Today, we are joined by Michael Molloy, he is a Graphic Designer. You can view his portfolio here.

  • Firstly, I’d like to thank you for the interview. We’d like to understand how your interest for illustration started shaping up. Tell us a bit more about what made you go this route!

Well it all started in first grade when my teacher seemed to be bothered by everything I did except for the drawings I was making for certain assignments. That with encouragement from my parents really started my interest in drawing. It wasn’t until right before college that I discovered that you could actually get a job that involved art which is when I decided to pursue graphic design.

  • Tell us a bit more about how you learned it all. What changed in the last few years in terms of ease of expanding your skills and knowledge?

When I got to college I had never even heard of graphic design as a practice, so I actually learned a lot from the classes I took there. That combined with the magic of the internet I really was able to research this practice that I love and develop through trial and error. What has changed for me in the past few years, specifically, is the amount of different types of jobs I have experienced. I have worked in everything from pharmaceutical marketing, to in house design for a large tech company, to large Manhattan ad agencies, and even small boutique branding studios. Some coming with certain joys and others with disappointments, but all with valuable lessons that have helped hone my skills and discover the type of work that I would like to be doing and more importantly the work I would not like to be doing.

  • What does your creative process look like?

My creative process for design involves communication with a client to discover what is most important to them and what they envision and then a fair amount of reading into research on topics that come out of those conversations. I try to let this information determine the creation of visuals. Illustration is a little different in that I either am approached to do a very specific idea that is requested to be done in a certain style. In that sense its pretty clear in what I have to do, so I’ll just put on some music and start sketching.

  • Do you have any recommendations in terms of good books, programs you use, or media choices you’re willing to share with us?

One of my favorite books, as a resource, is How To Be a Graphic Designer, Without Losing Your Soul by Adrian Shaughnessy. Its a great because it talks about the other side of being a freelance graphic designer, the practical stuff like how to get clients, how to charge clients, how to hire people, accounting, etc. Things that ,sadly, aren’t talked about too often in the community of graphic design and illustration. Another great resource is the Behance network. It is an awesome networking and portfolio site for all creative fields. I wouldn’t have a career without it. There is also an amazing art blog called booooooom.com (that’s seven o’s) that features a lot of unknown and extremely interesting contemporary artists and illustrators.

  • Do you have a special place or object that boosts your inspiration and helps your creative drive? What is it like and why does it have this effect on you?

I don’t really have a special place or object, but I always find inspiration comes when I’m not actively pursuing it. It will be when I’m somewhere like the beach, just laying around letting my mind wander. Mundane activities like long drives always give me my best ideas as well, again anytime or place where I can get lost in thought.

  • Could you describe how a productive day would look like from your point of view? Which are the most important hours for you?

A productive day for me is when I’m doing work that is fulfilling. It doesn’t matter how much work was actually done that day, but if it was fulfilling then that was a productive day. The most important hours for me are probably 12 to 5. I really like to relax in the mornings so if it were up to me I would do nothing but relax, eat, read, go onto some design blogs and drink some coffee for an hour or two before diving into work. Once I get going though I’m non-stop.

  • What is your stance on today’s ever growing opportunities enabling artists to take on remote design work?

I think it is an amazing thing for anyone involved in any kind of creative industry to be able to self publish and market themselves. It’s given me a lot of opportunities and it has built many awesome careers. I think from the other side of it it allows agencies to work with more people and hire freelancers very easily and quickly for accounts that might not be there for them long term, which is also cool.

  • What would you prefer: a steady, well paying job in a local agency, or the freedom and often stressful life of a freelancer? Why?

I’m not really sure to be honest. I really think that you make your own happiness and I’m sure I can be fulfilled in either environment. About a month ago, I left a great company to pursue my own endeavors. I chose  the freelance route because it is allowing me to focus on doing the work I want to do. I also like being in control of my own time and schedule.

  • How would you describe “the ideal project”? Did you have any recent opportunities to come close to this?

The ideal project for me would be working with someone who is very passionate about what they are building and working with them to build a visual brand for them. It doesn’t matter what industry they are involved in just as long as they genuinely care about what they are doing.