Walsh was born in New York and raised in nearby Ridgefield, Connecticut. She began coding and designing websites at age 11 and went on to study graphic design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD).
Sagmeister & Walsh
After earning her BFA from RISD in 2008, Walsh moved to New York City to intern at design firm Pentagram for nearly a year. She then worked as an associate art director at Print magazine and had design work and illustrations featured in various books, magazines and newspapers, including the New York Times and New York Times Magazine.
In 2010, Walsh met Stefan Sagmeister. He looked through her portfolio and offered her a job at his design studio, Sagmeister Inc. In June 2012, after two years at the firm, Walsh was made partner, at age 25. In homage to a nude self-portrait Sagmeister had sent out to announce the formation of his own firm 19 years prior, the new partners released a photo of themselves naked in their office to announce the renaming of the firm to Sagmeister & Walsh.
Blending handcraft, photography and painting with digital design, Walsh works primarily on branding, typography, website design and art installations. Her signature style has been described as "bold, emotional and provocative" with the occasional surrealistic flourish, and her art has been said to look "hand-made and at times quite daring." Walsh has worked on projects for clients including Levi's, Aizone, Adobe and Colab Eyewear, and rebranding efforts for The Jewish Museum of New York and the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. Walsh and Sagmeister collaborated on Six Things: Sagmeister & Walsh, an exhibition that opened at the Jewish Museum in March 2013, and ran for five months. For the exhibit, an exploration of happiness, they created a sound-activated sculpture and five short films.
40 Days of Dating
In 2013, Walsh and fellow designer and friend Tim Goodman decided to date for 40 days to see if they could overcome their relationship issues and fall in love. They documented the social experiment on a blog, 40 Days of Dating, launched in July 2013. In support of the blog, which earned more than 5 million unique visitors in less than a year, they appeared in segments on talk shows Today and The View. In September 2013, Warner Brothers purchased the film rights, with a screenplay to be written by Lorene Scafaria, and Michael Sucsy attached to direct. Walsh and Goodman will serve as consulting writers on the script and also wrote a book for Abrams, 40 Days of Dating: An Experiment, out in early 2015.
12 Kinds of Kindness
In 2016, Walsh and Goodman began a second project together, "A 12-step experiment designed to open hearts, eyes, and minds". Throughout 12 steps, the two designers contributed to society with their kindness and recorded the results, teaching themselves and their readers lessons of how a little contribution can go a long way. From going around the city of New York, asking strangers if they need help, to placing themselves into the shoes of those who receive the most negative feedback, such as telemarketers and homeless, Walsh and Goodman's experiment has received astounding feedback.
Apart from an entertaining social experiment to follow, Walsh and Goodman also ask for the readers' interaction and contribution by including a "make your own steps" section to the website. They invite followers to join their journey, "whether it's random acts of kindness, facing a fear or insecurity, being nice to your enemies, or paying it forward," and document with photography, illustrations, writing, and typography on social media with the tag #12kindsofkindness.
Although the two designers led the project, the acquired immense assistance from friends, family and co-workers, from film to animation included to illustrate each step. The experiment is currently live and readers can check in everyday for a new story at www.12kindsofkindness.com.
Walsh teaches design and typography at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is represented by Creative Artists Agency.