Today a Designer Interview With David Airey a Brand Identity Designer and writer based in Bangor, Northern Ireland. David also has some great blogs that provide insights for designers which i personally followed for years. David is also the author of two of the most well known logo design books which i personally own and recommend purchasing.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) April 5, 2017
The Logo Creative – Thanks for agreeing to take part in a designer interview
David Airey – No worries, Andrew. You’re very welcome.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
David Airey – I left school at 15 and spent four years studying art and design at college. It was after the first two years when design became my preference — mostly because of an intrigue in the transformation from sketch to digital. At 19 I moved to Scotland for a degree in graphic communications management, and my formal education finished with a return to Northern Ireland to spend six months (three of study, three of work placement) getting a post-grad diploma in management. From there the search went on to find design employment.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
David Airey – I normally wake around 7am, starting work by 8, checking the inbox and reminding myself what needs done for the day. Client projects are always the priority, but I also work on blog posts, keep my accounting up to date, spend time with my family, exercise, read, watch films, relax.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you designed?
David Airey – It was for my dad’s tyre business. I was probably about 15 years old. There’s no evidence of it now, but I remember what it looked like, and it was terrible.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logo you have designed?
David Airey – I tend not to look at my past work and think about how much I like it. Better to wonder what I could’ve done better, then focus on improving the next project.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logo of all time?
David Airey – There are too many clever marks to pick from, one above all others, but one favourite is the symbol for Guild of Food Writers, designed in 2005 by the late 300 million.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
David Airey – There are familiar steps such as setting the brief, researching the business and competitors, sketching and developing ideas, digitising, presenting, refining. But no two clients are the same, so nothing’s set in stone. What I’ve found to be more important than anything is curiosity in my clients, coupled to a lesser extent with the desire to help their businesses succeed.
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?
David Airey – I’m not sure if I understand the question, but I’ll always set a flat rate rather than charge over time. This short story on Picasso explains why.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project?
David Airey – It varies from three weeks to three months, but it’s sometimes more, sometimes a little less, mostly dependent on the amount of work involved, and on the number of people that need convincing on the strongest design direction.
The Logo Creative – Are you a MAC or PC user and is there a reason for your choice?
David Airey – I use a Mac because of reliability (in my experience), the operating system, and aesthetics, but when it comes down to it, the software’s the same, and one computer is very much like another. I’ve not used the new Microsoft Surface Studio, but it makes it look like Apple has fallen behind.
The Logo Creative – What software do you use frequently?
David Airey – Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat, Word, Numbers.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
I never start with a preconceived idea about what a logo should look like, but throughout a project I’ll ask myself, “Is it appropriate? Is it simple? Is it memorable?”
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when designing?
David Airey – Probably not a specific source of inspiration, but the life into which I was born is a huge motivator when it comes to getting things done. I know how different my circumstances could’ve been, perhaps born into poverty, or passed through foster homes when growing up. The luck of life’s cruel draw.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job being a designer?
David Airey – The variety of clients is one of the best, meaning the subjects I research are almost always different. I love that. If I could change one thing? Maybe less time at my desk, but I really can’t complain because being a graphic designer is a brilliant job.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
David Airey – At the age of five, Sun Hongsheng was curious about the buzzing sound coming from some high voltage power lines. He climbed a pole for a closer look and woke to find he’d lost both arms. Now he trains as a Paralympic swimmer. Just one of many inspiring people on the planet.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?
David Airey – Over the years I’ve looked up to so many designers that I couldn’t choose just one.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote?
David Airey – “I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.” Saul Bass
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
David Airey – “A fight against the ugliness.” Massimo Vignelli
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
David Airey – In 2005 I asked my previous employer to become my first client, and for the next 18 months I had that regular income for three days each week. That was huge, and I spent the rest of the time building an online presence, looking for other clients, and learning from a lot of mistakes. I worked longer hours than I ever had before, but it wasn’t a sacrifice — it’s what I wanted to do.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets?
David Airey – I can’t regret, because everything I’ve done has led to where I am.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
David Airey – A few winning combinations in the lottery.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most helpful piece of advice you have received as a designer?
David Airey – All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new logo and graphic designers?
David Airey – Don’t waste time complaining. We create our best work when we’re in a positive frame of mind. We have no idea if, after death, we’ll ever experience anything again, so enjoy your profession, appreciate your surroundings, and love using design to make things better.
Learn More about David Airey | davidairey.com | Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities | Work for Money, Design for Love
Also published on Medium.