Daryl Woods, Principal, Public Image Design [darylwoods]
What is your specialty?
Public Image Design is involved in all aspects of brand development from creation to promotion. Many recent and current projects are focused on packaging design and advertising for international wine and spirits producers. In over twenty years in business, clients and projects have been quite varied.
Where can we view your portfolio online?
My company website/blog is http://publicimagedesign.com/. I also show work at http://www.behance.net/publicimagedesign/frame
What made you interested in design?
I think I've been brand conscious since I was a kid. Logos got my attention at an early age. I remember collecting auto company stickers for my go cart and I loved the Hot Wheel's logo. My first must-have brand was Adidas. Those 3 stripes ruled. Next it was that little red tab on blue jeans. Being aware of the power of these symbols made me want to create them.
Have you received any awards for your work in the field of design?
I don't really seek awards. It seems to me most of them go to the companies the judges come from.
I'm flattered when my work is requested. Some of my packaging design is included in the book Exploring Package Design. A cause marketing ad I did appears in a recently released contemporary marketing book.
What is your motivation? What makes you get up in the mornings?
My greatest motivation is the opportunity to produce the best work I've ever done on my next project. It means raising the bar every time I start something new.
How would you define your design style?
I have an annual packaging assignment for which I've just completed the 14th in the series. After the successful first one, my client told me the next year's design had to be completely different. I've approached it that way ever since. They look like the work of ten different designers.
My approach is that the client, market and project determine the style. It's also more challenging for me as a designer to constantly do something new.
How do you promote and move your work?
In addition to my web site/blog, I email my contacts about recent successes, particularly if it's something visible in the marketplace. I also have a large network from volunteering for many years. Word of mouth is still the best. Social marketing has become extremely important. It's fantastic to be able to maintain continuous contact with your network. I'm very active on LinkedIn and Twitter. Follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Daryl_Woods
In which new areas would you like to experiment?
I'm moving several of my clients into the social space. They know they need to be there but don't know what to do to establish themselves. The most difficult thing for them to grasp is the right attitude. It isn't push, push, push like traditional marketing. Getting them to listen first is challenging. As a designer, I'm a communicator so it's a little more natural for me.
Shapes, color, concept: where do you usually begin when conceiving a design?
That's really too abstract. Intelligent design evolves from a strategy that solves a communication problem. Framing the discussion with my client is what generates ideas for me.
What are your sources for documentation and to generate ideas?
Sources vary depending on what information I need to design an appropriate solution. Sometimes I'm looking for information, sometimes visual reference. I dig where I think I'll find the the most unique references.
For general interest and continuous inspiration I follow design sites and other designers I find intriguing on Twitter.
What is your favourite type of customer?
My favourite type of customer is one who understands and respects what I do. I despise those who consider design to be no more than decorating. It isn't just about making it pretty.
To a certain point, is copying justifiable?
Copying is wrong. Influence is inescapable. I seek inspiration from many artists, art forms and cultures. An obvious similarity to existing work is only acceptable if it can be identified as tribute or parody.
List some things you dislike seeing in design.
I dislike self indulgent design that tries harder to win awards than serve the needs of the client. Design annuals are full of this stuff. Turn the page and you can't remember what the product was.
Do you believe the newer generations are better at designing?
I believe newer generations have better tools and resources to produce design. That being said, knowledge is still the foundation of great design. Having Creative Suite on your computer doesn't make you a designer.
With which type of client would you decline in working for?
I wouldn't work for any company whose ethics I found unacceptable.
How do you calculate budgets for a design project?
I generally use a time/rate formula.
Which professionals in your field -contemporary or past- do you most admire?
Being based in Toronto, my earliest influences came from Canadian designers, in particular, Stuart Ash, Neville Smith and Theo Dimson. My favourite 20th century artist was Erte. His work in illustration, sculpture, fashion and theatre helped define Art Deco style.
Which software applications do you most utilize in your work?
There's not much choice beyond Adobe Creative Suite anymore.
Up to what point do your designs reflect your personality?
I'm not a person who reveals myself all at once. My work is like that. There are elements of surprise and cerebral nuances that are appreciated more by those who take the time to discover them.
How do you distinguish passing fads from mainstays in new trends?
The fads are the things that look really cool the first time you see them and then are copied and repeated to the point of annoyance. Mainstays are lasting shifts that are the result of changes in culture and economics. Web culture has had a dramatic impact on typography. Fine serifs don't work. San serif fonts are more popular because they function better across all mediums. A downturn in the economy will have a dramatic effect on colour.
If you weren't a designer, what would you be doing?
I could easily move laterally into another creative pursuit like photography, film or television. If the right side of my brain went dead and I could start over, I'd like to be a research scientist. Seriously! When I was a kid I wanted to be an oceanographer.
At this moment, what would be your dream job or project?
I'd like to produce a legacy design for an iconic brand. It would be something in the public eye that got tremendous exposure. Perhaps it could be something for an emerging company that establishes them as a leader.
Can you see yourself in this field twenty years from now?
I can't imagine this field in twenty years and I think that's a good thing. Progress creates opportunity. My eyes are always open.
Which design resources online do you frequently visit?
I use several online image sources. My favourite resource is MyFonts. I'm often looking for a unique font for a package or headline and their system allows me to see the words I'm using set in thousands of fonts in a short period of time. People and sites I follow on Twitter share lots of valuable material.
Daryl Woods, Principal, Public Image Design