Interview with real people, knowing true stories and learning from a fellow creative, this is UCreative Spotlight.
Happy New Year UCreatives! Let's start the year right by being creatively inspired as we bring you another awesome interview of a fellow creative. This month is extra special for us because for the very first time, we will feature a creative woman in UC Spotlight! Help us welcome, our featured creative of the month from South Carolina, Rachel Spoon.
Q: Hi Rachel, how are you and how’s South Carolina?
I’m great! Enjoying the mild South Carolina winter, but hoping for snow.
Q: What are your fields of focus in graphic design?
I primarily work in print design. However, I am currently starting to shift my focus a bit and have started working in web design.
Q: Describe your artistic style on those fields.
My design aesthetic is clean and structured with great attention to detail. I try to stick to the design fundamentals and focus on type choice and hierarchy.
Q: We’ve seen some of your awesome print design projects online. How do you start your creative process?
I always start with research. I’m a list person and I usually end up making a lot of those in the beginning stages, along with writing down snippets of information about the topic at hand. From here I move to the “looking” stage. I flood myself with visuals–looking through books, magazines, and art and design sites. Then I start loosely sketching or putting something tangible down on paper. Sometimes I add another step in there, but this is usually the start to my process.
Great Designers of History DVD Series (Source)
Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art (Source)
Q: What are your tools? Can you describe to us your workplace?
My staples when designing are my Moleskine, Dot Grid notebook, Micron pen, books, good tunes, and of course, my Macbook Pro.
My personal workspace outside the office has shelves full of design books, a few vintage cameras, black and white film photos, and a Jackson Pollock painting.
Senior Show Promotional Material (Source)
Q: Any major influences in the design industry?
International design or “Swiss Style” largely influenced the early development of my design aesthetic, particularly Josef Müller-Brockmann and Massimo Vignelli. As my career has progressed, I have mixed in a little Stitch Design Co. and a dash of Hatch Show Print. But the biggest influence from the design industry for me would have to be Paul Rand. However, his influence is not solely in design, but more in his way of thinking. His book “Thoughts on Design” has wonderful nuggets of timeless truth.
Q: Which among your projects so far is your most favorite?
That’s a hard call, but it would probably be a toss-up between my Penguin Classics Book Covers and my Ozma Identity.
Penguin Classics Book Covers (Source)
OZMA Identity (Source)
Q: How do you spend your free time?
Whenever this rarity occurs, a few things I love doing are taking a trip to the mountains and doing some hiking, capturing the world around me with a camera, going for a run, and I can never go wrong with a cup of tea and a good book.
Q: How do you deal with creative block?
I do one of two things: I go back to where I started, the research and inspiration stage or I step away from it completely. I do something entirely different, something mindless to give my brain a break. Fortunately for myself, this ends up being something along the lines of cleaning and organizing. Oh, and there is one other option, if there is time....sleep on it.
Q: What’s your idea of a dream project?
Hmm. This is a tough one. I would love to be able to develop an entire identity for a restaurant or clothing company someday.
Sanose Clementines Package Design (Source)
Q: If you are not a graphic designer right now, what would have been your career and why?
Oh, man! I can’t imagine doing anything other than graphic design. So, it would have to be something related to graphic design, involving creativity and expression. Before I discovered graphic design, I considered either going into interior design or fashion design–probably one of those two.
Q: Any thoughts about “spec work”?
If you decide to participate in spec work, make sure you protect yourself with a binding contract or agreement.
JMG Christmas Recipe Book (Source)
Q: Any advice to aspiring designers out there?
I could probably go on and on for this one, but here are just a few key points that have impacted me during the start of my career (plus some quotes that have inspired me).
Always remain curious and don’t become complacent. This field is ever evolving, don’t get left behind.
“The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know. The more I realize I don't know, the more I want to learn.” - Albert Einstein
“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” - Will Rogers
Embrace mistakes, they are part of the process. Everything happens for a reason.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery," James Joyce
True design runs deep. Who or what are you designing for?
"People ignore design that ignores people.” Frank Chimero
“He [the designer] considers the spectator, his feelings and predilections.” Paul Rand
Be grateful. Stay humble.
Patience, young grasshopper. Don’t make what is meant to be a journey a fast-paced race for a prize.
Don’t let your fears determine your fate.
“To improve at anything, we must at some point push ourselves outside our comfort zone.” Michael Schwalbe
Don Rosa Classics: The Complete Pertwillaby Papers (Source)
Q: Where can we find more of your works?
Q: Thank you Rachel for spending some time with us. Anyone you would like to be thankful for?
Of course! I am extremely thankful for my friends and family, for all of their constant support and encouragement. As well as my passionate, dedicated professors who taught me what I know and had confidence in me when I often did not. And thank you for this opportunity!
Rachel Spoon - Personal Brand Identity (Source)
Got inspired? Who else do you want us to feature on our next Spotlight? Share us your thoughts about our featured creative or might as well suggest an artist by commenting below. Stay awesome UCreatives!