Luke Finch (aka WeLoveNoise) approaches design by fusing design & technology to create captivating and thoughtful experiences across multiple forms of communication. He gives his 16 year old self some stellar advice, tells us about the moment when design went from passion to obsession and how he still regrets using Gill Sans for a booklet he made when he was 12!
What are some of your earliest creative memories and what lead you into design?
I don’t think this memory played a role in me becoming a designer, but when I was 12 my mum purchased our first PC and at that point I practicing kung fu. After playing around with Microsoft Publisher, I took it upon myself to redesign my club’s grading syllabus (mainly because the ones they gave us were in the form of crappy loose sheets of paper). So I designed a small A6 booklet and completely restructured the format by adding new content like “origins of the art form”, “etiquette” and other geeky kung fu stuff. It still amazes me now, how I managed to brand and typeset that booklet considering I had zero knowledge of grid systems, hierarchy or even the concept of branding. Yet it had its own logo (using clip art of course), colour system and everything was aligned pretty decently, using only a couple of font sizes. To this day I still remember the font I used which was Gill Sans (such a bad choice!).
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started?
I’ve always loved symbolism and graphics and used to draw a lot of type and abstract shapes when I was a kid. Even as a youngster, I admired the work of Wassily Kandsinky which was introduced to me by my mum. Though despite all this love for creativity, I’ve always been one of those people that never really knew what they wanted to do with their life and although I loved creative arts, I only ever saw it as a hobby. It wasn’t until I was 20 and midway through my first year of business that it all started to make sense to me. I would watch my design student friends working on creative projects and became envious of how they were being taught skills to make their imaginations come alive using Flash and Photoshop. That was the lightbulb moment so I dropped out of business and enrolled onto Multimedia Design for the following year. From that point on, design became more of an obsession than a passion.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do.
I used to say there was two sides to my design life. The day job side is where I am a lead designer on a variety of projects, predominantly digital and brand, for clients like Google, Sony and AT&T. Then there’s the WeLoveNoise side, which is the work I do for my own gratification that I do in my own way. These projects tend to be small scale, more experimental and a lot more artistic. Over the last few years these two sides have merged closer together, especially being at Method. Method are one of the few studios I’ve really felt at home, and it’s largely down to the fact that everything we create is designed with a great deal of thought, love and dedication towards crafting great experiences.
What are your three must-read design books and why?
It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden – Very inspiring and thought provoking. It’s only a short book and is set in big type, so you can probably get from cover to cover in 15 minutes. I read it at least twice a year because it really helps me to look at things from another perspective and every time I read it, I come away picking up something new. IdN Magazine – Undoubtedly one of the best design magazines in the world! The content is always inspirational and original. Every issue is so well designed and branded to a specific theme with high-end content. It’s a publications that’s always driven me to be better because the quality of designers and work featured is so outstanding. Design books by Viction:ary – Amazingly crafted books in the area of visual communications that create multiple dimensions for the understanding of design and visual graphics. The content and talent that is published in their books is always to the highest standard of craft and they define a quality of talent, skill and creativity that all designers should strive towards.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self?
1. Treat every project as if it is a portfolio piece. Don't wait around for that perfect project to come by, the one in front of you has the opportunity to be perfect. 2. Don't fear failure. Try new things and don’t be afraid if they don’t turn out the way you want. It’s the trying that counts and you will always gain something from that experience. 3. Spend 15 mins a day designing something. Sometimes you’ll work on lengthy projects, other times you’ll be on projects that don’t excite you, so for 15 minutes every day, design something random and unrelated to what you are doing such as redesigning an existing logo or creating a t-shirt design. You never know, it could end up being something you use for a future project or it could be the start of the next big thing. 4. Don’t look at blogs too much. On the one hand, they are great to get inspired by and observe a level of quality that you should be aiming for, but ultimately too much of it will only cloud your ability to think creatively and visualise original ideas. I often think that reading design blogs is kind of like reading beauty magazines – they will only make you feel ugly! 5. Pick holes in your own work. Don’t settle for what's in front of you, keep pushing for perfection because this is what makes your work bulletproof when people challenge it. 6. Never stop learning. Keep topping up your skills and learn new things. The more tools and knowledge you have experience in, the better you will be at executing original and creative ideas.
What’s the big goal in the next five years?
Who knows, I really don’t plan that far ahead. Hopefully I will still be designing. My ambition is to create something that will make a mark in history. I believe my best years are yet to come and that excites me because who knows what the future holds and where I will be. The beauty of this industry is that when you work your ass off, your dreams can literally come true.
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