Designer Interview: Illustrator & Graphic Designer Simon C. Page (Part I)

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May 3, 2011
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Designer Interview: Illustrator & Graphic Designer Simon C. Page (Part I)

Design, simoncpage, interview

Simon C. Page is an up-and-coming graphic designer and illustrator from the UK. He has an extensive and impressive portfolio, including the Year of Astronomy poster designs I shared a while back.

I contacted Simon to see if he would be willing to talk to design.org, and he was kind enough to agree. Read on for some of his thoughtful answers about his work and insights and advice about the world of graphic design.

DDO: Hello Simon! Let me start off by asking how you got your start in the design world, and how long have you been doing design and illustration work?

Simon: I didn't take the standard route that most designers take of going to arts school, etc., and so I am self-taught. Early on I had a strong interest in graphic design, but at the time I was more interested in mathematics and so took that route. From school I went on to study for a degree in applied mathematics, and from that I entered into a finance job for a property company. There I started putting together corporate presentations for deals which basically gave me the graphic design bug. About two and a half years ago I entered a poster competition thanks to a colleague at work who said I should have a go. I ended up winning but, more importantly, it spurred me on to create a bunch of self-initiated work which really launched my graphic design career.

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

DDO: What do you enjoy most about your work?

Simon: I would say there are a couple of things that I most enjoy. First up: getting a challenging project is something I really enjoy, and I love how they keep me on my toes. The other thing I most enjoy is simply the buzz I get from just being creative and designing.

Design, simoncpage, interview

DDO: Your International Year of Astronomy (IYA) Posters seem to have spread like wildfire across the interwebs. Did this surprise you (or not)? How did it make you feel having IYA ask for your design?

Simon: I was surprised, yes, in fact I am constantly surprised at the number of people who are interested in my work and especially those that want to hang my work on their walls. It was great that the IYA found out about the work and liked it so much that they wanted to commission it, it's kind of a dream job for any designer to create something like that with no art direction and have it used in a worldwide campaign.

DDO: How did this interaction connect to the International Year of Chemistry poster project?

Simon: This was something that I initiated. I contacted them this year asking to be part of it when I found out about it. I think it's nice to get people interested in Chemistry and Astronomy, who wouldn't have normally, through art and design. I really like to be involved in projects like this, and it's sad that more designers don't take on these sort of projects too.

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

DDO: I read your blog post with designs that have inspired you this past year. Many of them are centered around typography, as is much of your work. Could you talk a bit about your relationship with typography... why it's important (in design and to you), how you learned about it, and how you gained confidence in designing with it.

Simon: I think typography was probably the first thing that I really got interested in from a design perspective, particularly in corporate design. It's really interesting how choosing the right typeface can make all the difference and can totally shape the feel of a design.

I think typography is probably one of the key tools that a graphic designer needs to get to grips with. I kind of learned this the hard way, which was probably a good thing, but once you are able to instinctively know what typefaces fit where, it makes things much easier and more fluid. It does however kill me when I occasionally see illustrations I have designed placed in an article with poor typography or typography that could be better - generally this doesn't happen very often, but it goes to show how strongly I feel about it.

Design, simoncpage, interview

Design, simoncpage, interview

DDO: Are there any specific artists/designers/places you look to regularly for inspiration?

Simon: My favourite place for inspiration on the web is probably flickr, and I wish more artists would use this platform to share their work. It is great to be able to follow people and not only see pictures of their work but photos of their world too. However, I do try to look for inspiration in other places other than the conventional places and I think this is an important way to keep your work fresh.

Also I buy at least 3-4 books a month and find these to be a great source of inspiration, whether they are art based or not.

Design, simoncpage, interview

DDO: Is it "who you know" or "what you know?"

Simon: I think you can argue this both ways, but I would say it's "what you know." I think experience goes a long way in graphic design, but it helps having people around you to get inspirations, kick ideas around or who will promote your work.

Design, simoncpage, interview

Stop by tomorrow for Part II of the interview. Simon shares some valuable insight into freelancing, developing a career and balancing work and personal projects. You can find prints of much of Simon's work at the Excites Shop.

Design, simoncpage, interview

Some other posts you might enjoy on our design blog:

Designer Interview: Artifacts by Casey

Designer Interview: Illustrator David Ianham

Designer Interview: Eric Torres (Part I)

Jessica Patterson

Jessica Patterson

Hi, I'm Jessica. I'm a Designer and Writer at Drawbackwards and write for the Design Blog at Design.org. I enjoy vintage things, letterpress, publication design, and long walks around the Cesar Chavez Park pond. You can follow me on twitter at @jessdoodled for lots of fun randomness.

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Sr. UI Designer / Palo Alto, CA

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