As I have stated before, I believe all designers and artists have unique perspectives and a variety of interests, backgrounds, and opinions. Society tries to pigeon hole creatives and say that we are all the same. I know that we are not and therefore wanted to feature a variety of designers and artists from around the world to get a variety of perspectives on a variety of topics. Here is my second Q&A with Chad Renfroe, a conceptual, visually-driven design director based in Lynbrook, New York.
Q: What should my readers know about you?
A: I’m a mixture of art director, interactive designer, brand strategist, social media manager and experiential marketer. However, I’m not a jack of all trades. I specialize in helping brands create unforgettable experiences in an interactive space. I believe connecting imagination to reality can create great things.
Q: Tell me about how you became a designer.
A: When I was younger, I had the great privilege to travel a lot of the world. Being exposed to other cultures, art, food and architecture gave me an appreciation for beauty and expression. These weren’t just pictures in my textbooks but places with unique experiences and stories. Those experiences were inspiring and started me on a path to create. Art class was a natural outlet during my early education. As a teenager, the internet bubble was happening and I started experimenting and creating art on my computer. As those worlds merged, design became my life.
Q: As a child, what did you think you would be when you grew up?
A: A veterinarian.
List your favorites:
- Band: Beatles
- Artist: Michelangelo
- Store: Target
- Movie: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
- TV Show: Dukes of Hazard
Q: What inspires your designs?
A: My experiences, environment (nature), research.
Q: Explain your creative process
A: 4 part process – Diagnose, Prescribe, Apply, Reapply
Before I can help any client, I need to see and understand the problem at hand, on the surface as well as what’s going on deeper within the company. Research is critical in being able to diagnose properly and give strategic recommendations. Typically, I research 8 to 12 pressure points of a brand and present those findings. Prescribing is focused on strategy, specifically communication, positioning, usability and the effectiveness of particular initiative. The application and reapplication process is implementing the new strategy visually until it is perfect and ready to launch.
Q: What is the best advice that anyone has ever given you?
A: Develop an intention and fail often.
Q: Who are your 5 favorite designers in any field and why?
A: These people may not be considered true “designers,” but each of them has worked with designers, builders and/or creative thinkers to create amazing things.
Frank Lloyd Wright, his ability to integrate nature into his designs
Walt Disney, he failed many times but his experiences led him to a greater vision for his company and the world
Steve Jobs, his passion, work ethic and leadership
Warren Buffett, his story telling
PT Barnum, his ability as a marketer
Q: If you had to do anything other than be a designer, what would you do?
A: Be a federal judge
Q: What do you love about what you do?
A: Getting to delve into my clients’ various industries and creative problem solving.
Q: What has been the key to your success thus far?
A: Learning from mistakes and showing up prepared.
Q: If your life was an amusement park ride, what would the ride be named? Why?
A: The Gravitron. Once I get going and the G-forces kick in, I’m taking you on an intergalactic adventure.
Q: What do you do to expose yourself to new ideas and new thinking on a regular basis?
A: I read constantly and travel as much as possible.
Q: What lessons have you learned in your work life that you apply in the rest of your world?
A: Be committed. Share your life and experiences with others.
Q: Pick one characteristic from your personality and explain why you think it has helped you gain success.
A: Ruthlessly improve. By finding new ways to improve, I’ve become much more efficient in my day to day work which has allowed me to spend more time doing things I truly enjoy.
Q: Tell me a story about your work that either made you extremely proud or disappointed.
A: I let a demanding client interfere during the closing of my home. I’ve never been more disappointed in myself. Since that time, I’ve had a much clearer since of priorities and boundaries.
Q: If you could have dinner with absolutely anyone living or dead, who would you choose? Why?
A: Ben Franklin. He had a good sense of humor and was able to help many people while still being able to spend time doing other things he really enjoyed. I’d love to hear his thoughts on life, love and politics.
Q: If you could do anything you wanted right now professionally, what would it be?
A: In addition to the work I’m doing now, I’d like to learn how to take care of bees and distill whisky.
Q: Are there any words of wisdom that you would pass along to a struggling designer?
A: Work smarter, not harder. Develop a set of skills and build upon your strengths.
Q: Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you would like to tell me?
A: My favorite color is yellow even though my wife thinks it’s orange.
For more information on Chad and his amazing design work, check out his website. His beautiful Heal Japan Print is still available for only $25 and all proceeds go to benefit Japanese disaster relief.