Q&A with Nicholas Huggins in T&T Guardian
I was recently interviewed for REC magazine, a pull out in the T&T Guardian, see below to read the interview in full.
What originally made you want to become an graphic designer?
I have always been interested in Art and studied it until Form 6 in CIC. When I left CIC, I decided that attending an art & design university was the best bet for me, so I went to SCAD with the hope of studying illustration. I didn’t really know what “graphic design” was at the time, and after taking an Intro to Graphic Design class I decided that I was more interested in studying and learning about Graphic Design than I was Illustration. I feel like my original dream of illustration is still alive and I try to incorporate it into my design work.
How would you describe your approach to design?
With any project that I take on, my approach is pretty much the same. At the end of the day, design is not about the designer…it is about the client and what the client needs. I may think something will look amazing, but if it doesn't suit the client’s needs then it can't work. That being said, I try to learn as much about the client’s business as possible. I do this through interviews with the client as well as scoping out their online presence and checking out where they sell their products etc. If I’m designing for a new product, the research part will be a bit different but I will still research their competitors, I research similar businesses in their market, as well as markets in other countries. After a lot of research I then start sketching and figuring out what works and what doesn't work. But a lot of my approach is research driven and filtering what is best for each job.
Who or what has been the biggest single influence on your approach to design?
The biggest single influence on my approach to design would probably be my education at SCAD. I had a few really good classes and professors there who really stressed the importance of research, sketches, trial and error and coming up with a good idea. No matter how good the execution of a project, if you don't lay the groundwork to come up with a good idea, the project will usually fall flat.
What type of brief or project do you enjoy working on the most?
Right now I've been doing a lot of package design projects and I think that these are probably the projects that I enjoy working on the most. I especially love working with clients who are extremely passionate about their product and want it to look as good as possible on the shelves in order to grow their business. It’s one thing to have a pretty product, but its another thing to have a product that is packaged with the intention of increasing business and visibility to customers.
What would you say is your strongest skill?
Not sure if this is a skill, but I’ll go with my work ethic. When I was younger I would read interviews with designers I admired and they all spoke about working weekends, working 16 hour days, work work work…and I never thought that I would enjoy a life like that. But since I started working I’ve found myself in the same boat of working long hours, however it is super enjoyable to me so I don’t really see it as a burden.
What are your thoughts on specialization vs generalization?
I think both have their merits, and I see the value of being a designer who specializes. However I think the benefit of generalization in design is that you continuously push yourself creatively by trying new things. For me it’s about balancing both, I try to put my focus on packaging but I find myself experimenting with illustration, painting, chalkboard art amongst other things.
What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?
I've always been fascinated with colour and I think my work has been characterized by use of colour. We are fortunate to live on a Caribbean island where we are bombarded with a variety of colors on a day to day basis… houses, trees, mountains, parlours, fete signs, carnival….we are a very colourful society, and I think I try to reflect that in my work.
What’s the best piece of advice you have heard?
In terms of design, I was taught to separate yourself from the work. Designers aren’t artists, we are visual communicators who usually have to communicate the ideas of other people (clients.)
From your instagram you seem fascinated by portraits and landscapes. Talk about it.
My Instagram feed started as an experiment to see what sort of impact I could make if I posted every single day for a year. I chose to draw things that I like…musicians whose music I listen to, actors whose movie or tv show I've enjoyed. Pretty much anything that I liked in the moment I illustrated. A lot of the times it happened to be “celebrities” but a lot of the times it was also landscapes as I think that Trinidad is such a beautiful place with a lot of unique characteristics so I tried to capture that in some of my illustrations.
Thanks to the T&T Guardian for this cool feature!