In this interview I go one-on-one with a designer I worked with a few years ago, before I was any good at design at all. Rina Miele of Honey Design stops by to talk design with me.
Devlounge: Hello Rina – thanks for giving up some time to answer some questions for us and let us dig deeper into the mind of an extremely talented designer. Care to introduce yourself and give some background information for our readers?
Rina Miele: Hey all. WHATUP? I’m Rina, and I am 25 and live in Sleepy Hollow, (yes, it’s a real place) New York and I make designs and it’s fun and I’ve been doing it practically my entire life and I like colors and when I grow up I wanna be a supermodel and music is awesome and I love watching anything in HD and I love video games, vinyl toys and Lego™ and this sentence is ridiculous.
DL: How did you first get into design, and is it more of a hobby or full time job?
RM: Growing up. My father is a designer and I remember when the industry started to use computers. One day he just went out and bought a Mac — the Mac IIsi. Ah, what a classic: 20MHz, 1MB of RAM (yes, megabyte). I was fascinated by that thing. I even loved just playing with the screensaver for like 3 hours. But he had Photoshop… version 2.5 or something. All I know is that you basically were able to paint and there were no layers. That was tough! But that’s what I remember. I made designs on the computer from then on. What was that, like, 1990? It was cool, seeing the application developing and growing with it. I was always an “artsy” kid, but I didn’t really think much about “designing” as a career until high school was ending. It wasn’t anything monumental though. It sort of just happened because I could do it. So I went off to college, got some jobs, and here I am.
Design is a full time lifestyle though. That sort of sounds clichéd, but it’s true. I walk into a grocery store and notice every little thing, down to the labels on the anchovies. I’ve always been conscious of things around me. It’s a discerning quality I think many designers develop. It’s like an advanced form or curiosity, really. You just want to see what else is out there. I think in this way I’m fortunate to be able to work in this field, it surrounds us.
“Keep those business cards and use them, don’t just consider them decoration.”
DL: You have worked with some extremely influential brands in Pop Culture – VH1, the NBA, Allure Magazine, and Atlantic Records just to name a few. What does it mean to be hired by companies like these out of all the designers in the world, and have you had fun with these projects?
RM: All the work I’ve been doing lately has been really great. Anything in the entertainment field generally gives you a ton creative freedom. You always have to do something fresh/crazy/stimulating/new/innovative. I love that.
I’ve worked with a bunch of agencies on most of my projects rather than with the clients directly. I try my best to stay in contact with the people I meet. Anyone can tell you how hard that is if you’re busy 24/7 – but like I said, I do my best. It’s a small world, you’d be surprised who you run in to down the line and what roles they play in shaping your career. Keep those business cards and use them, don’t just consider them decoration.
DL: Do you have a specific area of work you like doing the most (Web, Print, ID, etc)?
RM: Hmm… Well, I’ve been doing 90% web for the last few years, and that’s been great, I love it. Though, I do have to say I miss print. I miss the tactile quality about it. I like making “things” – especially packages and all things 3D. It’s funny because I didn’t make a conscious decision to become a web designer. It just worked out that way. But yea, 3D/packaging is hot. That’s my answer and I’m sticking to it.
DL: Working in a field overcrowded with male designers, what does your own success story say about the role women can play in design / development?
RM: Girls rule, and boys drool. I’m kidding. Honestly, gender hasn’t been a factor I’ve ever considered. Sure, if you break it down it seems there are more males in the industry. But I’ve always been concerned with being a good designer. Period. I never gave much thought about being a good “female designer.”
DL: Where did the idea for the name “Honey Design” come from?
RM: My last name is Miele – it means honey in Italian. I wanted to create a pseudonym/alias for myself. I started asking questions like, “Who am I? What do I want? Where am I going?” Then I decided to keep things simpler. I looked to my name… realized how dope it is that it translated to “honey” and then sort of went from there. I’d love to say there’s a deeper meaning to it, something inspiring, but it was as easy as 1, 2, 3. The logo on the other hand wasn’t as easy… but that’s something else altogether!
DL: What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not busy designing?
RM: I answered a little bit of this in Question #1. Other than what I mentioned I try to just sit back, relax and do nothing and/or sleep. We forget to do that sometimes. That’s really important. I can’t stress that enough. I have to start practicing what I preach though…
DL: Where do you get most of your inspiration from?
RM: Mostly from other artists – designers, illustrators, photographers, writers, etc. But I do take cues from other things like toys and games and such… but then again, didn’t an artist create those things too?
My inspiration for this week was a book I bought called “The Acme Novelty Library: #17” by Chris Ware. Check it out!
Thank you all for reading and thanks to Devlounge for setting this up.