Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Designed To Rock

Hello, boys and girls. Today we get to peek inside the mind of graphic designer Steve St. Pierre. I first took notice of Steve when designed all the great posters you use to see for the gigs sponsored by My Old Kentucky Blog.

Bona Fide Darling: What inspires you for a gig poster design? Band, music or venue?

Steve St. Pierre: It's usually the music that puts me in the mindset. Once I'm assigned a project, I won't sit down right away and hash it out, even if I think I've got an idea that hits the nail on the head. I'll put the music on and go about some other business - but it design-related or cleaning out my refrigerator. I'll keep the poster in the back of my mind, then eventually hunker down and sketch out some ideas, still with the music playing.

BFD: What tools do you use to create your designs?

SSP: Always starts with a pen and paper. Just lightly sketching out some ideas. Then, depending on the style of poster I've got, I'll either open Photoshop and Illustrator and go to town. No tablet for me - I'm all mouse, baby. For now, at least.

BFD: What skills do you think a good graphic designer should have?

SSP: An eye for the small things. It's those that count. You can have the big idea, but I find it's usually a bunch of really small great ideas that make up the big one, you know? This is also a curse, because you'll never be able to look at the world the same way again. You'll notice every nook and cranny and their shapes and how things fit together. It's kind of nice, actually.

BFD: You were, at one time, doing gig posters for My Old Kentucky Blog... how did that come about?

SSP: Dodge, the head honcho for MOKB, put (essentially) an open casting call looking for designers. I was a fan of his blog, so I wrote him and he asked for some work. The first piece I did was for the Rosebuds, and then another for Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. He dug the work, so he kept sending projects my way - which was pretty great because that work got me some jobs with some pretty decent clients (like the Monolith Music Festival). Dodge is a good dude.

BFD: You are web designer by trade, how do you think those skills translate into graphic design?

SSP: I actually studied advertising in school and started out doing small print projects for family and friends (usually how most people get going). Only recently was I scooped up by a web design firm as their lead designer. But as much as people say the two mediums are completely different, I don't like to treat them as such. I'm all about simplicity and grids and such. I love type, I love colour, I love shapes - and all those things appear on both sides of the spectrum.

BFD: What bands or artist do you most want work with?

SSP: In all honesty, as much as I would love to do pieces for my favourite artists and bands (like Bon Iver), I'm more excited about working with my pals in the local scene here in Ottawa like the Love Machine and Amos the Transparent and Paramedics. There's so much great talent and if I'm able to create designs and packaging and posters and such for them that'll help get them noticed, I'm all for it. It may not pay as well, but that's what the day job is for, right?

BFD: Are your designs based on something you've previously sketched out or are they based on the project?

SSP: Sometimes I'll have some ideas that I lock away for the perfect project. But I usually feel more accomplished if I think of an idea after the project lands on my desk. I don't know why that is - maybe it sort of feels like I'm cheating the other way? I don't know. Maybe I'm just an idiot.

BFD: Do you have designers that inspire you?

SSP: First and foremost, I'm a huge Charley Harper fan. It may not reflect in my work, but let me tell you - that man's work is something else. As for contemporaries, I love the guys at Doublenaut, Invisible Creature, Frank Chimero, Aaron Draplin, Aesthetic Apparatus, and Jason Munn. I've sent all of these guys emails along the line and all of them have been kind enough to shoot back words of encouragement. I really hope I get the chance to do the same.

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