Today, we are joined by Fouad Mallouk , he is the President of Phoenix. You can view his portfolio here.

  • Tell us about your graphic design career. How did you break into graphic design, and how did you advance to where you are today?

My grandfather, having being multiple times a successful business man at the time, in England and Egypt, had run a small design and print firm, VN graphic and Printing. As a younger man (16-17) I was bored with school so my Father suggested I help my grand father lift paper boxes until I figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I soon discovered that my true passion was business and AWE inspiring design/engineered things. I went to school studying graphic design and graduated within 2 years. During that time, I worked side by side with my grandfather, Victor Mallouk, learning 70 years of business tricks and the art of life. I soon realized that my artistic skills where more defined as a DA or critic than an actual artist. So I then hired a graphic artist. The years went by and when I took over, we re-branded the company as Phoenix Media (now Phoenix The Creative Studio).  Today, we are Phoenix the Creative Studio , a marketing agency that specializes in branding, interactive solutions and visual communication in all its forms.

  • What do you enjoy most about your career?

What I enjoy most is the versatility of my job. Being able of touching every aspect of life. One Day, we are working on a packaging design for a shoe start-up business, the next we are re-branding a multinational company. From fashion to high tech, olive oil to underground majestic events, we have the privilege of working in all spheres.

  • What were the biggest inspirations for your career?

Life itself is not necessarily fair or need more and more improvement. One has a choice, to sit and complain or to rise find opportunity to be able to make the proper improvements in the greater game of life. I chose the ladder. So in that sense, thanks to my business, I have an opportunity to achieve this. Also, everywhere you look, there are well-designed things and ugly ones. We are constantly polluted with awful logos, publicities, billboards, websites and the list goes on. Being manipulated to buy this and that with poorly designed mediums makes me sick. SO I guess this also inspires me to rectify this and not only put an end to manipulation driven publicity but make it more enjoyable, fun and DESIGN oriented.

  • What are some favorite projects you’ve completed and why?

Actually, one recent project was our Agency Survival Kits. It was a design inspired marketing campaign that, at the same time was meant to be not taken too seriously and went straight to the point. It represents very well, in every aspect, what we do and represent. It was Fun, Creative and had a specific mission (higher sales and build a solid brand recognition).

  • In retrospect, what do you know now that you wish you knew before you pursued your graphic design education?

How to properly manage a team of artists and avoid fast-food.

  • Based on what you hear in the industry, what do you think are the most respected and prestigious schools, departments or programs? Does graduating from a prestigious school make a difference in landing a good job?

Well, considering it’s a very local industry even if we design on a global scale, I do not think there is a Juilliard or Harvard Law of Graphic design. We have University graduates working at Phoenix as well as self-thought artists from the soul. If you’re good, you’re good. Does not mean that school can’t teach you a thing or two, though.

  • How can prospective graphic design students assess their skill and aptitude?

Go in your community, pick a small business that is starting but has no money.  Create their brand image, Logo, Etc..  Participate in contests with it, spread it on the Internet, open a Behance account, see what others have to say, etc.

  • What can students applying to graphic design schools do to increase their chances of being accepted?

Nothing. You either have it or you don’t. If you are not accepted (exception aside or human mistakes) then you are in the wrong field or are there for the wrong reasons or even wrong timing. Creativity has to flow.

  • What other advice can you give to prospective students thinking about an education and career in graphic design?

Passion. It’s all about passion. Techniques can be learned; the rest comes from the heart and guts.

  • What exactly do you do? What are your key responsibilities?

I am the Founder, President and CEO of Phoenix The Creative Studio, one of Montreal’s fastest growing design and web development firms.  I believe that the key to effectively leading a design agency is to always feed your inspiration as well as the inspiration of the team you grow with. I am here to bring tangible benefits to Phoenix The Creative Studio, including the ability to motivate employees and align them with the company’s vision. I take my responsibilities seriously and find out what is needed to bring out the best in everyone on our team. I love what I do and I’m good at it. I happened to be doing my dream job for the past 15 years, and it’s what I do best.

Now I’ve build a team that strive on delivering, personalized, milestone, next level, extra mile projects for every client that signs us a check.

  • What are the tools of the trade that you use the most?

Computer + Google + Heart&Guts (ok, ok, enough of the inspirational crap;  Behance, Adobe everything, Google, Apple, Smartphone, Tablets, and our minds )

  • What are the most challenging aspects of your job?

Traffic and Bad weather. Clients that do not understand the value of good design.

  • What are the hottest specialties within the graphic design field over the next decade?

On-line/Virtual/Augmented Reality/ Minimal technology digital frames/ Projection and holographic media Voila!