Ryan Essmaker is a creative director, product designer, photographer, and filmmaker. Formerly, he cofounded The Great Discontent, an internationally distrubuted magazine featuring inspiring conversations with today’s artists, makers, and risk-takers.

Ryan has worked in design and tech for over 20 years with notable clients including Mailchimp, Adobe, National Geographic Society, Kickstarter, NBC Universal, Clinton Foundation, Under Armour, and New York City.

Currently working on the brand team at Modern Treasury.

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Modern Treasury | Principal Brand Designer

In addition to my role on the brand design team, I oversee and produce all in-house video productions at the company.

July 2022-Present

Tellie | Head of Design, Lead Product Designer

Lead product designer and head of design, overseeing both product and brand/marketing design.

Tellie - Build beautiful web2 + web3 creator sites in minutes | Product Hunt
Apr 2020-July 2022

Simplecast | Head of Design, Lead Product Designer

Was responsible for all creative aspects of the brand, overseeing the design team, and closely involved with product on a day-to-day basis. Successfully executed an internal rebrand and complete redesign of the product in 2018. Reported directly to the CEO.
Feb 2018-Nov 2019

The Great Discontent | Cofounder, Creative Director

Initially started as an online-only interview magazine, TGD grew to include 7 internationally distributed print editions, film projects, a podcast, and over 20 sold- out live events in NYC. TGD was the first fully responsive long-form editorial site on the Internet, setting design and layout trends used by popular editorial sites across the web. Among the over 300 creatives featured are Leon Bridges, Paloma Lanna, Sharon Van Etten, Reggie Watts, Roxanne Gay, Michael Bierut, Stefan Sagmeister, Tavi Gevinson, Seth Godin, and Mara Hoffman.
Aug 2011-Nov 2019

Fictive Kin | Senior Designer, Product Designer

Split time between internal digital products and client work. Most notably, worked on a redesign of Kickstarter and National Geographic Society’s homepages as well as the initial launch of for NYC. Also worked on branding and design projects for a variety of startups.
Jan 2015-Jan 2018

Crush & Lovely | Creative Director, Head of Product

Was responsible for the design team as well as internal digital products. Worked on an iPad app for NBC Universal, a film project for Under Armour, web projects for Adobe and Clinton Foundation, and various projects for startups in the digital and physical space. Helped grow the company from 5 people to over 20.

Dec 2011-Jan 2014

Independent Designer/Front-end Developer