Get to Know Shutterfly Designer Molly W

Do you love Shutterfly’s holiday cards collection? Our team of talented designers have been working all year long to bring you the classic, contemporary and bold & bright styles you see in our assortment this season.

Meet one of our lead in-house designers, Molly! She tells us a little bit about herself and where her inspiration comes from when creating our holiday card collection.

When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career as a designer and what inspired you?

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. My mom is an artist and I can remember drawing logos for myself when I was really young. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting on the shag rug in her studio and creating art from letter forms and simple shapes.

A lot of things have inspired me. First off, my parents were always very supportive. I think my dad really wanted me to be a doctor, but once I started creating music (I played the saxophone and thought that would be my ticket) I realized that that was what I wanted to do. Because of that, music is probably my biggest inspiration.  I love it. And always have. I was a musician when I was younger and really defined myself by playing, listening and loving jazz, classical and rock n roll. When I went to college I took a sculpture class and something clicked – I realized I can listen to music while creating artwork. Music is amazing – it has the ability to express emotion like nothing like else. It brings people together. It opens your eyes. I can’t do work without it.

Where do you usually find your inspiration?

Lots of places. It’s been said so many times before, but inspiration is everywhere.

I live in San Francisco’s Mission District and am often taking walks and find that everything around me inspires me. You never know what you will see around the corner that might spark an idea – a person, street art, a billboard, a car, who knows.  I’m always open to finding something amazing at random.

Music is also a huge inspiration. I love discovering new bands and finding music that really affects me. It pumps me up and allows me to think freely. So many of my ideas have happened when I was listening to music.

Who is your favorite artist (of any medium) and why?

Tibor Kalman. Without a doubt.  I remember when I first saw his work how floored I was. He brought such truth and raw power to his design work. He rocked my world. And still does. He was so provocative and smart and witty. He drilled ideas and truths down to their essence and was unafraid of showcasing them on a grand scale.

His wife, Maira Kalman, is also one of my favorite illustrators. They would definitely be invited to my dream dinner.

Describe your style in three words.

Simple. Color. Bold.

What creative steps did you take when designing our holiday card collection?

Believe it or not, my holiday starts in January. I first research trends in fashion, home décor and paper. I follow many blogs by stylists and designers that always produce great inspiration and fun. Fashion plays a huge role in influencing our strategies. After doing a ton of research, I, along with my team, start to discuss what trends will resonate with our customer (stripes! Bold color, folk art, classic revival etc). From there we create mood boards to help inform our merchants when briefing other designers. The mood boards serve as the backbone to our collection. We design from them, communicate with them and ultimately all speak the same language because of them. From there we begin designing. For a few weeks my designers are head down in work – illustration, photography layout, sentiments, ect. They live and breath holiday. From this point, along with our merchants, we begin shaping the collection. Its an organic process, one that we continually improve upon.

Tell us about your favorite design elements within this year’s holiday card collection and how our customers can use them to select the perfect holiday card.

Tough question. I love so much!

But I got to say this year I really got into layout. I love a full bleed photo – when the design elements pair with the perfect photo it has such dynamic impact. You really can’t beat it.

I also have been really into apps on my iphone like hipstamatic and instagram. They allow me to take pictures that immediately have a nostalgic and artful tone. Because of that I love designs that support that type of photography – designs that are very modern but feel timeless at the same time.


  1. Joey says

    It’s so nice to meet the designers of Shutterfly, such as yourself Molly. Its nice to read what inspires and motivates you in your work. I have always had a facsination with cards. i remember standing in Hallmark many years ago and buying $30 of cards for the month or for upcoming birthdays. Now i do it all on Shutterfly. They are more personal and such great quality. I love it.
    Thanks for sharing about you.

  2. BarbaraJ says

    You are amazing and I love meeting the designers. In the past I always wanted to design my own cards and I still love doing it. Each year I love looking through all the different cards and I love them. Thank you from a Texas Kinda Girl! BarbaraJ

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