One Minute With…
Hi Dustin, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I have been designing for about 10 years now. 6.5 of which have been spent at Fossil, where I works as an Art Director for the brand image and illustration team. I work with a world class creative team that puts out top notch work. I started doing the freelance game in my latter years of college and continue to do so. I’m always looking to create something. Whether it’s building a fence, remodeling my kitchen, drawing thing for my daughter on her large pad of paper, or designing a corporate logo. I grew up in Lubbock, a smallish town in west Texas. I learned how to work hard and to work with my hands from my dad who’s a master carpenter and all around creative person. My mom, being an art teacher, I learned the core art skills necessary for the career path I fell into. Growing up in Lubbock, you’re sorta forced into liking vintage things. (a lot of old stuff) So I grew up with a fascination with vintage things. I have a lovely wife, Kate, and two kids, Nora – 3.5 & Asher – 11 months. They are the joy of my life and I’m blessed to have them.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Dustin Wallace.
Wake up when 3.5 yr old daughter, Nora, comes into bedroom. Get up, go get 11 month-old, Asher, out of crib. Get ready for work. Grab some coffee/breakfast, head into work. (Art director @ Fossil) design and do other designy things all day. Drive home. Eat dinner with wife & kiddos. Bathe kids, get them to bed. Hang with wife for a bit, have a bit of TV time. Time for freelance work. Work several hours. Stay up way too late. Hit the sack. Repeat. Simple, right?
How did you get into design?
I was an art kid in high school. I didn’t really know what to do with it. I always thought I’d just be a painter or teach art like my mom. So, I got into the Design Communication program at Texas Tech University where I met Dirk Fowler. (one of my design heroes) He really changed my view on design. Dirk has a nice vintage approach to his design. Something felt familiar with it. So the love was born. Can’t have enough of it now.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your design process like?
Every project is unique and deserves its own specific steps. But, I like to meet with the client (phone or coffee or email) to discuss what they’re wanting and how we can work to meet their goal. I then start research. I look at current design trends, classic design principles, and anything that might relate to the particular project. Then I just sketch and draw thumbnails in my Moleskine or whatever paper I have stacked on my desk. Sometimes ideas will come to mind while I’m playing softball or mountain biking… So i try to write/sketch them down when I can. I have several small note pads I keep in my car, bag, desk, etc so I can always have something to write these things down in.
Your style is distinctly retro, but with something of a modernist twist. Where do you get inspiration?
I have a huge fondness of vintage things. In my office, you’ll find vintage oil cans, tin cars and toys, several life-sized ceramic hands, posters, vintage phones and thermoses, etc. I also have a healthy collection of vintage design annuals. I like to thumb through these to get inspiration and to clear my mind. If I’m ever stuck on an illustration or a logo or anything, I just start looking through these and eventually ideas start floating in my mind and I can get back to work. Its nice to see design and art all done by hand. Give you an appreciation for how things were done back then.
Your work is littered with awesome custom lettering. Have you ever considered creating a font with all those mad skills?
Thanks! I have, actually. I have this old vintage wide slab serif looking font, I’d love to recreate. We’ll see…
Once again, your style is ever-so-1950s, something which is becoming quite trendy these days. Did you decide to adopt that style, or was it simply something that evolved? How important is it, do you feel, or establish a style, as opposed to maintaining a variety of styles?
It kind of just evolved. I love anything vintage. ESPECIALLY from the 50′s era. Something about it just makes sense to me. I’m drawn to it. I like the colors they use. I like the typography. Did I mention I love anything vintage? So I naturally just started designing in a similar style.
I’m not sure how important it is to have “your own style”. I think do whatever works for you. I do think designers tend to have design patterns or “looks” that appear in their work. If you have clients wanting it, keep it up. I try to challenge myself and try different things, but at the same time, if you do something well, use that strength to your advantage. I’m a believer in working on your weaknesses so you’re more well rounded, but at the same time you should use your strengths to carry you while you’re working on these areas.
What design tools could you not live without?
My Moleskine, pencil, my marker pen, an Americano from Starbucks, and my Macbook Pro. :)
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
Push yourself and work hard. I had a good friend, Brent Couchman, tell me “Good design is hard work.” It’s the best advice anyone can receive. Push yourself and never settle for the easiest answer or for anything you’re not 100% happy with. Always push yourself and try new techniques.