This Friday marks the 50th week we’ve published a “Shareables”, (mt)’s curated bits of news and guidance from the professional creative community. Each week we share 5 pieces we found to be inspirational and instructional. Besides curating the content, the most challenging aspect of producing the series is creating new blog header art themed around the number 5. Peruse and pin the collection on the (mt) Pinterest board.
To celebrate the 50th week, we ask Ryan Morgan, the designer that stands up to the header challenge each week, 5 questions about his inspiration.
How did you get started with graphic design?
I actually started with photography, studying both photography and fine art before I became a graphic designer. But even when my focus was art and photography, my projects migrated towards combining type and imagery, which led me to graphic design. Also, I really love the buzz I get from solving visual problems, like creating a brand new 5 graphic each week to designing, iterating and streamlining visual design elements for (mt)’s UI.
Your style seems to lean on different disciplines and influences. How do you keep the pieces related but divergent?
Early on, Jon Setzen’s (Media Temple’s creative director) vision for the Friday Five’s project was to try things we can’t always do on our front of site, account center or marketing collateral. We’d focus on minimal, but playful graphics — always keeping the numeral 5 as the centerpiece.
Each week starts with one visual element or idea. A trailhead sign I saw on a hike. Or a podcast on the history of the quatrefoil. I research, I play and I streamline that idea into a cohesive design.
How does Los Angeles Influence your work at (mt)? Can you attribute inspiration to other cities you’ve lived?
Oh for sure. I mentioned before that I love to hike. It’s a surprise to a lot of people how accessible wildness is in LA. There are 10,000 foot peaks an hour from DTLA! Los Angeles also is a strange colorful mess, from the bright patches of bougainvillea, to pastel houses, to cheap painted signs on businesses that can’t afford manufactured signage. I find the mess and lack of uniformity inspiring because you never know what are going to find in LA’s many hidden corners.
You work on both UI and Illustrative projects at (mt), how do you approach these differently?
The illustrative/graphical projects are always about visually supporting the idea of a particular piece of content. So my approach is to start with the idea that I think will best represent that content. On other hand, designing for UI is about solving a problem in the most elegant way possible. Great UI design is design that the user takes for granted — because it’s so clear, they couldn’t imagine it functioning in any other way.
What project are you most proud of?
I’m really proud of the Friday Five project. I love being challenged to come up with a new idea each week. The challenge and constraints of the project have made it really rewarding to work on. So I’d say it’s my best project. That is until the new A/C launches