Meet the Team: Joe Tornatzky and Sherry Wang Talk Design, Inspiration and the Power of Print

The creative team here at Gear Patrol is expanding and it’s time to meet some of the folks behind the hyper creativity happening across digital and print. We sat down with Art Director Joe Tornatzky and Senior Designer Sherry Wang to talk design, inspiration and the power of print.

Tell us a bit about yourself! What’s your name, role, where’d you most recently come from?

Joe: My name’s Joe Tornatzky, I’m the resident Art Director here at Gear Patrol. I recently moved from California to New York with my wife. In California, I was working at a creative agency that handling several different lifestyle brands. I started my career launching a menswear startup and since then have continued help companies define their go-to-market strategy and elevate their overall design.

Sherry: I'm Sherry, Senior Designer at Gear Patrol. Before joining this team, I did brand and editorial design in-house for Barneys New York, and have previously worked for Starwood Hotels and Conde Nast Traveler. I’m now happy to be involved in building and evolving the visual identity of a company that identifies and advocates for craftsmanship and the intersection of form and function — as opposed to trends.

The Gear Patrol Magazine, Issue 7.

What are the most exciting branding trends that you’re seeing in the marketplace?

Joe: I’m loving how much transparency is in marketing these days. It’s an exciting time to spend your money with brands that show you how and why they make a product. From Instagram Stories to microsites on the web, brands are telling it as it is and that's refreshing.

Sherry: I find it especially exciting that brands are revisiting the value of publication design. It seems like many companies are finding that in the absence of a physical space to entice their audience into becoming customers, the narratives and imagery that come together in a catalog or magazine can be a beautiful way to immerse potential customers in the lifestyle and aesthetics of what they are offering. I think it's safe to say that with everyone being inundated by social media, print collateral has more sentimental value than before. And the more a brand can persuade a person to feel an emotion when they interact with collateral, the longer it will stick in people's memories.

As a nimble design team responsible for work that finds its way online as well as into an award-winning print publication, what’s the best part and the toughest challenge about making that transition from digital to print?

Joe: Trust in your vendors. From printers to developers, having great relationships with your vendors is important in pushing every project to the next level. With the right crew, everyone brings a different perspective that gives the project depth. That lesson was reaffirmed for me yet again with the recent release of Issue 7 of Gear Patrol Magazine.

Sherry: I feel much more in my element designing for print. I almost don't want to admit that because it makes me sound like a dinosaur that no one should hire. But I definitely tend to be able to dive into print projects faster than I do with digital. I suspect I'll get more confident with practice though.

A never before seen Gear Patrol boxcutter.

Where do you find your inspiration/who’s doing it right out there?

Joe: Since moving to New York, I’ve noticed how much branding the city shows off. From the magazine racks, architecture, subway ads and in-store merchandising to old hand-painted signs — at this point, there’s really only room left for amazing branding and design that cuts through it all. In terms of who’s doing it right, here’s my short list: NY Times Magazine, The Adventure Handbook, Taylor Stitch, Yeti, East Fork Pottery, Shake Shack, Filson, Netflix, and of course The Golden State Warriors (their collab with Erik Marinovich is on point).

Sherry: I think just about everything The Sill is doing is pretty great. The visuals feel very cohesive and polished. Lots of places sell plants but they've made the process of choosing and then acquiring one very easy and they've done a good job of convincing people that they are trustworthy.

If you could work on one dream project for Gear Patrol, what would it be?

Joe: I would say every day working at Gear Patrol is a dream, so I’ll mention something that’s been on my mind lately. I would love to design an official Gear Patrol box cutter. The team opens up countless boxes every day full of unique products to review and an amazing well-designed box cutter would be great.

Sherry: As much as I love designing things digitally, I think It would be nice to work on something that takes me away from my computer a bit. I’m very excited for us to make something cool together!

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