12 Questions: Meet Jon Moore (Indiana, 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 Jon Moore (crowdSPRING username: Jabraulter) today. Jon is a student at Purdue University in Indiana.

1. Please tell us about yourself.

Hey there, I’m Jon Moore. I’m a 19-year-old freshman at Purdue University, nestled cozily in the heart of the Midwest. As it stands, I’m pursuing a double major in computer science and mathematics. I have a mom and a dad, a younger brother and an older sister, a girlfriend, three dogs and three cats. Oh, and the fish. But as far as Puma is concerned (our Ocicat), they’re just dinner. I just recently scored a cool job with the production company on campus, so I’ve been doing a lot of web design and coding. It’s a fun job and “right up my alley” as they say. Whoever they is. Or are.

2. How did you start out as a designer?

Well I’ve always been a doodler. If you’re a teacher, you hate my type. You collect the math homework and there are vortexes enveloping the hole-punches and zigzags decorating the entire blue-lined notebook paper. When I was 13, I started experimenting with Photoshop and had a blast teaching myself all the tricks. I took just about every tutorial offered online and did all I could to absorb the glorious capabilities of the program. I stumbled upon the website Worth1000 and saw that they had corporate logo design contests, so I decided to give a few of them a shot. I was unsuccessful in my attempts, but it was a great learning experience. Fast-forward through high school, more Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and Maya, and that just about brings you up to the present.

3. You’re a full time college student. What’s your typical day like?

I won’t bore you with my full schedule, but basically I’m up at 8 every morning, go to work from 9-11 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, go to some CS classes, do some math, slip in some lunch, go to English, go to work some more, toot my horn in band (I play the French horn, among a slue of other instruments), eat some dinner, waste some more time, then sleep. Rinse and repeat. Oh, and because I’m sure there are some other students on crowdSPRING, I’ll keep it to myself that I’m typically on crowdSPRING during classes. But no worries, I’m expecting A’s.

4. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your design work?

Well I’m one of those young rapscallions that grew up with TVs and computers and those crazy Internets, so I’ve been surrounded with images my whole life. I can’t pinpoint any one person or thing that influences me more than anything else, but I do know that my inspiration can come from just about anywhere. Candy bar wrappers, movie posters, and amusement park collectible cups…anything. The last “real” art class I took was in middle school, so the biggest influences come from what I see with my own two eyes.

5. What’s the very first thing you do when approaching a new design?

I read through the brief and decide if the company interests me. I’ll confess – I’m much more likely to participate in a project for a guitar shop than a project for a consulting company. I get excited when a company is enthusiastic about what they actually do. Once I decide to participate, I usually just…sit. Sit and think. I hear and read about graphic designers that swear by pages of logo design concepts and preliminary design, but I figure that a pencil drawing is just a copy of what I already have drawn in my head. And why would I want to draw it twice?

6. Which of your designs are your favorites and why?

I really liked my web design for RDSi Technologies. It’s an older design of mine, but it was such a simple concept and seemed to go along very well with the buyers brief. The buyer ultimately decided not to go with any of the concepts, but nonetheless, I was really happy with my design. I haven’t yet made myself a website, but I wouldn’t mind having mine follow a similar concept.

7. How has technology affected your work?

Well no matter how much I hear people arguing about Macs and PCs, I rarely ever take a definitive side because I’ve worked on both. For the majority of my “beginning” years in graphic design, and the platform upon which I learned all of Photoshop, I worked on a PC. Good ‘ole Windows XP. I think my freshman year of high school, my dad brought home a PowerMac. He works at a university and they had gotten all new computers in all of the labs, so the “old” ones (like a year old…) were just put in a room. He asked if he could take one and after an hour of setting up, I had the entire Adobe CS2 at my fingertips, instead of just Photoshop.

Currently, I’m working on a Macbook. Nothing special about it besides CS3 and Maya 8. I also have a small Wacom tablet that I use sometimes for digital painting. I’m no good, but I’m working on it.

I am at a huge advantage, at least at my age and in the generation that I have grown. With so much technology available to me, it’s really allowed me to explore areas or design or techniques that I never would have considered attempting on paper.

8. What are your favorite ways to find new clients?

Hah, well as far as I’m concerned, I still am a beginning designer. I guess the biggest piece of advice I could ever give anyone is to be a sponge towards everything. Suck up as much information as you can, take all the tutorials, participate in hundreds of projects, and see every image that crosses your eyes as its own design. I’m an advocate of the notion that one does not need formal schooling or even an art degree to be able to design. So be creative. Be the creative.

9. You’ve previously used the term “market competitive design”. What did you mean?

There are millions of businesses in the world – monopolies, chains, family-owned, etc. Each has a company name and typically an image. I like to think of a market competitive design as spotting your friend in Times Square on New Years Eve. There’s no reason that a family-owned coffee shop cannot compete with the massive monopoly that is Starbucks. So from the buyer’s standpoint, he or she should always be looking for the single most unique design to represent his or her company visually. As creatives, we have a tough job to do. Our designs have to be unique. Our designs have to “stand the test of time.” But, our designs should always give the company a chance to compete in the massive, global market. No matter how big or small the business may be. Educational background in the field of graphic design does not matter…as long as you can create something that is “market competitive,” then you’re just as good as anyone.

10. What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of being a graphic designer?

I’ll start off by saying that I’ve participated in 75+ projects, 64 on crowdSPRING alone, and I have not won a single one. Just to clear that up and so you know – I’m not really in this for the money, haha, although that would be very cool. Someday, I’m sure.

The most challenging thing about being a graphic designer is sticking with one idea. I don’t know about other designers, but I usually have a menagerie of ideas swimming in my head when I approach a project, and sometimes it’s hard to just pick one to develop it. The most rewarding part about graphic design is the fact that just about every design teaches me something new. Whether it be a new technique or method, or a new way to approach building a color palette, it’s exciting for me to learn new tricks.

11. What advice would you offer to someone considering graphics design as a career?

Have fun and keep yourself open to doing anything. When I approached the Webmaster at Purdue and asked if I could help with designing the new site for the Hall of Music, I was hoping I might be able to help with the layout and design of the site. Unfortunately, they had already designed most of it, but they did need a flash banner created for the homepage of the site. The list of things you can do in a graphic design career is just about endless, so don’t lock your brain in if you just want to do logo design or you just want to do web design. Approach some unopened doors and have fun doing it.

12. What do you do with your free time?

Free time!? I’m taking 18 hours and working! Hah, no, I definitely have plenty of free time. When I’m not on crowdSPRING, I’m usually browsing the web, playing or writing music, taking pictures, spending time with my canine friends, or watching mindless TV. I love movies but generally can’t afford the $100 tickets, so for now I’m sticking to Hulu and waiting for new DVD releases.

Thanks so much, Jon!