36 Creative People to Watch in 2017

From web design, development, & UX, to the best new talent in video, audio, and photography

In 2017, there are so many creative and inspiring people in the industries of design, UX, and media that it can be hard to keep up.

As editor of the Envato Blog, I’m constantly hearing about impressive work from designers and creators around the world. And so, with input and collaboration from the Envato design team and Tuts+ editors, we’ve compiled this list of 36 of our favorite creative people. Categories include: web design & UX; graphic design, art & illustration; design & writing; and photographers and audio/video-makers. Some of the names on this list are well-known, while others are just getting started in their field, but all of them create work that we think is worth following this year!

Web design & UX

1. Jen Simmons — web designer

Jen is a boundary-pushing CSS-er who regularly updates her own personal website in fascinating ways. She currently works as design advocate at Mozilla.

2. John Saito — writer & designer at Dropbox


An experienced UX writer that has worked with Google, Youtube and Dropbox — his Medium posts about the importance of writing in the design process are always a pleasure to read as he sees the user experience from the perspective of a “word person”.

3. Gleb Kuznetsov — Product Designer @ Fantasy

San Francisco, CA

Gleb is a web and UI designer with one of the leading agencies in the world, and a favorite among the Envato design team. His work is understated and modern; we especially like his design for this Tinder travel app iOs concept.

4. Elaine Chao — experience designer at Adobe

San Francisco, California

Elaine works for Adobe on Adobe Experience Design. At Envato Tuts+ we’re putting some energy into Adobe XD at the moment, so Elaine is a very useful person to follow.

5. Chi-An de Leo — Creative Director


Co-founder of the multi-award winning Rice Creative, Chi-An started out as a creative and designer in advertising before founding Rice. He balances branding projects for companies with projects such as Musicabana Music Festival.

6. Rogie King — designer & front-end developer

We like the bright, eye-catching design of Rogie’s “surprising & delightful” work and portfolio site.

7. Adrian Pelletier — Web Designer & Founder of Build Interactive

New Hampshire, USA

Adrian Pelletier is the founder of Build Interactive, a creative studio in New Hampshire. He also makes beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations, mostly relating to themes of nature, the environment, and wildlife.

8. Jenny Arden — Design Manager at Airbnb

San Francisco, California

Jenny is a user experience design manager at Airbnb. With the announcement of the new Airbnb Trips, we’re paying close attention to the design team at Airbnb — the movie-poster style ‘trips’ is just one testament to the creativity of their team.

9. Yauhen Zadziarkouski — web designer & developer

Yauhen Zadziarkouski is the creator behind WPspade, a WordPress theme shop specializing in simple, minimal websites.

Graphic design, art & illustration

10. Lauren Hom — designer & letterer

New York, USA

Lauren Hom runs Hom Sweet Hom, and she’s known for bright lettering and colors. She also writes a blog called Daily Dishonesty, and is travelling the world as a digital nomad.

11. Marc Hemeon — CEO & founder

Marc is the founder of Design Inc, and is a big player in the tech world. He’s also worth following on Instagram because of his beautiful paintings.

12. Justas Galaburda — Icon Designer


Designs icons and icon sets but shares his knowledge and publishes tutorials to guide designers through building their own. With more motion and custom illustration popping up in brands, he will have an even bigger following in 2017.

13. Jessica Hische — lettering artist

A US-based lettering artist with, in her own words, “a tendency to overshare and a penchant for procrastiworking”. Not only is her work a feast for the eyes and perfect if you’re looking for inspiration, but she’s also a passionate speaker that delivers great talks and interviews.

14. Rhett Dashwood — Designer & Creative Director

Melbourne, Australia

Bright, playful designs like foil balloon fonts and neon type fill Rhett’s creative portfolio. His past includes directing award-winning short films, running a weekend YouTube channel called Riley Diary with his daughter, and creating an alphabet out of Google Maps.

15. Diana (diadea3007) — web & graphic designer


“Diana is a very cooperative & skilled professional,” a member of the Envato community told us. “As her client I noticed, in her every design, before start the project she always take a lots of analysis and make a proper A-Z plan for make this project awesome.”

16. Joey Ellis — illustrator & designer

North Carolina, USA

Joey is an illustrator and (since quite recently) animation and film maker. He specializes in designing characters for books, magazines, cartoons, and more.

17. Dave Foster — Independent designer, Foster Type

Sydney, Australia

Dave Foster’s work is centered around typefaces and lettering. We love his illustrated, Australia-centric alphabet (K for kangaroo, L for lamingtons, M for mates).

18. Margaret Penney — Print and graphic designer

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Margaret Penney isn’t new to the design world — she’s been working in print, web, and motion graphics for over 15 years. Her work as Hellomartco is a bright, pop-art style that’s as attention-grabbing as it is unique. One of our favorites: The Trashy Alphabet.

19. Pieter Levels — writer & designer


Also known as levelsio, he’s an advocate for remote working and the mind behind nomadlist and remoteok. He’s also a budding entrepreneur and shares his thoughts and ideas about remote working, new tech, digital and startups.

20. Nina Magradze — Graphic designer & illustrator


Nina’s bold, clean lines and playful designs are fresh and on-trend for this year, and her Instagram account is one of our favorites.

Design & writing

21. Julie Zhuo — product designer & writer

Palo Alto, California

Julie is a product designer at Facebook, worth following for the insightful, clever and very pleasant to read essays she publishes on Medium under the collection The Year of the Looking Glass. Great reads on UX, design and the challenges of building great products.

22. Daniel White — designer & educator

Bristol, England

Through-video-based tutorials and courses, Daniel White shares his design expertise on everything from color overlay effects on PhotoShop to drawing triangles on Adobe XD. (check out his 60-second explainer video on Adobe XD).

23. Ash Huang — Independent designer & writer

California, USA

Ash has worked in product design and branding, but she’s also a writer, and her work often combines both of her interests. We love her creative projects, like this Wild Woman Road Trip Guide.

24. Pablo Stanley — Designer at Carbon Health & writer at The Design Team

San Francisco, California

We’ve kept an eye on Pablo’s work on The Design Team, which chronicles the world of designers through satire and illustrated comics. Some are more silly (think ‘halloween costumes for designers’), while other stories take a more serious approach.

25. Graeme Fulton — Designer, writer, & prototyper, IBM

Blackpool, United Kingdom

Graeme Fulton is a designer at IBM, and he’s also a master at writing about design in an easy-to-understand way. He writes about everything from imposter syndrome (I’m not smart, I just sat there for longer than you) to remote work to smart UIs (How to Build Honest UIs and Help Users Make Better Decisions). He’s also an instructor for Envato Tuts+, where he writes about making the web more accessible.

26. Tobias van Schneider — designer

New York

A quality creative, designer and thinker who writes awesome designer-focused newsletters and articles. He has good taste in music, too — his Spotify playlists are a weekly listen for our designers.

27. Kai Brach — Editor of Offscreen Magazine

Melbourne, Australia

Kai is the founding editor of Offscreen Magazine, an independent publication about using technology and creativity to improve the world. He also writes The Modern Desk, a once-weekly email that’s geared towards designers and creators.

Photographers and audio/video-makers

28. Hanna Beachler — film production designer

Hanna Beachler is the woman behind the look of Lemonade, Moonlight and the forthcoming Black Panther.

29. Zac Nelson — musician & composer

Melbourne, Australia

Zac Nelson is a composer who writes thoughtful, folk-inspired songs, and creates stock music under the name BlueSkyAudio. His music has been highlighted on TV placements and reality TV shows.

30. Sara Cwynar — photographer

New York

Our design teams says that Sara’s “intricate sculptural installations and photographs challenge my understanding of the photographic image — in a good way”. 

31. Fernando Perreau & Pablo Olondriz — musicians

Minorca, Spain

Fernando & Pablo (pictured) are the creators behind SnailMusic. Their music has been used by top brands and their story is unique: they’re currently living on an island in Spain, where they’re working on making a living selling music full-time. “They pour their heart and soul into every last detail and it shows. And most importantly, they are two of the most friendly and down-to-earth people I’ve met,” says the team behind AurusAudio.

32. Talia Herman — freelance photographer

San Francisco

Talia Herman made our list for her intimate and loving documentation of her small Northern-California town, West County.

33. Patrick Clair — creative director

Los Angeles, California

Patrick Clair won an Emmy in 2014 for his work on the title credit of HBO’s True Detective. We can’t stop watching his intro credits for the hit HBO show Westworld — is another Emmy in his future?

34. Alexandros Nikolaidis — composer

Athens, Greece

If you’ve seen Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you’ve heard the music of Alexandros Nikolaidis; his track, “Blizzard of Dreams”, was used in the movie. He’s a favorite of Voidcore, a music creator on AudioJungle.

35. Travis Neilson — writer, designer, YouTuber, & podcaster

San Francisco, California

Travis Neilson is perhaps best-known for his YouTube channel, DevTips, in which he creates weekly videos on the subject of web design and development. He’s a prolific creator across the internet, and hosts a podcast about design.

36. Christina Clusiau — photographer & filmmaker

Christina is a photographer-turned filmmaker with Reel Peak Films. Her work includes documentary projects about hurricane Sandy, Occupy Wall Street, and more.




This article was originally published on the Envato Medium publication.


Correction: the original version of this article incorrectly named #19 as Pieter Van Schneider, not Pieter Levels. We apologize for the error. 

Brittany Jezouit

About the Author Brittany Jezouit

Brittany is a Contributor to the Envato blog. She helped launch the publication and was its founding Editor. You can follow her on Twitter @brittanyjezouit.