TDK chat to Matt Faulk of BASIC Agency. From BMX to brand strategy, Matt talks us through his design journey, shares some great words of wisdom for students and even invites you to apply for their internship program.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
Art has always been a part of my family and during high school I loved editing videos, manipulating photos, and laying things out. During this time, I was actually riding BMX professionally and decided it would be fun to start doing small projects for friends and companies in the industry. After some time, I started developing a bit of a name for myself in the small cycling community as a designer who could help out with branding and websites. From there, I just focused on dedicating myself to the craft and one thing led to the next.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
I’m the CEO and ECD at BASIC, a brand strategy and digital design agency in San Diego, California. Here at BASIC, we work with brands across various categories with a focus on connecting with consumers and building brands that people want to be apart of. Our agency specializes in brand strategy and identity, UX/UI, and eCommerce and our partner portfolio includes lifestyle inspired brands like Apple, Beats by Dre, Nixon, Incase, Fender Guitars, and many more. My role here at the agency is to oversee the vision and direction of our company, as well as the high-level oversight of key projects.
Who are your top five design crushes right now?
Man there are so many but my top five at the moment are as follows… Wedge & Lever - One of my favorite shops out there (plus they are here in SD). Amazing art direction, editorial layouts and type work that is best in class. Rally Interactive - They do an amazing job with bringing great design and development together. Their work feel different than others and there is something “tactile” about the experiences they create. South South West - Solid branding shop that I frequently look to for ideas and inspiration. Code & Theory - They bring great design to massive editorial brands like Bloomberg, Mashable etc. The sites they create are scalable, large scale, and very progressive for their category. Hello Monday - They’ve been leading the charge for some time now and their work definitely is top notch.
Whats your take on internships?
Here at BASIC we believe in internships and we feel they can set a young creative up for success. Over the past 6 years, we’ve had various interns and many, six I believe, have ended up with full-time jobs here (we’re only 30ish people). We really push our interns to push themselves to step out of their comfort zone. We typically throw them right into a project to get real world experience and the stress that comes with it. If someone would like to apply for our program, visit www.basicagency.com/careers
What role does digital design play in your studio in 2016, and how to you apply traditional graphic design skills in a digital age?
As our company has evolved… so have our digital capabilities. About a year or two ago, we were about 70/30 regarding our business across traditional and digital. Today, it has completely switched and is 80/20 with digital leading the way. Traditional design and digital design are one in the same… they require problem solving. When it comes to digital however, their are many things that a designer must be familiar with and consider including UX, technology etc. I believe the traditional skills carry over well into the digital age but they need to evolve and not be treated as the same medium.
What advice would you give students starting out?
1. Don’t stress the small stuff… No one knows what the hell they are doing, we’re all just making it up as we go. 2. You’ve got bills to pay… Treat clients as partners and value them as much as you value your work. 3. Get inspired but don’t plagiarize… sometimes there is a fine line between the two. 4. Never settle… Passion and dedication to the craft is what will push you forward in this industry. 5. Embrace change… Change is the only constant in this industry. Clients will want to change your work, you will change your focus, and the people you work with will change around you. Roll with it and see where things go.
Salt Lake City
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join our design community of emerging graphic designers around the globe.