Designer Spotlight: Joe Human of Designs by Human

At Vishion, we love highlighting interior designers that inspire us. Each week in the Vishion Designer Spotlight, we showcase designers that push the limits of design, producing spaces that are cutting edge, practical, and livable. Meet Joe Human from Designs by Human, Regional Winner of the Vishion Design Awards Competition

Joe Human

When we saw Joe Human’s Vishion Design Awards competition, we immediately knew we loved his designs. His use of bright colors without making the room feel too overwhelming was remarkable. What really caught our eye while scrolling through his submission was his bold use of patterns that really helped tie the room together. We also loved how he emphasized on making sure each room had it’s own personality to it. Recently, we asked Human a series of questions to learn more about his business, his design process, and recent work. Read below to find out more.

A Conversation With Interior Designer, Joe Human

Tell me about your design business.

My design studio is called Designs by Human, named primarily after my last name “Human,” it was formulated because I wanted to do a small play on words to design for people and make it accessible to all other “Humans.”  Were based in Midtown Manhattan, and the majority of our clients are in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and NJ and slowly extending to the Hamptons, Miami, and further west.  I love to see growth and will honestly work anywhere to take on new and great design projects.

We primarily work on residential homes and apartments but will work on a select amount of commercial or “resimercial” design projects.  I love doing large full scope/service projects, but we also know that everyone starts somewhere, and we are happy to look at all scopes and sizes to develop those relationships.

What is the most important aspect of any successful interior design?

I LOVE color!  It is so important to incorporate it into a space, and I always think it’s so funny how scared of color so many people are.  It’s our job to show them it’s not a scary thing, and it can be incorporated into almost every design scheme.


Interior design by Design by Human

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good neutral space with white walls, but I also get so excited when a client says, “I want to incorporate color into our space.”  It can bring out a client’s personality in so many different ways and add a unique way to show that personality through their homes.

How do you design a space from start to finish with Vishion?

I was working recently with a client, and we were looking through her existing artwork, and she said: “I really love this color on the painting, and I wish we could use it as an accent.” It was a lightbulb moment for me, thanks to Vishion, I immediately whipped out my phone and captured the color so we could include it into the homes design scheme.

Interior design by Design by Human


I use Vishion in conjunction with our other drawing software (AutoCAD, Photoshop, Etc) to gather colors and search for similar products with those colors.

What was a recent project that you loved?  

A recent project I love (which is full of color) is one I cannot share as it’s in consideration for publication so I will share my next favorite – actually the one I submitted for the Vishion Awards!  This project is a good example of including color into a space.  This apartment is part of a new development with a good base design, but like a lot of new construction, It is basically a white box.  Our client was referred to us for our use of color and the ability to add a homey and cozy feeling into any space.  We took each room as a different space, analyzed their use and designed from there, what mood do we want to set in each space when it’s used not only by the owner but by his guests.

What design challenges did you have? How did you address them?  

We luckily had a fantastic client, seriously, one of the best I’ve ever worked with, and he gave me a lot of freedom to envision a space that worked for what he wanted.  That being said, it was almost a challenge as there were minimal constraints (aside from budgeting), so I had to be very decisive and very quick to get to know the client and make sure all my choices were correct for him in round one.  The obvious design challenge was how to make a large white, modern apartment feel like a home.  I sourced for hours and hours for wall coverings, paint colors, and details we could add and make the home unique. I didn’t want to suggest just any generic pattern or wall covering as the client specifically came to us for the fun aesthetic we provide!

Interior design by Design by Human


One other challenge (that was so fun) was that our client did not have anything to start with, most clients have a handful of things they collected, existing furniture or something sentimental, to begin with.  Our client is so focused on his studies and work, basically living out of a suitcase and wanted that to change.  We developed a book collection for him based on his interests, this meant researching books for both aesthetic value and interest value … I have to say I spent a handful of hours on tangents when I started researching books about maps, my famous saying is “I love maps!”.

From there, we also had to get him all the basic makings of a home such as dishes, flatware, bedding and so on.  I have done this several times before for clients but not to this level and I was worried since he had no previous experience in these items really I wasn’t sure what his reaction would be to say the comfort of the bedding or the style of the flatware but in the end we received an “everything is wonderful” from him!

Tell us about the colors used in the color palette: 

Interior design by Design by Human

This home is a three-bedroom, and each room works together but has a completely different feeling as mentioned above based on the use of the space.  For the master bedroom, it was all about being cozy and masculine.  I went with a darker color palette in there as well as introducing several textures including the dark wool wall covering, but that was balanced off with the walnut chevron pattern on the custom headboard and the custom light rug.  In the Office, it was a cozy space but masculine – I wanted it overall to feel light and airy to promote thought and productivity but there has to be elements of softness and coziness.  Introduce the custom leather wall with hand stitched details (it is so soft and subtle, I could sit there all day and pet it).  I added a dark counter/work surface and plaid drapes with red being the main accent to tie all the colors range together.

The Guest Bedroom I went dark and moody, but with all the accents it feels like a super inviting room.  I wanted that space to be a cool place for the guests to stay in, something unique they can talk about when they leave.  A brown, black and blue wallpaper covers each wall with light wood and metal accents on the nightstands.  White drapes with black accents help lighten up the space and balance out the boldness of the wall covering.  I continued to add in to texture and subtle colors with bedding and pillows and artwork (all made by us). The main space which I call the public spaces (Living, Dining and Hallways) are all finished with a hand made wallpaper to mimic the look of plaster, it has a sparkle that is ever so present when the light hits it just right adding in another dimension to the space.  All the pieces in these spaces tend to be more colorful with large runner leading you to each room and ending at an oversized piece of art that really is the star of that space.

Please Tell Us About The Products Used In Your Design:  

Interior design by Design by HumanI am proud to say that the majority of the art pieces were done by myself and my team and another by my father who I regularly source artwork from for projects.  I used a lot of Maya Romanoff wall coverings in the Master Bedroom, the main space “plaster” wall covering as well as the office space base wall covering.  I designed all the Bedroom rugs with Stark Carpet and worked with Bokara Rugs in NJ for the runner and Living Room rug.  Nobilis, Cowtan and Tout and Romo for fabrics and Elitis for the Guest Bedroom wall covering.  We worked with Colorcord to create the pendant over the Dining Table.  The bed, desk / shelves and mirrors are all custom made by our millworker in Brooklyn.

What do you see as the hottest color and design trends of 2020?

Interior design by Design by Human

I see color making a comeback (thank goodness), there has been so much neutral the past several years which is great but I love color!  I have been trying to introduce people to green for a couple of years and it never really took and now we are using it more often (lots in that project I cannot share unfortunately).  I’m seeing a more openness from clients to more moody spaces with more details rather than simple and clean all over.


Connect With Designs by Human

Love what you see? Want to hire Joe Human for your next interior design project? You can contact Joe and see more from his portfolio at www.dbhuman.com

Check back next week for more featured work in the Vishion Designer Spotlight.

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