Who’s behind the “Attitude” of Attitude Design? Find out in this insightful interview with this talented young designer.
DL: Hey Matt, how are you today. Before we get into things, mind giving us the “411” on yourself? Basic background stuff is fine since we’ll be asking more detailed stuff soon enough.
MD: Greetings DevLounge. Before we start I just want to say its an honor to be featured on your site. I visit here frequently and find it extremely useful.
Basic Background Stuff – I’m a 21 year old multi disciplined Graphic Designer. I grew up in Croydon (South London UK) but am now married and living in the wonderful city of Nottingham (Midlands UK).
My background is in print and branding design but over the last few years I have moved into accessible html, flash and rich media designing.
DL: How did you first get started in design? In a recent journal entry you stated sketching as a kid had a lot to do with it. I have to say that’s what really got me into design as well.
MD: Yes, I was always very creative. I seem to have a passion for new and effective visual ideas and have done so from since I can remember. I used to draw and paint as a child. As time went on and I needed to think about a career, I soon realised that it was mainly dead artists that made any money – which, at that tender age didn’t seem like a great career path – so I looked around and discovered graphic design. This had a better appeal to me as it seemed to be creating for a purpose, rather than creating because of a personal whim.
I went to College and studied a diploma in Graphic Design. In the first year of my course, at the age of 16, I started Attitude Design and also started to freelance in my spare time. I also had the opportunity to do part time work at a small agency and when I finished my college course I then went on to work for this agency full time.
I loved it and didn’t look back from then on. Being in the real world with real people and real money was something that college and university couldn’t offer me and I took to the working environment well. That’s really how I started. Since then I have worked for about 3 other agencies full time and freelanced on and off both in house with other agencies or on my own. The agency I currently work for is called Defacto.
DL: What’s it like being an employee of De Facto? The site itself is rather hush-hush, with not a lot to it but links to clients. Do you believe in the “let work speak for itself” philosophy?
MD: To be fair our site is not a good example of the work we do. I think its quite a few years old. We have been so busy that whenever we seem to have some time to work on it something comes up. Defacto are a fantastic example of letting their work speak for itself. With clients like Fred Perry and Hugo Boss we don’t really need to shout very loud. Saying that, I have heard a rumor we may start looking at designing a new site in the new year – we’ll see if we get time!
Its great working at Defacto. We have a really talented team and I am learning loads. I also enjoy working with recognized brands and within a creatively focused environment. I feel in myself that since I joined the team I have improved my skills about 10 fold.
Let work speak for itself? Personally I think allowing your work to speak solely for itself is nice but clients need to know they can work with you on a personal level. You may be a fantastic design company but if you are disorganized then you may not be in the best position to offer clients what they need, when they need it. Work and client management have to go hand in hand, although normally at the beginning the work speaks for itself, as time goes on, the way you handle your clients will determine if you hang on to them or not.
DL: You’re also an author for fadtastic. What’s your favorite piece you’ve contributed over there? I really liked The Future of Design, it provided some great insight.
MD: My favorite piece? Owww – that’s a tough one. I quite liked “Is Glass Still Class” because to me, it represents what fadtastic is all about – web and design trends being discussed and debated. Saying that, I love all the articles that come out of fadtastic – whither they are mine or another author. There are a great set of individuals that contribute from varying back grounds but all with a passion for design.
DL: You have quite an extensive portfolio. What’s your favorite thing to do – logos, illustrations, full site designs, or photography?
“I think what I really love is the journey you undertake with a brand design. There’s not just the logo but the goals and the strategy to achieve those goals.”
MD: If I were to say what I enjoyed the most it would be logo design – but logo design with an in depth perception of what the client is trying to achieve. “Branding” I guess is the common term.
I think what I really love is the journey you undertake with a brand design. There’s not just the logo but the goals and the strategy to achieve those goals. There’s the online and offline strategies and the implementation of the brand into all the assisting materials used.
What I’m trying to say is that although I do enjoy working on odd projects, what I mostly enjoy is larger jobs and clients who I can really get my teeth into (not literally you understand – that would be painful and probably against the law).
DL: Working for a company and all, do you have time to take your own personal work, or does most of your work come through company clients?
MD: I frequently get requests for freelancing but unfortunately I am currently unavailable for private work – all my work is done as a member of the team at De-facto. I have a good relationship with them and am morally and contractually obliged to respect them and not compete with them. However even if I wanted too, I have very little free time and so I currently decline to work on private jobs.
DL: Have you liked being part of a firm more than working on your own?
MD: There are perks in both situations. You don’t get the risk factor in an agency but you do get fellow creatives and larger projects. The team at Defacto are really talented guys and I feel very at home around them. On your own however the money is better and you can suite yourself in regards to hours and what work you take on. I would like to think I will go back to freelancing at a later stage of my career – but for now I’m cool where I am.
DL: Besides designing, what else do you like to do in your free time? Any other jobs?
MD: I am a firm believer in the Bible and so in my spare time I am always studying and reading it, trying to prepare myself for the return of Jesus to the earth.
I am also currently doing a lot of DIY to my house – which is a mammoth job in itself! If you ever get to meet me you’ll be sure to see a few bumps and scratches from my latest DIY adventure.
When I’m not doing the above you will probably find me walking around the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire countryside, working out in the gym, gardening, experimenting with some new design technology or technique, or eating a large English breakfast in my local high street café.
DL: Any advice you’d give new designers?
MD: Passion Passion Passion. If you can develop a passion and a genuine mindset to do your best – you will go far. There’s nothing worse than a non-motivated designer. This was my reason for calling my freelance company and online portfolio “Attitude”. Having the right mindset and allowing yourself some confidence to release your creative flair is what you will need.
“If you can develop a passion and a genuine mindset to do your best – you will go far.”
Also get yourself a website. We are in the year 2006 – you are a designer – why have you got no web presence?
DL: Alright, I know you’re busy yourself, so I think now would be a good place to stop. Thanks for answering a few for us!
MD: Its been a pleasure and an honor. All the best and keep up the good work…