Cover design and interview on the Hong Kong Design Institute official magazine, Signed.
The theme was cycling.
IdN contacted me to work on the cover of one of their subsidiary editorials, Signed, the official magazine of the Hong Kong Design Institute.
I wanted to work on a new image for it, but instead they chose an old work of mine (from Posterheroes) and then we adapted it to its new format.
Besides the cover, they featured me in an article, along with a showcase of works. The following is the entire questionnaire I answered (the official interview on the mag was way more brief).
[sorry in advance for my rough english]
1. What information does a solo creator need about a project so that they can optimize their performance from start to finish?
To optimize performances at best you need to set communication as straight as possible. If the creator and the client are on the same wave length half the job is done.
2. How does a solo creator identify potential hazards en route?
This happens when you realize you don’t like the brief or the client doesn’t like the results at all. The sooner you realize this situation the better. Then you gotta focus on what is needed and forget what you want.
3. What skills should a solo creator apply to minimise any waste of time or energy?
I'm not one of those planning freaks. But I'm neat. Every professional should have his own work system, engineering your workflow will not only make it faster, but also better.
To avoid disasters, you should also know your limits, and your taste, when you accept jobs.
That doesn't mean that you should never accept challenges.
4. How does a solo creator maintain focus during the repetitive and dull parts of a project?
Boring and repetitive are relative point of views. Work on details and refinements can often be a tedious process, but also satisfactory. Having a bit of obsessive compulsive disorder in this profession is not that bad.
5. Does a solo creator have the same access to all the best resources as a large agency would? Could he/she “blame the tools” as a cyclist might if they could not afford a premium bike?
The main problem is that a solo is a resource. A large agency is made of solos, and they can hire other solos if they miss that specific resource. The point is not to aspire to be many resources, but to be a great solo.
(this question is subtle, my answer sees the “resources” as the assets, not the clients)
6. How do you develop the mental toughness to pick yourself up and redouble your efforts if the project begins to falter, especially if it is self-initiated and has not been commissioned?
You gotta be sure of it in the first place, since the beginning. And to write the word END when it’s time.
7. How can you as a solo creator maximize your performance on a project yet retain enough vigour to launch yourself into the next one immediately if necessary?
It’s about planning properly your time. Or to like a lot your job. Personally I love my job but I’m terrible at planning my time. That’s a draw.
8. How important is patience? Could you give an example of a project in which it has played an important role?
Patience is important but having too much time at hand is risky. Indulge too much on something can be toxic. In the end it’s more about perseverance. Talent is a gift as being stubborn in pursuing results. A pattern almost a day and 36 days of type were both long term projects, also as results. The first is having recognition just now cause I started putting it on walls, the second didn’t have a huge feedback on socials but won prizes in the end)
9. Given that you do not have a boss or fellow-members of a team to criticize you, how do you know how well you can actually perform? Are you sometimes tempted to say “Oh, that will do”? Or do you always know when you have given it your best shot? Give an example if possible.
I don’t believe great creators are fond of “Oh, that will do”. The contrary. Self critique is essential, you’ll always know when you’ve been lazy, bad or truly committed. Despite that, it’s the customer who really decides the final value*. You could have successful lazy works and underrated masterpieces, and deal with that.
(*Code Red was meant to be typographic, from a reference of another work of mine. I made other proposals. It won the one I liked the less.)
10. A cyclist often faces poor conditions — the state of the road, bad weather, etc. How do you know what are the best conditions for you to work in and does client pressure sometimes force you to go ahead when conditions are not ideal? Give an example if possible.
I’m kind of bipolar when it comes to this. I like when the brief is super clear and the client knows exactly what he wants. It leaves little to experimentation, but it’s relaxing and you can work on the details to the fullest. Also the opposite is true, and getting lost under pressure can produce interesting results*, even better than when everything is under control.
(*Rio Grande’s poster was the result of a very troubled work, and won prizes)
And that's all. Thanks to those who read my mumblings till the end.
Published by: Riccardo Sabatini in interview, feature, editorial design, publication, blog, personal stuff
Tags: hkdi, hong kong design institute, idn magazine, signed magazine, cover design, bike, cycling, interview, poster, illustration, riccardo sabatini