.

I came across the FWA while I was in college around 2002 so I can relate directly to this question. My advice would be to not be concerned about winning awards. Stay focused, work every day to improve your craft, experiment, be your own biggest critic; the rest will come.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm an art director, designer, and illustrator at Viget. I'm also a husband, dad, and general merrymaker. I enjoy making and breaking things, bright colors, and loud noises.

What do you do for inspiration?

My personal goal on any new project is to learn and produce something that builds on what I've done before — to expand on the foundation of the craft. Externally I'm inspired by everyone I work with at Viget. We all come from different backgrounds but we share a love and passion for tinkering and exploration. I learn something new every time I walk into the office. I'm also inspired by the clients I've had the opportunity to work with. It makes my job incredibly rewarding and fun to collaborate with people who champion doing great work.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Polygon.com. They do a killer job at writing stories that touch on more than just the surface-level of gaming and tech. Brainpickings.org provides me with daily diversions on creativity, history, and philosophy all rolled up into one. Motherboard.vice.com because I like to get my mind blown at least once a day (sometimes twice).

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Here's to hoping I haven't had it yet. If I had to choose something that's brought me a lot of personal satisfaction it would be creating the game RUNPUMARUN (in collaboration with the talented developer, Dan Tello) for PUMA. I grew up as a Nintendo kid in the 80s so Shigeru Miyamoto is a hero of mine. It was fun to create something that I know my 6-year-old self would have loved.

How many hours do you work each week?

I spend about 45 hours a week in the office. I'm a big supporter of work/life balance so I try to make sure I'm spending my out of office time on things that help me grow in ways that aren't tied to my work. That said, a lot of my project ah-ha moments happen when I'm not working.

How do you relax or unwind?

My typical day includes early morning exercise & meditation and evenings full of family time, gaming, and reading. I like to dive into sci-fi and fiction in my downtime, and try to avoid industry-related reading when I'm trying to relax.

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

I enjoy building things, and being part of the whole lifecycle of a project, so I like to think if I was born in a different time I might have been a furniture or cabinetmaker. Both trades involve a mix of art and function that would provide the same kind of happy moments that I get from my job as a designer.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

The concept/exploration phase of a project is definitely my favorite part of my job. There's something special about the first few weeks of a project. It's a time when you can really focus on the potential, get your hands dirty, sketch, and question yourself. It's beautiful chaos. It's also the most difficult time of a project. Ideas are so fragile. It takes a lot of effort to protect and nurture them into something production-ready. 

What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

I hear that a proper nights sleep makes you smarter, quick-witted, and handsome. I've pulled all-nighters before, and will probably pull more in the future, but I don't cherish them.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

When I was a young designer I had a creative director who reminded me over and over again that no matter how good an idea is, if you can't get consensus and buy-in, it's never going to see the light of day. That thought has shaped my career path in many ways. Being a great designer isn't enough; you also have to be a guide and advocate for the creative process. The most successful people in this industry are also the best salespeople in this industry.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

I've actually been playing around more on the hardware/code side of things. I tinker with a Raspberry Pi on the weekends and mess with (more often mess up) experiments with Processing. The intersection of tech and art fascinates me.

Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?

Going back a bit further, I'll never forget the first time I saw North Kingdom's 'Get the Glass' campaign. It's a shining example of the potential of the digital medium. I had only been working on the web for a couple years at that point, (shifting away from print), and when I saw that site my first reaction was "I want to be part of this."

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Absolutely. The exposure we've received from winning SOTD as well as the distribution list has afforded us a lot of engagement and discussion.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

Incredibly difficult. It really comes down to collaborating with your client to define what the success metrics should be. The needs and means of engagement will shift, that's inevitable. What I'm interested in most is work that involves an opportunity to see campaigns through to completion, and then provide the opportunity to react to them in the next project, no matter if it was a huge success or off the mark. You learn more about the people you are trying to engage either way.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

I built it in flash, while in college, in 2002. Last I heard it was happily retired, living off fish tacos and room temp cerveza in Barbados. If we could all be so lucky.

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

Exercise daily, limit screen time at night, and have a non-work related hobby that I can participate in at least a few times a week.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

I went to design school and I loved it. As with a lot of things in life, you are going to get out of it what you put into it. However I do feel that there is a wide spectrum when it comes to the quality of schools. Design schools that are solely focused on applications and how to use them don't do their students justice. Look for schools that champion design foundation, critique, and critical creative thinking. Applications are going to change, design fundamentals will not.

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

I came across the FWA while I was in college around 2002 so I can relate directly to this question. My advice would be to not be concerned about winning awards. Stay focused, work every day to improve your craft, experiment, be your own biggest critic; the rest will come.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

Easy. Any vehicle where I can sit in the back, kick my feet up, and not be the driver.

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

Experiment. With. Everything. You can't know your strengths and weaknesses without testing yourself. Everyone is going to stumble and fail. It's part of the learning process. I read a story to my daughter called 'Rosie Revere, Engineer' about a little girl who dreams of being an engineer when she grows up. She creates these amazing contraptions that never really work, so she decides to stop trying. Her grandmother drops a knowledge bomb on her:

"Life might have its failures, but this was not it. The only true failure can come if you quit."

That about sums it up.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

I'd love to work with NASA.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

Nothing fascinates me more than the collision of the real world and the digital abyss. How we think, concept, design, and produce work is going to change so much over the next 10 years that it's hard to imagine what it will look like. But it's incredibly fun to try though.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

My favorite quote by George Lois, "Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything."

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thanks much Rob, it's an honor.


Links

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PUMA Storyboarding
PUMA Storyboarding

DSG Gear in Action - Baseball
DSG Gear in Action - Baseball

DSG Gear in Action - Baseball
DSG Gear in Action - Baseball

RUN PUMA RUN
RUN PUMA RUN

RUN PUMA RUN
RUN PUMA RUN

DSG Running 2014
DSG Running 2014

DSG Women's Fitness Concepting
DSG Women's Fitness Concepting

DSG Women's Fitness
DSG Women's Fitness

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