From the first moment I met today’s interviewee, I looked up to him (keep reading and you will know why). Since that time, besides being someone I look up to, Stefan has become someone I deeply respect. He is a teacher, author, great speaker, excellent kisser, creative shaman and a fellow cinephile. Spend a few minutes to get to know our friend and also check out his books if you need some creative kick starts (in the pants).
1: Where do you exist most of your day?
At the evil lair of Reign, my creative shop. We’re in Kansas City, MO on the 3rd floor of a hundred-year-old, 3-story brick building in the Crossroads Arts District. Our studio is directly above Bazillion Pictures, a killer animation studio. My office, in particular, is directly above the sound designer’s booth, so most of the day I get the thump. Helps me keep my groove.
2: Tell us about where you work?
Reign is technically an ad agency. I say “technically” because the core of what we do is campaign work and falls in the campfire of advertising but our particular brand of advertising has always been a bit twisted. We believe heavily in story, so much of what we do follows a particular narrative in one way or another. We create stories for the brands we serve, then we tell the bajesus out of it.
3: What is your favorite type of work to do?
I love the beginning of anything. I’m a serial starter, I love to begin any creative process. I enjoy the finish, too, but not nearly as much as the start. The start has all the great things packed into it; the ideation, the thinking, the possibility, the hope, the chance, the exploration, the finding, the searching, the discovery, the failure… It’s made up of the best of me.
But if you’re talking mediums, I’ll take long-form branded content 100 out of 100 times.
4: What is your actual height minus the shoes and afro?
I’m 6’3”, with the afro 6’9”… Oh, wait… That’s Fletch. No, I’m 6’8” all the time. The mark on the very top of my oversized melon would suggest I’m actually 6’8.25” tall, as most standard doorframes are 6’8” exactly. A fact I can defend painfully. Read the rest of the entry >
The next interview I’ve been excited about for some time now, even though it came with a fair amount of whining from our special guests (because it was 29 questions instead of five, and it wasn’t a video blog). I’m pleased to introduce to you my good friends and fellow designers, parents, wisecrackers, educators, authors and flat out smart and great peeps, Jenn and Ken Visocky O’Grady. I have been their inspired fan for many years and love their view on education. Their books (both of which I think you all should have in your library – read on for more) should be required reading for all designers. So take a few minutes to read a great interview and get to know an amazing couple.
1: Do you know your first names rhyme?
Jennifer and Kenneth rhyme?
2: How did you two meet?
KEN: When I was a Junior there were these two graduate students that would run crits an advanced class we all had to take. The class was hard. We would work on projects with a two week turn-around time and minimal feedback from the Professor. Then we’d all walk in, pin up our stuff, and get shredded to pieces by these two grad students. A few weeks in they started showing up drunk. The feedback was even less constructive. Students would cry. And then they disappeared. A few weeks after that Jenn was the new grad student running the crits. She still tore us to shreds but at least she was constructive and sober. Everyone would tell me after class that the grad student was checking me out. At the end of the semester I rolled out my best line in the hallway and said “Uh… Do you have any gum?” Yep. She married me.
JENN: I have plausible deniability on checking out Ken in class. He simply lit a project on fire (I kid you not, it involved flash paper—hot stuff), and that caught my attention. I can, however, confirm that his best line was “Do you have any gum.”
4: What are the strengths of each of your schools?
KEN: There are a few: Kent’s VCD program is huge — Over 400 majors. We have a considerable amount of full time faculty so students are often working with full-time faculty every semester as opposed to only adjuncts. We also have a great pool of graduate students assisting with and teaching classes. That makes for a lot of smart people, who know the program inside and out, there to help students find their way through. We’re also our own school and we’re in the College of Communication and Information instead of the being a part of the School of Art. I think that this is going to give us more opportunity as we grow to look at design from more than a form making perspective.
JENN: I see Cleveland State’s biggest strength in its diversity. Our design program is housed within the Department of Art, and is small–a concentration of a studio art major. But our classes are rich with differing student experience. I’d say in any given semester, in a class of 20, I have at least two or three students who weren’t born in the United States. If design is a both a reflection and shaper of popular culture, what happens when our cultural backgrounds aren’t homogenized? In any random semester, working on a group project, I might have a student from Azerbaijan, a student who matriculated through the Cleveland Public School system, and a person in their 50s who is switching careers. That diversity opens our eyes wider, and makes our imagining bigger. Read the rest of the entry >
Have you ever wondered where your clothes are made or about the people who make them? Do you realize that the majority of the clothes bought in the U.S. do not come from this country? Our next interview is with author and friend, Kelsey Timmerman, who traveled around the world following his obsession of discovering who makes the clothes he wears. All of us at Rule29 love the concept of Kelsey’s book Where Are You Wearing. And after you meet him, a truly simple midwest guy looking to satisfy an overwhelming curiosity, you get the sense that he is a genuine article – check out his Flickr set for more proof. Enjoy this interview, one of the funniest we have had, and let us know what you think or “where you are wearing” today.
1: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
There wasn’t an epiphany or anything, just small little moments:
I won an award in 4th grade for a story about flying shoes.
In college I had a blast on an assignment for Religion 101 about Buddhism. I titled the paper “Quantum Leap of Faith” and it was largely based on the show “Quantum Leap” starring Scott Bakula. I got a C-.
I guess what really sealed the deal was when I started penning a column about some of my travels and realized that I could take folks around the world 800 words at a time.
I’m not sure how to introduce the next guests for 29 Questions, mainly because it’s hard for me to take them seriously (and I mean that in a good way). When I’m around the dynamic duo from 36 Point, I’m constantly laughing and having a good time. They are a couple of regular guys who are creating a podcast that is interesting, down to earth and plain out fun. Donovan Beery (on left) and Nate Voss (on right) are two designers who are working hard as practitioners and showing their love for their profession by producing one of the best design-focused podcasts out there. There is no way we could get them to write answers so we did the next best thing – interview them for our first podcast. Who knows, there may be more! To see the rest of their various shenanigans check out 36 Point, The Reflex Blue Show (and subscribe via iTunes) and the world famous 1 Pt. Rule.
Tell us what you think, enjoy our first podcast, and if you are a Reflex Blue fan, what was your favorite episode?