One Minute With…
Hi Ross, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
My name is Ross. I’m a Taurus. I own and operate a company called 55 Hi’s where I create and sell paper creations. This normally being greeting cards, prints, calendars, journals, and miscellaneous stationery items.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Ross Moody.
Right now, a typical day is as follows:
7am – 8am = Cocoa Pebble time.
8am – 4:40pm = Working for the man doing spec ads for the Foodservice channel. This is usually the time I spend spacing out and thinking about new ideas.
5pm – 6pm = Processing and packing orders.
6pm – 7pm = Eating something while answering emails.
7pm – 9pm = Production time. This includes screenprinting new designs, packaging cards or stationery, trimming, numbering, folding, etc.
9pm – 1am = Designing new items and getting ready for Cocoa Pebble time.
How did you get into design?
I accidentally fell into design while attending college at Kutztown University is Pennsylvania. I was an undeclared student who wanted to be an artist, just not a starving one. I started sitting in on design classes while trying to transfer in and eventually they just let me stay.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your creative process like?
This is a tricky question because it’s never really the same. Ideas come out of nowhere throughout the day and I write them down in no particular order in a Moleskine. Some times it’s something I find on the internet, something a friend says, and some times it’s just something I think is funny or inspirational. It’s amazing how many great ideas are prefaced with the words “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” Then when I’m ready to start a new project, I go back in to the Moleskine and find the idea I think is the strongest at that time. Then I sketch and obsess over that idea for a few days before I start designing.
You run 55 Hi’s, a much-beloved “greetings collective”. How do personal projects compare to client work? Which do you prefer, and why?
I don’t take on client work anymore. Well that’s not completely true but it’s rare. I technically do “client” work all day at my day job and when the day is over, I would much rather take on work I find rewarding than have more work and stress waiting for me at home.
This particular subject is a little touchy for me. I could rant for days but I say that because I have developed a jaded view of the graphic design role from working for an advertising agency after graduating. It’s difficult to explain, but basically, I have found the amount of talent that is wasted, thrown away, dulled down, unnecessarily changed, and not respected in advertising is disgusting. It’s commonplace to work on something for weeks and have a design-by-committee respond with, “It just doesn’t…. pop, ya know? It doesn’t have the WOW factor.”
So long story short, I prefer my own work, but I think most people do. It’s much easier to work for yourself.
You hand-print all of your 55 Hi’s gear. In a world where everything is going digital, how important is it, do you feel, to keep print as alive as possible?
I think print will always be alive to a certain degree. There is something intrinsically valuable about a hand printed item. It’s the same principal for why people are still giving paper greeting cards. It means more. The action of thinking about someone, going to the store, picking a card, writing your message, and putting it in the mail is almost more valuable than the card itself. Would it be the same if you sent that same card with a typed message in an email? I think not good sir.
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?
Good question. I wouldn’t really want to take over the body of another designer, but if I could anonymously hang out in someone’s brain for a day and investigate their creative process, it would be Stefan Sagmeister. A close second is Ji Lee.
What design tools could you not live without?
I’m pretty married to my Moleskine. I forget ideas 4 seconds after I have them so that would be pretty detrimental to my workflow if I lost it. A close second is obviously The Creative Suite. I spend 80% of my life inside Photoshop.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
I think one of the most important things (and difficult things) any designer can do is be honest with themselves about the value of what they are creating. In the beginning, I thought my work was so much better than it actually was. I wouldn’t experiment or investigate, or ideate. I would get fixated on one idea and one execution and be offended if anyone didn’t think it was the best. This is so hurtful to the value of your work. Recognizing when an idea is amazing, but the execution is sub par is so important. Why waste an unbelievable idea on a shitty wrapping? I have ideas that I have been designing for 7 years. The idea is amazing but I just can’t get it to feel right. This can get tricky sometimes because it can create a circle of inaction, but I trust that when I have the right feel, I’ll be excited and ready to release it. So basically, be honest with yourself about your work. Even if it’s just ok. Acknowledging that it’s ok and striving to be awesome is so much more commendable than being ok and presenting yourself as the best thing since sliced bread.