Interview, FWA

A Q+A with the fine folks at FWA

  • Design

  • Inspiration

  • Digital & Interactive

  • Work/life

Interview, FWA

Q. Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

A. I'm the creative director at Upperquad, formerly on the 2012 design team at Obama for America, formerly from a branding studio called Partners Design, formerly a technician at the Bituminous Ignition Lab at PennDOT, formerly a busboy at Sisco’s Pizzeria, formerly a little kid, formerly cosmic dust I guess?

Q. What do you do for inspiration?

A. I love looking at drawings. I'm a doodler by nature so looking at great illustration and artmaking gives me energy and gets me excited. The internet is full of unbelievable art so it’s not too hard to find inspiration. It’s fun to spend some time going down an inspo-wormhole, even if it it can sometimes seem peripheral to the UI and brand work we often do, but anything that gets you excited about designing is a great way to get motivated to attack a project.

A better question is how do I get anything done with so much amazing stuff to look at!

Q. What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

A. I love ideas. Good design is idea-based designs. Fun ideas, emotional ideas, clever ideas. Ideas are the tools we use to catch people's attention, make them feel, make them remember and cause them to take action. It’s this kind of design-thinking that gets me excited about what I do.

When I'm stuck? Well, the hardest thing in the world is getting started. You could be afraid of false starts, timid about how to proceed, or lacking quality information. It's tough navigating the ambiguity of a fresh project. I wish there was some secret to it, other than to just start! Put something on paper, start writing words in a notebook, gather things you think are relevant. Do these things to give your brain something to react to and build on. All these ingredients will start to form a primordial soup that will spin around in your head. These foggy ideas will start to get clearer and clearer and before you know it you're on your way.

Q. Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

A. is constantly posting fascinating creative. is full of fine people slowly teaching me how to render. On behalf of blender newbs everywhere, I thank you. is my favorite website in history, RIP.

Q. What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

A. I worked tirelessly with the smartest and most inspired people I'll ever meet to re-elect President Obama in 2012. The design team was talented, hard-working and empowered to do great work. It was a hyper-focused and intense experience. It was both the longest and shortest year of my life. But it was really fun, I even got a POTUS hug in the end, I'll always remember it.

Q. How many hours do you work each week?

A. I'll plug UQ's normal hours and generous time off policies. We try very hard not to wear designers and developers down with ungodly hours and unfair expectations. But, I'm kind of a bad boy about work, I don't do well turning off or unplugging. Making stuff can monopolize my brain, and I find myself always fiddling with something. I don't really have a qualitative answer, how about "more than I should."

Q. How do you relax or unwind?

I anguish over Sixers' injury reports and playoff position. 


Read full interview at FWA