Holly Hampton

Principal / Senior Project Manager

An integral member of Sussman/Prejza for over two decades, Holly Hampton has been a Principal of the firm since 1998. Providing project management and ensuring design excellence, Holly has served as the lead designer for many projects with a cultural and civic emphasis.

In the award-winning design program for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Holly utilized such diverse elements as African textile patterns and classical typography for the graphics, color, and interior design to highlight Newark’s cultural composition. Other projects in her diverse portfolio include design of wayfinding and pageantry for Queensway Bay in Long Beach, California; signage and interpretive graphics program for Hancock Park, site of the La Brea Tar Pits; and the exhibitry and award-winning identity program for the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco.

For the past ten years, Holly has been instrumental in the successful development of transit related projects for the City of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus. As project manager and lead designer, she has played an instrumental role in the development of the branding and design of Rapid Blue, the first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) within LA County as part of the Los Angeles Metro system. In 2007, Holly led the team that created the nomenclature, branding, and vehicle design program for the community transit system, Mini Blue.

Holly Hampton received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication Design from California State University, Long Beach.

Paul Prejza

Executive Vice President

Providing strategic planning and technical knowledge, Paul expands Sussman/Prejza’s noted graphics capabilities with his architectural and urban planning expertise.

Paul’s extensive experience in analysis and planning of system-wide wayfinding and graphics programs have been instrumental in the success of urban and waterfront renewal projects including Culver City, Long Beach, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica. Recently, he guided the development of new signing ordinances for the Hollywood Entertainment District which have refashioned the area’s urban landscape.

Paul has taught at the USC School of Architecture, lectured at several schools, and has spoken at numerous design conferences. He has received awards from the California Council of the AIA, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor, AIGA, as well as AIA Institute Honors in 1985 for his role on the design team for the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Paul completed his Bachelor of Arts for Architecture and Architectural History at Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003.

Deborah Sussman

Artist, Designer and Founder of Sussman/Prejza

Deborah Sussman was a pioneer in the field of Environmental Graphic Design. Her contributions to the discipline have been internationally applauded, and have influenced generations of designers. Her passion for place-making and the marriage of graphics and the built environment, which Deborah coined “graphitecture”, led to extensive collaborations with planners, designers, architects and artists. Her design vision was informed by perceptive observation and rigorous documentation of communities and culture, which found its place each design of a project.  Her work was populist and exuberant with an added special gift of embracing color.

Deborah was born in 1931 in Brooklyn New York and her parents were first generation Europeans from Warsaw and Belarus. Her father was a successful commercial artist and her mother was a linguist – speaking 3–4 languages fluently. Deborah’s parents where here greatest influence in developing her interest in the arts. In her youth in New York, Deborah attended classes at the Art Students league, visited Young Peoples Concerts at Carnegie Hall, edited and drew illustrations for the high school arts journal, participated in weekly high school radio broadcasts and visited the many museums and galleries in Manhattan.  After her High School graduation, Deborah enrolled in the summer sessions at Black Mountain College, which offered a cutting edge curriculum in the Arts.  She studied and worked with painter Frans Kline, musician John Cage, dancer Merce Cunningham and others.  Deborah’s experiences inspired her decision to study painting and the performing arts at Bard College.

Deborah thrived in the liberal and open program at Bard College but quickly decided she would not be an actress.  Exercising a Junior year option to study at a different school, one semester later, Deborah chose to stay at the Institute of Design in Chicago – the New Bauhaus; she had become infatuated with design. When Charles and Ray Eames visited the campus and presented their work, she determined that design would be her career.  Describing that event later in life, she said: “the work of the Eames Office made the ordinary extraordinary”.  In the summer of 1953, Deborah was chosen for a summer internship at the Eames Office in Venice, California – it lasted until the fall of 1958.  A few of Deborah’s private Eames letters may be found in the Library of Congress.

In 1958, Deborah was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Hochschule fur Gestaltung in Ulm, Germany. Touted as the “New Bauhaus” she found it rigid and dull after the freedom and excitement of the Eames Office and her college years.  She spent most of the semester photographing vernacular architecture, signs and markets around Ulm and travelling to Pairs and Milan.  In Milan, she worked several months for Studio Boggeri doing graphics, and in Paris she worked for the Galleries La Fayette department store, doing a significant body of work before returning to New York in 1961.  She settled into an apartment in Manhattan and began doing freelance work, but after a few months, Charles Eames lured her back to Los Angeles to work on the Mathematica Exhibit for IBM. This began another phase of work, with a much larger Eames Office, which would last through 1967.

During more than a decade of working with the EAMES office, Deborah worked on seminal exhibits for IBM, the Government of India.True to Eames aesthetic of unconsciously using a discipline of playfulness.  Deborah worked, and gained experience in, different disciplines: toy design, packaging, photography, film, print media, exhibits, signing, color and showroom design. She immersed herself in the aesthetic playfulness of the Eames multi-disciplinary style, and became a mature designer who could direct others and keep a project on track.  She also became a sophisticated traveler, working in Mexico on the Day of the Dead film and spending over two months in India on the Nehru exhibit.

Deborah began her own business designing print pieces for the newly repositioned Los Angles County Museum of Art.  She moved into her first studio on San Vicente Boulevard in West Los Angeles, which she shared with Frank Gehry and Gere Kavanaugh, and established herself as Deborah Sussman & Company.  In 1968 she met her future husband/partner, Paul Prejza, an urban planner and architect and by 1980 the office was renamed Sussman/Prejza & Company and there, among a design and arts community that included very few women graphic designers, Deborah found her voice.

During their 40 plus years of working together Deborah Sussman and Paul Prejza led thefirm in designing over 340 notable projects, for a wide range of clients, which took them to the major cities of America’s Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Deborah led the firm in designing the look and graphics for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics together with the Jerde Partnership. Many of the notable projects helmed by Deborah created a multi-dimensional graphic experience described as “urban poetry”.  Along with the iconographic use of color in architecture and its close attention to the experience of public space, S/P projects garnered applause from critics and generated considerable influence among peers. During her career Deborah collaborated with some of the finest architects of our time, including Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, Foster Partners, GGN, Olin, MRY, Barton Myers and SOM.

In many ways, Deborah’s DNA is in most of these projects.  Deborah had a flair for color, detail, but she was also conceptual.  Deborah was as comfortable and secure when she was designing a brochure as she was when she was coloring a fifty-story office building.  No project was too big-nor to small.

Deborah was bright and sunny always fashionably dressed, with a quick wit, a sharp sense of humor. She would flash a smile that would light up a place with an infectious laugh that would fill a room.  Deborah seemed ageless. A series of photos taken six weeks before she died, picture her as someone with twenty more years in her future.  She was Sui generis – One of a kind.  by Paul Prejza


Julia Morgan Icon Award Inaugural Honoree, 2013

Henry Award, Museum of California Design, 2012

Laureate, Art Directors Global Hall of Fame New York (ADC) 2012

Golden Arrow Award (SEGD), 2006

Design Legacy Medalist, American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), 2004

Fellow, AIGA /LA (2002)

Doctor of Humane Letters, Bard College, 1998

First Woman to exhibit in New York’s School of Visual Arts’ “Master Series”, 1995

Fellow, Society of Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD), 1991

Honorary Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 1988

Elected Member, The Trusteeship, International Women’s Forum, 1987

Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI), Elected Member, 1987

Fellow and Founder, AIGA/LA, 1983

American Center for Design Honorary Member

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honorary Member



Fulbright Scholarship, Calcutta, India: 1975

Fulbright Scholarship, Ulm – Hochschule fUr Gestaltung, Germany: 1957-58

Institute of Design, Chicago: 1950-53

Bard College, New York (painting and acting): 1948-50

Summer, Black Mountain College (art and performance): Summer 1948