A Brief History of Float Design

Hi, I’m Larissa Pickens, the founder and creative director of this studio. In 2014, I transitioned from a solo freelance operation to building a small but lovely design team. It’s been a wonderful experience to grow a studio and I’ve had some questions so I wrote up this to give an overview on how Float Design came to be.


Personally I’ve been designing for beauty for over 10 years, since the fateful summer morning when I started designing advertising and packaging for Calvin Klein fragrances at Unilever (later Coty).   

In 2005, I received my MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design. Since then, I’ve focused on interactive design where I enjoy merging digital and ecommerce best practices with trends in the beauty and lifestyle industries.

In 2006, I made the leap and became self-employed while working with brands such as Estee Lauder and Conde Nast. Most recently, in 2015 I shifted again — this time from flying solo to building a small, select team of designers to help me execute the designs.

Having worked in-house, in agencies and as a freelancer, I set out to create a new design experience which combines the best factors of each and enables marketers and brands to achieve their unique design advantage.

With Float Design, I wanted to solve these issues by creating a design service that provides project based or on-going support specifically to lifestyle and beauty brands. We can act both as a go-to partner or to supporting existing in-house teams.

Our goal is to be a true partner with our brands, which explains why we usually measure our working relationships in years, not weeks.

Now we’re a small but mighty team. When recruiting, we look for a solid education, a gorgeous portfolio, experience in the beauty/lifestyle niche and that rare can-do spirit who is passionate about their craft, calm under pressure, and is just fun to work with. 

In keeping with our mission to seek better work-life balance, we’re a distributed team with members in New York, Richmond, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin. While we’re not in an office, we are always in contact with each other, whether it’s work planning in our project management software, chatting on Slack or regularly scheduled phone calls.

At the heart is building relationships: brainstorming, asking important questions and creating meaningful designs. Our goal is to understand your needs from a business, functional, and aesthetic point of view. We promise to try to keep the nerd jargon to a minimum.

I want hear about your brand’s story, challenges, and your vision for where it can go. Then we can craft a strategy that fits with your business. 

Most importantly, I love to work with people who are as passionate about what they do as I am about design. If this sounds like you, let’s chat!