Meet Emily Kemp
We dare you to bring designer Emily Kemp down. The New York transplant — who unexpectedly came to the city after a portfolio review at her alma mater, Portfolio Center, in Atlanta — manages to keep her energy positive, regardless of whether she might be stressed or in a funk.
“We all share the same moon and we all are on the same journey through life,” she says. “So there’s no point in spreading anything negative in the world!”
And if you sense a little whimsy in her words, you’re right. At once a dreamer and a doer, an entrepreneur and an artist, Emily is one of the more imaginative people you’ll ever meet.
A self-proclaimed “drama kid,” she grew up making movies, starring in plays, and generally making things — and today, aside from her creative work at the office, you can routinely find her inventing hilarious scenarios based on the day she’s having.
Read on, and get to know Emily in her own words.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an artist, and here I am!
What do you do exactly now?
I’m a designer, although in this industry the term is always evolving. At The XD Agency, I create graphic and strategic solutions for our clients’ events, including anything from signage to what you see on the stage.
What’s on your desk?
I try to keep as little clutter in front of me as possible— so literally just my sunglasses, some type of beverage (coffee and tea), a notebook I scribble in when I’m thinking, and Glossier Balm Dotcom in coconut.
When people come to you for help, what are they usually looking for help with?
They are looking for a visual or strategic solution to a problem. Usually the question’s intent is, “How do we help people navigate through this event?” or “How can we engage our audience in a visual way?” And the problem and solution are always different, which is so exciting to me. That’s why I love this industry!
What is the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is right when I step above ground from the subway into Manhattan, and I see the hustle and bustle, and I see all the possibility this city has to offer, and all the possibilities we have in life and how lucky we all are to be here.
How do you win friends and influence people?
I listen to people and ask questions about them and do not judge them based on their answers.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Be kind and confident.
What are you reading?
I usually enjoy reading books about psychology but I took a break to read a book called Sphinx by Anne Garréta.
What’s your favorite innovation?
The world wide web!
What do you like to do the old-fashioned way?
I prefer to read books, not on my phone but in actual paper form. (Unfortunately, on the subway it’s a lot easier on the phone.)
What’s your greatest accomplishment?
Moving to New York all by myself — and actually staying here, adapting to it, and learning to love it.
What gets you fired up?
I’m fired up about mental health and embracing being self-sufficient.
What philosophy or motto do you live by?
Be all in, or get all out. There is no halfway.
What have you changed your mind about?
When I first moved to New York, I was determined to leave right away but the other stubborn side of me stuck it out and now I love it more and more every day. (Brooklyn, that is. BK is my home now.)
At The XD Agency, we are high-energy, high-intensity experts from many walks of life. We are consummate professionals — equal parts head, heart, and hands-on. We’ve been told we bottle lightning. And we would love to meet you. Say hello.