Where do you work, and what is your title?
Falk Harrison Creative, Creative Director.
How long have you been in the design industry?
How did you end up in your field?
I have always been an artist, from the first time I could hold a crayon. It was a natural progression of my desire to create by combining word and image. I wasn’t sure what that profession was in high school, but I found it in college.
Tell us about one of your most memorable projects.
In 2005, I was lucky enough to be the sole creative for all environmental signage and print materials for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship series in St. Louis. Working with a budget of $500k, I was able to transform downtown St. Louis and the dome into Final Four Central. The whole project was exciting and challenging all at the same time, and one of the best learning experiences I have ever had as a designer.
What is your favorite place in St. Louis to find inspiration?
That’s a tough question since I find inspiration everywhere. I’d have to say in our diverse neighborhoods, if I have to pick. The storefronts, the architecture and people are all inspiring because they have a story to tell. Figuring out those stories, or making up my own, allows my mind to go outside of a problem or challenge and think of innovative ways to solve it.
Who is your design hero?
Sandy Morris is my design hero. You may have never heard of her, but she was my boss in the first creative job I landed. As a black female designer, there were not a lot of role models in my world, but my first boss was just that. Sandy became a designer/illustrator when black female artists were nearly nonexistent. She was born an artist, and continues to this day to be amazing. She came before art school and design degrees were necessary, and carved her own path in the creative world. She is my role model and always will be.
Do you have favorite music for fueling your creativity?
I’m totally an old school 80s and 90s hip hop fan. I’m also enjoying some of the newer indie music like Tove Lo, Broods and songs that have lyrics with depth. I’ll listen to anything, except country. It depends on my mood.
Tell us about a design-related book, essay, film, video or other form of media that’s important to you.
The movie Helvetica has become an important film to me primarily because in my years of teaching, it consistently helped me explain the importance of typography and the idea that good design is timeless. Helvetica is so common that any non-designer understands its qualities. This movie helps to demonstrate why.
How important is it to know what other designers are doing in your industry?
Very important. Understanding the trends, changes and evolution of design is critical to understanding the basics of great design. Something can be a trend and be fleeting, or it may become a standard. Design doesn’t stand still for anyone.
What advice do you have for an up-and-coming designer?
Stay current. Don’t back down or take no for an answer. If you don’t know something, ask. If you want to meet someone, do it. People are people, not gods. Meet as many people in your field who have carved a path before you and ask them questions.
Design in St. Louis is hidden, but emerging.