Mathew Wain is a freelance graphic designer working from home in North-East England. He’s also proud to be a published typographer, illustrator and award-winning graphic designer.
After graduating from Teesside University Mathew threw caution to the wind and took 3 tablespoons of ambition and embarked on his own solo venture.
Mathew is infatuated with design, and it’s been rooted from the start. From pencils and crayons to constructing Hot Wheels garages out of old shoe boxes.
He practices his craft each and everyday without fail. Scribble on napkins or brush to canvas. It all adds up and counts towards something bigger.
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Mathew Wain – I was working a dead-end job after finishing Uni and I was having a really bad day. I just didn’t want to be there. I was grateful to have a job, but I value life too much to be miserable. I used my break to write out my notice and that was that. Time to give freelance a whirl.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Mathew Wain – Every day is different. But it always starts with coffee and a morning doodle to wake up. There’s always lots to do and I’m actually really productive. I answer emails, write notes, sketch ideas, make videos, create vectors and much more. I try to clock off at a normal time but tend to work really long hours. But, I love it!
The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?
Mathew Wain – Neither. But I enjoy a late night movie and a lie-in the next morning.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Mathew Wain – I designed a logo for a landscape photographer. It was very bland, but it was clean and minimalist. I believe ‘Less is more’ but it needed more.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logo you have designed?
Mathew Wain – This depends on my mood. Today I’d have to say, Good Thunder or Authentic’s Barbershop. But there are so many I’m proud of and that could easily take the top spot on another day.
The Logo Creative – What’s the best logo you’ve designed that the clients DIDN’T go for?
Mathew Wain – Good Fish. It’s everything I’m about as a designer but I did make it a very difficult choice with the options I presented to the client.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logos of all time?
Mathew Wain – Jumpman.
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Mathew Wain – I feel it’s quite straight forward. It depends on the details of the project – how open the client brief is and if they’re open to ideas and input. Either way it always starts with sketching and brainstorming and then I match each of them against a checklist I’ve made based on the client’s notes.
I think about the level of detail the logo needs, the things I can incorporate, how it will transfer when printed – all kinds of things. Once I have a solid sketch in place, I will take it to Illustrator and get to work on it. I like to create a bunch of variations from each design option and that quite often sparks the next idea.
The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?
Mathew Wain – I love lots of brands, but I focus more on admiring good design. That’s what draws me in.
The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?
Mathew Wain – That’s a tricky one. I consider a happy client and a logo I’m proud of to be a successful project. Also, any client that returns for more work means I’ve done a good job.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Mathew Wain – I tackle everything from a day brief to complete branding which could take anywhere up to a year.
The Logo Creative – What are you recommended design books to read?
Mathew Wain – Go to your local book shop. Start there. Pick up any design book that catches your eye and think about why. I think you’ll learn a lot about yourself as a designer. But just start with the basics, I enjoyed learning about grids & systems and of course Typography. I also liked to see what sort of ideas win awards (D&AD etc..) as we did a lot of live briefs at University and it’s vital to do your research.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?
Mathew Wain – I use ProCreate for sketching now that I do my drawing digitally. I also use Adobe Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop on a daily basis. I consider this as industry standard. Good things happen with Adobe!
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Mathew Wain – I’d probably say the simple ones. Apple. Clean, minimalist and instantly recognisable anywhere on the planet.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Mathew Wain – Positivity. Sounds cliché but the happier the environment the better I am. Puts a real spring in my step.
The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?
Mathew Wain – A holiday with my wife. Taking the dog for a long walk on the beach. Meeting up with my mates, having a few beers and going to football. A live gig.
The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?
Mathew Wain – My first ever one-day brief. This was for a client in the US and needed to complete it over the time difference and I got this just before midnight. Pulled some great work out of the bag and the client was extremely happy. We still work together often.
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?
Mathew Wain – Best part without a doubt is the client’s reaction. Taking them from just liking their brand to loving their brand. Give them a new reason to love their business and see it drive them forward. The worst part is when I receive zero feedback and they never get back to you. You’re hanging in limbo wondering what happened.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Mathew Wain – So many individuals inspire me, but to be honest I count myself lucky to just have great family and friends around me. I’m covered in portrait tattoos, but I feel real emotion when I see a success story on TV or see people turn their life around after battling mental health etc.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?
Mathew Wain – A much too difficult question to answer. Designers I think are a big influence and that I’d recommend are Saul Bass, Paula Scher, Neville Brody, David Carson. Warhol, Basquiat and Shepard Fairey… I could go on forever and I admire them all for different reasons. Mainly because they made me fall in love with design.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by?
Mathew Wain – “Design is thinking made visual” – Saul Bass.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that’s why I succeed” – Michael Jordan.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” – Bruce Lee.
A few of my favourites but I’m big on quotes and I have a long list of people that have influenced me.
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Mathew Wain – Creating visual brilliance through purpose. OR. Probably the answer to what you need.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Mathew Wain – I moved in with my girlfriend (now wife) and her parents because I was homeless after University with zero anything. I got a full-time job – I hated it but it paid the bills and put food on the table. It also made me realise that I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t involved in design. I asked my in-laws if they could help me financially for 3 months while I gave freelance a shot. If I couldn’t make it happen in that time I’d find another job and put it to bed for the foreseeable future. Luckily for me it was the best thing I ever did.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Mathew Wain – No regrets so far.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Mathew Wain – Not to worry so much, everything works out in the end. Everything happens for a reason.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Mathew Wain – You never know until you try.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Mathew Wain – Be curious. Ask questions. Think more. Make mistakes.
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