How I Got Here: Jessica Walsh

As the designer launches her eponymous new agency &Walsh, she tells CR about designing her first website aged 11, dealing with the group of haters that come with being a well-known woman in design, and why you’re never too successful to rely on Google for answers

For most of us, knowing what you want to do as a career by the time you hit your teens is hard enough, let alone actually kickstarting that career. The same can’t be said for Jessica Walsh, who at the age of 11 was designing fully-fledged websites and logos. This was swiftly followed by a graphic design degree at the Rhode Island School of Design, internships at Apple and Pentagram under Paula Scher, and a job with Stefan Sagmeister that ultimately led to the creation of agency Sagmeister & Walsh.

Walsh has proved to be a divisive figure in the design world over the years. A high profile client list including Snapchat and Beats by Dre and a reputation for visually striking, innovative work has earned her countless accolades, but her willingness to show her vulnerable side very publicly on her social media channels and with projects such as 40 Days of Dating has also attracted haters.

Seven years on from becoming Sagmeister’s partner, Walsh has just set up her own agency &Walsh, and in the process become one of the 0.1% of agencies founded, owned and run solely by women. Here, Walsh discusses her decision to go it alone, the need for more women-led creative businesses, and why it’s a great time to be working in design.