PSDFan Extra

Interview with Franz Jeitz

The Interview

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!

1. Firstly I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Would you mind giving a little personal background information about yourself and your websites for our readers?

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.

2. What motivates you to design? What do you think makes design so special?

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.

3. What is your average day like? Could you perhaps explain your work flow?

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.

4. As designers we will all inevitably have periods where we lack our usual creativity. What do you do when you have a creative dry patch?

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.


5. In your opinion, what sets a great designer apart from a good designer?

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.

6. Which websites do you visit on a daily basis?

There are so many so I will list the most important ones only:
gmail
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)
flickr

many design blogs which I’m subscribed to such as: smashingmagazine, bittbox, abduzeedo to mention only 3 (of about 100 so far)

7. What’s the most enjoyable project that you’ve ever worked on and why?

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.

8. Where do you see the design industry heading in the future?

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.

9. Thanks again for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have any closing advice for up and coming designers?

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.

/ Interview

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.


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About the Author:

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.

Leave a comment

10 Comments:

  1. kyle steed says:

    I found the work of Franz a few months back when I saw his calendar for Smashing Magazine. I loved it so much I set it as my desktop here at work. But then I came across his Flickr and loved the other work he was doing.

    Great interview.

  2. Wow.. great interview congrats!
    Great work showcased in this article. Keep it up!

  3. Tom says:

    Awesome! I’m really glad that you guys enjoyed the interview. Franz is a great designer, and his mentality and humility are really inspiring.

    I’m planning on publishing a LOT of interviews with great designers from now on, so it’s good to know that people are appreciating them.

    On that note, hi to both of you :) I hope that you’ll stick around and become active in the PSDFAN community.

  4. lovely works – I see really unique taste and style in his works..:) Inspiring – thanks!

  5. Paul Webb says:

    I enjoyed this article. I have the same sentiment about designing as well. “If you’re passionate about your design then put all your effort in it and don’t give up.” I essentially said the same thing to a newbie on dA who asked how I make things. I’m also an up-and-coming designer so I relate strongly to this.

  6. Tom says:

    Dainis: Yeah Franz has a really distinctive style. I’m glad that you enjoyed the interivew.

    Paul: Thanks for commenting, and welcome to the community :) . It’s great to see up-and-coming designers influencing one another, as I know how many artists/designers are inspiring me, and how much they’ve helped further my interest in design. I hope that you’ll stick around!

  7. Franz Jeitz says:

    Hey, I just wanted to step by and say hello. I’m really glad you like my stuff and can’t thank Tom enough for chosing me to be his first interview partner.

  8. [...] you like to get to know me a bit better you can read the interview on PSDFAN. I hope you enjoy it. Feel free to ask some more questions I will gladly answer them [...]

  9. [...] texture set is courtesy of Frantz Jeitz, who you may remember we interviewed recently. Franz runs the design blog FudgeGraphics, and was kind enough to offer this texture set to our [...]

  10. [...] you’re over there I would suggest to read my interview on PSDFan. You might learn something new about [...]

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