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If you have a degree in what field is it? I have a Bachelor’s in graphic design from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida.

Which designer (or design studio), other than yours, do you most admire? I’d have to say Sharon Werner, but she’s like my big sister, so maybe take that with a grain of salt.

What’s the strangest request you've received from a client? We were recently asked to design a logo for a foundation without a name. “We’ll pick a name and give it to you before we print anything obviously,” they said, adding, “something non-representational, but not too abstract.” Adding insult to injury, this was a pro-bono client. We tried to explain to them that their request made no sense, but they insisted, citing the Target bullseye and the Nike Swoosh as proof that it could be done. We followed up with an email listing several other design firms with more relevant experience in crazy.

If you weren’t working as a designer what would you be doing? I’d like to say that I’d be directing films, but who really knows. I tried my hand at directing a short film a while back, but other than an IMDB listing not much has come of it. Although it did earn a dear friend of mine a Best Actor award from the New York Short Film Festival. He’s an anthropologist getting his PhD in Hawaii, and to this day he continues to list the award under the “skills” section of his resume.

What well-known identity is most desperately in need of a redesign? Not to pile on or anything, but I think Pepsi could really use our help.

From where do your best ideas originate? Most of the best ideas originate in the initial meeting. It’s shocking how many times the answer is right there in the strategy. Sometimes it's like hearing the “Shave and a Haircut” knock, with a conference room full of executives looking to you to provide the last two knocks. We’re big believers in the power of creative intuition, so if we have a strong gut reaction then nine times out ten we run with it. The hard part isn’t ideation, its execution.

How do you overcome a creative block? When that intuitive big picture concept doesn’t lend itself to a ready-to-assemble vernacular, we spend a lot of time scouring through scrap. But, if it’s not coming then it’s not coming. So we try not to panic, just change what we’re doing. If we’re looking through books, then we’ll switch to magazines, movies or the Internet. We’ll wait until the very last minute for that Eureka! moment to strike. Deadlines are helpful, but contrary to popular belief, fear is not great motivator. In fact, most of the stagnation comes from the dread of having nothing at all to show. Creative blocks are often broken at the eleventh hour. That’s just the way it is... so it’s best not to fight it.

What’s your dream project (not client, but project)? A soup-to-nuts branding effort for a beverage that tastes amazing (and cures cancer).

Do you have creative outlets other than graphic design? Not really, as solving design problems isn’t something that’s easily left at the office. So I try to limit my exposure, as feeling overextended makes me twitchy.

What’s your approach to balancing work and life? I didn’t have an approach to balancing work and life for many many years. In fact, if I hadn’t met my wife I’d still be burning the candle at both ends. So really, my solution has been to fall in love with someone who’s so fun to be around that it forces work to take its rightful place in the back seat.

What product/gadget can you not live without? My asthma inhaler.

What’s your favorite quote? “Make sure your own oxygen mask is secured before helping others.” —Airline Safety Instructions

Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession? Learn to design for the Web, and get a subscription to Marketing Buzzwords Quarterly.

What’s one thing you wish you knew when you started your career? That being drunk does not make you more “creative.”
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