The world of Kristen Polsinelli Boelen, aka Design x Five, is one where black and white meets color, chaos flirts with simplicity and curse words are used with a hint of class. The self-taught letterist and designer approaches her work from an experimental angle, embracing mistakes to create minimal, androgynous type pieces and inky illustrations.
It wasn’t until she started traveling the world, that she began creating and discovered her true passion. Kristen’s work expresses how her life's adventures serve as her muse.
She recently returned home to the United States after spending the last four years living in France and working as a freelance graphic designer and creative director. During this time, she developed a large portfolio of work with a multitude of French and American clients, including but not limited to, hotels, restaurants, coffee shops, spas, fashion labels, and even a start-up tech company.
Q: Who are you and what do you do?
A: I’m Kristen Polsinelli Boelen, the face behind DX5. By day I’m a graphic designer, art director, and letterer. By night I’m a traveler, a music enthusiast, a wannabe food/wine critic, a podcast junkie and maybe a little bit of a maniaque.
Q: Where are you from and where are you based now?
A: I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia. I moved to Honfleur, France for four years after college. And super recently, my husband and I moved back to the States and are traveling around the country until we find a place we want to call home…it’s quite a crazy adventure!
Q: Why “Design x Five”?
A: Design is sort of like being in a band. It’s such a collaborative effort that it doesn’t feel right to give all the credit to lead singer. I decided to create a brand rather than putting myself in front of the mic. So, “Design” is what I do. “X” is a symbol for “by” or “and”. X is such a strong symbol – it represents collaboration, it’s a kiss, it’s a generation, it marks the spot, it’s the variable, it’s mathematical, it’s sexy. And Five is my power number, c’est tout.
Q: Tell me about the DX5 brand.
A: We’re the cross between American bohemia and a Parisian, we’re curious, we know that black is the new black, we’re non-conventional, we’re cool, we have a good sense of humor and are a little bit of a smart ass.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: Travel, music, people’s stories (good + bad) and working with people who are ridiculously talented, creative or entrepreneurial.
Most of my inspiration comes from something I see, or someone I meet when I'm traveling. I constantly need a change of scenery. I like to be out of my comfort zone, it’s when I learn and absorb the most.
Q: What is your design aesthetic?
A: Minimal. Androgynous. Strong. I love the mixture of messy and clean, old and new. I crave strong visual contrasts in color or texture.
Q: What is your dream project?
A: Designing album artwork. Collaborating with Quentin Jones. Painting a mural in all of my favorite cities. Lettering for magazines like Love Magazine, Food & Wine, and Vogue, of course.