Today a Designer Interview with Chris Do he is an Emmy award winning director, designer, strategist and educator. He’s the Chief Strategist and CEO of Blind a Santa Monica based brand strategy design consultancy in California he is also the Founder of The Futur— an online education platform that teaches the business of design to creative thinkers.
Founded in 1995, Blind has been a pioneer in the motion design field and has made hundreds of award-winning commercials, music videos and broadcast promos that combine design, typography, animation, live action and visual effects for screens and clients of all sizes.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) August 2, 2017
His firm’s work has been recognised by national and international organisations such as: the Emmy’s, Effie Gold, Effie, Huffington Post, Lynda.com, Webbie, Communication Arts, London International Awards, One Show, British D&AD, AICP 20, Pictoplasma, How, 72 dpi, L.A. Weekly, Boards, Res 10, Type Director’s Club (20, 22, 23, 26), IDN, Addy Awards, BDA, Create, Stash (2, 12, 22, 24, 35, 43, 65), Creatie Augustus 2010, Motion Design, Asia Image, Brief, 365 AIGA Year In Design 26, Art Director’s Club, Motionographer, New York Festivals, B Brand, PPaper, I.D., and Print.
Chris currently hosts The Futur (a YouTube channel with over 146k subscribers to date) and lectures all over the world on the business of design.
The Logo Creative – Thanks Chris for agreeing to taking part in a designer interview
Chris Do – Thanks, Andrew.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Chris Do – The turning point came when I met Dean Walker, a real life graphic designer. I was 17 years old and was picking up some artwork for my boss. Dean worked from his home and invited me in while he put the finishing touches on the work. Prior to this period in time, I had never met a graphic designer before. What I saw in his house was, to my uniformed self, completely blew me away. He was working on an early beige Mac with blue monochrome monitor.
His entire setup and working process crystalized to me that it was possible to live a creative life and make a decent living. It was at that moment that I knew I would become a designer.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Chris Do – My day consists mostly of responding to fans (on social media), answering questions, writing and producing content for the Futur, meeting with the management team, interviewing guests, and providing art direction to a handful of projects. I rarely have the time to do client work except for the strategic portions.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Chris Do – The first logo I ever designed was probably for my lettering class at Art Center, but I’m assuming this in reference to professionally. That would probably be for a photographer that I met at Art Center.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Chris Do – I’m not sure I have a favourite logo. But I do like logos when everything comes together (aesthetic + idea + solves a communication problem). Then it would have to be for Tangoe— they’re an IT expense management company. We had learned during discovery that what they “do isn’t sexy. But saving money is.” So for them, it was all about the bottom line and how that empowers companies to innovate.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Chris Do – I love the Apple logo. It’s simple, bold and iconic. I also love the brand behind the logo, so I admit that has an impact on my answer.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Chris Do – We begin by translating abstract thoughts into words through a structured and facilitated framework. The words are then written into an internally facing brand positioning statement. Once we have agreement from our client, we then proceed to produce a “Stylescape” which is a collection of found images, patterns, marks and designs that is a reflection of the brand attributes. Again, once the client approves this stage, we proceed to sketching and drawing. We select concept that best capture the key attributes and are most interesting forms. The final stage is take the logo we design and apply it to several mock-ups that are contextually relevant to the client, i.e., if it’s for a fashion company, the applications can consist of: apparel, bags, packaging, signage, etc….
The Logo Creative – In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a fixed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Chris Do – We only work on a project fees and not hourly/day rates. Charging hourly punishes experience and efficiency. In addition, it doesn’t take into the value that is created in the work that we produce. For the client, working on fixed fees also allows them to have some control over expenses.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Chris Do – This depends on the size of the company and the complexity of the applications. It normally takes us about 2 weeks for discovery, 2-4 weeks for initial design and another 2 weeks to finalise the logo. Applications take longer, but that’s a general ballpark. For larger companies, the timeline would be stretched out.
The Logo Creative – Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Chris Do – Mac. I don’t use PCs. Adobe software is designed to be used with a Mac keyboard. The Mac OS is intuitive to me while PCs are not.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently?
Chris Do – Top 3. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Keynote.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Chris Do – I don’t have a preference of style. Style is secondary to purpose and communication objective. Absent context, no style is right or wrong.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Chris Do – What inspires me are the creative people that work on their projects. I enjoy seeing them develop concepts and helping them to find a smart solution to the design problem.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job been a designer?
Chris Do – The best part about being a designer is the ability to earn a living while doing something you truly love and would probably do for free. That is happiness. The worst part is that if you don’t learn the language of business, you may limit your growth and be relegated to the role of an “order taker”.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Chris Do – My dad is the most inspiring person to me. He risked everything to bring us to America during the collapse of Saigon.He taught me about working hard, being kind to others and allowed me the freedom to pursue my passion, even though he would have preferred that I become a doctor or lawyer. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for him.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Chris Do – My favorite designer is Josef Muller Brockmann. His typography is modern, bold, simple and timeless. I could stare at his posters all day and never get tired of them.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote? (This can be included)
Chris Do – Practice safe design. Use a concept. — Petrula Vrontikis.
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Chris Do – Form giving to ideas.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Chris Do – I started my business with a little investment capital from my uncle and his business partners. I had to prepare a business plan with 12 months of financial projects. We met over dinner at the Westin Bonaventure and I was given a good faith check that night. It was exhilarating. Months later, due to financial issues, they decided to turn the company over to me. I don’t consider working long hours and giving up leisure activities a sacrifice as I was working on my dream. However, there were challenges mostly centered around the business aspects that I didn’t understand. Most of that, I had to learn the difficult way because I didn’t have a mentor at that time.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Chris Do – Sometimes, I think that if I had been more patient and remained at a company for a longer period of time, I might have avoided some costly mistakes that I made during the first two years of operating my business.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Chris Do – I’d tell myself that everything will work itself out, follow your heart, trust your instincts and cherish your friends. I’d also tell myself to hire a business coach as early as possible.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Chris Do – The greatest thing I’ve learned running a design studio is the art of communication. For a long time, I didn’t know how to express my concerns, or even how to phrase particular questions to prospective clients. Through years of coaching, trial and error, I’ve developed my communication skills. Now, I feel that this is the most important thing that separates me from others.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Chris Do – Learn how to solve client problems and not your own. Do what’s right, not what’s right, right now. Style and art be very subjective. If you disagree, try judging a design competition.
Article we have posted which include Chris Do
- What To Include In a Great Graphic Design Portfolio
- How To Charge More For Logo Design
- How To Price Logo Design Services
Also published on Medium.