Emily Haasch on the Architecture of Life


Emily Haasch, is a collage artist and designer residing in San Francisco with roots in object design. The winner of our Collage Scrap Exchange boasts an interdisciplinary practice that plays on the freedom and constraints of popular forms. 

Below, Emily shares some uplifting insights on the architecture of life, the underlying role design plays in her collage work and vice versa, her involvement with Cards Against the Humanity, and her creation of the Ramen Club!



Hi Emily! Can you introduce yourself to our readers? 

Hey, there. I’m an artist and visual designer residing in pleasant San Francisco, California.

I’m originally from Chicago and spent all of my life in northern Illinois/upper Midwest. Despite the winters, there’s a beautiful nuance to the city — both in the physical architecture and pragmatic reserve of its denizens. It shaped me and gave me the discipline in my practice that continues today.

I went to school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s a very loosely organized conceptual art school that reinforced both a strict reverence for institutions (the Art Institute itself, of which half the school was located within) and a lack of majors, grades, or adherence to classical ideas. With a bit of independence and pluck, this allowed me to create my own scope of an education outside of the rigors present in a traditional graphic design track.

Upon graduation, I somehow managed to get a job as the lead designer for a game, Cards Against Humanity. I launched and produced many silly (and some serious) things with them — too many to describe. After 1.5 years, I felt my tenure was up, and I chose to move to California, where I now currently reside. I am continuing to practice design, promoting community projects, and enjoy studying the light and landscape of this strange place.

What do you enjoy the most about working in collage? 

Collage taught me how to design, and design has made me a better collage-maker. I believe the constraints and freedom inherent in physical manipulation of form and material promote more investigation into the actual architecture of it for what it is. I liken the act of creating a collage to building a house — starting with a foundation, basic form, and finally creating a delicate covering that strikes a balance without directing the eye somewhere that I don’t want it to go.


You also work as a designer. Can you tell us more about the awesome and interesting things you do? 

I believe design is fluid and progressive in relation to its environment, so my interest lies in constantly trying new things, taking risks on unusual companies, and promoting projects that incorporate human reaction beyond the work.

Not everything hits these marks perfectly, but in the nature of a practice (as opposed to a career) there’s no definite endpoint, thus setbacks (by definition) are less pertinent.

Some of my recent projects have included 404 pin (a physical tribute to fleeting nostalgia), Skiptrace (a card game about bounty hunters), Design Book Club (community gatherings to discuss critical design theory), and a few other things in the works.




We were just perusing your Twitter. Given that your next design side project is achieving emotional well-being (us toooo), what does your ideal day look like?

Hah! Whelp.

I currently work at home — I am a freelance designer by day. Because my current client is on the East Coast, I am usually up by 7:00a or 7:30a, rushing to shower or make coffee, and then working or attending meetings throughout the day. Since I work with small startups, I do everything from visual design, web, branding, copywriting, strategy, front-end development, and iconography. My day tends to wind down around 5:00p, and I spend the rest of it exploring the city, meeting with colleagues or friends to discuss projects, making art, going to art shows, and perpetually sourcing the best bubble tea in the Bay Area.



You are also founder of the Ramen Club. We would like to know a) is this real b) where can we sign up.

It is real! You can signup for a weird email list at http://ramen.zone or follow @ramensclub for dumb tweets. Currently, it’s based in the SF area, but I am open to national and international ambassadors to start their own chapters.

What’s on your horizon?

Not being in the snow this winter.

Aside from that, staying healthy, designing good projects, launching a publication or two, and continuing to practice being kind to people.


Emily Haasch is our November 2015 artist. See more at emilyhaasch.com