Inspiration and advice for creative business makers
Today I want to start a new interview series, where I want to present people who inspire me. Doing an Internet Research for a Coporate Design Briefing, I found David Airey’s Blog. I decided to write him and he was very kind and open to help. Furthermore I like his work, we have a very similar style: clean, minimal, focused with a touch of elegance. So let us see what we can learn from David and how we can connect and inspire each other.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
A grown-up. But as is often the case, we want what we don’t have, and normally at the expense of that which we do. Not that I think I grew up too quickly. I had an amazing childhood, and I owe a lot to my parents. It wasn’t until my teens when I knew I wanted to be a designer. I’m in my thirties now and I have no regrets. Design is a marvellous profession. One I’m lucky to be a part of.
What is it you most like about being an independent designer?
The variety of client. They can just as easily be halfway around the world as they can the other side of town. And the best part of working with different people is how the nature of their businesses changes with almost every project. With one design brief I’ll be learning about surfing, with another about tequila, another about fashion, medical advances, digital music… The things we’re paid to study are limited only by the clients we choose to work with.
What was the worst piece of business advice you were ever given?
“Spend longer in employment before becoming self-employed.” It’s perhaps debatable how bad that advice was, because I might have been much more successful than I currently am if I took another job or two before opening my studio, but I’ve learned a lot since making the switch, I’ve made friends with some fantastic people, and I’ve had a lot of fun, too.
Name a designer or entrepreneur, past or present, whom you admire?
Elon Musk. Someone who defines the word visionary.
What tool, object, or ritual is indispensable in your workday?
I couldn’t do my job without my computer. But equally, I won’t do it without a pencil. Both I find important.
What are you most proud of in your business experience?
My books. Every now and then I’ll hear from someone who’s been helped by them. The feedback might just be a few sentences in a one-off email, but it means more than the sender will know.
Name your biggest lesson you learned as an independent designer?
That as a designer you’ll never be happy with your portfolio. That’s a good thing, though. Our portfolios need endless work or we’ll stop improving. Keep looking to those you admire, and keep trying to narrow the gap between your work and theirs.
How do you handle mistakes or failures to learn from them?
Take responsibility, and apologise, even if someone else is partly to blame. Then do all you can to put things right.
Do you have a personal or professional motto?
Treat others as you’d want them to treat you.
If you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do?
I’d take my children on mystical adventures to far-off lands (even if those lands are the nearby parks or beaches).
If you want to see David’s work or blog, please visit his websites: