The Creative Minds Behind Vizify and Someecards

by . April 2nd, 2013

Two of the best creative talents on the web today took a moment from their busy schedules to talk about their creative processes. Ryan Massad (graphic designer for Vizify) and Duncan Mitchell (Co-Founder, CEO, and Art Director at Someecards) explain how they came to do what they do now, and what keeps their creativity going.


Ryan Massad


Ryan Massad


Graphic designer Ryan Massad, of snappy startup company Vizify, starts his day running. He studied graphic design at the Art Institute of Portland. He credits the Art Institute with helping him hone the skills he uses at Vizify every day. Massad says that infographics interest him for their beauty and simplicity. Lately, he has been focused on mobile-optimized interactive infographics.


Massad mentions two design heroes: Stefan Sagmeister and Mike Perry. He said he appreciates the spontaneity and creativity of Sagmeister’s work. Massad is also inspired by Mike Perry’s hand-drawn typography. His interest in individualism and personality in design contributes to his least favorite aspect of contemporary designs: “stale design.”  Massad wishes people understood that great design takes time and thought.


An interesting part of Massad’s ideas about design is that it should serve multiple purposes, be useful, and add something sustainable and enjoyable. He says, “We’re creating things constantly that are being thrown away. The culture is a throwaway culture.” Designers need to ask if the design is needed and whether something else exists to fill that space already. Though he primarily uses Indesign®, Illustrator®, and Photoshop®, the birth of a Massad design is a little more old school, usually starting with a sketch in a notebook.


Massad admits to sometimes procrastinating, but he also says an important part of the creative process is thinking. He says ideas frequently come when doing something mindless, like showering. Massad says at Vizify they joke that procrastination is key. Because changes happen so quickly, holding off on a design can save working on an idea that gets tossed.


One way of managing a creative block for Massad is writing down words to get things rolling. Sketching, looking at pictures online, and forgiving himself for having a bad week are important, as well. He works through other ideas in a sketchbook and looks for inspiration in less obvious places. Redesigning logos is a non-work side project of Massad’s that he calls a “creative process of brainstorming.”

Check out the whole interview here.


Duncan Mitchell


Duncan Mitchell


Duncan Mitchell, Co-Founder, CEO, and Art Director at Someecards, starts his day off answering email, but says his morning is different every day. Despite an education in psychology and communication, he began his career as a graphic designer and has evolved to creative director. His current focus is in advertising, so he doesn’t design regularly, but does adjust and give feedback on the company’s advertising.


Mitchell views creative blocks as a challenge, and draws on his team to come up with many avenues for ideas. He also thinks of procrastination as a break from the cycle of answering email, phone calls, and such.


Despite differences in their day-to-day creative experience, Mitchell, like Massad, wishes the general public understood the time and talent involved in really good design. He extends this to interactive design as well. Design requires functionality and communication; it takes time and is still evolving. He mentions that government sites, like, are not very attractive or usable. Mitchell wishes someone would re-do them—but not him.


Someecards partners with other companies to create ads. Mitchell likes that they’re able both to create funny content and make clients happy, but admits that sometimes there is friction. Creating a design for someone else includes your own perspective and theirs. He also says that with such a consistent design, Someecards copy is where the creativity really comes into play. For him, user experience is an important focus. Website functionality and engagement are important to continue improving user experience.
Check out the whole interview here.


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