Today is Valentine’s Day, a day of love, capitalism, sickeningly sweet Instagram posts, pithy denunciations of the holiday, and—god willing—a ton of chocolate. We hate to be the buzzkills here, but beneath the public shows of affection this particular day tends to inspire, we all know The Truth: relationships take work. And if your work involves your relationship? That likely goes double.
As design is an industry full of working pairs—people for whom their business partner is also their romantic partner—we thought we’d ask four such couples how they met and why they decided to work together. And ok fine, it turns out their stories are all pretty sweet and heartwarming and contain cute esoteric design details—so sue us! It’s a holiday, everyone just relax.
Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit of UnderConsideration
“We met in 1997 at a nightclub in Mexico City on Valentine’s Day weekend. No joke. Both of our parties happened to be sitting at adjacent tables, and a mutual friend introduced us. We ended up talking until 6 a.m. and started dating the following weekend. (If you know us now, this story is particularly hard to believe, as our bedtime is 10 p.m. and we haven’t been to a nightclub in the 21st century.)
“After we moved to the U.S., we worked at separate design firms until 2007, when we decided to set up our own firm, anchored by our newborn baby girl. We have worked from home for 12 years now, so we see each other 24/7. Not only have we not gouged our eyes out, but we have never had a fight, professional or personal. We may disagree on where to place vector points, what baseline grid to use, or file-naming protocols, but that’s more cute than any major flaw.
“It’s actually kind of sick that we’ve never fought, but it’s working for us, so we’ll try to keep it that way. We are fine doing the laundry during workdays as well as making design or business decisions on the weekends—it’s a very fluid work/life balance. Sometimes to a fault: We don’t have an on/off switch. But, again, it’s been working for us, so we’ll keep at it until we have a meltdown over some trivial keyboard shortcut we disagree on.”
David Heasty and Stefanie Weigler of Triboro
“David remembers Gelman saying to him, ‘I have a new employee, from Germany, I think you will like her.’ Whether it was clairvoyance or coincidence, David’s first visit to the office ended up being a memorable one. Stefanie said David was the first person she met in New York who was smiling. Gelman was having a party a couple weeks later, starting at Memes (a cool streetwear shop on Great Jones in the early aughts) and finishing at Luke & Leroy in the Village (sadly gone). Pretty soon we were a couple. A little over a year later we would be married, with Triboro opening shortly after. We’ve worked side by side every day since.”
Sean Pecknold and Adi Goodrich of Sing-Sing
“When we met at a coffee shop, we saw that that wasn’t true at all. And it turns out, we lived two blocks away from each other in Los Angeles. When we sat down to trade illustrations of the sets for the video, we had made almost identical drawings. At the wrap dinner, our producer pushed one of the ad creatives in the pool with his clothes on, and so Sean grabbed Adi’s hand and jumped into the pool after him. We sat in drenched clothes the rest of the night, smiling. And the rest is history.”
“We met on OkCupid, an online dating platform. We always tell people to go on it, but it seems to have this stigma as an ‘old’ online dating platform. This was before Tinder or Bumble were taking off. Has it already been that long?
“The story goes that after a night of drinking with some girlfriends, they insisted to Leta, ‘You HAVE to join OkCupid!’ to combat her complaining about men in New York. Leta made an account and within that week, Wade got in touch. She had written in her bio, ‘I am a graphic designer, and if you don’t know who Josef Muller-Brockmann is, I don’t want to talk to you.’ Leta wanted to be with somebody who had the same interests. Maybe some people see that as stifling.
“As somebody so like-minded, Wade efficiently wrote, ‘It seems like we have very similar interests. Here is my phone number—contact me if you want to meet.’ And that was it! We went on a date two days later.