Original Interview: June 2016

City College

Sean Bacon, lecturer at City College in San Diego tells us about growing up in Silicon Valley , his design crushes right now and some great life lessons.

What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I was always very concerned with aesthetics ever since I was small. I enjoyed art, but I never really saw it as a calling. Much of the art I did as a kid was copying things that were in my visual vernacular and drawing letterforms. My mom was an incredible creative person and pushed creativity into my life, but we did not always see eye to eye. She would make incredible hand-made halloween costumes and decorations for birthday parties, but I always wanted things to be store bought. I could not articulate it as a child, but it was that I wanted a high level of execution that could come from store bought products. Living in Silicon Valley I was also exposed to computers early and often, increasing my ability to create things digitally. I became the family expert branding out our holiday meet-ups and reunions with classy clip art and kid pix.

What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened?
I was one of those lucky people who always knew what I wanted to do. Since I can remember I knew I was interested in art/design and computers. I went to school specifically to study graphic design and was a very serious student. I was always interested in the world around me, extremely curious, and specifically applied to schools that were not only art and design focused. I wanted to be at a place where I would learn a lot about the world and have the opportunity to explore different disciplines and fields other than graphic design. I also explored outside of my own world taking courses at other schools and institutions to grow and network as much as I could with the community in San Diego. I remember at the end when I was graduating feeling that I had done everything right, but there was not a job in sight. I graduated in a tough time for the economy and was ready to move back home, but was offered a job about 2 weeks before I was about to leave. It was a great start and worked at a few more until I switched over to teaching. That was a door that opened and I went for it, but no looking back. It was the best decision I ever made.

City College The Design Kids

What are your three must­ read design books/blogs/podcasts and why?
3 of the best books I read, great for someone starting out in this field. These books also grow with you throughout your career.
The Complete Manual of Typography — James Felici.
How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul — Adrian Shaughnessy.
Designing Brand Identity — Alina Wheeler.

Who are your top five design crushes right now?
Louise Fili, Michael Beirut, Christian Schwartz, MM-SF & Chen Design Associates

What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?
1. Be Nice. The power of kindness is incredible.
2. Pay Attention to doors and windows. They open and close around you throughout your journey. Look closely as you may want to go through one.
3. The Best Time to look for a job is when you have one.
4. Evolve. Or you will be in the back of the line.
5. You are only as good as your most obscure resource.

What advice would you give students starting out?
Explore, learn, grow & network

Whats the big goal in the next five years?
I would like to transition into writing books about design. I have a few projects on the back burner and am hoping to have them begin to come to fruition in the next few years.