenheit’s strategy. I was really proud of the process, and how we integrated the commercial strategy with consumer insights.
What is your go-to reading source?
I read a series of blogs but I also love magazines: GQ, Country Living, Bloomberg Business Week, everything! A pretty diverse mix, and I love print. If you saw our apartment you’d think we were hoarders because we have print mags everywhere.
What is your favorite innovation in the last decade?
Google Maps on my phone. I am horrible with directions and when I moved to Atlanta for design school, where I had to drive everywhere, and every street seems to be named “Peachtree Something,” I don’t know if I would’ve survived without it.
What is the best advice you’ve received at Fahrenheit 212?
I think it was “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I try to live by it all the time, but at Fahrenheit I think it’s important to remember especially when designing. I have to look at the bigger idea that we’re trying to communicate. Keeping that in mind as you consider all the elements going into a project helps you tell the story.
Do you have any side projects, hobbies, or a previous life you would like to share?
One of my side projects is close to home: my sister started a company called Raindear. She developed rainwear that protects your purse and other belongings like a small raincoat, and I’ve helped her with design work. Also, there is this company called Cissé Trading Co. that is really amazing. It was founded by two women from the culinary and non-profit industries, and they’ve created a baking and hot cocoa company that uses all fair trade ingredients. I love helping them with packaging and branding. They started out small but now they’re in Whole Foods and BJs.