Young Guns 21: Caroline Bagley

By Alixandra Rutnik and Brett McKenzie on Nov 01, 2023

Get to know the phenomenal class of Young Guns 21

After 85 incredible finalists and intense deliberation, the Young Guns jury has narrowed it down to the 29 winners that make up the class of Young Guns 21. An astounding collection of animators, illustrators, film directors, typographers (a few Ascenders 2023 winners as well!), graphic designers, and photographers make up YG21.

Every year we interview the Young Guns winners to get to know them better as artists and people. And as always, we are welcoming another class of outstanding individuals into the highly coveted Young Guns community.

Now that you know the YG21 winners better, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating them in person at NYC’s Sony Hall on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, at 6:30 PM. See you in two weeks and get ready to party!

Caroline Bagley


Portola Valley, CA


Atlanta, Georgia


When did you first learn about Young Guns?

I have been lucky to call previous Young Guns winners coworkers and friends, and was introduced to the award through them.

How did you end up in the creative field anyways?

It was always my dream to be a creative in some way, but growing up I never imagined I could make a full time career out of it. I didn't think I would get into an art school, because I had focused on other things in high school, like sports and academics, but I managed to pull together a painting portfolio and applied to a couple of fine art programs. With a bit of luck, I got into RISD, and quickly into freshman year I realized my passion was for graphic design.

Congrats on the W! Why did you decide to enter this year?

This year was the last year I could enter, so it was really now or never! I also received a gentle push from a friend to enter, which was the motivation I needed to pull together a portfolio.

You only get to submit six projects that embody you and your talent. The best of the very best. So, how did you decide which pieces were good enough to make the cut?

It's so difficult to narrow down over 10 years of work into a selection of six projects. To get to the final six, I tried to find different projects that showed a diverse range of approaches, aesthetic choices, and clients. I wanted to show work on the more corporate side that had a large reach and impact, as well as smaller, more boutique projects that were side projects or something I did to scratch a creative itch. But anything I submitted had to have a strong creative concept and felt true to who I am as a designer.

What was your reaction when you discovered that you won?

I found out I won while very deep in a time crunch to deliver a project (of course), so the immediate celebration was short and sweet and then I got right back to work. Needless to say, I'm excited for November, so I can really let it sink in.

In what ways does life inspire your creativity as an artist?

I'm inspired by nature and the outdoors, more than any specific place or thing. It's so important to me that I get outside everyday, and spend time cycling, running, or hiking. It allows me to clear my head, and get clarity on anything I might have been struggling with, whether that be thinking through a creative challenge or something more personal.

"I'm inspired by nature and the outdoors, more than any specific place or thing. It's so important to me that I get outside everyday, and spend time cycling, running, or hiking."

Now that you’re a part of the Young Guns community, are there any past winners you look up to and admire?

Yes! So many. At the top of the list are those I've had the pleasure of working with in the past, including Erik Berger Vaage (YG19), Ben Crick (YG15), Zipeng Zhu (YG13), and Leo Porto (YG17). Or those I went to school with like Heejae Kim (YG19) and Saad Moonsajee (YG18).

Name a creative and professional dream project that you have yet to fulfill — maybe Young Guns will propel you in that direction!

I've always wanted to design the kit and bike for a World Tour team — although I don't know if anyone can top the Palace x EF Education collaboration from a few years ago.

This is YG21, but what do you imagine you’ll be up to when YG31 rolls around in 2033?

Tough question! Simply, I hope in 2033 I still wake up everyday excited to be working in the field I love. Anything more than that is a bonus.

Will we see you at the YG21 party in NYC in November?

Yes! Looking forward to it.



Come party with us and celebrate all the Young Guns 21 winners on Wednesday, November 15 at Sony Hall! See you at 6:30 PM in NYC!

Get tickets! It's party time!

The class of Young Guns 21



Fire + Fragility: Zuzanna Rogatty's YG21 Cube Design
Young Guns 21: Max Amato
Young Guns 21: Justin Au
Young Guns 21: Tess Ayano







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