One Minute With…
Von Glitschka

Hi Von, thanks for taking time to chat with One Minute With. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

I’m an independent creative working out of my home studio in the pacific northwest in the state of Oregon. The large majority of my work is in the capacity as a hired creative gun for other larger design firms and ad agencies. My niche is working on design projects needing an illustrative twist to them. That said I also manage my own client accounts and partner with other creatives to pitch larger projects as well.

The work I produce is everything from brand logo development and identity, illustration, iconography, art direction, and marketing. I also juggle a handful of personal creative projects that include design books and speaking engagements.

Walk us through a typical day in the life of Von Glitschka.

- Wake up and scan email via iPhone
- Eat some frozen blueberries with vanilla yogurt and respond to any email
- Almost choke on said blueberries when a stupid client responds to my design
- Make a coffee run to Starbucks
- Review the days creative hit list
- Multi-task while procrastinating (Check email again, Twitter, RSS Feeds, Repeat)
- Drink coffee
- Look at my cat and get jealous because she’s sleeping
- Finally open up a project folder and get started
- Take another drink of coffee
- Almost do a spit-take reading news feeds about dumb-ass politico’s
- Launch Chrome on second monitor and watch a film noir why I work
- Curse at Adobe Ai for crashing and post rant on Twitter to sooth rage
- Creative juices begin to flow….hey, it’s lunch time!
- Check email again, wonder how much a typical SPAMMER makes in a year?
- Coffee now room temperature and almost gone
- Now watching “Fringe” on TiVo and continuing to work
- Realize again I need to re-organize my address book (Maybe next year?)
- Out of coffee now. Start to fantasize about a “Replicator.”
- Go into “Mole Mode” (No internet, email, phone)
- Liking my design direction so far
- Finish project and send off to client
- Decide to go grab another cup of coffee and continue watching TiVo
- Work on some minor revisions on an ongoing design project and send off
- Checking web stats on my site
- Really should start on that other job due soon (Will procrastinate a little more)
- Daughter comes in studio tells me about her day
- Something witty streams my mind, post it on Twitter and discuss
- Watch video online and decide it’s Twitter worthy and share a link
- Reply to replies on Twitter
- Still think Google+ is just a glorified Buzz
- Does anyone use Ping?
- What was I doing? Oh yeah.
- Open up new project file
- Wow! It’s 5pm already? Time for dinner.
- 5pm to 10pm hang out with family.
- Read on my iPad (Bible, industry sites, RSS streams, news etc.)
- Once family goes to bed I usually hang out in my studio
- Work and catch up on podcasts
- Do a lot of deep thinking, sketching, planning, and vector building
- Talk to my cat as if she can understand me
- Check MLB highlights on my iPhone and crash

How did you get into design?

I initially looked into the movie industry but since that was prior to the internet I couldn’t really find any school for that so I knew I loved art and focused on that instead. I still have plans to pursue film at some point though.

How do you approach a new project? What’s your creative process like?

Once I quote a project and it’s budget is approved I send out a creative brief, follow up with questions, and more questions. Once I have everything in hand I than just sit on it for about five days and let it steep in my mind. Once ideas start to form I begin sketching, writing, and composing the thoughts into a coherent narrative visually. If it’s an agency most like to see what I call “Close to final” comps. So I do the same for non-agency clients too, this helps them avoid not being able to understand the direction. They fully understand what it could be and that helps sell it to them.

Of course this varies from one type of project to the next. In general for logo identity work I follow this structure.

You have a surreal, but oh-so-fun, feel to many of your illustrations. Where do you get inspiration from?

I’d say my creative nucleus has several elements revolving around it.

- Creativity: I strive to provide ideas beyond expectations.
- Versatility: I can easily adapt to any style needed for the given project.
- Dependability: I’m dedicated to deliver on time and on target.
- Humor: Whether sophisticated or novel my work tends to be reflect “Fun.”

As far as the source of creativity for me, it all comes down to being curious. When you stay continually curious you can’t help but discover new things and new potential for creative exploration. So designers should replace fear with curiosity and that in and of itself will help them stay inspired and grow.

I personally first discovered you through the wonderful, but sadly defunct [sic], Freelance Radio podcast. How important to you is involving yourself with the community, be it through podcasts, Twitter, blogs, public speaking, or any other method?

Well Envato didn’t do a good job of informing former listeners that the show still lives on. Dickie Adams, Kristen Fischer and myself still do the podcast. You can listen to it here.

It’s too easy to become comfortable and isolated as a designer whether you’re an independent or work within an agency or in house departments. You have to stay relevant and that means consuming current information through online design portals like Twitter, facebook, blogs and design events large and small. With the internet there is no excuse not to be plugged in. It’s fun to make connections with like minded designers online and it’ll help you push yourself to move into new arenas too.

I understand that the worlds of illustration and graphic design are worlds apart . What have been your experiences with this? Is there one side of the coin you prefer over the other?

I see myself working under the larger banner of “Graphic Design” and even though most illustrators would consider illustration it’s own industry I’d argue that it’s in reality just part of the graphic design industry. If it wasn’t for graphic design illustration wouldn’t flourish.

Too many illustrators just flat out refuse to accept this reality. Most still operate with an outmoded mindset regarding how illustration fits into the big picture of design.

I love doing both. Most of my work has illustrative aspect to it but that said I also do pure design too. I also at times do purely illustration such as an editorial illustration for a publication. But I prefer a mix of both and that has become my forte in my business. I leverage both to achieve the creative task at hand.

If someone put a gun to my head and said pick one I’d have to pick illustration. But in reality it’s a false question because good illustration uses design logic IMO.

What design tools could you not live without?

Easy: Pens and paper. Even though I work digitally everything starts in analog. This is kind of the fundamental premise behind my book Vector Basic Training. It reinforces the importance of drawing, and that drawing does and will improve your design.

That said I’m pretty attached to my Apple products. Been a Mac geek since day one hacking on green monitor Apple II’s in high school, writing my own programs with Apple basic etc. Apple is such a big facilitator of my creative, I can’t imagine doing what I do without Apple though.

And finally, what tips would you give to anybody who is looking to get started in design or illustration?

I don’t care if you ever want to be an illustrator. You simply have to draw. Make it a creative habit not just in your workflow from 9 to 5 but in your creative life. Carry a sketchbook and a pen or pencil with you. Don’t worry about how lame you think your drawing is, just start. Good news is you’ll never get worse, you can only get better. The better you get at drawing the more it’ll positively influence and improve your design and ability to execute more unique ideas too.

Remember, drawing is fun. It’s not about being accurate, anyone can spend hundreds of hours drawing realistically but that isn’t the point, it’s about capturing ideas and exploring things. Who cares what style it is, just do it. You did it as a kid, so crank it up again and watch how it energizes your creative mind. Have fun.

Thanks Von!

Thanks a million to Von for talking with One Minute With. I loved talking to him, and hopefully you did too!

Why not check out Von’s site, and follow him on Dribbble and Twitter?

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