Design is all around us, whether we notice it or not, we're influenced by it on a daily basis. As a Graphic Designer AyrÏd plays her part in developing our perceptions of the world. She shares with us her design sense.
How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
Creativity is the ability to express something or express oneself in different manner. Whether it be in how someone dresses, how they word a sentence, how they conceptualise a design. I think creativity is synonymous with expression.
How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
I believe everyone is creative and thus, it is an innate gift that each person has, in their own, unique way. I think environment plays a huge role in the development or demise of one's creativity. For me, I grew up in a household with a father in advertising and a wordsmith of a mother which harnessed my creativity. Going to art school further helped my development. And now that I'm a regular member of a society that does not celebrate creative expression outside of the conforms of Carnival and partying, I feel as though my creative ability’s growth has stunted somewhat.
When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
My expression of creativity would have started at a really young age. I was always in a choir or on a stage. As a designer though? It happened in Holy Name Convent, around Form 6, when I knew I didn't want to do anything with business, sciences or languages. I was always taking photos of everything in school and I designed (I'm using that word very loosely here) the programs for our graduation mass. I noticed these things came naturally to me and I began to look at how they could be applied to a career. My dad was happy, of course and my mom was supportive, if not a bit skeptical at first.
What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?
Ok one question at a time haha.
1. I think I use design standards for evaluation. Design is not like art, in the sense that there are set rules that once applied well, form a well designed thing. So when I look at a billboard, for example, that I designed or someone else did, I go, Where's the grid? Was that many different fonts and/or typefaces needed? What brand is this? Is it being represented well? Is it legible? As a driver, can I read this without crashing? etc etc.
2. Can be? They should be! I don't understand this local concept of creativity being a hobby and not as important as something like law or medicine. This is our job. Our career. As creatives, we should not have to beg for payment for work done. When you go to the doctor, you pay him/her for their services, immediately. When a designer gives your new store a logo, a sign, a brand, and is now helping you to earn income, you should definitely pay him/her for their services. When a DJ plays for hours for your event thus making it a success, pay them! And some might think using a doctor is an unrealistic comparison but we are all offering a service that is helping people and I really think, helping save lives, in our own way.
3. Monetary rewards are very relevant to my own work. But can we call it what it is? Payment for work done. I was very fortunate that my parents were able to spend a lot of money for me to go earn a degree and learn about design to be able to produce a level of work that is above average. After 4 years, it’s disheartening to return to a society that refuses to give design the respect it deserves.
Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
Definitely. As a freelancer, it's very easy to live in a bubble and stay away from a network that you would get at a studio or agency. I seek out that network, I seek out critique, and as a designer, my work is for other people, not for me, so naturally their views and perceptions influence everything I do. I think this culture reminds me that I can't always do the designs that I want to do because that's not a part of who we are as yet. Clean and simple, though very effective, is considered too boring and plain here, so I'm always trying to strike a balance between that and the cosquel.
What do you do when you experience a creative block?
Change my environment. Ignore the thing I'm working on completely. My blocks are usually related to my mood, so when they come, I go out, I force myself to interact with others, I go watch a movie, I go to the beach, anything to improve my mood. Once my mood has changed, I can design again. If it's just a regular, not mood-related, creative block, I do research, I use sites like Designspiration, Pinterest, Flipboard and Instagram, or a plain old google search and just saturate my brain with what others are doing, read design articles and then something comes.
How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
Haha. Those sparks usually end up looking horrible on the computer screen. But to answer your question, I design it out. Say it's a logo, and I get this ah ha moment of an idea, I run to my laptop, start to create it and then tweak and tweak and tweak and tweak until it's something worthy to share with someone else. My professors from college would be appalled as I'm supposed to say, I sketch it out, and figure out what it should be and THEN go to the computer but I don't.
Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
Take care of myself. Or at least try to. If I’m good, the work will be. So I just try to take care of me. I’m not a creature of habit so there’s no, “Coffee. Sketch. Yoga. Design. Sleep. Repeat.” ritual happening lol.
Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
I don't think so. I've always gravitated towards the clean, simple, ‘less is more’ style ever since I first discovered the New York School Style in my graphic design classes. I'm not sure I've matured enough in the past 5 years for my style to change too much as yet.
What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Stability. When I decided to work on my own full time, I gave up consistency, security, and a steady monthly income, benefits of insurance, taxes, pension, all in all, stability, for the very unpredictable life that I live now. But I love it.
Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
My pride. Haha. More importantly, my friends (yes, you) and occasionally, my mother. They are great support systems when my pride disappears. Shari Cumberbatch is the best cheerleader in the world.
Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
I believe in balance. It's something I strive towards daily in my life. So I think acceptance is just as important as doing what you love for you. Doing what you love is definitely more than enough, but we don't operate in a vacuum. We live in a society where we have to interact with others and be a member of a community. We are human. We need connections, and so lack of acceptance in that regard, is damaging, and unhealthy.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
It probably has. I've gotten very good at blocking out negative experiences from my mind haha. But knowing myself, it would make me try harder next time, which sometimes means second guessing everything I do.
Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
Definitely. We learnt in school that design is never finished. There's always something to be tweaked, fixed, improved upon. Design trends are constantly changing so that design you did five years ago that you swore was "timeless" may now look completely dated.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Every day. (Well maybe not so often anymore haha). I tell myself that there's a reason people keep hiring me to work for them, that I need to look at the facts and not allow doubt to mess with what I know to be true.
What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
That's hard to answer. I can give you a range of answers :)
I'm most proud of my college portfolio because I think it was my most creative work ever. Some of those projects were pure genius (in my opinion) and I often wonder where that person went.
More recently though, I'm most proud of my Christmas Lyrics Greeting Cards and DJ Rawkus' logo. Both took a long while to happen but when they actually did, they were successful. Can't ask for more than that!
What is the best advice you've received that helped you move forward on your creative journey?
Stay curious. (Professor Holly Quarzo)
To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Don't do it for the money, don't do it because someone told you that you should. Do it because you love it, because you can't imagine yourself doing anything else, because it makes you happy.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?
So you should know, I googled crayon colours. Outer Space (R:65, G:74, B:76)