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Gabriel Stromberg is the creative director of Civilization -- the legendary design studio, based in Seattle. Civilization is one of my all-time favorite studios because they do stellar work, host regular design shows in their Pioneer Square studio, and are advocates for design education. Their *free* 'Design Lectures' series has featured world-class graphic designers such as Jessica Walsh, Eddie Opara and Paula Scher.

1. What is your life motto right now?

Don’t envision a specific outcome,  dive in and see what happens.

2. What's your most-played song within the past week? Why?


I have been listening to the Chilly Gonzales album Solo Piano III on repeat for days now. I don’t know the names of any of the songs though. It turns out that light and breezy piano music is the perfect antidote to the dreariness of January.

3. Your Top Three Books of All Time:

Designing Design by Kenya Hara

Anatomy of a Typeface by Alexander Lawson

and from just this past year Design by Accident: For a New History of Design by Alexandra Midal

4. Your Approach to Health in One Sentence:

Health and self-care are, for me, centered on creating ritual in my life—repetitive practices that keep me centered and present. 

5. Your Approach to Happiness in One Sentence:

I’m still figuring this one out.

6. Your Approach to Dating in One Sentence:

I have never had an approach to either.

7. Funny / most cringe date:


My most cringe date? I would never discuss this publicly—it will go with me to my grave.

8. Your most used word:


9. Last screenshot:

Let me explain…

Screen Shot 2020-01-03 at 4.15.37 PM (1)

10. What are 1-3 things you do when you feel blue to make yourself feel better? / or feel like you’re having an off day?

I go to the library. Seattle has such an amazing library downtown. The building was designed by Rem Koolhaas. It’s my special place. It’s not far from my office so I can easily swing by if I need some inspiration. I am there all the time. 

11. Insert most used emoji:​


12. Most inspiring quote:

We can, and I firmly believe we should, preserve evidence of the past, not as a pattern for sentimental imitation, but as nourishment for the creative spirit of the present, so that we too may evolve customs and shape objects of equivalent value in our own way, in our own time, taking advantage of the many new methods and materials at our disposal.

—Alexander Girard

13. What was the last thing that made you laugh?

a GIF of Nicholas Cage from Con Air

14. Who’s someone who you can rely on to always make you smile? Why/what do they do?


My husband. He is really funny, an amazing cook, and generally a super positive person.

15. Best advice you’ve ever gotten:


Always give people the benefit of the doubt.

16. Someone/something that changed your life (for the better):


The book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall Rosenberg.

Adriene Mishler’s 30 day yoga challenge.

17. Most overrated advice / trend right now (in your opinion):


Anything involving over-working as a way of achieving results.

18. Something you feel like saying:

In the process of creativity, I believe the most important element is curiosity. More important than talent (whatever that means), skill level, intellectual aptitude, or academic pedigree; curiosity is the magic ingredient that can generate discovery, insight, and growth.

19. Fave website / youtube video / link online at the moment: 

Interior Design: The New Freedom: Massimo and Lella Vignelli, 1981

20. Fill in the blank: I’m happiest when I: _______________________


…have complete freedom.

20. Tag a gem who inspires you:


My husband Michael Doyle