Artist / Designer Interview 5: Niki Brown
1. How long have you been a graphic designer?
I would say that I’ve been dabbling in design since 1997 when I made one of my first websites with flaming text and geocities (ohhhh those were the days!). I went to school for graphic design and graduated in 2007. So I’m not sure how many years I’ve been an ‘official’ designer. 🙂
2. What inspires your work?
I just moved to Boston, USA so lately I’ve been inspired by the city itself. Everything is old and has a great historical story behind it. Other than that I love Veer’s stockphoto and font publications – they come up with some pretty cool and crazy themed print pieces.
3. What media do you work in and why?
My work spans both web and print. However, my day job is mostly web based. My educational background is in print design and I have worked with print in the past at previous jobs. I enjoy working with the web because it a challenge both technically and design wise. It’s a great experience to use both sides of your brain on a daily basis.
4. How would you describe your style of design?
For the web I try to design clean and usable interfaces. I’m not sure I really have a print style, although I was definitely influenced by my schools bend towards swiss design.
5. Do you do any initial sketching or planning before starting on a new design project?
Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. With my personal projects I tend to do more sketching and ideation because I have an more time. Freelance and work projects don’t always have that luxury, however I would consider making a few quick mock ups in photoshop equivalent to sketching.
6. Which designers most inspires you?
Lately I’ve been inspired by non-graphic designers. I recently saw (and blogged about being Inspired by repetition , Tara Donovan show at the Boston Institute of Contemporary art. Her use of every day objects and repetition are amazing.
7. How do you deal with the business inside of being an graphic designer?
This is something I’m learning a great deal about right now. I just recently started getting my freelancing finances in order (still need to find an accountant) and have started using contracts and invoices. I also work full time for a small design firm so I see how they interact with clients on a daily basis – which is a great learning opportunity.
8. What words of advice would you give to any aspiring graphic designers out there?
I would say to immerse yourself in design. Read design blogs. Subscribe to design magazines. Give yourself crazy personal projects. Starting a design blog is also another thing to do. The feedback I get from my readers on my design blog (http://thedesignoblog) is amazing!
More of Nikki’s work can be seen at nikibrown.com or : thedesignoblog.com