Where do you work and what’s your title?
Atomicdust, Senior Designer
How long have you been in the design industry?
Over 8 years. Unreal!
How did you end up in your field?
I would always go way overboard on creativity on any grade school or high school project (you should have seen my Fire Prevention Posters). One day my high school history teacher asked me if I had ever considered graphic design, after he saw the elaborate history game board I turned in amongst the typical reports piling up. That got me to thinking and researching about this field I had never heard of. Soon that was the path I was headed, taking all the art classes I could in high school and starting design classes at a college with a strong design program, Southwest Missouri State University (showing my age with that reference).
Tell us about one of your most memorable projects.
The work we did for the Children’s Hospital 2011 Annual Report. It was such a departure from the usual hours spent behind a computer and got us up and crafting these dream-like scenes for the four featured patient stories. Each story was so inspiring that it made all the hours of cutting, gluing and digging through Good Will bins worth it. After all the scenes were figured out and created, we had each of the stars of the stories come in and get treated like the stars they are – with hair, makeup and cookies! My favorite part of the whole project was meeting all of them and their families, making it a special day that was greater than the printed piece itself.
What is your favorite place in St. Louis to find inspiration?
I don’t really have a go-to place. I think I’m most inspired by the people and their companies that are opening and pushing St. Louis. It’s inspiring to go to new restaurants, stores, events that people in St. Louis are creating from their passions. I love supporting them and seeing their passions at work, which in turn inspires me.
Do you have favorite music for fueling your creativity?
I usually throw on Spotify’s Discover Weekly or A Song a Day while working in hopes of stumbling on gold.
Tell us about a design-related book, essay, film, video or other form of media that’s important to you.
Wallace and Gromit movies. (I wish I had a more intelligent answer but don’t.) I loved those movies growing up, and I think they really shaped me and my love of creativity. Claymation still blows my mind.
How important is it to know what other designers are doing in your industry?
I think it’s important to have a pulse on the design scene, but I also feel like it can be over consuming. It’s easy to get lost in the latest trends, tricks and tools and lose sight of the larger picture of design. We are looking at other designers to solve the problem at hand when we need to be looking beyond the “graphic design world” or stare the problem straight in the eyes.
What advice do you have for an up-and-coming designer?
Be passionate. Be a “thinker” over a “designer.” More and more people can get ahold of the same design tools, but good ideas are way harder to come by. Lead with concepts and designs will follow. Be more than hands-that-execute or a mimic. Come up with good ideas, be passionate about them, and lead the way.
Design in St. Louis is collaborative. Use the heck out of the people around you. We live in a great city for creative minds and go-getters.