We’re very excited about today’s interview with Ian Paget. He is an influential graphic designer and the founder of LogoGeek, a very popular design blog. Ian has over 10 years of experience in graphic design and his work has been featured on many well known design blogs and websites like Photoshop Creative magazine, Creative Bloq, Web Design Ledger and ShutterStock.
If you’re a designer you’ve probably heard of Ian Paget and Logo Geek already, so you’re eager to read the interview.
I know you are a self-thought designer. What was your greatest challenge when you started out?
I was really lucky after doing my A levels to land myself in an admin role that included a small percentage of graphic design work. I had never used any of the software at the time, but I was in this unique position where I could learn on the job, whilst working on real design projects. Being really keen to learn I spent most of my free time watching tutorials, and practicing what I had learned.
I focused all my efforts on learning the software, but as I had no formal design training prior to this role I didn’t know any of the theory that lies behind great design – in-fact, I didn’t even know of its existence. This meant that my very first designs had a slightly unprofessional feel to them, and I wasn’t sure how to improve.
Thankfully I was introduced to grid systems, and the work of Joseph Müller-Brockmann which gave a level of structure and uniformity to my work that took it to a whole different level. Since this discovery I’ve not stopped learning. Theory may seem boring to some, but after seeing the impact it had on my work I can’t stress the importance of learning the ‘rules’ so you know when and how to break them.
What is the most rewarding part about your job?
I’m approached by some really inspiring individuals who have made a massive life changing decision to start their own company. They come to me with ideas, and I love that I can make their dreams a reality – often taking things one step further. Feeling the clients excitement, and being part of their journey is amazing. I feel really lucky.
Do you have any favorite design books or magazines which you’d recommend?
I’m quite addicted to design books, and have learned so much from them.
One book that made a real impact on me is a book from David Airey, “Work for Money, Design for Love”. It’s a very concise book about going freelance, with actionable steps. It’s been a few years since reading it, but I feel it was this book that sew the seeds for my current freelance lifestyle. I definitely want to read it again!
For logo design the best advice I have ever read came from a book by the legendary Paul Rand, “Design form & Chaos”. All other advice on logo design seems like noise in comparison. It’s sadly a very rare book, but I took photos of the most important pages which can be seen here.
Not a design book, but one that’s had a big life changing impact is “The One Thing” by Gary W. Keller – It’s helped me to think long-term, and to work step-by-step towards a greater goal.
I read that you’re working on your own book. Tell us more!
I am yes. Although have not been working on it anywhere near as much as I’d like to! Paying client work is my main focus, but I’m making a few personal changes which I hope will give me more time to work on projects like this.
The book will be called ‘Learn Logo Design’ and I plan to treat it as a design workshop so new designers can work through step by step to become a logo designer. I’m keen to involve the design community, so will be including case studies and advice from designers I admire. I’ve already had the support of some big name designers and agencies, so I hope when it’s done that it’ll be a great resource for any young designers out there.
As a side note, earlier this year I put a free eBook together to collect email data for the purpose of marketing the book once it’s done. It’s called ’50 Logo Design Tips from the Pro’s’ and has contributions from amazing designers such as Aaron Draplin and Michael Bierut – go check it out whilst you wait for me to finish the book 🙂
What color palettes do you like? Why?
I love the combination of black with red. It always looks really professional, and seems to work for so many different industries and situations.
Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
“Create more than you consume”
I’ve always had the habit of listening to endless podcasts, audiobooks and reading books and blogs. But instead I’ve been trying to create more that I consume. Easier said that done, but it’s a good thing to think about – you can keep learning and learning, but if you never put that knowledge into practice it’s a waste of time.
What is the best compliment you ever got from a client?
It’s hard to think of one specific example, but I had an email a couple of weeks back that started with this sentence…
“Ian, you are a wizard!!! They look amazing!!! God dam I’m blown away!!”
I always get so nervous sending designs, so feedback like this is a relief!
Name one thing on your bucket list
I really want to design a London underground poster… one day!
I also want to travel to Cambodia and visit Ankor Wat. Hopefully next year…