One Minute With…
Hi Sean, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
My name is Sean Farrell and I am a creative kid in a grownup body living in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I work from home and I primarily focus on logo design, application design, and web design. When I’m not designing I’m usually hanging out with my wife and family or eating ice cream.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Sean Farrell.
My typical day starts around 9am where I spend a good hour reading my Bible before I hop on the computer. It’s a good time to reflect on the ultimate creator and give him thanks for being able to have the best job in the world. After that I usually answer emails for a good hour. From there, I go back and forth with sketching, scanning, and digitizing comps and wireframes. Sometimes during the middle of the day I take a break and watch a flick or take a walk with my dog.
How do you approach a new project? What’s your creative process like?
Well, every project starts very similar for me, I’ve kind of gotten into a good routine that seems to be working well with me and my clients. For the sake of time, I’ll explain my logo process. Each logo project starts off with a questionnaire that I send to my client. It’s all about discovery for me, making sure I can pinpoint what the clients needs/wants/desires are. After I get the questionnaire back, I go over it with the client and fill in any holes or clarify and talk through each of the different answers. Once that’s done I do a lot of word mapping. I find keywords that specify the industry and values the client wants to portray in the logo. From there I research, sketch, brainstorm, research, and sketch some more… all before hitting the computer. After I have some sketches that I like, I scan them in and start digitizing them. Send to the client and hopefully the approval ;)
You don’t exactly have a unified style across all of your designs: Do you feel that having a style is beneficial, or, in branding in particular, is it better to do something completely unique to that client, unlike anything you’ve done previously?
Yes and no… I’ve been told I have a specific style although it’s hard for me to tell what it is :) I just design what I think will work well with the clients needs and the demographic that they are trying to reach. I think it’s important for designers to step out of their own head and step into the body of who the client is trying to reach. I’ve said it before, but a lot of times you see designers designing things for other designers’ approval, not the clients’. I try to be as unique as I can for each of my clients, but I’m sure my ‘style’ or ‘mark’ can be seen in each of them.
Before you got into design, you ran an ice-cream business. What led you from one to the other? With many designers starting their careers in design, do you think some “real world experience” is useful in this line of work?
Yes, I did run an ice cream business, but it would take me a novel to write how much that changed my life and how it led to design. I will say that even if people can design, you still have to be able to run a business. Freelancers need to know about finances, customer service, talking to clients, selling your clients, email etiquette, etc. My ice cream business taught me a lot about those things and I believe it’s helped me grow a strong freelance business.
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?
Well, if I were able to inherit their skills, there’s quite a few I can think of but ultimately I think I’d have to choose Dave Mott. His sketching/illustration skills are just out of this world. He is someone I constantly am impressed with.
What design tools could you not live without?
Well I am a weirdo when it comes to software – I like starting my logos in Photoshop (letting the boos quiet down)… but ultimately all my logos end in illustrator. For some reason I just love the interface of PS vs. AI. Something about an infinite canvas scares me :)
I also have to say that for books, I enjoy all the Logo Lounge books, as well as some others like Logo Design Love and Designing Brand Identity.
I have to have a Moleskine sketchbook
And lastly, my Intuos 4 Wacom tablet.
And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design?
I think it’s important for new designers who are trying to break into the industry to find their style and stick with it. Don’t try to be like everyone else or you’ll just get lost in the shuffle. It’s important to have your own sense of style and people will notice you for it.
Many thanks to Sean for sharing his thoughts with OMW. I had a lot of fun talking to him, and I hope you love the interview as much I do!
Why not check out Sean’s site, and follow him on Dribbble and Twitter?