Adrian Szejn: an Interview by Chris Dickman

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CD: Could you please tell us about your background and how you got into logo design? What design and illustration qualifications and skills do you have?
AS: I studied Graphic Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland. I specialize in identity and poster design, and as a print-based designer I also do other publication work. As a child I used to draw and paint a lot, so I could tell that my professional path was basically formed by that time. Although I knew nothing about graphic design, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I tried to learn as much as I could from well-known and more experienced designers. During my studies I was working in one of the local advertising agencies as a junior art director where I was mainly engaged in brand design, until I dropped it to start doing freelance graphic design. After a fairly successful beginning I decided to run my own graphic design studio, which is where I work on my freelance projects.

CD: How long have you been active in freelance logo design work?
AS: I designed my first logo for the local music club when I was a teenager. I also designed a couple of posters promoting events that took place there. Since then I have designed hundreds of logos for various companies and institutions across the globe.

CD: How do you manage the business side of your design career, such as keeping your books, figuring out taxes and deductions, and so on?
AS: Well… I’ve already accepted the fact that I’m the most disorganized person on the planet. I never use something like Sticky Notes and my books usually wind up wherever there is enough free space. I simply can’t find anything if everything is well arranged! Someone even told me that my desk and all the things that are on it have created the highest mountain in Poland! I’m used to it.

CD: What tools do you use for your logo creations?
AS: It is quite possible that I belong to those species that are in danger of going extinct but I am still using mainly a pencil and a piece of paper. I make several preliminary sketches, so that I can visualize my idea. This allows me to minimize my computer activity to merely remake whatever was created on paper already. I hate computers! I dream of throwing mine out the window.

CD: Does your logo work have a unique look to it? How would you describe your design style?
AS: I have never thought about the style to be reflected in my designs; it is the idea itself that defines the look of my design. I like to experiment with shapes and colors. I like to focus on the negative space surrounding the design and try to show a number of meanings using the same object, to incite more associations. I always try to make a design as different from the previous one as possible — both in graphic form and in my approach to the particular subject. It is something natural for me, I think.

CD: Do you have particular sources for inspiration, such as the work of other designers, or general sources?
AS: I am inspired by everything that happens around me. For example, I take pictures of old commercial signboards that use interesting fonts, since I like to see how some of the letters are connected with each other. I look at details in architecture, furniture and product design. Sometimes, I just stare for a long time at spilt coffee or ink stains, which form interesting shapes. I listen to music, which always gives me positive vibrations and pushes my imagination into action. It might sound dumb but I feel like a narrator who always stands somewhere next to the action, who defines reality by giving new meaning to the objects and situations, and then watches relations between them. I try to see whatever others cannot see. I attend exhibitions and look through other designers’ portfolios. I am into everything that revolves around graphic design and art in general — just to always stay up-to-date. These are just a few of the things that fuel my creativity and help me in bringing my ideas to life.

CD: Of your own logos, which is your favorite? Why?
AS: I like the designs that have various meanings and connections, such as 50, Videoape or Jazz Institute, which is one of my favourite typographical designs, in which the initial letters form the shape of the saxophone. But I try not to get too attached to one particular design. They are all important to me and as I always say: the favorite one will always be the one I have not designed yet. This gives me bigger motivation for further work.

CD: Do you have a favorite part of the logo design process?
AS: My favorite part of the logo design process is that there is always a different path that leads to the final result. There is no one specific scheme according to which the designs are created. I like to approach every design differently.

CD: Without a client brief to work from, what are the secrets to creating a logo that sells in the public marketplace? How do you anticipate the needs of customers in this case?
AS: It has been said that “Every Jack has his Jill.” Knowing what clients’ expectations are is the key factor to success. But it is impossible to anticipate the needs of a customer if you do not know who your client is. This relates to ready-made designs that are listed for sale on a public marketplace and is probably the most interesting part of designing without a client brief. One of the things I love about ready-made logos is that I can forget about client requirements and focus on creating the best possible logo designs. That’s it! There are no special secrets for success.

CD: Any closing comments that you would like to share?
AS: I would like to thank you for selecting me for the StockLogos profile. I have to admit, this came as a big surprise to me. Good luck to everyone on StockLogos.