What do you do?
I direct designers, lead project teams, and collaborate with clients. My role is to push them beyond what they thought possible. On a daily basis, I design, learn, find, break things, solve problems creatively, make things, and iterate; I fail a lot.
What is your inspiration?
People who take chances. Also, the work of my peers–their success makes me want to be better. My design work draws upon a range of disciplines: I go to museums, gallery openings, poetry readings, and live performances. I look at architecture, film, photography. I listen to music. I love to be outside in the desert.
How do you work?
Not well in the morning…My background is in English, so I usually start with words–typography and language. I think a lot about the problem to solve. I carry it around with me for days, weeks–sometimes much longer. Years. Even when I’m not working on it, I’m working on it. I draw pictures in my notebook, write words, collect images and ephemera; I pin an idea on the wall, take it down, break it, cut it apart, put it back up, draw on it, try it, test it, iterate, print, review, revise, refine, repeat.
How did you come to OpenForm?
Circuitously. I studied art history, photography, sculpture, and literature at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, then art and design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I worked in Chicago as a designer before moving to Tucson, where I was a Senior Designer and Art Director at several agencies and then Creative Director at Ventana Medical Systems.
What are you reading?
White by Kenya Hara
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Design as Art by Bruno Munari
Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte
Katsuji Wakisaka: Japanese Textile Designer
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Home is the Desert by Ann Woodin
Who do you admire?
Creatives teach me something about the discipline required to design. Vignelli said design should be “intellectually elegant,” and I agree. I am influenced by the pioneers of the International Typographic (Swiss) Style, such as Josef Müller-Brockmann, Armin Hoffman, and Max Huber, who espouse the principles of cleanliness, readability, and objectivity. Recently, I have watched the work of Kenya Hara–his work for Muji especially–and his writings about emptiness, as it relates to design, Japanese psychology, and culture. Some of my favorite work is coming from a small Dutch studio in Amsterdam called Experimental Jetset. I have good friends who are architects, designers, and photographers, and to me, they will always be the ones I regard with the highest respect and warmest approval.