At Home With Quinnton Harris

An interview with the designer, photographer, and creative director

April 2, 2020



Let’s get the profile stuff out of the way—what is your name, age, city, and profession or craft? For how long have you been doing what you do?


Quinnton Harris, 30

Oakland, CA

Design / Photographer

Current Job — Chief of Staff to the Chief Experience Officer, and Group Creative Director at Publicis Sapient

10+ years nurturing my craft


How would you describe the style of your work?


The style of my work is a mix of improvisation and deep focus. Improvisation because I often switch contexts throughout the day to adapt to my fast-paced job. I also do a ton of "riffing" when designing systems that scale across our 20,000-person organization. It's basically organized chaos at times doing administration work and managing other people's energies. Deep focus because designing solutions for clients and researching different ideas requires a level of subject matter expertise and an attention to detail. I’m very intentional about blocking my calendar for this type of work.





Who or what inspires your work?


I'm often inspired by artists and creative professionals across the board. The ability to tap into the human experience and deliver socio-economic and political value takes a fair amount of courage and sacrifice. In particular, I'm deeply inspired by musicians and their process for creativity. I grew up in a musical family.  A melody or a set of lyrics can completely alter a person's relationship with themselves and their environment, and I aspire to create work that can at least scratch the surface of that power. Artists like John Coltrane, Prince, James Brown, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, and Kanye West all have aspects of their creative processes that I try to emulate. I'm also in love with the concept of super producers in music—folks like the Neptunes and Timbaland. Producers are often responsible for helping music artists bring their vision to life, and I sort of assume the role of "producer" with my clients.





How does nature or the outdoors play a role in how you work or live?


I've been developing a greater appreciation for the great outdoors over the last few years. I had limited access to greenery growing up in an urban environment. Moving to California in 2016 expanded my appetite for hikes, visiting conservatories and going to the beach. I also love the idea of gardening more as I grow my interest in the culinary arts. The outdoors has become an escape from the monotony of my everyday hustle. It provides me a safe place for meditation and healing. I also use it to nurture my craft as a designer and photographer. Fun fact: to help aspiring photographers and models develop their craft, I organize photo walks called kôrwalks to give all skill levels a low-stakes, practice ground.





What are three brands or products that inspire you? (p.s. you don’t have to mention us)


Aimé Leon Dore — I love their Apple-like aesthetic vibe and simplistic approach to designing premium basics.


WePresent — I love how WeTransfer's brand is curating content-rich storytelling with some of my favorite artists.


NPR Tiny Desk — as a music fan, I love the intimate environment and live music moments they create with some of my favorite artists.


What are your thoughts on life after the lockdown? What do you imagine will change?


In the age of COVID-19, meaningful connection with our loved ones will be more important than ever. I can't imagine how this epidemic could have been manageable ten to fifteen years ago without the advancements made in communications technology. I believe people will be forced to prioritize what is most important in their lives, especially their mental and spiritual well-being. I hope what comes from social isolation is (1) a greater sense of self; (2) healing of our personal values and relationship with others; (3) a greater appreciation for brands that champion meaningful experiences over conspicuous consumption; and (4) a greater focus on the impact of global warming and its threat to our ability to cope with future pandemics.



Quinnton can be followed at @quinntonharris on Instagram.