Professional Member Spotlight: Joe Ross


Meet Joe Ross. 

Joe is a self-taught creative who became interested in design during high school while growing up in Houston. He attended the University of Houston for Video Production (BA, ’06), has spent time in New York, and has traveled abroad. Joe has a passion for print design and is currently senior designer at PH Design Shop. Side projects Joe is involved in: co-host and DJ a monthly 60’s soul dance party called A Fistful of Soul, as well as co-founder and designer for a monthly film publication in town called Film Monitor.

How did you get started in the industry? What influenced you to become a designer?

I was in bands in high school and college and always really enjoyed designing album covers and posters. In like ’94 or ’95 Hammerpress did some amazing letterpress record sleeves for Crank! Records. I think that was when I really became aware of design and that was probably really influential on my decision to pursue design later on. I’ve always been into a lot of different things but I decided instead of being decent at a bunch of things, I’d try to be good at one thing. I picked design.

What kind of clients do you have? 

Most of our clients are small businesses – it really runs the gamut from restaurants to home builders. A lot of the people that come to us are fairly design-saavy, which can be both good and bad. Sometimes it means they have good taste and like what we do, sometimes it means they know what they want and hire us to carry out their vision.

What is your favorite part of the creative process?

I’d say when the idea for a project immediately pops into my head during the meeting with the client, and then it actually works.

Do you have a personal style in your design work?

I try to. Everyone’s doing the retro type thing these days, and I guess you could say I am too. Since I have a background in film I’m really influenced by Jean-Luc Godard and Wes Anderson’s use of type, as well as Victorian-era newspapers and album covers of the 1960s.

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your job? The least?

The most fulfilling aspect is seeing your work out and about. I guess you could say that can be the least fulfilling aspect too, if you know what I mean.

What is your most ambitious or favorite project to date?

It’s hard to really pick a favorite. We get to do a lot of great branding projects that I love. But the most ambitious would have to be the redesign of the CultureMap site. We worked closely with the team at CultureMap/Mouth Watering Media to create a new way for users to experience the site and I think we were generally successful. Any time you have that much information on one page, it will be a UX headache.

Are you involved in any interesting side projects or hobbies that you care to share?

I co-founded and design for a local film publication called Film Monitor and I DJ a monthly 60’s soul dance night called A Fistful of Soul.

What would you like to accomplish in you career?

I’d love to be like Bill Cunningham – 85 years old, still working and still relevant.

What is the number one thing you would like to tell new designers?

If people have been doing things a certain way for years it might be because that’s the best way to do it, but don’t assume that’s the case. Find out for yourself.

How have you benefited as a member?

I’m connected to the best designers in Houston!

Do you have a favorite event that AIGA Houston hosts?

My favorite single event was definitely the Pablo Ferro talk last year. My hero!


About AIGA Houston’s Member Spotlight

Each month AIGA Houston features a selected AIGA Houston Member. It is a great opportunity for the Houston design community to be introduced to our talented members and their work. If you are a professional who would like to be interviewed and appear on AIGA Houston’s Member Spotlight, please contact Talin Tcholakian at


By Talin Tcholakian
Published July 10, 2012
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