Samuel Muir spoke to us about the most challenging brief ever issued to him, the effect online selling has had on design and the best and worst thing about being a freelance designer.
1. How did you start out designing?
I was good at drawing and thinking creatively from a very young age. It was design or advertising. I made the right choice.
2. What to date has been your most challenging ever brief?
I recently rebranded the Citizens Advice. It was a huge task, in which everyone in the (huge) company had a pretty valid opinion on how the brand should look, feel and behave, whilst ensuring their clients didn’t feel like there was too much of a change. Despite popular belief, Citizens Advice isn’t a government organisation, and the new brand needed to reflect their values as a modern, innovative charity. Lots to distill into a simplistic execution.
3. How has online selling and marketing changed how design is valued?
The worst thing to happen to the industry is the proliferation of sites like fiverr.com, where clients pit designers against each other for dismally paid jobs. It shockingly undervalues an industry based on innovation and experience, and reduces design to a template driven basis. Imagine what the world would look like if every piece of design was sold through this filter, and all the logos you saw were bought for £5. It’s demoralising.
4. Tell us the best thing about being a freelance designer and also the worst.
There are too many good points to mention. The very best is that I’m my own creative director, so the buck stops with me. If a job leaves my studio and it could have been better, it’s entirely my fault. I like that challenge. The worst thing is the age old complaint – there’s not enough hours in the day, so I have to be fairly selective with what clients I take on, and balance a hectic work schedule with family life.
5. What advice would you give anyone who wanted to start working in creative design?
Teach yourself to draw, learn the difference between an idea and an execution and understand that your attitude and the way you are with people is a huge part of being successful, and that a good designer can exist purely by word-of-mouth.
6. Is it better to work to a tight deadline or have as much time as possible on a project?
Tight deadlines suit me best. Too much time, and the job doesn’t seem real.
About Samuel Muir
Samuel Muir is a creative director / designer whose work spans a range of genres, with a focus on the world of entertainment. He is creative director for Calvin Harris, and works with a host of other artists, including Deadmau5, R3HAB, Daisy Lowe, Andy Burrows, and Arthur Baker, as well as music groups such as Hurts, Loadstar, and Nero. He has created brands for many nightclubs and record labels, including Mode (London), Flash Factory (NYC), NoFitState, secretsundaze. Check it out at at www.samuelmuir.com