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Alumni in the News: Meet the Designer: Zhanna Hamadeh
Author: Robin Crocker,
Posted: April 8, 2014

Zhanna Hamadeh graduated from PSU's College of the Arts in 2009.

This article originally appeared on The Gift Exchange blog.


Zhanna Hamadeh is GiftTree’s illustrious Design Team Manager. She pioneers new product designs, keeps the “trains running on time” with developing products, and sets the overall atmosphere for the Design Team. We sat down with Zhanna recently to gain perspective on her background, what inspires her, and her favorite GiftTree gifts. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the talented people who make the GiftTree magic happen.

Tell us a bit about your background as a designer.

I studied design at the Art Institute of Portland and went on to getting a BFA in Fine Arts at the Portland State University, I have worked in various design related fields, from commercial and residential interior design, set design for major publications, to window display design at Anthropologie, Nordstrom, and Saks.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to my inspiration. A vintage item with an interesting shape can spark a new idea – becoming a catalyst to an entire product line. I enjoy Museums and galleries, and of course…Pinterest!

When did you become interested in design?

I’ve always naturally been attracted to the arts, I remember when I was 8, I painted my entire room black-which was a very odd choice for a young girl. Thankfully, my parents have always supported me and allowed me to be creative form a very young age.

What is your proudest accomplishment as a designer?

Anytime a client tells me that I have captured “them” in my design work- I’m elated.

Can you describe your style in just a few words?

My style is Understated Elegance, with Industrial and Rustic touches.

What are your two favorite gift basket designs we have at GiftTree?

My two favorite baskets designs are The Royal Champagne Gift Basket & Toast of Elegance.

What materials do you like to use the most and why?

I enjoy combining unexpected elements and making them work. The juxtaposition between different materials- glass and concrete, metal and leather, provides a visual balance of rough and clean, hard and soft textures – making a design more intriguing.

What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?

Spending time with my family, hosting a Sunday brunch, and a visit to a gallery opening sums up to a perfect weekend for me.

What is your dream job?

I don’t have a “dream” job – per se, but because I enjoy design and art in and of itself. Anything related to keeps me happy & inspired.

One personal belonging you just couldn’t live without?

There are so many things that come to mind, but if I had to choose one, it would be an old violin I have brought to the US from Russia 20 years ago.

Finally, what is the best part of working for GiftTree?

The best part of working for GiftTree is that I get to play a small part in every gift our customers receive.