Interview: Online Editor and Freelance Designer Stuart Thursby

This week we offer you a great interview which I am really happy to have been able to have put together, I would like to introduce you all to designer and online editor of Applied Arts Magazine; Stuart Thursby. I have come across Stuart in the online realm of social networking through twitter and also managed to get in touch with him through the group of designers also know as the Motley Design Crew.

Can you recommend a designer we should get to know, or would you like to put forward yourself for a short interview either for Design Juices or Nenuno Creative? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Hi Stuart, first I would like to extend my thanks at answering these interview questions for the design juices community. If you could please could you introduce yourself briefly to the design juices community.

Follow Stuart Thursby on Twitter

My name is Stuart Thursby, and I’m a designer from Toronto. I graduated with a degree in history a couple years ago from the University of Western Ontario, and since then I’ve been working on the periphery of the creative industry, soaking in everything I can and trying to find a way in.

We know you first as being a part of the applied art magazine, (the Canadian visual communications magazine.) What kind of tasks do you perform on a daily basis?

My job, even though it’s with a magazine on creativity, doesn’t involve too much design. I’m their acting online editor (editing and curating opinion pieces, writing profiles, writing the blog, etc) as well as their community manager (everything social media, etc). It’s great to see so much high-quality work on a daily basis, I must admit! Lots of great talent out there…

How inspirational and motivating is working for applied arts magazine?, or do you have other personal pursuits which inspire you more than your daily job?

Working at Applied Arts is inspiring is because I get to see a ton of work, from students, from vets, from the big agencies, from the little ones, from photographers and illustrators…it leaves me energized by the time I leave in the evening, which works out well as I spend my evenings freelancing or working on teaching myself the fundamentals, the craft and the art of design. Like most designers, I thrive on being busy…

I’m interested to know as a novice designer (and new to the community myself.) What were your first few steps into the design community. Was the step up from education as hard as you first thought?

I’m taking my first few steps as we speak! I created my Twitter account when I was first discovering the design “blogosphere” in the fall of 2008, and have made a few friends – and many acquaintances – along the way.
As I mentioned before, I have a degree in history, so I’m playing “catch up” with all the graduated designers, illustrators and art directors out there. I’ll be taking some night courses over the fall and winter (and more after that!) to help balance it out.
There comes a point in time where you’ve already made some progress and you think you’re doing alright. It’s at that point that you begin to realize just how much it takes to make it in this industry, and just how much of succeeding is simply about working hard. It’s not an easy field, but there are opportunities everywhere and it’s a joy to discover them.

Your personal design site ‘thoughts on creativity’ is a web design typography masterpiece. Has your design style always been this minimal, in not over-complicating your designs?
Wherever possible, I strive for simplicity and impact in execution. Time and time and time again, the work I’m drawn to the most is the simplest. There’s a time and a place for intricate artwork, but it’s not something I’m fully comfortable with – yet.
As well, when you asked me this question, I was using the lovely theme The Columnist from Ben Martineau. I’ve since changed! I customized the Twenty Ten theme from WP to better match the aesthetic I was going for, including the use of Adobe Text from Type Kit. Check it out:

You have produced some quite brilliant typography digital art pieces,some of which our readers may recognize from being featured in typography showcases across the web. What would you say has been your most successful pieces and why?

Thank you so much for saying so! My most successful piece so far in terms of hits, features, etc has been the Design is Typography poster (link) though I Am An Art Director has been on the front page of flickrdesign (link) for weeks; I wish the site would refresh with some new work, I used to like it for flashes of inspiration!

Design is by Stuart Thursby

I am an Art Director by Stuart Thursby

I am an Art Director by Stuart Thursby

With these pieces how do they usually develop? are you a sketchbook drawer, do you use a moleskin? How does the initial idea develop from that first flicker of inspiration in your mind?

I can’t draw worth a dime, but I do use sketchbooks (sometimes moleskin, sometimes not) which I tend to go through every few months. Most of it is nonsensical scribbles and half-developed concepts, but occasionally something interesting comes out of it.
My typical process is to create a “mood board” bookmark folder, which I use to save blog posts, designs, posters, photographs, illustrations, etc which evoke a certain mood, feeling or thought that I feel might apply to a project I’m working on. After gathering the raw materials for a period of time, I take a second look at the brief and then open them all (along with an ever-growing collection of books, annuals, magazines, etc) and try and see what caught my eye about it. Usually by this time, the ideas are starting to flow and I close them all and get to work in the sketchbook to hammer out some ideas.

Where can we all find you on the social networking circle? Twitter, Facebook etc

Site: Portfolio
Blog: Thoughts on Creativity
Twitter: @sthursby

Can you recommend a designer we should get to know, or would you like to put forward yourself for a short interview either for Design Juices or Nenuno Creative? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Leave all your comments below.