Ian Schumacher

Belgrade, MT |

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What made you want to become a graphic designer?

“A while back, I was at a rough time in my life, making a lot of bad decisions. My friend was visiting from Portland, and he was like, 'Come back with me,' so the next day I moved there. When I visited the Art Institute of Portland, I learned that I loved graphic design.”

What are your favorite aspects of being a designer?

“What I like about it is that when I’m doing it, it doesn’t feel like ‘work-work’. I just love to create; I like making things. It gives you more opportunity to be who you are, 'cause you can be anywhere from wearing a suit to being a dirty hippie-- and they all have work. It gives you the freedom to be whoever you are: graphic designers don’t judge you-- you’re an artist who gets paid.”

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

“Not at all: I have nothing to show for my portfolio, nothing to show for my thesis! But that's my own fault, not the school's. This isn’t deterring me from wanting to do graphics at all-- it’s making me want to drop senior year, but I don’t want to stop design. I love it.”

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

“I wing it. I kinda just make a bunch of stuff until I find something I like, then I go down that path and follow that direction. I think when I go to websites, it’s mostly to kill time, not to work: I’ll say it’s for inspiration, but really they just depress me. It doesn’t ever really end up helping.”

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

“I wing it, so when mess-up’s happen, I’m like, ‘It’s art.' But I really respect stuff that’s super clean and exactly what they wanted-- which is the exact opposite of what I do. I kind of have a Ralph Steadman approach. When I look at stuff online, none of it’s like what I produce.”

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

“I think you’re going to make stuff that you don’t like all the time, but I don’t think you have to show people, or put your name on it. it’s like, ‘I’ve done some stuff that was just horrible: the people who paid me loved it, and that’s all matters.’”

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?

“Not really, no... I don't know. What I make for myself will probably be print media, but I’ll take on any client if they hire me to design a website-- as long as I don’t have to code. Typing takes me forever, so I try to avoid it. So, I’m not going to turn someone away like, ‘Yeah, I don’t do that.’”

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

“I like Peter Max a lot.”

What are your plans for the future?

“I am planning to open my own store for something.”

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