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People to Watch in 2011 BACK FORWARD

Eddie Opara
eddie opara


Eddie Opara was born in London in 1972. He studied graphic design at the London College of Printing and Yale University, where he received his MFA in 1997. He began his career as a designer at ATG and Imaginary Forces and worked as a senior designer/art director at 2x4 before establishing his own studio, The Map Office, in 2005. He joined the legendary Pentagram in its New York office as partner in 2010. Opara is a multi-faceted designer whose work encompasses strategy, design and technology. His projects have included brand identity, publications, packaging, environments, exhibitions, interactive installations, websites, user interfaces and software, with many projects ranging across multiple media. Clients have included the Menil Foundation, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Queens Museum of Art, the Mori Art Museum, Prada, St. Regis Hotels, Morgan Stanley, New York University, Harry N. Abrams and Princeton Architectural Press. At Map he developed the MiG, a content management system that allows clients to manage and publish their own content online. Awards have come from the likes of the Art Directors Club, the AIGA and ID magazine. His work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and he is currently on the board of the AIGA NY. Opara is a visiting critic at the Yale School of Art and teaches narrative design at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia.

Where were you born, where do you live, did this effect your design style or sensibilities?
I was born in London, England. I reside in New York City. Growing up in England did shape my style of design. I’m a big believer in craftsmanship. England has great tradition in this in all areas of design and living. But, I've been in America for 15 years, and understand and have adopted the concept of eclecticism.

If you were not a designer, what would you do?
A carpenter or an architect. My paternal grandfather was a carpenter.

What advice would you give a design student or a young professional just starting out?
Travel the world. Visit different design studios in different countries. You’ll learn a lot. You may even stay.

Design Hero?
Don't have one. But I have been influenced by many.
Favorite Color?
It use to be blue, but looks like it might be white.
Favorite Typeface?
Don't have one.
Favorite App?
The Guardian Newspaper App for iPhone
Favorite TV Shows?
The Wire, Mad Men, Top Gear (UK Edition)
Favorite Books?
Anything written by Hanif Kureshi
Favorite Movies?
Ice Storm, Deer Hunter, Amelie, To Kill a Mockingbird, Twelve Angry Men, No Country for Old Men, Inherit the Wind
Favorite Music?
British Soul and Trip-Hop, American R+B from 1970 - 1999, Studio One, Drum and Bass, Anything by the Pixies, TV on the Radio, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Portishead, Smith and Mighty, Massive Attack, The Police, Fela Kuti and any West African Funk Fusion.
Favorite Fine Artists?
Gustav Klimt, Cy Twombly, Marc Rothko, Nathan Carter
Favorite Gadget?
iPad (way too obvious)
Bookmarked Websites?
Worst Habit?
Not shaving
New Year’s Resolution?
To shave more often