5 Questions with Amy Armato, MSPC Senior Art Director
By Bret Ryan | January 31, 2023
Amy Armato is an award-winning art director for MSPC. Amy’s main focus is member magazines. Her current projects include Land & Life, a brand new lifestyle publication for the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation; and Independent Banker, a business publication for the Independent Community Bankers of America.
Her design expertise lies in her ability to span various topics conceptually while offering a cohesive publication to members. Prior to her work at MSPC, she designed everything from packaging and sales materials to small business identities and wedding stationery.
Breakfast or dinner? Describe your ideal meal.
I am all about sweets. I love a good meal but I’m really only in it for the desserts.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I always drew and looked at art when I was younger. Bubble letters and rainbows when I was very young and then later more and more lettering. When I was in junior high, there was a program that had 7th and 8th graders go to elementary schools with large prints of famous artworks and ask students questions about the art, both visual and historical. I loved that!
I was an art history major in college and worked at the MIA and Weisman Art Museum as both intern and staff. Then I discovered graphic design, where I get to use my art history skills as well as my art skills. What I love most about my job now is being able to deeply research the work of my clients and then translate that into striking visuals that get people engaged and excited about an organization. For me that has been learning a lot about member associations, community banking and farming in Minnesota. Each has been interesting in its own way. Truly, I love my job.
Recommend a book, movie, album, etc.—a favorite or something you’ve consumed recently.
Book: “The Story of Art Without Men” by Katy Hessel. Once an art history nerd, always an art history nerd. This book is about women’s contributions to art history; something woefully ignored by most art history texts out there—most notably “The Story of Art” by E. H. Gombrich, which mentioned zero women in its first edition in 1950 and 16 editions later only mentions one. It makes me so happy that this is out in the world … finally.
Show: “Slow Horses” on Apple+. Gary Oldman slurping noodles in the first episode of the second season is some of the best TV I’ve seen all year. Bravo to the sound engineers on this one. So gross, SO funny.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self or someone earlier in their career path?
As a young woman, I had a major case of imposter syndrome. It caused me to not ask questions—whether that was about the job in front of me or wider questions about business or the people I was interacting with—for fear of sounding unintelligent or out of place. I don’t do that anymore. I would encourage people, especially young women, to ask the questions they have and not apologize or feel bad for asking them. I wish I would have had a mentor to guide me through that stuff. The soft skills.
I try my hardest now to encourage any and all questions no matter how big or small, to walk people through processes, to not judge questions and just answer them in a reassuring way. It’s something that needs constant attention. Imposter syndrome is real!
Recommend two or three accounts to follow on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or your platform of choice.
The Letterform Archive is a nonprofit center for all things typography. It’s a “curated collection of over 100,000 items related to lettering, typography, calligraphy and graphic design, spanning thousands of years of history.”
Gabriel Blair and her family moved to a small town in France and bought a very old house that was in need of major renovations. She has recorded it all on her Instagram (@designmom), and it’s fascinating.
Everytime I see what they’re up to at NYT Kids I say to myself, “Whoa, what amazing jobs Deb Bishop and her team have!” The illustration, design and editorial treats kids in a fun way that is not baby-ish. I think it does a great job of reflecting how late elementary and middle grade kids want to be seen. The Insta feed acknowledges the real feelings and concerns of kids while being super fun for adults and kids alike.
Read next: How a Magazine Redesign Can Benefit Your Association