Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a graphic designer and artist? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Budding designer and videographer Christian Smith sat down with Craig White, our Art Director, to ask him a few questions about life, his career, influencers he’s had, and more.

Christian Smith: When did you first realize you wanted to be in the creative industry and not something else?

Craig White: When I was in high school I had a wonderful art teacher. He saw that I had a creative side and encouraged me to at least consider some sort of creative field. He showed me that not all jobs in the creative industry were drawing and painting; I didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” He invited me to attend two field trips. The first was to an exhibit by a font designer in Minneapolis. The fact you could take a font and create art with only words and different graphic design treatments intrigued me. The second was to Meredith Corporation. Meeting the people that worked there and seeing the work they did made me excited about graphic design. At that point I realized that I could create art, while still feeling like I was in a professional atmosphere.

CS: What do you find is the most challenging part of being an art director/graphic designer?

CW: For me, personally, it would be time constraints or schedules.  I think every designer wants to put out the best work they possibly can and would love the opportunity to work on something until it is perfect and exactly what they envisioned. Unfortunately, there is time to consider.  Graphic design is a very fast-paced occupation and it is very important to realize your vision in the quickest possible way while adhering to schedules dictated by the client or printer. On the other hand, that is also what makes the field fun and exciting.

CS: If you had to choose to design using only one font for the rest of your career, what font family would that be?

CW: Well that would be quite boring, but… if I only had one font to use it would probably be Helvetica. Not because it is the most exciting font ever, but because it is a huge font family and is very versatile. It has a wide range of different variations and can basically cover most things I need it for (except for serif, of course.)

CS: How do you like your eggs?

CW: Made of chocolate and fresh out of the freezer.

CS: What creative suite program do you think you have the most knowledge with?

CW: I think I have equal knowledge in all three of the main graphic design programs provided by Adobe (InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop.)  If asked which is the most fun for me to work in, that would be different. I really enjoy painting in Photoshop and/or manipulating photos into something fun.

CS: Do you have anything that helps you get out of a creative block?

CW: Taking a walk outside, either in nature or a populated area, helps clear the mind and can also inspire you just by taking in everything around you. Sometimes it’s as simple as stepping away from the computer for a moment and coming back. “Computer Coma” is the worst!

CS: If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?

CW: Concept character design.

CS: Do you have any phobias?


CS: Do you have any advice you’d give to budding graphic designers or creatives that are fresh out of college looking for work?

CW: Creativity is obviously very important in graphic design, but I would encourage any fresh designer to also gather as much information about the post-production process as they possibly can. Speak with printers. Don’t just drop the files off to them and hope for the best. Learn how they like their files to be delivered and build a good relationship with them. It will make your life a LOT easier.

CS: Who are your big inspirations when it comes to anything creative?

CW: This kind of relates to the previous question, but I started watching videos on YouTube created by a man named Feng Zhu. He is a concept character designer and started his own school instructing others on the process. He is very creative, and his artwork is AMAZING. When I am in a creative block I sometimes watch these videos to get inspired. If you haven’t seen him before, check him out!

CS: For the Horde or the Alliance?

CW: No doubt about it, FOR THE HORDE!!!!



Christian Smith is Plaid Swan’s media coordinator,
working on video, creative and social media projects.
Plaid Swan offers a wide range of creative services
that are sure to pair perfectly with marketing efforts
to reach your desired target audience. Contact us
today to revamp your creative efforts!