Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch

Maxwell Holyoke-Hirsch — Petal

Maxwell is a designer, illustrator, and art director based in New York. His work has been recognized by Computer Arts, Grain Edit, HOW, Varoom, It’s nice that and others. He is currently working to reform the financial space at Petal.

What led you into design?

It has been a fairly natural trajectory. Growing up, my parents owned a photo lab, and they were always working on personal projects, so I was immersed in the process of making things and being creative.

In the early 2000s, I started sharing my work and connecting with other artists on the internet, then moved to San Francisco to focus my career on gallery work and exhibitions. After a few years, I was approached by the New York Times to produce an editorial illustration for the Op-Ed page.

Working with the paper prompted me to move to NYC, and I became interested in typography and the editorial layouts in which my illustrations were housed. This led me to graphic design, and I was hired as a designer at a progressive research organization, where I mostly designed print layouts and distilled policy proposals and data sets.

I felt really satisfied with the idea that the energy I was putting into my work had an impact on people’s lives, and after a few years, I moved to Oscar Health. I wanted to challenge myself in a different space and was hired to help them with a brand refresh.

Now, I’m at Petal, working to make the credit card experience easier for people to navigate. I still feel strongly about producing work that positively affects peoples’ lives, and I’m invigorated by the process of improving archaic systems.

What does a typical day look like?

8am - Yoga, meditation, news brief
9am - Coffee or tea, walk, music, slack/emails, edit photos
10am - Meetings + alignment with collaborators
11am - Design sprint
12pm - Walk, lunch
1pm - Sprint on projects
2pm - Meetings
3pm - Emails + organization
4pm - Music + design sprint
5pm - Continue sprinting
6pm - Sprint + check-in with collaborators
7pm - Home studio meditation + relaxation
8pm - 2am Dinner + freelance client work

What’s your setup?

Where do you go to get inspired?

Noguchi Museum

Prospect Park

The Met

Museum of Natural History

Roosevelt Island

Habitat 67

The Bust of Sylvette

The Salk Institute

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

Comes with a robust set of photo editing tools that are easy to access and use. The perspective tool is especially useful.

District Vision
Products designed with a high level of quality and precision that is beyond satisfying.

Formula 1 Racing Rebrand
A thorough and thoughtful approach to a top-tier heritage brand.

A powerful editor to create frame-based layouts for social or personal use.

Thoughtful and considered, airy and open. Thoughts as clouds and the mind as open space. Thematically on point.

GT America Type Specimen Page
I love the examples of typeface working.

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

Report layout for People’s Policy Project

Oscar health Welcome Booklet

Petal Illustrations

NY Times Sunday Review

The World of Interiors Magazine

What design challenges do you face at your company?

Not much to add here. I will mention, though, that it is always important to remind yourself that every day gets better and the act of doing the work itself is the most worth it.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Teach yourself as much as you can, work with people you love. Pick up new programs and mess around, stay positive and make things with your hands. Don’t be afraid to make a mess. Share the process and your excitement for your work with people you admire, and respect. Keep it moving.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

New prints in the shop

Share this interview

Related Interviews

Cat Noone — Iris

New Jersey-based designer, focused on building products with meaningful experiences and advocates for the little details that make a big difference.

Rich O'Brien — Gladeye

Lover of heavy metal, design and the outdoors, Rich crafts meaningful digital experiences in the beautiful New Zealand.

Daniel Marino — Harvest

Product Designer working remotely from the woods of southern New Hampshire. He is passionate about crafting simple, high-quality experiences.

Yesenia Perez-Cruz — Vox Media

Designer, speaker, and writer based out of Philadelphia, PA. Passionate about increasing inclusivity in tech, designing responsibly, and leading with empathy.