Interview with the Legendary David Airey – brought up on Merlot.

June 27, 2011, Author: simon, Categories: Design
I’d like to introduce David Airey – a legend in the Design world and all round good egg.
Tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from, where do you live now. Do you have a basic design education or have you learned it on your own?
I grew up in Bangor, Northern Ireland. It’s a small town with a population of around 60,000, located 12 miles outside the capital Belfast. My design education began formally in my home-town college, where I spent four years prior to moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, for further design-based education at university. A US-based internship was followed by additional formal education back in Belfast before I entered the workplace in Edinburgh. That said, most of what I know about design has been learned through experience with clients and through the very kind people who read and comment on my blogs.

You seem to be a bit of a ‘rock star’ in the design world…do you ever get recognized or get designer groupies after you?
If it seems that way, Simon, I assure you it’s completely unintentional. There’s an incredible amount I’ve yet to learn about my profession, and an incredible number of designers more capable than me. It’s safe to say that I’ve yet to attract a stalker.

Where do you search for inspiration for your creativity, do you have any creative blocks. If so, how do you get over them?
Although I don’t think inspiration is necessary for designers to do their job, I’m inspired by nature, by architecture, by selfless acts of kindness, by the incredibly fortunate life into which I was born, and by the love of my friends and family. Creative blocks? Sure, I get them. It’s important for me to take a break every so often, whether it be 10 minutes away from a computer, or 10 days away from work altogether. Can anyone give non-stop creativity?

What are your main passions in life besides design and what do you do in your spare time?
I think that if people have a passion unrelated to what they do either as a job or in their spare time, they need to change their priorities. Our lives should be full of the things we’re passionate about. Otherwise, why? One of my side projects at present, a collaboration if you will, is the attempt to start a family. My wife had a miscarriage earlier in the year which was tougher than I could’ve imagined, but we’ll keep going. We still have our health. Away from design, I love watching movies. Some of my favourites include Motorcycle Diaries, Pan’s Labyrinth, Leon, Run Lola Run. I also keep myself fit, albeit in a very non-professional capacity.
Simon note: Sorry to hear about your wife and the miscarriage. That’s bloody tough to handle – me and the world’s designers I am sure, are sending the both of you good vibes for the future David.

What kit do you use to do your work?
I’ve a 27-inch iMac that I use for the most part, and a 15-inch MacBook Pro as a back-up, also in use when away from the desk. Adobe Creative Suite is the standard for software, with Illustrator and Photoshop used extensively. My amateur photography needs are served well with a Nikon D5000.

What does your typical work day look like?
Email… email… email… client work… email… blog maintenance… email… client work… client work… email… blog maintenance… client work… client work… email…

What did you want to be as a kid?
Atypically, a cowboy, footballer, firefighter, police officer, soldier, electrician, architect, designer (in an order a little like that). Simon note: Thanks for the picture. Is that a 1983 Merlot you are drinking? Mind you I guess it was 1983 at the time. Where’s the Guinness? Or were you a posh Irish person?

What are your three favourite movies of all time?
You know I love them, perhaps so much that it’s impossible to choose just three, but in addition to those mentioned already, I’m a big fan of Little Miss Sunshine, Amores Perros, and, hmmmm, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

If you ended up in cell in Death Row, what would you have for your last dinner?
A royal banquet. Or maybe a green curry.

Name 3 people you would love to have dinner with – dead or alive.
Jessica Alba, Jennifer Aniston, and my wife. Why not?
Simon note: I think it might be you who ends up dead…when your wife finds out your choices! I’ll join you 4 for dessert though)

What advice would you give to a aspiring designer in today’s changing marketplace?
Never stop learning — even those who make you angry can teach patience, and those 20 years your junior can give a fresh outlook.

Do you ever come to Toronto – and if so do you want to go for a pint if you have time?
I’ve yet to visit Canada. Would love to, though, and it’d be a pleasure to buy you a pint.
Simon note: I feel an Irish style pub crawl coming on

Thanks David – keep up the great work!

You can catch David’s portfolio here

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