As design director at Pitchfork, a Condé Nast brand devoted to music journalism, Joy Zagar’s responsibilities covered Pitchfork’s entirety and touched every aspect of the business: leading the team as they visualized the website on a daily basis, functioning as an independent studio for brand partnerships and developing brand identities and campaigns across the company’s many events and products.
She has more than ten years of experience working with major brands as an interactive designer and art director.
“When I’m asked about Pitchfork, I usually get one of three questions,” said Zagar. “‘Oh, the music festival?’ when in Chicago. When I am in other places, “Oh, the music thing?’ or ‘What is Pitchfork?’”
Pitchfork started more than 20 years ago as one of the web’s first blogs, and has since grown into what is now a trusted source for music lovers. With more than 10 million monthly unique visitors to the website, Pitchfork also operate festivals, produces occasional print publications and boasts a pop-up radio station.
Graduating with a BFA in Visual Communications from the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, Zagar found her way to Pitchfork in 2013.
“I was intimidated, but I also knew Pitchfork’s design team and I loved their aesthetic,” said Zagar when talking about first accepting the job. “I have to make this the best and make them think, ‘Damn, this is awesome.’”
Zagar’s process begins with exploration.
”I’ll start thinking about it then look at what others are doing,” said Zagar. “What do all the other festivals and events in Chicago look like? What’s their vibe? How can I make this more cooler than anything I’ve ever seen? I start with a big empty Illustrator file and go. Start somewhere and throw stuff in it and edit from there.”
Zagar’s art often includes bright colors and lots of photo overlays. She says she never saw herself in music journalism but instead just fell in to it.
Zagar led the visualization and creative vision to countless Webbys, The Society of Publication Design’s Brand of the Year award, a National Magazine Award for digital excellence, a spot on Ad Age’s Creativity 50 list and AIGA’s Corporate Design Leadership Award.
Recently, Condé Nast laid off Zagar and her design team, but she is ready for the next adventure.
“I have accepted a full time position at Faire in San Francisco. I am super pumped. It’s fast-paced and I’ve always loved product design.”