12 Questions: Meet Dave Porter (USA)

In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.

We’re very proud to feature Dave Porter (crowdSPRING username: brainstorm ) today. Dave lives and works in suburban Pittsburgh PA, USA.

1. Please tell us about yourself.
My name is Dave Porter, (aka brainstorm) I live in a suburb outside of Pittsburgh PA, USA with my wife, 2 teenage sons and a pit bull…who can’t control her licker. I still live in the same community I grew up in (literally 1 mile from my parents house). Guess I didn’t stray too far from home.

2. How did you become interested in design?
I always doodled as a kid, filling up legal pads and any blank piece of paper with my crazy little cartoon characters. I loved MAD magazine and always admired the talent and loved the twisted humor.  As a student I was not exactly top of my class and my sketching would drive the teachers crazy.
In my junior year of high school they were offering students the opportunity to go to a local vo-tech trade school on a 2 year program. I looked at the list of courses and noticed there was a Commercial Art program, so I signed up.  This is where I initially got exposed to graphic design. My instructor had worked in the ad agency business for years (his claim to fame was working on the Nestea plunge ad campaign) and was now teaching at the school, I couldn’t get enough of the class and was now a graphics addict.

Two years later, I graduated from high school and without any clear direction, I began working meaningless jobs for a few years until I decided to go back to school. So there I was 23 years old and back in school at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh… whoa, why did I wait so long, I was back doing what I loved. That was back in the mid 80’s so everything was done by hand, very old school, markers, pencils, rapidographs. Computers were just starting to become part of the curriculum, so not much exposure to them at that point. Those years flew by fast, I graduated and was now knocking on doors looking for a job in the ad agency biz., I was hoping to become the next Don Draper, or in my case the next Darren Stevens (Bewitched, it was a 60’s-70’s sitcom for those of you under 40). Now, 24 years later and I am still doing what I love, not bad for a kid who didn’t pay much attention in school.

3. Which of your designs are your favorites and why?
Boy…that’s a tough one. people ask that question all the time, and it’s like asking which one of your kids is your favorite. But if I had to pick, I would have to say I was pretty happy with the Rhinestahl CTS project and also the Adtek hot melt adhesive project, to name a few.

4. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your design work?
Design influences are all around us, and I am inspired by so many different things, whether consciously or subconsciously. I am always in awe when I see a new ‘outside the box’ design, whether it be a logo, brochure, new building or whatever. Some designers and artists that I admire are…
Frank Lloyd Wright—architecture / Chip Foose—automotive design / Mort Drucker and Jack Davis—MAD magazine / Frank Frazetta— artist painter / Saul Bass—need I say more?

5. How do you come up with ideas for concepts after you read a buyer’s
creative brief?
After reading the brief, I decide if it is a project that I would like to participate in, if it is I will start the
doodling/brainstorming process filling up sticky notes or scrap paper. Then I take the sticky notes and place them around my monitor or on my desk, I am constantly scribbling and refining them until I am satisfied with a direction. I then start the process of taking my rough ideas and turning them into vector art. some ideas will take a twist or turn during this process and I will wind up going in a different
direction from my original concept, not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but I try to keep an
open mind.

6.Mac or PC?
I’m a Mac! The advertising industry tends to lean more towards the Mac, so that’s what I learned on years ago, and that’s what I use everyday, a G5 to be precise. I work with Adobe Photoshop CS3, QuarkXpress 7-8, and Adobe Illustrator CS3 and I have been dabbling in Adobe InDesign more and more.

7. What is your dream design project?

I would love to design the next generation muscle car, the new Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers are awesome, the designers were able to use elements from the original classics, and bring them into their own.

8. How do you promote your work?
I generally do not promote my work, working 40 plus hours at my regular job, and working on CS and istockphoto keeps me fairly busy. I do pick up commissioned freelance work here and there, but I am very choosy now as to what projects I will take on.

9. Please describe your typical work day.

I wake around 7:00 a.m. get my morning jolt of caffeine, S@%#, shower and shave, hop in my truck and drive to the office, which is only a few miles away. I am fortunate to be able to work at a small ad agency (www.mirageadv.com) which I have been at for the past 14 years. I am exposed to many different projects on any given day, one day I could be working on a brochure design for a fortune 500 company and the next day be working on a logo for a small company with a minimal budget.

10. What are other ways you use your creativity?
I am an illustrator contributor to istockphoto.com and have been doing that for a few years now.
I enjoy that because it gives me the freedom to draw my cartoon characters again and make a little extra cash in the process. A few years back I started to get into building furniture at a friend’s wood shop (tables, shelves, an entertainment center, or whatever the wife wants me to build) and now have a few custom pieces in my home.

11. If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
I was thinking about joining the circus, or hopping a freight train and riding the rails with the hobos.

Seriously, I would love to take historic homes and fix them back up and bring them back to their original grandeur

12. What do you do with your free time?
A few years back we bought an older home that needs a lot of updating, so I spend much of my free time remodeling. It does help coming from a construction family background, so I know just enough to be dangerous. Also I watch the Steelers and the Penguins, hey I’m from the Burgh, what do you expect?


Thanks, Dave!