Ally to Watch: Katherine Young Design

Artist PortraitKatherine Young is a graphic designer and marketer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  She joined the Creative Allies design community in 2014 Buckcherry music designwhen she entered a design contest for Buckcherry and has been “hooked ever since”!

“Live music is a passion of mine so I love the project briefs and the opportunity to create for the bands”.

Most recently, Katherine was selected as the grand prize of our KISS Animals design contest. Her art was chosen by the band members themselves and is now being sold exclusively at

Winning KISS design

We sat down with Katherine to find out more about this creative rock star & ask how it feels to be the grand prize winner of such a huge contest.

Where are you from and how does that influence you?

I grew up in North Dakota and currently live in Saint Paul, MN.  I am most influenced by the Midwest work ethic. My design & illustration style tend to be youthful and vibrant because I am a Disney kid at heart.

When do you first remember getting into design?
Growing up, I was always the artsy kid dreaming of working for Disney. In college, I thought I was going to be an illustrator but due to a family emergency, I ended up changing schools at the last minute. The closest major they had to illustration was graphic design and I didn’t know what that was.

One of my professors picked up a Trix cereal box and said that I could make one of those. I was sold! I am extremely grateful for that moment as it is where my career began.

How did you develop your style?
By always working on it! I also always share my work and enter contests as a way to get feedback and to push myself to keep creating at a higher &  higher caliber. I don’t enter the contests to win but to improve myself and the exclusive chance to work on dream client projects.

Cat DesignsWhere do you pull your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from events and experiences I go to. From pop culture, I get a ton of inspiration by following artists on social media platforms like Instagram. Even antique thrift stores! I see inspiration everywhere and I always take a picture or write down anything I think could be useful later.

How long have you been a fan of KISS? What’s your earliest memory?

Since I was a little kid, I’ve listened to KISS. I grew up on their KISS Memorabiliamusic and anything classic rock. The first time I saw them in concert was 14 years ago, November 8, 2003 with Aerosmith in Grand Forks, North Dakota.  I still have the pick I caught from Tommy Thayer and also my original ticket stub scrap-booked from that day.

Tell us about the design you submitted?
I wanted to approach the design with over-the-top graphics because the band’s brand and stage presents is over-the-top. As soon as I put the idea of over-the-top and animals together I knew it would be a tribute to the 90’s style I grew up with. In addition, I may have carried a bright rainbow colored trapper keeper around school, but I still rocked out to KISS on the ride home.

What was your process for working on a piece? KISS design process
First of all, it started with the concept. I kicked around the design brief for a week or so until I had the idea. I was looking at images of KISS next to inspirational images of the style I wanted to pay tribute to. Then, I created the kitten faces and a layout similar to other band artwork.

The entire work is vector art done in Illustrator mainly using the pen tool.

Finally, w
hat does it mean to have the band members of KISS choose your design as their grand prize winner?
It is HUGE validation to have a monster classic rock band choose my artwork because, I mean…KISS!!! There is a great deal of whimsy in humor in the design and I am glad they embraced the concept. The most noteworthy aspect is that I now play a very small part in their legacy and that makes me really proud!



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