Jordan Butcher of Studio Workhorse tells us that communication and personality management is 80%+ of the job and that you should surround yourself with people and things that actually inspire you!
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design? My middle school required all the students to carry an “agenda” with them.. Sort of a homework calendar with schedules. I was constantly doodling Nike logos and band names in there. Decorating the cover, etc. My mom said “You should be a graphic designer!” and so I did.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? Really fell in love with it in high school thanks to album covers. I was way into music, punk rock specifically, and that aesthetic just made me want to learn. I pirated a copy of Photoshop and started experimenting.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I take a client’s (company, CD, brand, etc) raw ideas and realize them for a specific medium. That’s all the job is. My specific style (wen it applies) is something I call “Dusty Neo-Macabre Wabi Sabi.” I like to leave things just shy of finished. Graphic Design deals almost wholly in ephemera, so I like to keep that in mind.
What qualities and skills do you look for in a graduate? So many students now are so work focused, they forget that communication and personality management is 80%+ of the job. I look for designers who can talk about their work, sell it to the client, listen to the clients needs, and really work with them on a solution. Collaborators. Email etiquette. Anyone can learn to use a grid, but can you translate a feeling into words and image?
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self? Learn to code, learn to code, learn to code. Except I’m old, and if I told my 16 year old self to learn to code he would just be like “what is code?” – But seriously, I wish I’d had the foresight to be really deep-dive into digital.
What has been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way? 1. It’s just a job, not who you are.
2. Listen to your ADs, CDs, and clients. They are really fucking smart.
3. Keep doing what you do, and someone will eventually pay attention.
4. Ask for what you want.
5. The only people who get the “bro-deal” are best friends and family. Cheap work for acquaintances will be a nightmare.
6. Surround yourself with people and things that actually inspire you. Not just what’s cool.