When beginning a project, do you have a distinct vision of the finished piece?
I have a clear direction, but the process informs the finished product. Rigidity in design subverts the inherent playfulness of discovery when shapes accidentally merge and grids break. I look forward to my mistakes; sometimes they’re even better than my blueprints.
How do you find your individual style as a designer?
I’m a big fan of Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything Is a Remix.” He says that creativity is the process of copying, transforming, and combining existing ideas into new ones. You curate a personal style by copying what you love, transforming it, and combining it with other styles. Design style isn’t found, it emerges. Don’t force it.
Who’s your favorite designer and why?
Michael Beirut. His work is incredibly accessible—big concepts distilled by simple and articulate design.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
I directed several plays in college, all of which had fairly modest budgets. In order to keep as much money in the production as possible, I elected to design my own publicity. When the poster designs became better than the shows, I knew I’d given up one love for another.
What’s better, in-house or agency work?
I’ve done both, and while a measured response would weigh several variables and end on “it depends,” I’m going to say—unequivocally—agency work. The difference between working in-house versus working at an agency is that in-house teams are fueled by employer loyalty and agencies are fueled by creativity. You’ll grow more and live better in a creative environment, plain and simple.