So Brad, I’m going to start with a question I ask most of the designers I interview… In this day and age when so many designers are becoming a one-stop-shop, How would you describe yourself? Web Designer, Developer, Print Designer, Photographer or all of the above?
I lean more so to print design with photography as more of a hobby. I’m currently learning web design.
That’s cool, so what inspired you to be a designer?
I had a love for drawing and art as a kid, so being a designer was just a logical career field for me to pursue.
Is there any person in particular who you have looked up to as a designer over the years?
Yes, Scott Hansen.
Oh man, I have to agree with you there. Scott designs some amazing work. For those of you not familiar with Scott Hanson, you can check out his portfolio at iso50.com
Pretend that I don’t know this, but are you self taught or did you study design?
I studied at Auburn University Montgomery where I received my BFA. However, I’ve learned a lot on my own and with help from other designers.
Any arguments for or against a formal design education?
I honestly believe that college is important for most people. The degree helps designers get that first or second job but the employer really does just look at your portfolio.
Wait a minute, that sounds like a bit of a contradiction.
Well, I have read of several prominent designers that have not gone to college or they’ve dropped out and still manage to have an extensive client base with unique design skill. So what I’m saying is… it’s not necessary to have a college education so long as you have the right portfolio, but so few can really make a living without a college experience to help them learn the basics and honing their skills. I enjoyed my years at college, and I learned through my instructors and friends.
Well said, so how many years have you been in the field?
So you’re still getting you feet wet. What was your first design job?
Technically speaking it was as a pre-press guy for Southeastern Business Printers, Inc., but I soon moved into creating design projects for clients. I consider my job at Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc., to be my “real” first design job. While there, I created layout designs, ads, mail promotions and covers for the several publications.
What is something you know now, that you wish you knew before getting into design?
That design really doesn’t pay very well in Alabama or the Southeast in general.
Ha, I hear ya man!
What is the most important thing you’ve learned by working as a designer, and how have you applied that to your work?
Organization can really improve your work flow. I’m still improving in this area, but I have definitely come a long way.
Are you a pressure guy or would you rather design with plenty of time?
I’m mainly a pressure guy. Given to much time, I will procrastinate or tweak the design forever.
What is you strength when it comes to design?
Would you care to explain?
Color theory and the use of color in my designs has always been one of my strengths.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere in books, various websites, film, TV, etc.
What are some of the critical tools you use in your designs on a daily basis?
Photoshop, Illustrator, my MacMini and iPhone Yeah, isn’t it amazing how much we become accustom to having everything right at our fingertips? Oh hail the iPhone!
What do you feel are the most important skills for a designer to have or develop?
Organization, strong typography skills, critical thinking, effective research, being detail oriented…
What area of design interests you most?
Currently video shooting and editing, although I’ve recently taken a strong interest in web design.
Here’s where we get more personal, would you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert?
Mostly an introvert.
What is the perfect design job?
The one that I’d be most satisfied with would have to be related to the music industry.
What are the top 5 sites you’d recommend to the readers?
I’ll suggest designers that I look to for inspiration rather than provide tutorial sites:
- blog.iso50.com — artist/musician with a modern take on vintage design style. also his blog is very informational and inspirational
- hi-res.net — incredible web design style. very innovative websites
- nopattern.com — distinct style with an impressive client list. amazing artwork.
- wordsandeggs.squarespace.com — vintage inspiration
We mentioned the iPhone earlier, what are your top apps?
Camera+, Read It Later, Mill Colour, Last.fm, Netflix, Espn Scorecenter, ZumoDrive, PhotoForge, Dropbox, RunKeeper
You said your favorite design job would involve music, do you have a favorite band?
Hard question, So many to name but at the moment Woven Bones.
Here’s an odd one, what was/is your favorite cartoon?
Last question, what are you currently reading?
Nothing at the moment but I recommend Devil in the White City. True to life story of a Dahmer type murderer during the Chicago World’s Fair.
Brad Jackson is a stand up guy and close friend of mine. He’s a graphic designer living here in Montgomery, Alabama. You can check out his website at www.brad-jackson.com or look him up on LinkedIn. He most recently joined Pinterest and you can see more of his music preferences on Last.fm.