Alex Black

Idaho Falls, ID | 

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What made you want to become a graphic designer?

“I always enjoyed arts and crafts. When I was in high school, someone suggested that graphic design would be a great way to combine my love of art into a profession.”

What are your favorite aspects of being a designer?

“The ability to visually present ideas and influence people. I really love taking a project from the beginning to the end, especially when you work with an organization, and being able to achieve the goals of the group in a visual medium. It’s subtle at first, but I find myself analyzing typefaces or saying, 'that kerning is totally off' -- it was an interesting realization. I know it’s a really different conversation between non-designers and designers on a project: I feel like it’s good to have both conversations, both points of view.”

Do you think school has helped prepare you for entering the real world?

“I view school, particularly thesis, as a good expression of figuring out what we want to do. As for day-to-day tasks, I don't know if it captures that; the program has given me a well-rounded idea of what's available, and has more touched on the surface rather than going too in-depth. It’s a big world out there; you can’t cover it all in a classroom.”

How would you describe your process when working on a project?

“I spend a lot of time in the visual relation on paper, drawing it out. Over the last year or so I've realized it's more important to have lots of thumbnails and ideas, as opposed to one idea and following it. Now I spend more time in the initial stages making sure I have a good overall concept. Lots of sketching, thumbnailing, and connecting.”

Would you say that you have a personal design "style" in your work?

“I feel like there’s my work style and my personal style. With my office work, it's a little more tighter and cleaner, more professional; my personal style is more loose and gestural, almost child-like, and whimsical.”

For designers, do you believe it's more important to work on projects you're passionate about or take whatever work is available?

“I feel like you should view every project as an opportunity, and try to turn any conflicts with clients into a way to challenge yourself. Ideally, you should be able to find projects you’re passionate about, but it’s more important to have a variety of projects. Once you become a more skilled designer you’ll be able to have a little more freedom to pursue the work you really like. It’s a fact of life: there’s a whole lot of mud to get through before you pull out gold.”

The graphic design industry is doing more digitally-based work these days: are you excited about the evolution of design, or do you like more traditional mediums?

“I’m screwed! Haha. No, I actually spent some time looking into the print industry, either with publishing or magazines. There are still some opportunities; I’m hoping they still exist for the next twenty to thirty years. Personally, I wish there was a greater attachment to print, but the fact that it’s evolving makes sense with where technology is going. I still feel that there are opportunities available to different niches-- they’re just kind of diminishing.”

Do you have any favorite designers, artists, or resources you like to get inspiration from?

“Two of the books for my thesis, “When the Sun Rose” and “The Ballad of Jack Johnson”, I like for their illustrations and almost painterly backgrounds. It’s a little looser and more gestural. I also like that you can still see the effects of the medium, pen splotches and stuff-- it gives a playful feel to it.”

What are your plans for the future?

“Right now I am torn. I love the idea of illustrating children's books, but I'm also in love with my job organizing events and doing promotional graphics.”

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