We love the creative partnership of Londoners Rob Gonzalez and Jonathan Quainton - "Sawdust" - so much we featured their bespoke typography twice on Typo Tuesday.
They keep on producing great work, so we wanted to know more about what makes them tick, and managed to have a chat with Rob about where Sawdust's inspiration comes from...
HJ: When did you first become interested in design, and why?
Rob: From a young age I was drawn to illustration and art, there was something that captured my attention about pictures more so than a lot of other things. So to describe what we do as design sometimes sits a little uncomfortably with me. Technically we are a design studio / duo of course but as Sawdust we are interested in creating artwork or typography that has an underlying message - 'applied art' essentially. This of course can translate into a book, an illustration or a typeface, but ultimately we see ourselves as creators of visual messages.
My interest in pictures was coupled with the desire to create new things and where possible, bring my own ideas to the table. I suppose this eventually led to the career path I am now on.
HJ: Who is your favourite designer and artist?
Rob: It is too difficult to pick only one but I recently discovered the work of John Alvin - http://www.johnalvinart.com - who sadly passed away in 2008. I have taken it upon myself to name him as a genius. He was responsible for iconic film posters such as E.T. and Blade Runner. Incredible craftsmanship.
"You can create the most breathtaking work imaginable but it won't help you if it's in a sealed box".
HJ: What is your strategy for getting work and getting noticed?
Rob: Our strategy is and always has been to make the best work we can and hope it brings in more. No brilliant strategic plan here I'm afraid, just good old fashioned referral and word of mouth (albeit 'internet mouth' too of course).
We have also tried our best to engage with the creative press, magazines, books, blogs and of course interviews like for your good selves - eventually this all helps build a profile around you and your work, which like it or lump it clients respond to.
You can create the most breathtaking work imaginable but it won't help you if it's in a sealed box.
HJ: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
Rob: Everybody's path will be different so aspiring designers should take this into consideration. Keep working towards your goals and don't be disheartened if it's not going as smoothly as you'd like. There is no straight road that takes you where you want to be, only a winding one. Don't give up.
"Never ever cut corners, we can't stress this point enough. If you want to do something with broken glass, then break some actual glass and study it in detail. How the light hits it, where the shadows fall, how the cracks look".
HJ: Can you explain your process to us? How do you go about creating new work?
Rob: For us the early stages of a project is crucial. Attention to detail and planning goes so so so far toward realising a beautiful end result. Never ever cut corners, we can't stress this point enough. If you want to do something with broken glass, then break some actual glass and study it in detail. How the light hits it, where the shadows fall, how the cracks look - avoid taking the easy option - guess work. *Note: be careful if breaking glass.
Equally, once a visual idea has been tested and you know it works (and the client buys it) it's very important to keep your enthusiasm levels high when it comes to the execution.
HJ: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
Rob: Reality: Each day as it comes - continue to enjoy the work.
Pretend: In a yacht floating somewhere in the south pacific, cocktail in hand, sun kissing my skin.
HJ: What is your ultimate dream job?
Rob: We would love to create typography for a film or work with somebody incredibly progressive like Bjork.
HJ: Do you have any observations for design trends in the future?
Rob: There seems to have been a resurgence in bright, eclectic use of colour (I say recently, more like a couple of years now) but it's become very visible and prominent now. Particularly like the photography of Sun Lee - http://www.sunlee.biz/ As for any future trends, I'm not sure. What happens if body text was to become interactive, perhaps tracking your eye movements highlighting the section your reading. Science fiction? You wait...
HJ: Do you have any opinion on the design culture in London verses Europe and the rest of the world?
Rob: Not really. The world feels much smaller with the internet around and visual information has become so accessible that I can see what's happening in New York, Tokyo, Istanbul, Brazil and so on. Not to the degree if I was to immerse myself in their cultures of course but closer than was possible before, or quicker even.
HJ: Any other thoughts or comments on anything you would like to add?
Rob: Nothing other than thanks for the interview and thanks to anybody reading, we appreciate the support.
HJ: Cheers, and thanks back at ya Rob! Great advice on process, your inspirations and on being a creative in the industry as it is today.
You can check out what Rob and Sawdust have been up to at MadeBySawdust.co.uk.
#tags: #branding #inspiration #design #sawdust #london #humpdaypost #headjamcreative #newcastlecreative