Duane King’s style is unmistakably new-generation, his comprehensive knowledge of the history and heroes of design make his vision timeless. As creative director of Santa Fe based studio BBDK he’s produced solutions in print, packaging and interactive that have earned him great recognition. Duane is also the creator of Thinking For A Living, a collection of recommended readings and online links for the modern designer, it’s an ever-growing platform dedicated to the concept of open source design education. He was kind enough to answer a few questions for AisleOne.
How long have you been designing?
It’s hard for me to believe, but it’s been 15 years. I actually began my design career before computers were a staple in the industry. My schooling included no computer training and I had to relearn the business once I hit the job market.
Who or what turned you on to graphic design?
Who or what are your influences?
My design influences are Josef Müller-Brockmann, Paul Rand, Otl Aicher, Wim Crouwel, Herb Lubalin, Tom Carnase and many more. In order to facilitate my personal attempts to at creating relevant design I have tried to better understand the history of our craft. I feel that it is only by making references to the past and mixing them with your personal interpretation of the future that we as designers have any chance of obtaining our own place in the timeline of the history of graphic design.
What is your favorite typeface?
Helvetica. No other font has the flexibility of this particular typeface. Even with it’s familiarity this font can be distinguished or insipid at will.
What is your favorite color palette to work with?
All of them. Full color spectrums are particularly exciting to me. Technological improvements in printing and screen displays has allowed for increasingly complex usage of gradients.
Can you explain your creative process from brief to completion?
I suppose that the real beginning of the creative process starts with the decision to be a designer. From that moment on, everything you see, hear, taste, smell and touch will contribute to your design vocabulary and life experience. Travel, listen to music, talk to all kinds of people, read the newspaper, surf the web; keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. The richer your experiences, the more tricks you’ll have up your sleeve and the broader your design vocabulary will be. Have a viewpoint, believe in something, trust your instincts.
Do you use a grid system when designing and how do you feel about them?
I tend to gravitate towards methodical approaches to most any design solution, but I typically only use grid systems when I have large amounts of text to deal with. A grid is always helpful in creating hierarchical systems that aid legibility and give a design an underlying structure. They can be cumbersome and restrictive if they are over-thought, but with some freedom and flexibility they are invaluable tools for creating order from chaos.
Who do you feel is currently doing innovative work?
Joshua Davis, Universal Everything, Made Thought, Surface to Air, 2X4, Parra Janssen, Karlsson Wilker, Graphic Thought Facility and too many others to list.
What are you working on now?
An ecommerce site and packaging system for an Italian glass company, a self-initiated product line called Beautiful & Useful, a new version of the Thinking for a Living site, and holiday cards for the Museum of Modern Art.
What is your favorite color?
At the moment, it’s Rubine Red. There’s something about intensely pure pigments that I am drawn to.
What is your favorite album?
London Calling by The Clash.
What is your favorite movie?
2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick has always been an inspiration to me.
Intervista is a series of interviews conducted for AisleOne with some of todays top talents in graphic design.