Andy Cooke Designer Interview

Designer Interview With Andy Cooke

The Logo Creative - Designer Interview With Andy Cooke

Andy Cooke did not have a conventional path through the world of design. It began with failure, led to risk, and eventually to reward.

With a combined optimistic attitude and always seeing the potential in opportunity, Andy learned a lot and progressed in his career working alongside great minds, hiring great talent, and having the pleasure of working with great clients.

Andy holds a BA (Hons) First Class in Graphic Design from of Staffordshire University, He has won Design Weeks Rising Star Award and Best Technical Innovation from The Drum online media awards.

Andy Cooke Designer Quote

Andy strives to create and build meaningful brand identities that live and breathe across both digital and physical touchpoints that are rooted in strategy, theory and thinking.

Andy, as he describes, is usually the dreamer in the room. The eternal optimist who says it can be done. “Let’s just start, then figure out how to do it along the way. If we need to, it’s always better to ask for forgiveness than permission”

Andy has had the pleasure of showcasing his work at numerous events over the years, and spoken at various universities, workshops and galleries.

Andy’s work has also been featured in Grafik Magazine, Computer Arts Magazine, and WIRED Magazine.

Andy is also the author of the book Graphic Design for Art, Fashion, Film, Architecture, Photography, and Product Design & Everything In Between we recently reviewed in our book review section.

The Logo Creative – Hi Andy after reading your book, which is amazing by the way, it’s great to now be featuring you in our designer interviews.

Andy Cooke – Thanks Andrew, I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the invite.

The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?

Andy Cooke - Designer Interview

Andy Cooke – I don’t know if there was a turning point, per se. I’d known since an early age that I was better at creative subjects, and put a lot into art and design in high school above everything else.

Somehow, through college and into my three years of university, I ended up in product design — and it didn’t resonate. Not at all. I was not good at product design!

However. The turning point into graphic design started around 2006. I was going to punk shows, drawing flyers and getting more involved in graffiti. Pure, free, typographic expression.

Once I figured that this was an actual thing I could do for a job, I re-started university on the graphic design award, and I’ve been in this world ever since.

The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?

Andy Cooke – A lot of screen time, as one might expect. I’ve always been one to keep busy, and after going independent again this year (read: let go after a global phenomenon caused havoc on the company I used to work for)

I’ve picked up a bunch of clients from Switzerland, the UK and USA. Often I’m up early and going on late to fit my to-dos into the time zones. I do try and get out to exercise as much as possible — on the bike (road & downhill), playing squash, running and basketball. But also, a lot of snacks.

Andy Cooke Studio - The Logo Creative - Designer Interview

The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?

Andy Cooke – I don’t really have a preference.

The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?

Ah jeez, I don’t even know. The first thing that comes to mind was for my friend’s band, which was called ‘Set Sail’. I did a logo for their EP cover and remember struggling to figure out how the pen tool worked on Photoshop to try and draw it.

This was 2006, when I was in no way industrious and everything I did was with pen and paper, or paint on a wall. So naturally, it looked like a graffiti style logo. It. Was. Baaad.

The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logo you have designed?

Andy Cooke – In 2012 I made this logo for ‘Creative Pro’ — a Manchester based event that brought creatives and professionals from other sectors together in a networking setting. It’s a simple idea of a C, P and ampersand. 

Favorite Logo Designed - Andy Cooke - The Logo Creative Designer Interview

The Logo Creative – What’s the best logo you’ve designed that the clients DIDN’T go for?

Andy Cooke – For Soho Music. The concept is based on the ‘slur’ from a music sheet.

Logo Design - Andy Cooke - Designer Interview - The Logo Creative

The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logos of all time?

Andy Cooke – I always go for the Open University logo when this question pops up. 

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The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?

Andy Cooke – I think for a while. A good while. Or as long as the brief / timeline / budget allows. Then I sketch some things out. Could be with a pencil on paper, on Procreate, on Illustrator.

Then I check it hasn’t been done before (as much as possible). This often reveals that my thinking is in no way original and I have to go back a step, haha.

Then, repeat it as necessary until one sticks — then refine, refine, refine until it works. 

The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?

Andy Cooke – There are companies in the world that put creativity at the core of what they do. We can all think of a few. Apple. Disney. Google. For me though, there is one company that sits head and shoulders above the rest. And that is Nike.

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They are almost unlike any others, solely because of their brand. Yes, they put design at the heart of things, challenge the status quo and define trends across multiple facets of design. This is admirable, especially as a designer.

But the thing that really gets me, is that unlike the rest — their appeal is so transcendent. between generations, cultures, and bank balances.

They are the only company that can have $20 shoes in middle-American Walmarts that bargain-hunting Grandmas will pick up to run their errands, while having $200 sneakers at tier 0 stores in Tokyo that have sneakerheads queuing for hours to buy, some of which often draw a reseller price tag with another zero on the end of that. What other brands have that appeal across such a broad spectrum?

The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?

Andy Cooke – In 2019 I led the re-brand of EF Education First’s biggest product in China; EF Kids & Teens.

I worked with creatives and stakeholders between Europe and China, which meant attempting to strip out all the cultural bias I have when approaching a project.

Andy Cooke - The Logo Creative Designer Interview

This in itself is a huge task. The work looked great, worked well, and pleased everybody involved between CEOs, middle management and creatives globally—no mean feat either.

I considered it successful when the product was tipped to sell for $1.5–2billion following the end of the re-brand effort.

The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?

Andy Cooke – As long as it takes.

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The Logo Creative – What are your recommended design books to read?

Andy Cooke – Here are some of my favorites.

The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?

Andy Cooke – Adobe CC, mainly. Sketch for UI and Figma more recently too. Started learning C4D which is fun. There’s a ton of others but I don’t have any kind of loyalty to any of them (like some designers do. Like a weird fetish to defend Figma over Sketch or whatever).

Can’t go wrong with Adobe CC.

The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?

Andy Cooke – Logotypes over icons. I prefer typography.

Andy Cooke - Typography Based Logos - Designer Interview

The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?

Andy Cooke – The ‘correct’ answer here is to say something like: “Everything, apart from design… the sight of my partner as she falls asleep, the sound of the birds in the morning and the fresh air in my lungs as I go for my morning run…”, right?

But—I’m not ashamed to say that other designs and designers are my main inspiration. Of course it is, and of course they are!

The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?

Andy Cooke – I like being on the couch a lot. I’m a homebody. I’ve spent a lot of time and money on making my space comfortable to live in. So I’m gonna live in it. I also like riding bikes a lot…. so, bikes are probably on par with the couch.

The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?

Andy Cooke – Good question. It’s only happened a couple of times, but facing the realization that the client had to be fired. They didn’t understand why, either time. Sometimes you just have to cut the cord when the relationship doesn’t click. It’s always tough.

The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?

Andy Cooke – The best by far is inventing things. The worst is that we are constantly expected to invent things, even when they needn’t be.

Andy Cooke Portfolio Book - The Logo Creative - Designer Interview

The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?

Andy Cooke – Totally cliché, but my Mum. She’s been through a lot in her life, and she got out the other side like a champion. She’s my constant motivation to keep going.

The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?

Andy Cooke – Impossible to answer. It changes almost every day.

The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by? 

Andy Cooke – “Don’t think, do.” — John McFaul

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The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words, what is graphic design?

Andy Cooke – Your friends asking you if you like the menu design.

The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?

Andy Cooke – I’ve had two, and ended two. The second was more successful than the first in a lot of ways, but not in others. In both instances I wasn’t prepared, and learned the majority of things I needed to know as I went along.

The Logo Creative - Designer Interview With Andy Cooke

I lost friends, found friends and re-friended a couple of the lost friends along the way. Some sacrifice in there. Some big, life-changing sacrifices. No regrets with this in mind, though. Que Sera Sera.

The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?

I had a few offers to work at some big places here and there about 7–8 years back, along with some things that would have made amazing experiences since then. I couldn’t do them or turned them down for whatever reason, but like the last question—I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t think it’s healthy to live in regret.

The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?

Andy Cooke – Eat your greens.

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The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?

Andy Cooke – Always put the client’s logo on pitch work. Sounds obvious, right?

The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?

Andy Cooke – Put as much of yourself as possible in everything you do.

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