Creative Spotlight - An interview with Thomas Harvey
Apple and digital design go hand in hand and for most, it's the dream partnership. A trusty MacBook by your side is enough for anyone to take on the creative world!
We once heard a rumour of an alternative system called Windo-something… but nothing ever came of it ;-)
We said hello to the graphic design community and guess what? They’re a friendly bunch! So friendly we decided to interview them to get fresh insights into the design world.
That leads us to now and these new posts. For pros or novice alike I bet you find something here to make you think or spark that next idea. So, without further ado, let's get on with it!
Here’s our interview with Yorkshire based design pro and all around top-man Thomas Harvey.
What's your name and where do you come from?
Thomas Harvey - I'm based in the beautiful Yorkshire spa town of Ilkley, near Leeds.
How long have you been a designer?
2018 - Who, what, why, winners and losers...
What new trends will we see in 2018?
Things are constantly changing so it's hard to pin down specifics, but often it's updates in technology that drives change. For example, more powerful hardware is driving the use of augmented reality in design. Likewise, the multitude of different screens in which we view content is driving responsive design; we're now seeing responsive logos and all sorts. I'm also seeing more use of colour gradients and a move away from purely "flat" designs which seemed to dominate the past couple of years.
What are your design goals for 2018?
Never. Stop. Absorbing. Design is all around you, from newspapers to nature; inspirations can come from the most unusual places. Oh, and I might need to overhaul my website (again) to keep up!
Who is your design God and why?
I always struggle when I'm asked this. Honestly, nobody specifically in my field, but I do admire the dedication of many Danish furniture designers, like Børge Mogensen.
What brands crush it? Who should we keep an eye on in 2018?
It's a bit of a cliché, but I'm always interested to see which direction Apple go. They lead the pack in so many ways and are always a benchmark for good design, from hardware to web UX.
Who needs a serious re-brand? And how would you do it?
Go Daddy. I'm not sure I understand the name or meaning of the guy in the logo. Maybe you need to be American to get it? I'm not sure where I'd start with that one...
The life and times of a Pro Designer
What did you do before Graphic Design?
I pretty much went from university straight into graphic design, via a journalism degree and a brief stint at Saatchi & Saatchi. I've always been a very visual person and enjoy creating things, so becoming a graphic designer seemed a logical path.
If you retrained, how did you do this?
I studied journalism at university, but whilst writing for a magazine, I ended up designing it too, and it basically snowballed from there. I essentially taught myself to be a "graphic designer", spending lots of time exposed to Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator and generally taking an interest in "how things look".
What was your first paid gig like?
One of my first clients was a company called Ministry of Testing - a global software testing community. They're still one of my biggest clients and growing rapidly. Would be nice to think good design has played a part in their success.
What advice would you give to a younger you? (the aspiring designer to be)
Don't put too much emphasis on formal qualifications. You can use a computer and you know what looks good. Combine the two and get on with things.
What's an invaluable resource for learning about Graphic Design?
What advice would you give to someone looking for work experience in the design industry?
Pretty basic, but getting together a portfolio - whether it be work you've been paid to do, or otherwise - is the key to getting noticed. Nobody is going to employ you without one.
Last night a DJ/Wacom saved my life! Tell us more about the tools of your craft...
What hardware/software couldn't you live without?
My 27 inch iMac. I wish it would fold up into something more pocket sized though!
What hardware/software was a "wow, I wish I'd known that sooner!" moment?
Macs in general. They're great pieces of kit. I promise, I've not been paid to say that either!
What kit advice would you give to Designers on a budget?
Maybe look at getting one of those new more "affordable" iPads with Apple Pencil compatibility - I think there's lots of potential there.
What piece of gear do you have your eye on?
As above, the iPad and Apple Pencil!
Managing clients - Is it better to put the phone on silent?!
How do you meet their expectations and keep a smooth process?
Take a deep breath and count to ten. The customer is always right... but not always. Those clients that really do cause problems should be reconsidered. Never be afraid to turn people away.
What’s the weirdest request you have had?
It usually involves something to do with landscape images and portrait documents, or vice versa. Trying to make them fill the space, without cutting anything off or stretching the image. Come on people, it's basic mathematics!
What advice would you give to someone looking to hire a designer?
You've hired them for their expertise and knowledge and generally know what works and what doesn't. Let them flourish.
What do you wish you could say to clients, but cant!?
Let's not go there.
What (if any) productivity/project management tools do you use? Any advice?
I use Trello and Slack, but I also use digital post-in notes and Excel spreadsheets. It's it ain't broken...
What brand would you love to work for and why?
No one specifically but I do enjoy working with smaller firms, particularly startups. There's nothing better than designing a new logo or brand; making your mark and watching the firm grow is incredibly rewarding.
Lastly, whats a normal day look like?
Wake up, walk my dog Charlie (the closest I get to an office colleague) and put the kettle on (tea, not coffee). Then I work until the girlfriend drags me away from my desk. I enjoy my job too much.
Thomas that was great and thanks for taking the time to connect with us! Where can people find you online?
Do you make cool things with your Mac? Are you a ‘digital creative’ looking for some exposure? Then what are you waiting for - get in touch here!
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