The Importance of Design Identity in the Digital Age


Who are you? Are you who you believe you are? More importantly, does who you are show in what you do? In this digital age, you distinguish yourself with the perspective you bring to your craft. The experience you bring to your craft is part of that perspective. Honoring the perspective of your design identity helps your presence stay consistent in all your creative ventures. Yet, it starts from a commitment to know and show who you are.

Welcome to the inaugural season of Architecture 5 10 20! I’m your host, Guy Geier, Managing Partner of FXCollaborative Architects in New York. Guests from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences related to the built environment will come to share their thought leadership. Our conversations will start with understanding how they arrived at what they’re doing now. More importantly, we will focus on discussing their vision for the future, looking out 5, 10, and 20 years.

Today, we’re joined by Shantell Martin, a visual artist and performer best known for her map-like, black & white line drawings. In her art, she follows her curiosity, which emerges in many ways as she applies her perspective and personal identity to her projects. Shantell’s conviction in her art has pushed the boundaries of her storytelling into ballet, fashion, and other forms of media.

Listen to Shantell speak about the future of her work and its place in the digital realm. She explains her thoughts on embracing your unique view of life to extract your visual identity. In the conversation, she recalls how she brings her design identity to various architectural spaces, and later, to new fields. Shantell shares what it’s like to work with the personality and limitations of the new fields she finds herself engaging.

Shantell’s creative success is rooted in her ability to celebrate her own identity and in turn extract priceless imagination. The strong foundations she’s built for herself as an artist allow her to adapt to different limitations and form an approach. As artists, architects, and other creatives are introduced to new types of digital canvas, how can design preserve identity and evolve form?


To learn more about the evolution of Shantell’s life’s work, check out her four-part mini series “Come What May” on YouTube.


Time stamps:

[01:28] – Shantell Martin always had a sense of curiosity.

[04:08] – Shantell recalls her art college days. It was the first time she was around a diverse crowd.

[06:14] – How did Shantell become a VJ (Visual Jockey)?

[08:31] – Shantell talks about spontaneous art.

[10:08] – How does an artist approach art to complement the space?

[12:58] – Shantell gives her thoughts on art and NFTs. Is Shantell working on anything?

[15:47] – How do you extract your visual identity?

[18:35] – Shantell speaks about how individual expression comes together in collaboration and what community trends she sees for the future.

[20:56] – Why did Shantell want to engage in architecture?

[22:33] – Shantell talks about expanding her art into different fields, such as furniture, fashion, and choreography.

[24:46] – “They invited me.”

[27:12] – What is the meaning behind the name “Kites”?

[28:43] – Thank you Shantell for reminding us of how to extract and celebrate our own design identity to master any digital toolkit.


Guy Geier

Guy Geier FAIA, FIIDA, LEED is Managing Partner of FXCollaborative and host of the architecture 5 10 20 podcast.

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