Design Splat | Interviews with Awesome Designers and Creatives

LIAM ASHURST – GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Posted September 26th by Design Splat in Graphic Designers

Currently in his second year of A-Levels Liam Ashurst is beginning to show a lot of design talent, with his edgy graphics and passion for design he will no doubt reach his goals.

Enjoy!

-Interview

Hello and Welcome to Design Splat Liam, thank you for taking some time to chat with us!

To get the readers started tell us a bit about what you do:

Well,  I’m not really too sure what my title would be actually. I think I can go with occasional freelance designer and full time student. I work on small projects now and again, mainly branding, print design and merchandise design but I’ve started to get more work in the web design field which is great.

How did you get into Graphic Design?

I think it was a few years back now where I got a hold of Adobe Photoshop and started to play around with photo manipulation and just doing it for fun. Then at the age of 15 I decided to enter some competitions for logo design on 99designs and won, and since then I decided that this is what I enjoy doing, and what I really wanted to be. Before getting Adobe Photoshop I had no real creative experience, I didn’t draw or anything and sucked at art, but now I’m sort of working backwards and forcing myself to improve my drawing techniques.

Do you have qualifications in design? How important do you think qualifications are for designers?

I don’t have any qualifications yet, I got an A* in Design & Technology for GCSE if that counts for anything and I’ve just finished the first year of A-Levels. After school I’m not really too sure if I will go into higher education and go to University or just try and find some small design studio to work with for a while and gain more experience. Because I don’t have the qualifications I’m not too sure how important they really are, I would imagine having a degree or something would look good but so would spending three years in a design studio getting a taste for the work so I’m really not too sure at the moment.

When creating graphics, what to you is the most important aspect: planning design or implementation? and why?

I’m going to go with implementation because most of the time I just jump straight into a project with little planning, I like to go with the trial and error method and eventually I’ll come up with something the client likes. I think I should probably spend more time planning though, I have started to use a sketchbook to get some initial ideas so I guess I am improving.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years I hope to have finished University (if I decide to go) or hold up a secure job in a design studio that I enjoy working in. If all goes well and if I keep improving my work I’m really hoping to start up my own design studio in partnership with two good friends and equally creative people.

Own Business/Freelance or working for a company?

At the moment its freelance, after school I’ll be looking to work for a company and then after a fair bit of experience I’m hoping for my own small design business. Each one has it’s perks, freelance at the moment allows me to work whatever projects I want and fit it around school and other commitments. Working for a company for a while will help gain experience and I’ll get to understand what it’s like to work in a studio and how everything works and then having my own business will just be awesome.

If you could work for any client who would it be and why?

Hmm, I’m not too sure actually, I think it would probably be working with one of my favourite bands to design their merchandise, websites, posters and all that stuff. Music is something I really love and combining both music and design would make for a perfect project.

Does fame attract you?

Not really, it’s not something I’ve thought about too much and as long as I have a source of steady income and am enjoying what I do I’ll be happy. Although being a designer that everyone knows would be pretty awesome and I wouldn’t turn it down of course.

How do you rate yourself as a designer?

I don’t think it’s for me to say really, it’s impossible to rate something like design because everyone has different tastes. For example if somebody was a die hard fan of colourful, fun, rainbows and unicorn styled design then they probably would rate me a 1. However, if a person enjoys looking at more simple looking design then they might rate me higher. It’s all down to personal preferences so I can’t really say.

What makes a good graphic designer?

Someone who is always willing to learn, listen to advice and help give it back to others. Someone who has a great passion for what they do and enjoys designing. A good designer should be able to listen to the demands of a client and try to tick off each specific need and also offer alternative suggestions to some demands that just won’t work; for example if a client asks for a logo for a lawyer or something and is persistent on using comic sans in yellow then a good designer will try to explain why this might not be a suitable choice and offer more suitable alternatives.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Most of the time I will just look around the internet on some design sites but it’s always good to take a break and go out for a walk or something for inspiration. I’ll often ask others their opinions and thoughts which help get an outside perspective.

What obstacles – if any, have you encountered along the way?

Nothing too major, I get a few creative blocks every now and then and I have some patches were I get no work at all so I’m stuck doing nothing but I guess that happens to everyone. I’ve yet to accouter an awkward client either, I’ve been lucky this far so I’m looking forward to my first one!

Do you think the Graphic Design Industry is difficult to get into?

Not if you have the desire to push forward and work hard on improving your designs. I started out with no real experience in art or design but eventually got the hang of things and am trying to push myself to become a better designer. Of course there is a lot of competition these days though, with people starting at younger ages you tend to find that a 14 year old kid just made something more awesome than you did, so you have to keep improving.

What do you think it takes to become successful in the Graphic Design industry?

Dedication to the work and a passion for what you do. Over the last few years I see everything differently now because of design, I look at things I would have overlooked previously and gain inspiration from small details. To become successful I think building a solid foundation is needed and working from there, trying to get as much people to know about your work. Becoming familiar with the design community on various websites is also a good idea to have other designers recognise you.

Which design websites do you visit on a regular basis?

I visit a lot of typography inspiration websites like www.typographyserved.com and www.typetoken.net often, solid typography in my work is something I am always trying to improve and these websites are a great source of inspiration. I also use websites like dribbble.com and www.behance.net to keep up to date with new trends and to follow the work of my favourite designers.

Do you get bored with your job if yes how do you overcome this?

I actually don’t, maybe it’s because I don’t really do it full time and whenever I do get work I get all excited like a little kid. But I don’t think it is possible to get bored of design, each project is individual and I get the chance to try out different things all the time. The work is not repetitive and it’s something I enjoy.

If you weren’t a graphic designer, what would you be?

Umm, I have no idea. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Maybe something like architecture, but I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as graphic design for sure.

Favourite Typeface?

Everything losttype.com bring out, please don’t make me choose a favourite. There are a lot of fonts I like actually, and I like to play around with lots of different ones instead of relying on one all the time.

Software you couldn’t live without?

Adobe Photoshop, that’s pretty much all I need.

Mac or PC?

PC, my friend just got his iMac recently so I’ll be checking that out very soon. I’m quite happy with a PC but I wouldn’t say no to a Mac.

Three words to describe yourself?

Creative, Dedicated & Scruffy

Hobbies and Interests?

I’m a big fan of movies, I enjoy going to music gigs, I like just being with my friends and having a laugh. I used to enjoy sports but I’m far too lazy to take part anymore. Apart from that all I really do is design.

Favourite Designer?

There’s a lot of designers I look up to and one day hope to be as good as, each have individual characteristics in their work which make them so inspiring. I recently discovered the work of Chandler Van De Water which I really like – http://dribbble.com/chandlervdw

Tools of the trade?

Some basic laptop and my wireless mouse, Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator CS5 – does the job!

Best and worst piece of work?

I think the one I’m most proud of is the Rocket Skateboards website design project as it was my first big web design project – http://cargocollective.com/LiamAshurst#1408625/Rocket-Skateboards. I’m also liking the direction I’m going with a current project with a friend. The worst was probably my more earlier work when I was making really crappy logos, fortunately they have been deleted off the face of the earth.

Any Tips or advice to share with aspiring designers?

Well, I’m an aspiring designer myself so I guess to whoever is in the same sort of place as me…go away and give all your clients to me. Just kidding, keep it up and be sure to take part in the design community by giving and receiving feedback as much as possible.

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Contact Details:

Website: http://cargocollective.com/LiamAshurst

Email: mrliamashurst@gmail.com                

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/people/Liam-Ashurst/1009705585

Dribbble: http://dribbble.com/LiamAshurst

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LiamAshurst

DeviantArt: http://cheesygfx.deviantart.com/


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