This post is the first in what I hope will be a series of interviews with designers and other professionals across the creative industries. Jason Schwartz of Bright Bright Great was nice enough to not only speak with me for the AIGAKC blog, but also answer a few extra questions (including last week’s Exclusive) to kick off this new series…AND if that were n0t enough, he created an awesome Goodie Bag for you to download. To access, simply click on the image below to get to the drop.io site for this download and then click on the platform you wish to download. He’s created a handful of wallpapers for not only your desktop, but also the iPhone and PalmPre! A HUGE thanks to Jason for sharing!
So without further ado, Jason’s Exclusive Goodie Bag:
At Bright Bright Great, Iâ€™ve dropped a lot crazy downloads like desktop wallpaper, iPhone wallpaper, mixtapes and other various goodies. I created some exclusives for you guys that are only going to be offered here and now.
You’ve said that design is more than a 9-5 job and more than makingÂ things “look pretty.” Describe your design philosophy.
Design is my lifestyle.
Functionally, graphic design cannot end at â€œmaking something pretty.â€ Think of all the way-finding projects and consumer packaging fiascoes that could go down if the end goal was just to be pretty and not functional. Design fundamentally is set to solve problems. Taking a totally unusable website with an awful user experience and throwing a pretty shell on it wonâ€™t actually solve the problem that it is unusable.
Good design solves problems. That being said, bad design creates problems.
I come from an industrial design background, so I approach all my projects as product design first long before getting into the aesthetics. I spend a good deal of time solving technical issues on paper long before I put my pixel on the screen. My sketchbook is a very valuable component to my design bag of tricks.
Beyond my 9-5 job, design encompasses a lot of where I spend my time. I am constantly looking for design inspirations, spending time working on additional creative projects as well as hanging out with designers talking shop. Design to me isnâ€™t my job, itâ€™s something that I like to be involved with.
With having a full-time job, how do you find the creative energy to keep designing on your own time?
I just try to focus on projects that allow me to continue to grow creatively. For me, my creative energy is more than how much I can accomplish between 9-5. At night and on the weekends (basically anytime Iâ€™m not at my work desk), I spend a lot of effort working to building brands, and marketing projects that Iâ€™ve already established.Â However, that being saidâ€¦ sometimes I just need to drop a mixtape, or throw some desktop wallpaper out on my Twitter.
Outside of BBG, I try to get involved with a lot of non-traditional design projects, or experiences. A few months ago, I had the chance to participate with a Nickelodeon illustrator named Ana Benaroya in a Coudal Partners Layer Tennis match. This was probably the most draining creative experience Iâ€™ve had in a while, but super fun and totally worth it. If you arenâ€™t familiar with Layer Tennis, the premise is similar to actual tennis. One person starts designing a comp, which is passed to an opponent every 15 minutes until 10 â€œvolleysâ€ have occurred. It was seriously fun, but after my last volley I wanted to pass out. I was sweaty, my hands hurt, it was like I just ran a marathon.
Stressful or not, the entire experience was great and actually gave me some insights into my own design strategies because I got to see them under a microscope. It gave my friends and family an opportunity to see me creatively compete.
I also just had the opportunity to volunteer with Firebelly Design in Chicago for their yearly Camp Firebelly. (If you donâ€™t know what it is, you should definitely read about it. I get seriously pumped when I hear about non-traditional creative opportunities like this. I heard about the camp last year and although it turned out I was a little bit old to apply as a â€œcamper,â€ I immediately volunteered my time to help out as a working professional. The camp was absolutely refreshing and an opportunity for me to get out of my normal box and work on something totally different with an entirely new team. Stuff like this keeps me on my toes.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere. 24 hours a day. Every place I go.
Sometimes when Iâ€™m walking down the street, I will stare at a billboard for 10 straight minutes because it is really nicely done. To people passing by, I must look entranced or something, but I am fully appreciating the billboard. It really pissed car dealers off when I go into their dealerships just to take the printed materials. Ha, yeah they donâ€™t like that. I donâ€™t even try to hide it anymore, I just walk in and say, â€œcan I take this?â€ and walk out.
It is really important to start to recognize what inspires you because there is a lot of information out there. You just need to know where to look.
How did Bright Bright Great get its start?
That is as much of a love story as it is business story. Haha, this is going to sound shady. It’s not, I promise.
About 5 years ago, I was freelance designing in Chicago under the name Butter Flavored Design. Yes, there is still a site up, but it links to my current web entities. PS, the current layout was done as a dare by Jocelyn Ibarra (Bright Bright Great’s other managing partner) who dared me to make a haunted website. Voila!
Anyways, I was working in Chicago as a graphic designer working on a few projects, one of those being Mixfriends Mixtapes. The premise behind Mixfriends was to connect people all over the world to trade themed mixtapes. Jocelyn found the site and emailed me totally out the blue because she thought it was an awesome idea.
We started talking via email and realized that we had a lot in common. We started working on some design projects together and really hit it off. At the time, Jocelyn was running a design agency called Burrobala Designworks in Monterrey, Mexico. She came to visit a few times and really liked Chicago. A few months later, she packed up and moved to Chicago!
We started Bright Bright Great and everything else is history.