"Develop a process and follow it by heart."
Looking to strip the bells and whistles from your design process? Fabio Redivo is with you. The brand director shares why Adobe CC is his go-to tool, but why putting pen to paper to complete a design is the ultimate resource.
DesignRush: Where do you look for inspiration in your day-to-day work?
Fabio Redivo: I think a designer should extract inspirations from everything and everywhere. In every corner, there is something that can inspire or trigger an idea. As a designer, I work very hard to keep my "designer glasses" always on as I observe the world. Something I see on the streets, a new pattern on the walls of the subway station, some new color combination on someones clothes walking down 5th ave, a different logo on a truck that drove by, a well shot frame on a popular movie, the way my daughter fills a blank page with crayons.. everywhere there is something for us to get inspired. But I also pursue the visual cues from other artist and designers and how they rearrange the world around them, always visiting different websites, looking at different posters or ads, and looking at new products logos, typefaces, labels... it's really a constant absorption. But I always remember the words of Chuck Close - "Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work".
DR: Which blogs, web applications or mobile apps do you check or use every day?
FR: I use Adobe CC every day - specifically Photoshop and Illustrator. Those are my routine tools.
I also visit Adobe Typekit and Google fonts all the time for latest fonts. Every now and then I go to pixeden.com or graphicburger.com to find good PSD mockups for presentations or invisionapp.com to prepare a website or mobile presentation.
DR: How would you describe your approach to design?
FR: I see my approach as a simple, direct and necessary design. I'm not into bells and whistles with no reason or functionality when it comes down to my digital work (websites or app design). When it comes down to my Logo design work my approach is subtle and smart. I like composing my logos; contrasting shapes and forms. I pay attention to the meaning behind my decisions, bring a spark of visual fun and I like to hide a secondary meaning within the composition - what I call the FedEx effect. I am not comparing my work to Lindon Leader - but there is something to learn of his subliminal masterpiece - and I strive to create the same complexity on my work.
DR: How large a role does sketching on paper play in your design process?
FR: To me - the ability of put down on paper an idea as quickly as it comes to my mind is the foundation of my design work. I can't even think of starting my creative process any other way. This ability to me is essential and fundamental to weed out any bad or ridiculous idea and - even if in a very crude render - start to understand the direction, tone and overall approach to the design I'm about to start. I know that a lot of designers might start putting down their ideas on the computer off the bat, with the "excuse" of I can't draw. I invite those designers - no actually - I challenge those designers to start on the paper and see how much more efficient you can be one you let go of the fear that people are judging your sketches. At Blue Fountain Media, working very closely with Art Director Dennis Mirovsky on several logos, some of our finest ideas were generated on scrap pieces of paper, old notebooks, paper plates, really anything that we can get our hands on to decode our thoughts into tangible visual graphics.
DR: When a client asks you to design a website, what are the first questions you ask?
FR: That might be a very long list, but I'll name some essentials in my view. I first like to understand the audience and target for this particular website. If that is something the client is unsure, I always turn to our strategy team - but it is very important to know and understand who in the end will be using and interacting with my design. Then I ask about the client personal preferences, colors they like, types they might like, how do they feel about white spaces. I like to know also what they don't like - which to me might be more important than their likes. I ask about which websites or apps they interact on a daily basis that they like, and those that they don't. Everything that we can extract from the client at this stage - but not as an interrogation, more like a conversation - the best the end result will be. I believe that despite the fact that we are not really designing for the client, but for its audience, it is fundamental to find a nice balance between the needs and the likes, after all, you want the client to be happy and satisfied with your work to be proud of as an asset to the company.
DR: What does a person coming into the field need to know?
FR: That being a designer is not being a master of computers. That no matter how much technology you surround yourself with, that won't make your work look great. Don't get me wrong, nice Macs are great - but you should be able to design with the tools given to you, even if it is crayons. Another point to keep in mind is that design is not an exact science, it's a trial by fire, you will make a lot more mistakes than you want to, and you have to learn from all of them. Improvement only comes with courage. Design is not a competition, is not for the ego, nobody is a better human being for a great landing page. Design is hard work, has a reason for being, it's challenging, it's time-consuming - there is no "make my mockup great" button on Photoshop, and at times it might seem like a dead end, but if you keep pushing, keep improving, keep going it can my one of the most satisfying things you can do as a career.
DR: What’s your best advice for designing logos?
FR: When designing a logo, the best thing you can do is develop a process and follow it by heart. Logo design is a process, it doesn't just pop out of thin air. Nowadays, we are blasted with some much visual symbols in our everyday life that is impossible not to feel overwhelmed by it. A process will help you focus, take one step at a time and narrow down from a universe of possibilities to the most intelligent and effective solution for a specific need. At BFM we developed a process adapted to our needs that works great. Find one way that works for you and work on it. There are a lot of information of other designer and their process out there that you can learn from it. My go to one is from David Airey in his book - Logo Design Love.
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