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Matt Heximer is a partner at 10four design group, located in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. A graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, he's held senior design and freelance positions at several prominent design firms. Matt’s work has been showcased in multiple publications, he's received numerous design awards and his typeface designs have been published in many books, including Faces on the Edge: Digital Typography, and IndieFonts; A Compendium of Digital Type from Independent Foundries. And, despite being color blind and missing half of a finger, he can still cobble together a killer logo.

08.18.09

Tracking Inspiration (Or Not)

If you have a degree in what field is it? No degree, but a couple of diplomas from various design programs.

Which designer (or design studio), other than yours, do you most admire? There are so many that it’s hard to choose. The variety of great work happening is mind-boggling; I try to take time every day to look at new work. Still... one of my all-time favorites is Vaughn Oliver & V23.

What’s the strangest request you've received from a client? There have been many “sad” requests from clients to do things that totally compromise the end result, but not too many “strange” ones—although we once had a client request a mock-up of a pink can of “Babe Beer.”

If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing? Right before I entered college, I was the mysterious hands that would emerge from the back of the cooler at the grocery store and replace the empty milk crates with the full ones. It was cold and lonely. I’m certain that if I hadn’t entered the design profession, I would still be stuck in that cooler.

What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign? I think it’s a toss up between MTV and Dairy Queen.

From where do your best ideas originate? All over the map. I’m influenced by so many things that it’s hard to track where inspiration comes from—music, fine art, comic books or, even, walking my dog. Usually, my best ideas originate in the shower (is that creepy?).

How do you overcome a creative block? Walk away and come back later. In the past I would try to hammer away and punch through, but now I know better. That never works well and usually causes too much pain and suffering for me and anyone around me.

What’s your dream project (not client, but project)? Designing nameplates (cover logos) for superhero comic books. Seriously, that would be fantastic.

Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design? I used to spend a lot of time rockin’ in a band and dabbling in painting. Now I have two young daughters, and I find that most of my “spare” creative energy goes toward keeping them entertained.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? Winging it. I love what I do, so it is hard to define it as “work,” but I try to incorporate my life into my work, so I don’t need to have a strict separation between the two.

What product/gadget can you not live without? A good lunch bag? A great travel mug? Maybe an ergonomically correct office chair? Who am I kidding... I absolutely love my iPhone most; however, I think it might make my life difficult if I lost my set of keys.

What’s your favorite quote? “You realize if we played by the rules right now we'd be in gym?” —Ferris Bueller

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Stick to your guns—good ideas are worth fighting for—but choose your battles.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? That the Mac had replaced the waxer (you don’t know how many times I burned my fingers on that damn thing).