→May 26, 2010
I can’t recall exactly how I found out about Simon Walker’s work. I think a friend happened to say, “hey you might like this guy’s stuff” as he sent me over the link to Simon’s flickr page and I literally clicked through every piece he had. It’s filled with beautiful logos, illustration work, and custom typography – all clever work done for a wide range of clients.
There wasn’t a lot of information on him (he goes under the alias “super_furry”), but I found about two or three write ups about “this mystery man” on other blogs who were just as fond of Simon’s work as I was. A few email exchanges later I managed to get a brief question and answer with the incredibly nice, Simon Walker. Enjoy!
Can you tell me a little bit about your beginnings in design? Were you always interested in this field or was there a moment you can recall when you knew you wanted to do this for a living?
I was always interested in lettering, and it probably started with graffiti. I was heavily into the whole breaking/graffiti scene in the mid-80s, and I used to create my own designs on paper all the time. Calligraphy probably came next, although I didn’t spend a lot of time in that area.
My true love affair with type really began in a drawing class early on in my college years. All my drawings had some sort of type in them (since the subject matter was nearly always up to us), and my instructor finally looked at me and said “This is graphic deign.” I said “What’s that?” A few months later I was enrolled in design school.
You create a good number of logos and you create them extremely well. Can you give a little insight into your creative process? How do you get from the assignment to the finished line?
Thanks very much! I usually troll the design blogs to get the creative juices flowing. Once an idea is triggered, I sketch it out very quickly, then start clipping it out on the computer as soon as I feel comfortable that the design is worth the effort. Truth is I draw much better with a mouse these days than I do with a pencil, but the pencil phase is important in order to rough out the main idea. Then it’s a matter of tweaking the design until it’s perfect (or close to it).
As much as it sometimes irks me, the next step is to get some feedback from one or (at most) two trusted people to make sure what you’re doing is working, because it’s practically impossible at times to see your own work objectively. I’ll be the first to admit that taking criticism is hard, but you have to develop a thick skin in this business, because that first critique can be your biggest asset in creating a successful mark. Beyond that, flickr has been a great sounding board for me in terms of getting a general feel for what people are responding to and what they’re not.
One of the first things I noticed while looking through your work was the considerable amount of attention you’ve given to typography. How did you get started with handling type?
I think that goes all the way back to graffiti and the obsession with letterforms as art, and I’ve been trying to get back to that idea lately by creating my own type whenever it seems to make sense. Not in the classic sense of complete font design – I don’t think that’s my bag – but just the idea that I can create a handful of simple letterforms on my own and make them work for a logo in a way that lends them an ownable, modern feel that I wouldn’t get by choosing yet another font from a catalog.
Lastly, where do you receive inspiration from, and what is one good quality you look for in a designer?
Like a lot of people these days I get my inspiration online, which I think is an enormously valuable and ready resource for any designer. I’m convinced that the proliferation of fresh content online is causing a worldwide snowball effect in terms of people’s awareness and appreciation for – and contribution to – art of all kinds, and I’m loving it.
I think the one quality I look for in a designer is restraint. I love it when I see a book with range: where the designer obviously has a feel for a specific style, but doesn’t try to apply it to every design solution.
A big thank you to Simon for taking some time out of his day to answer some of my questions with great feedback. Be sure to visit the links just below here if you’d like to find out more about Simon and his fantastic work.
See the rest of Simon’s work over at his Flickr account
Read a brief interview with Simon at How Magazine