Stephanie Milanowski enrolled in college at the age of 14, eventually receiving a merit-based, full ride scholarship to study Graphic Design at Rhode Island School of Design, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. At RISD Stephanie studied under Andy Warhol’s friend and former employee, Mahler Ryder, design great Malcolm Grear and world-renowned book artist Jan Baker and typographer Inge Druckery. Stephanie turned her senior thesis project “Save Me Lunch Bags”—a series of educational lunch bags for children featuring endangered species—into a global product. Overseeing manufacturing and distribution, Stephanie, encouraged by a telephone call from Tippi Hedren, went on to sell lunch bags to zoos, gift shops and museum stores around the world.
Prior to graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, Stephanie heard Herman Miller, Inc. (where Charles & Ray Eames created timeless modern furniture) was hiring three design apprentices to work under Creative Director, Steve Frykholm. Stephanie was hired, never forgetting that Steve Frykholm told her “You’re more %#@$@* creative than the whole bunch out there.”
From owning her own business to Herman Miller Inc. to earning a Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Michigan, Stephanie continued her competitive streak. In summer 1994 she was 1 of just 20 students worldwide admitted to the Yale University School of Art Summer Program in Brissago, Switzerland, where she studied and befriended art and design luminaries including Paul Rand, Mario Botta, Wolfgang Weingart, Pierre Mendell and Armin and Dorothea Hofmann. She also was recipient of a graduate studies fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her printmaking work where she was the first to drive a steamroller to print giant copper plates, making headlines and photographed by press.
Stephanie has taught and lectured graphic design at the college level. She has illustrated children’s books for HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill, Cricket and major U.S. publishers, and has designed hundreds of book jackets and covers for best-selling authors, publishing companies and university presses nationwide. One of the first books Stephanie illustrated was for Katherine Paterson, author of “Bridge to Teribithia,” titled “Who am I?” Having learned the art of letterpress and book making at Rhode Island School of Design Stephanie’s work and recognition as a book artist exploded when she hand-bound 1,200 books for Oprah Winfrey and many other distinguished customers including Max De Pree. Her artists books have been distributed by the Manhattan artists’ book collective Printed Matter, Inc., and her graphic design work has won numerous honors including Printing Industries of America Awards, the International Design Competition sponsored by Mohawk Paper Company, and first place in the National Billboard Competition of the Community Action Network’s Media & Corporate Awards, NYC.
Working since 1997 as a contract graphic designer, illustrator and entrepreneur, Stephanie’s projects have included holiday cards for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as well as custom designs of national exhibition collateral for world recognized artists/sculptors including Dale Chihuly, Dietrich Klinge, Mark di Suvero, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Louise Bourgeois, to name a few.
Stephanie lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with her husband, two children and 1 giant best friend—and dreams of starring in a Woody Allen movie, loves coffee, and astronaut ice cream.