A paradigm shift took place in my design philosophy when I moved to Dallas in 1984 and discovered the local design legend Woody Pertle. At Michigan State University, my graphic design professors had embraced the Bauhaus philosophy but my interpretation of “less is more” and “form follows function” became a creative straightjacket. Woody’s style inspired me to take a new direction, one without boundaries. His illustrations were simple and clean in style and there was structure to his work without being overbearing.
The evolution of my design style has been gradual and continual. I have also been fortunate to work with talented designers through the years from whom I have learned a variety of techniques. Teaching university level students has helped me become more articulate in describing artistic concepts and has sharpened my critiquing skills.
As a designer, I embrace the process methodology. My design philosophy is to let the parameters of the project help determine the solution. I avoid preconceived bias from entering into the preliminary process of idea creation. I use ethnography in my research, putting myself in the shoes of the client. I look for a work or short sentence that describes the essence of what I’m trying to accomplish. Then, marker inhand, I associate free thoughts with words and images that result in design ideas that can be grown into the big picture. The process ends with refinement.
Will the finished design engage me? If I were to see it on the street would I give it second look? The answer is a simple yes or no and nothing in-between.