One Minute With…
Hi Jeffrey, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
This is a huge distraction from watching terrible movies on Netflix and browsing Reddit, but thanks for having me Conor. I’m a graphic designer from Chicago. I’m into typical things like music, dogs, food, Seinfeld, girls, etc. I guess I officially started designing five years ago. Since then I have been trying to make things that look good and meet cool people. I mostly work with typography, print, and branding.
How did you get into design? Was there a defining point in your career, and if so, how did it shape you as a designer?
Like a majority of creative people, I was always drawing, painting, whatever, when I was a kid. Fast forward to 7th grade when I discovered Photoshop and started re-designing my MySpace every week. You have to start somewhere…I guess…? Anyway, when I started high school I got more interested in music and started designing t-shirts and posters for local bands. That’s when I realized I could do what I want to do and make money doing it. I would call that my defining point. It made me realize that you can do whatever you want if you’re good enough at it. That realization has motivated me a lot.
What do you think of as the biggest achievement in your career so far? And for balance, what do you consider your biggest failure?
I hate you for this question. I don’t think I can even choose a biggest achievement. I’m still too unsatisfied with where I am to be able to do that. I have a lot of big failures though. All of my attempts at reaching out to Michael Jordan to work together have been failures. Oh and when I first started designing I made a logo for a client in Photoshop at 72 dpi. Ouch.
In my eyes, you kinda have two definitive styles – Your style seems to switch between awesome and retro and organic, and awesome and retro and geometric. In this industry, how important is having a unique style to call your own, in your opinion?
In my opinion, having your own style is one of the most important things. Especially in freelance. It separates you from every other designer and it’s what draws interest to your work.
And whilst we’re on the subject of your style, where do you get inspiration for your work? In particular, is there anything, outside of other graphic design, that really inspires you?
I get inspiration from a lot of things other than graphic design. I’m really inspired by architecture and cars. Both of them take a lot of problem solving and creativity to be successful. Other than that I draw inspiration from movies, music, dreams, reading, and doing hoodrat things with my friends. I get a lot from music though. Mostly hip hop. Oh, and people. People in general are so fucking weird. It’s cool.
At 19 years of age, you’re still relatively young – Are you at college at the moment, or did you decide to forgo that? In either case, what was the reasoning behind that decision, and what has been your experience with it so far?
I’m not in college. There are a lot of reasons I decided not to go, but the main one being that I didn’t feel like I absolutely needed it. Also because school suxxx. In the past year I’ve had more unsuccessful job interviews than I can count. I got my first in-house job a few months back, though. Which has allowed me to learn a lot about how things work in the industry. Right now I’m just trying to get my name out and make moves.
If, in some Freaky Friday-like situation, you could live the life of another designer, illustrator or creative, for a day, who would it be, and why?
It’s a tie between ScHoolboy Q and George Clooney. ScHoolboy because I love his music and he’s just the coolest dude. George because I’ve always secretly wanted to act, and because of Fantastic Mr. Fox and Burn After Reading. Thanks George.
If you could change one thing about your career to date, what would it be?
I would like to have done more work for strip clubs, because currently I have done work for none.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
Learn about yourself. Go outside and do things. Meet people. Knowing yourself and what you like is just as important as any technical aspect of design, in my opinion. All of your work is going to come from your brain, right? Other than that I think it’s pretty basic. Use the internet to your advantage and talk to other designers. Practice and do a ton of work, even if it’s self-initiated and you’re not going to make any money from it. Build your portfolio with projects you love. Learn about the business side of things too. If you work hard and put time and effort into every aspect of your work, you should be fine. Do drugs.