It doesn’t take long to realize that Christy Batta (M.F.A., graphic design, SCAD) is one smart cookie. She’s the mastermind behind Working Class Studio’s new clock, and when I sat down to gather some details I quickly realized there is more to her design than a sharp silhouette. The Christy Collection clock debuted at trade shows across the country this January, and it was recently featured in Interior Design magazine. The studio has been a buzz with excitement over the design (check out our Instagram), so we are thrilled to share with you some background on the designer and her eye-catching product.
WCS: Where are you from?
CB: I grew up in the Chesapeake Bay area in a Maryland suburb called Severna Park. The town has conflicting loyalties as a suburb to Baltimore, Annapolis or Washington, DC. I always felt like people could be characterized by which of these cities they were most loyal to. I have most affinity for Baltimore, where I was born and where my parents raised me on art! They introduced me to the Baltimore Museum of Art, childrens’ programming at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the undeniable art of Maryland Seafood. In Baltimore, certain interests and curiosities were put in motion that you could say would lead me to where I am today!
WCS: Why did you choose to attend SCAD?
CB: A large part of what inspired me to attend SCAD was seeing the student work displayed in the graphic design building. I remember feeling like the work had both experimental and practical qualities. I also had the feeling that Savannah, as a place, would play a role in inspiring the new work I would be making. This turned out to be true, but not necessarily how I thought. I thought the visual character of the historical buildings would drive me forward, but it was really the people I met here, both within and outside of SCAD, that helped me see new possibilities.
WCS: What do you enjoy most about graphic design?
CB: What I enjoy the most about graphic design is the very human aspect of how designed objects are created with the intention of moving about in the world; how everyday function in an individual’s routine, lifestyle, self-perception and worldview. Whether a website, brochure, or branding project, graphic design thought processes can create new habits, behaviors and as a result, ideas.
In my personal work, I am particularly inspired by collisions. Strange collisions between people, perspectives, timelines or ideas. I love photographing the shelves of thrift stores because you only need to show up with your eyes open to see something like a crucifix in a bin of silverware to be pushed to consider the intersecting, gray areas between things we may see as solid.
WCS: What inspired you to create your design for the clock?
CB: The idea for the tiered rings of the clock came from a desire to explore news ways of intuitively representing the numbers on a clock. I was inspired by the role of the clock as tool for orienting ourselves in our day-to-day and in the bigger world. The function of the clock for time-telling seemed important to me because our target audience is motivated, intelligent and social (meaning that they are very busy!) and I wanted the strength of the clock’s representation of moving through time to serve as a solid grounding for that busy lifestyle. I wanted the clock to focus on functionality and feel very natural. Thus, the building rings are a representation of a physical journey through time. My aim was to use readability as inspiration for an easy, more peaceful decoration and tool.
WCS: What was your favorite aspect of the internship at Working Class Studio?
CB: My favorite aspect of the internship was the dual challenges of working within the Working Class Studio brand and aiming to create something using my own personal voice. These are the waters I navigate to design with both intention and inspiration as a graphic designer. To keep my focus on the Working Class Studio brand, I remember choosing a photo of a particular stylish-looking woman to guide me. I worked to find the common ground between myself and this idealized ‘target audience.’ Such characteristics boiled down to a balance between quirky and intelligent. I reminded myself of these qualities throughout the process to keep my own personal curiosities within the same world as the Working Class Studio brand. I really enjoyed this sense of being a part of something much bigger than just me.
WCS: What are your current/future plans?
CB: Right now I am working as a designer at a graphic design firm in Silver Spring, MD called SW Creatives. We work exclusively with nonprofits and each new client I get to engage with helps me learn a little more about how people and organizations try to make the impact they see necessary on the world. It is a very small firm, so I have a lot of responsibility as well as voice and I hope to play a role in the firms’ future journey and growth.
In my personal work, I’d love to get started experimenting with designing stationery and setting up an Etsy shop for the first time. I also have this new idea to start a movie review podcast with my boyfriend where we record our conversations on the 10-15 minute drive back from the movie theater after seeing new movies, because I think we are smarties.
WCS: Do you have any advice for future interns?
CB: I would advise future interns to get close with their fellow interns. Not only was I fantastically overwhelmed by the talent and drive of my fellow interns during the internship, leading me to push past boundaries of what I thought I could do, but I’ve been so impressed by how far everyone has gone since. And in such a short amount of time, too. I continue to be inspired by the work my cohorts do today. I keep in touch with these kindred spirits that I would not have met at SCAD in any other capacity. I have even contributed to a zine that one of my fellow interns started!