Interview: Max Spencer - Updated
Wed, 06/16/2010 - 07:36
For this week's interview we have Max Spencer, a UK based freelance illustrator and graphic designer also member of the fantastic depthCORE art group. Max sent us a wallpaper for the wallpaper of the week #26, a few months ago, so now let's discover a bit of his secrets to create great designs.
Max has, also, updated his website and portfolio with some awesome designs. We highly recommend that you check it out at http://www.monostation.co.uk/.
First of all we would like to thank you for taking the time to provide abduzeedo.com with this interview. Please tell us more about your art and design background?
I followed the digital art scene for a while before I picked up my first copy of Photoshop. I started playing around, learning from other designers and illustrators, finding out how to create their image. I wasn’t a big fan of tutorials unless looking for a specific technique so I ended up teaching myself how to use a lot of the techniques I used today.
I moved on to study a National Diploma in Graphic Design at my local college. Whilst I was on this course I tried doing my own thing, mixing up images, experimenting with different media etc.
I became a member of the art group depthCORE, which has and still does inspire me and push my technical and creative skills. I owe a lot of my progression to the artists there.
At the moment I’m on my second year of a BA(Hons) Graphic Design course at Falmouth university, England.
2. Your work is full of creativity mixing vectors with photos but with a sort of vintage feeling. Where does your inspiration come from and could you describe a bit more about your style?
I don’t have a clue what inspires me. It’s the oldest cliché but I guess I’m inspired by everything I see/hear in one way or another.
3. Could you describe for us your typical 'start to finish' workflow when working on a design?
I use different processes depending on what I’m working on; I have a structured approach to my graphic design work. I start out reviewing the aim of the project, talk to the client, try and extract as much information as I can to give me as best grounding on the project. Pen and paper is my next port of call; I sketch any initial ideas or thoughts I may have. I would normally have a scan through some of my books or a quick run around the design blogs for any relevant information I can find. I would then start to develop ideas taking in to account, materials, context and the key aims the client has. Many cups of tea later and after talking to the client, I will start working up the final design on to the computer.
My approach to illustration is much more organic, although I still find sketching ideas out to start with and getting images from my head down on to paper the best way to begin.
4. What are your tools of the trade, both hardware and software?
Hardware: Pen & Paper, Mac Pro, Canon 300D, Glue, Spray-paint, anything I can get my hands on.
Software: Photoshop, Illustrator, AfterEffects, InDesign.
5. What, for you personally are the pros and cons of being a designer?
Pros: You get to do something you love and get paid. The moment you get the ‘Idea’, there is nothing quite like it. The power you have to persuade/change people’s minds.
Cons: Impossible deadlines. It’s hard for people to take you seriously at a young age. Designers are, by many, under-appreciated.
6. How does your job as an artist and designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?
I can’t help admiring or criticizing anything I look at when it comes to design, I don’t think it’s possible to switch this off. I do buy random items from time to time because the packaging is clever or there’s a bit of type I particularly like.
All in all it completely changed the way I look at the world.
7. What are your favourite 5 websites, and why?
www.depthcore.com – Great source of inspiration and a great members’ community.
www.formfiftyfive.com – Everything inspires me here.
www.itsnicethat.com – The place I go for something different.
www.reformrevolution.com – Another place I check regularly
www.typeneu.com – Everything typographic.
8. What are your favourite 3 serif and 3 san serif fonts?
This is a hard one, I’m constantly changing my favourite fonts.
Serif: Didot, Alinea, Berling Italic
Sans Serif: Frutiger, Helvetica Neue Thin, Lubalin Graph (It’s a Slab serif, oh well)
9. Once again , thank you very much for the interview. As a final word, do you have any tips for upcoming artists and designers?
Persistence definitely pays off in this game. I’ve written too much; if you’ve made it this far, go eat some food.
I’ve written too much, if you’ve made it this far, go eat some food.
Thank you for the interview!