Had the pleasure of another student in the studio on placement from University, super-skilled illustrator Leanne (if you're looking for stylistic illustration work!) was in for a week helping out on a branding project (and brought us in sugar-loaded donuts to get high on), in the down time she did a wee questionnaire with a handful of team members. Figured I'd share mine:
Asa Harrison Rodger
1— Job Title?
2— What job did you want as a child?
When asked what I wanted to be when older I replied ‘younger.’ Just being a cheeky wee shit at the time, but now – it kind of makes sense.
3— Name your favourite Artists or Graphic designers?
Aaron Draplin (Designer); I seen this guy speak at The Meat Conf and his love for functional design is infectious. A big, bold, loveable dude with a big, bold and loveable style. His studio is a strictly ‘sweatpants only’ zone.
Signal Noise, James White (Illsutrator); That level of polished illustration is nothing I can pull off at all but who wouldn’t love his Miami-vice, retro gaming, tech, hollywood, super-saturated, rad graphic style?
Vince Frost (Creative Director); previous Creative Director of Pentagram and now owner of Frost Studio, Vince’s book Design your Life is a nudge in the right direction for each Creative who is solving every problem apart from their own.
Matthew Skiff (illustrator); a throwback to the 90’s comic style and acidic colour palette, PLUS some more added punch. Skiff’s stuff is seriously slick and appears on some of Earth’s coolest brands.
4— How do you think your peers would describe you?
No idea! Strange? Positive, encouraging, loves hats. I’ve been called elusive over and over again but swear I'm hiding nothing except a large turnover of internal chatter (which often goes sideways)!
5— Did you/Where did you attend university? And what did you study?
Gallowgate College – Graphic Design and Robert Gordon’s Uni – Graphic Design & Production
6— How did you come to work at MadeBrave?
I watched MadeBrave for years! I woke up hungover on new years day with my friends in a flat in Glasgow. We put on the Lion King on a projector to nurse our hangovers. Full Screen, HD, surround sound. We sang our hearts out. I came home and seen an ad for a designer at MadeBrave and the copy read:
“We know there are people out there whose New Year Resolutions are to get a new job, sing the Lion King out loud more, eat more burritos or improve their KSPM score (that’s Keyboard Shortcuts Per Minute). If you’re our new Graphic Designer you’ll probably tick all of these off your list!”
7— Are there any things you wish you knew at the start of your career?
That there’d be bean counters breathing budgets down my neck! Jokes aside, design is not art, it’s a very different monster but I enjoy the constraints a lot. There’s a lot of things I wish I knew now, and I’m (hopefully) chipping away at them daily until the end of my career.
8— What areas of design are you strongest in?
Jack of all trades, master of flip all! And I like it that way. Multi-discipline is a good thing in a design agency. Although I completely admire masters of their skill, I like having the flexibility and being able to manifest ideas through whatever tools best suit.
9— Where does the bulk of your inspiration come from?
I messed up hundreds/thousands of times and I enjoy learning. I like breeding the learning culture. If i’m trying something new it’s exciting and inspiring, on the flip side I get to grow or make something cool I haven’t made before. I also scramble around to surround myself with people I can learn from, or people I want to be more like. I am the biggest fan of my friends and strive to be like them. On the other hand, I like to live moment by moment and make the best designs I can, or even the best day I can so I try not to project too much and just invest in the best possible 'right now'. Seems to take care of me.
10— How do you further develop on your ideas and concepts?
Collaboration, seek inspiration, seek experience. The more experiences I have the more dots I can place in my mind and connecting those dots and navigating around them seems to make for ideas (good ones and bad ones). I try to not be consumed too much by culture and just digest everything with as open a mind as possible.
11— How do you motivate yourself on briefs that you don’t enjoy?
I Ask other people what they think (not just designers either), tell other people what I think and see how they react. Books, books, books. Dig in to the details of the brief, see if there’s anything I do enjoy in the little details.
12— What are the biggest challenges in working within a team and how do you effectively over come them?
The good ol' Clusterfuck of ideas can sometimes let concepts be stretched in multiple directions, although this can be a good thing or bad depending how it’s directed. Good creative directors help overcome that. Getting people’s time and good time management helps. Organised meetings, good traffic managers. Shout out to Lorna! Best in the biz!
13— Had you ever had a difficult client? How do you get past this?
Loads! With a little help from my friends. Design grounded in rationale and reason always helps combat difficult clients. There is a fine balance between meeting expectations and being the spineless yes man as your soul melts. Never let the client morph in to a Creative Director, because many love to enjoy that fantasy.
14— Can you name some books that young designers might find useful?
I have a few! Not necessarily about design, but here’s a few that really really helped me with lateral thinking and some shifted my perspective quite profoundly towards more than just design.
- On Brand (or Brand New) by Wally Olins digs into what a brand is and how it’s transformed buyer journeys and commerce as we know it.
- Start with Why by Simon Sinek is a model which MadeBrave uses to inform strategic design of What, How and the core of Why – watch his TEDTalk.
- Design your life by Vince Frost (who I mentioned up there^) details how to apply design and problem solving to yourself to help create a life you want. We design everything but ourselves.
- A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young talks about gathering information and stimulating imagination off the back of it – my first creative director gave me this.
- Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss, the last one – images and words often come hand in hand and I’m trying to get better at writing, I loved this zero tolerance approach to punctuation.
- Bounce by Matt Syed dispels ‘The talent myth’. Very important book to me.