Friday Fives: Tsilli Pines

October 18, 2019

On Fridays we give #highfives to a different designer from our extended family of PNCA students, faculty, alumni, and guest lecturers. 🙌🏾🙌🏻🙌🏽 We ask them five questions. They send us five images. This week's feature is Tsilli Pines.

Tsilli is currently the VP of Creative at Instrument, a digital creative agency that describes itself as “equal parts creative agency, engineering firm, and consultancy” working to deliver the best parts of each in creating experiences for their clients. Tsilli also co-founded, developed, and launched Design Week Portland (now Design Portland) in 2012, to celebrate design across disciplines as one of our most-promising cultural, social, and economic resources. For nearly seven years, Tsilli served as the Portland host and organizer of the internationally recognized lecture series Creative Mornings. If you are connected to Tsilli, or to design in Portland, odds are she has made you look good.

Photo via All other images courtesy of Tsilli.

Q: How do you want to shape design?

A: I always want to extract ideas, break them completely to shreds, and build them back up only when they are ready to stand for something meaningful to the everyday person.

Q: What or who inspires you?

A: Dance. I make a yearly pilgrimage to the SF International Hip Hop Dance Festival.

Q: What do you do to get “unstuck?”

A: I read poetry. It always cracks me open.

Q: What feels vital to the future of design, to you?

A: A shift in power. Who gets to design.

Q: What music (or podcasts) are you listening to, or what are you reading right now?

A: Song Exploder. I’m deeply inspired by glimpses at how artists go about making their work.

Q: What is your favorite trick for “keeping it all together”?

A: Ask for help when you need it. No one can do everything.

* * * * *

See more of more from Tsilli at and, or follow @tsillipines on twitter.

Better yet, come see Tsilli speak on October 23, 2019 at 7:00 pm as part of our Design Lecture Series, and get inspired.

Follow along with our #fridayfives on instagram @pncadesign.