So what do you do?
I am often asked what I do during the day - and it is often difficult for me to briefly describe what exactly I do. I am a bit a "jack-of-all-trades", but without a doubt, visual design is one of my stronger sides.
And how did you learn it?
As my resume shows - I never studied these things in the "right" way. I learned them by doing on the job (yes, and by reading one or two books). I like most of what you see here, although not a day of work goes by that I don't notice details that require a deeper understanding or better execution. One thing that keeps me on my toes.
In the last few years this has become a typical task in my daily routine: mocking (and later implementing) the "look and feel" of an interactive application that combines spatial elements with screen space elements and an interface to a consistent setup that can be built and animated with a real-time engine.
Sometimes I have control over the perspective, often not: In augmented or virtual reality, users are free to choose where to point the device or goggles, so the graphics must somehow "guide" them how to view the content.
Of course, I don't do this alone: usually I play ping-pong with my brother-in-arms at FRAMEFIELD, Thomas Mann and other talented developers, who make shaders or transition effects, for example.
Making look development mockups (sketches to "nail" the overall look) is an art in itself - an art that I am not very fast at yet. Fast, rough, with bold contrast and above all: to communicate the idea at a glance.
My main challenges are fast and rough: I love to elaborate, and it usually takes me some time to get the right material together. Once I have done that, I can still mess it up with too much stuff, lose focus or think too much about how this could be rendered on screen.
Still, sometimes it works and gives us the basis to create a complete project look from a handful of mockups, which is very rewarding.
Illustrations and Covers
I am certainly not an illustrator in the literal sense. But from time to time illustration work has to be done within a project where I already do other things.
The task is quite similar to how I create spatial graphics, only more focused on the elements with a fixed view. Usually I already have an idea of what the project as a whole should look like, based on the work I have already done.
Then my other obsession for consistency kicks in: For my interface or layout to work, the content should exactly work in a specific way. Being able to control the appearance of the content can then be quite a relief.
T-Shirts and Logos
The example above is quite exotic: After having participated in many international architectural competitions, we were asked to participate in a shirt competition with a project that was not realized. We used our proposal of the Nam June Paik Museum in Yongin, South Korea. Since we were not so familiar with the printing restrictions, only a part of the image could be printed.
People who excel in designing logos (or brands) have my utmost respect, because more difficult than the actual design work (which is not trivial) is the communication and selling to the client. This process can get quite tedious.
When I am commissioned to do this, it is usually the absolute minimum of corporate design, consisting of the logo itself and typically some signal colors and basic typography.
Similar to illustrations, I do them from time to time, but even less frequently. As mentioned in the beginning, I try to focus on certain things - and logos are not one of them.
After giving up my architectural practice in 2009, I decided to concentrate more on purely digital, screen-based design (and later on interaction design) in order to keep a better focus and thus gain deeper knowledge in a more limited area.