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As part of PSDFAN’s growth I’m going to be conducting a lot more interviews with great designers. This time I got a chance to interview Franz Jeist, a young designer with a lot of talent. Franz is a fantastic example of a talented designer who is in many ways underrated. All too often we’ll focus on a handful of well-known designers, and ignore the wealth of talent out there. As a young designer studying at university myself, I found his interview to be really inspiring, and I hope that you enjoy it too.
You can keep up with Franz’s work at his design blog FudgeGraphics.com, go subscribe today!
Thank you for offering me this opportunity. So my name is Franz Jeitz, I am from the tiny country Luxembourg, Europe. Currently I am doing my masters in Physics in London. I don’t have the typical design background. I wasn’t too passionate about drawing and art as a child. It all came to me much later. Though I always enjoyed looking at design, but never really thought about creating it myself. I first started designing stuff for my band such as the website, myspace page, t-shirt graphics and eventually the cd cover. I got hooked and soon did personal designs as well as flyers for local clubs and bands.
About 6 months ago I decided to take it a step further and started my own design blog. I wanted to give back to the design community that I’ve been feeding of for so long. Sharing my inspiration and resources with others seemed like the perfect plan. Fudgegraphics helped me to set foot in the industry. I’ve learned so much in the last months and got to know so many great designers.
That is a really tough question. I guess great art motivates me to design. It just gives me that creative rush. It’s like when you hear a great song and you just wish you could have composed it. Everyday life motivates me. It could be an ad I saw, a tree in the park, or just a quote I like and want to illustrate. Inspiration is the best motivation really.
I don’t really have an average day or structured workflow. Though there are some daily routines like reading feeds, checking e-mails, facebook and other social sites. When i am working on a project I set aside a certain time in day for me to work on it.
I start with checking my e-mails, reading my feeds and visiting all social sites I’m signed up to. Usually I have to go to uni by the time I’m finished with that.
While my days vary a lot due to university schedule I always start with reading my e-mails and answering them. Next step is to read all the new feeds and check my various social accounts such as facebook, myspace and twitter. All this while drinking a couple of cups of coffee or tea. Usually by the time I have finished it’s time to go to uni. Most of my work gets done in the evening and late at night. I constantly check twitter to get the latest updates from everyone and tackle the tasks I’ve set for that day. I constantly try to find new artists to feature on fudgegraphics and do some research for possible future freebies. Sometimes it’s really tough to fit everything in a 24 hour window. Design projects, the blog, university and keeping a social life is a full time job.
If you have a creative block it is best not to force it as this will only make it worse. I have discovered that the best way to find inspiration is by taking a step back and doing something completely different. I often find myself playing the guitar, simply to let off steam and be creative in another area than design. Getting away from the computer has a positive. Often I will go to the local coffee shop, buy a magazine and stay there for a while. In good weather I like walking around London, with no aim really. I take the tube and get off somewhere where I haven’t been or not that often at least. I always try to find new places. That usually gets my creative juices flowing again. Obviously the internet is an endless source of inspiration, but staring at a computer screen for too long is counter-productive.
A great designer has a unique style, one that you can always pick out from a crowd. If the piece makes you wonder how it has been created or simply moves you then is has been created by a great designer. There are a couple of designer I admire for those reasons. James White (signalnoise.com), Scott Hansen (iso50.com) and Fabien Barral (imoments.org) are great. They’ve got a consistent style and yet they always manage to take it one step further to surprise me with new designs. Great artists stay true to themselves while evolving and growing creatively.
There are so many so I will list the most important ones only:
google reader (to reed all my feeds I’m subscribed to)
facebook (not doing so would be social suicide as a student in the UK)
deviantart (great source of inspiration and resources)
wordpress (cms of fudgegraphics)
many design blogs which I’m subscribed to such as: smashingmagazine, bittbox, abduzeedo to mention only 3 (of about 100 so far)
That would be the ongoing calendar wallpaper series. When I started fudgegraphics I wanted to offer my readers each month a new wallpaper with the current calendar. So far I’ve done 9 and I will continue creating them. It’s a very personal project and I’m free to do what I want. I helps me evolve as a designer as I try to create something different every time. It also “forces” me to make at least one personal piece each month. I love doing it and people seem to like them which is great.
i don’t believe that the design industry is about to reinvent itself in the near future. We’ve entered the digital age some time ago and it didn’t have a major impact on print design. We’ve got a broader range of designers and will probably see some new domains popping up with new technology without threatening the established designers though. What I can imagine is that people will work in more specialized domains. Like in surgery, where you got a specialist for every body part, rather than one generalist. Finding one’s niche will be difficult.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity really. This was my first interview and I hope my answers were satisfying and gave you a little insight on me. I can’t really give advice as I am still an up and coming designer. What I have learned so far though is that it pays off to stick with it. If you’re passionate about your design then put all your effort in it and don’t give up. Be persistent. Don’t try to copy someone, unless it is to study new techniques. Stay true to yourself and create art that you like. Chances are you won’t feel the same about it later. That is fine. You’re supposed to evolve in order to find your style.
If you took the time to read this interview, why not have your say on it. I would love to hear what you thought of Franz’s work, his motivation, and the interview in general. I’m sure that Franz would be happy to answer any questions from PSDFAN’s readers, and every artist appreciates honest feedback on their work.
Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.
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