I recieved an email from an art student this past week wanting to interview me about my career so far. I thought I would share with you my answers. Some may find this intriguing, some may not. haha. here it is anyhow.
1. What is a typical day like? What kinds of problems and decisions do you face in an average week?
I, currently, work at Cornerstone in Chandler, Arizona in the Creative Arts Department as a Graphic Designer. I also do freelance photography, fine art and design on the side. A typical day for me might have things like creative planning meetings for up coming series, big events, campaigns, concerts and all kinds of creative processes. I design promotional materials, website graphics, stage designs, logos and branding. I usually design between 3-4 projects on an average day. Unlike normal design firms, we turn around logos and graphic images faster and less perfected. Every Sunday is like designing for an art show and our graphics have to be prepared in a short amount of time. During the day I answer emails, research for design concepts, organize files, gather material and design, as well as, problem solve by fitting pieces of the design and graphic elements together so that they have harmony. Lots of good coffee helps me in this process! I really make it a priority to try and refill my creative spirit. Having to be ‘creatively ON’ everyday is really hard and is probably one of the things I battle the most. I have been on a LONG journey of learning and teaching myself how to SEE the world through creative eyes. I have worked on my creative thinking when it comes to beginning projects and tried to be intentional about this process, but, in the end, this is still a HUGE challenge in my work.
2. What do you especially enjoy about your work?
I enjoy creating something beautiful from nothing. I enjoy the challenge of designing elements to meet the communication needs of people and the church. I enjoy listening to the ‘client’ give vision towards the design and the challenge of taking what I’ve heard to create designs that have both emotion and functionality to meet their requests.
3. What is your design set-up like? Computer, software, etc. Camera?
At work, I have a G5, two 23 in. cinema displays back to back, adobe creative suite 3, a subscription to communication arts, a cup of coffee, a cannon scanner, paper and pencil, my E scale ruler, and a leopard print pillow. At home I have a nikon d50 (getting a new cannon soon), and a mac pro 15 in. laptop. I am stoked out of my mind to begin to design my very own home studio coming soon. woohoo.
4. What are some of the important factors that have contributed to your success?
I have asked a lot of questions, worked really hard, got to work alongside some really talented and skilled people and I have done a lot of low paying and often free work to get experience and opportunities for my portfolio (which one friend of mine will disagree with for sure, haha).
5. What were the jobs that you had which led to this one?
I had a lot of really cool projects in school which, ultimately, helped me build my portfolio. I did freelance design, photography and fine art while I was in school and I also worked along side a vintage clothing and costume designer for movies. The woman who owned the vintage store encouraged me to have the confidence to incorporate everything that I loved into my career.
6. What are your favorite resources for images, textures, brushes, etc.?
I love Communication Arts Magazine, Juxtapose Arts and Culture Magazine, Urban Outfitters, fffound (new favorite website), I love people’s art blogs, flickr.com, istock.com, cg textures, dafont.com, and Starbucks designs. I also love finding images and patterns wherever I can (coffee shops, art venus, thrift stores, etc…) and scanning them in to make my own textures. I research by collecting images from anywhere and everywhere on the internet and saving them to my desktop. I keep them in an inspirational folder and refer to it when I am designing.
7. What is your printing process? What outside printers do you use? How do you choose paper?
I choose paper by thinking through the design and how it should look. For example, if I am using distressed graphic elements I may choose an earthy card-stock to print on and choose a matte finish instead of a glossy finish. That choice gives my design consistency and thought. There isn’t a formula to choosing paper, however, I do my best to think each project out from start to finish. I usually print online at overnightprints.com, psprint.com or even your local Staples for quick short print runs. If I am doing package design for a series of work I usually get price quotes from different printing vendors to get the best price for my project.
8. What school did you graduate from and do you recommend any schools in the Northwest to continue my education?
I went to Northwest College of Art in Poulsbo, Washington where i graduated with a bfa double majoring in graphic design and fine art. I really liked the school and I learned a lot. It was a small school focused on the arts and we critiqued each other OFTEN, but, at the end of the process, school is what you make it. I worked hard and took everything I could from my experience there. If I go on to further my education I’d really like to pursue a school that is known for its design and connections. The next step, in my opinion, is getting stellar connections. First, I had to learn design, the basics, the programs etc, and NEXT is the connections.
9. What is your normal design process, start to finish?
WOW, this is a loaded question! When I first get a project from a client I ask them tons of questions. I want to get to know them, their style, their reason, and their purpose for the design request. It’s important for me to understand what they want the design to DO, as well as, what they want as an end result goal for the project. I need to know the deliverables and the printed pieces / finished product. I usually ask them to explain their main focus, as well as, what idea they want me to focus on? I then go research. I research competitors, design directions, looks and feels, color palettes, etc. I, typically, draft up a couple hand sketches of some ideas to get started. Within the entire process I’m always thinking of ways to pull different patterns out of ideas. I then pick the best comp and start at it on the computer. I do a few different versions and push the design a little further and then decide where to go from there. I NEVER start on the computer. IT NEVER TURNS OUT GOOD. I always have an idea first and then go design it on the computer. The computer and the programs should be your resource to get the project done NOT your design solution. The computer is not going to design it for you, unfortunately.
11. Just a tid bit from me:
I believe that design should be very functional. For the most part the design needs to have a reason for looking the way it does. For example, some people put lines and arrows in just because it looks cool. You don’t need that extra stuff if it doesn’t support the direction or function of the design. And I am learning in life, as well as design, that LESS is MORE (and harder). My last thought is that our DNA is creative from inception. You and I have been uniquely designed for a creative purpose by a VERY creative God. Whether you’re a graphic designer, painter, plumber or an aspiring accountant you have been uniquely made with unending creative possibility. Let the creative process be a part of everything you do and the lens you see life through!