IDA 2017 EMERGING GRAPHIC DESIGNER OF THE YEAR WINNER
Tell us a bit about your background and how you discovered that you wanted to work with graphic design? Was it an easy path to pursue?
I was born and raised in Westchester County in New York and moved to Atlanta to complete my BFA in Communication Design. As a teenager, I had no idea what Graphic Design was but I loved drawing and combining image and text to create posters and little books. Eventually, I discovered that Graphic Design was a thing I could do and from then on I pursued a career in the field.
What were the biggest influences in your life that shaped your artistic vision?
I like to tell people that my creative pantheon includes Stanley Kubrick, Jack Kirby and Bizarro Superman. My design influences range from Bauhaus and the International Typographic Style to David Carson, Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Peter Saville, April Greiman, Vaughn Oliver and Wes Anderson. Hahaha! Too many? That’s not all of them. I also love architecture and photography. My eyeballs are constantly devouring things.
Your winning project, Nihilism for Beginners, is a unique infographic that looks like a book cover. It is meant to describe the basic principles of Nihilism. How did this idea come about?
I love looking at infographics, but I am absolutely terrible at creating them and unfortunately that was the assignment for the class, so I was desperate not to have to build a ‘traditional’ looking infographic. I’d decided that Nihilism was something that might be interesting to try to break down in 30 seconds and I happened upon some Penguin/Pelican cover images as I was researching the moodboards. Recalling Nietzsche’s quote that, “God is dead” the idea struck me that it might be like one of the Penguin mysteries. “God is dead…whodunnit?!”
What were the main challenges in the realization of this project?
Nihilism is a pretty broad concept and some might consider it a bit dark. The primary challenge was to boil all of it down to a 30 sec (or so) animation that put a humorous spin on it.
What do you think are the main strengths of this project, and why did it deserve to win?
I think the main strength of the piece is the script. It’s breezy, but informative and kind of funny. Most importantly, its very tight, just a few lines but it says everything that I thought needed saying. I feel that the typography works well and feel that it conveys the right tone. It’s a nice homage to many of my design influences.
What does this award mean to you, and how did it help your career?
It was such a wonderful surprise and compliment! Graphic Design is a very large field, so It’s very exciting to have my work be recognized.
Where do you get motivation and inspiration from in your work?
My inspiration comes from all over, but specifically music, film and daydreaming.
What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the graphic design world today?
Because of how we are all so closely connected now, design created on one side of the globe is spread to the rest of the world in minutes. I think the challenge is to remember that design is at its best when it’s based on careful consideration of the communication goals first. Also--Time–there’s never enough of it.
What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?
I’m currently working on my thesis, which is about generative methods and chance operations in Motion Design. Once that’s finished, I’m off to the real world.
What is your ultimate goal? If you had to dream big, what would you wish for yourself and your career?
My ultimate goal is to create work that I am proud of. All I want to do is tell stories about weird and beautiful things. I hope that I can spend my career doing so.
View the Winning Entry by Stuart Fano