Interview with David Schwen - Mobile Design of the Year 2018 - Indigo Design Award
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Interview with David Schwen

Indigo Award Interviews with winning designers

Interview with:

David Schwen

Founder of Dschwen LLC.

Mobile Design of the Year 2018

I have over 15 years of experience working at agencies big and small, in-house, and independently. As the founder and creative director of Dschwen, I lead our studio in executing branded video content, social media campaigns, and identity for brands big and small.

How Did You Become A Designer?

I went to design school at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I graduated with a major in Graphic Design. I later worked at different design studios and agencies in Minneapolis, before starting my own studio.

How Would You Describe Your Approach To Design?

Concept is always king. The big idea always leads in my work. The execution and style are dependent on what will convey the idea in the best way.

Who Or What Has Been The Biggest Single Influence On Your Way Of Thinking?

I participated in a Make Something Cool Every Day (MSCED) project. Basically, for one year, I made a piece of content every day. It was such a freeing exercise that helped me to experiment and become comfortable with many different ways of creating work.

What Are You Currently Fascinated By And How Is It Feeding Into Your Work?

Resonating with people, on a personal level, is the guiding force behind my work. I love finding moments that people can relate with and also bringing humor to their day, is a huge plus.

What Are You Passionate About Besides Your Work?

Being outside and hiking in the outdoors is a great release. I’ve found that when I’m off on a long walk or hike, that I will come up with my best ideas.

What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You Have Heard And Repeat To Others?

Never stop learning and always be comfortable with failing. Failing, by experimenting, is a great way to grow as a designer. If you ever feel too comfortable with how you’re working, try to mix it up and try something new. If you fail, big deal, at least you might have learned something along the way.

How Do You Respond When A Client Gives You Harsh Criticism?

I always try to find a positive thing, in the negative criticism that clients might give. At the end of the day, the client is the one paying the bills, so it’s always best to be able to collaborate with compromises in order to make the best work for both sides.

What Key Metrics Do You Use To Track Your Design’s Success?

It’s easy to get caught up on ‘likes’ or ‘views’ with work posted on social media. I measure a successful project by how my audience interacts and shares the work. I don’t care about how many likes it gets. I do care about if it brightens someone’s day and they feel that they need to tag a friend to brighten their day as well.

Tell Us About The Best Design Piece From Your Portfolio.

During some of my experimental passion projects, I stumbled upon an idea that resonated very well with everyone. It is my Pantone Food Pairings. It was such a fun project to work on and it brought me great joy to see how well it was received by the world. The passion project later turned into a very conceptual and fun project that I worked on with McDonald’s.

Who Are The People Who Have Influenced Your Aesthetics And Your Approach To Design?

Stefan Sagmeister and Daniel Eatock have been big influences in my career. Their ability to use different styles to convey their ideas,has helped me to not worry too much about experimenting and failing by trying new things.

What Are Some Of Your Personal And/Or Professional Goals For The Future?

I would ABSOLUTELY love to work on a stop-motion movie for Wes Anderson. Big time dream.

How Did You Become A Designer?

I went to design school at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. I graduated with a major in Graphic Design. I later worked at different design studios and agencies in Minneapolis, before starting my own studio.

How Would You Describe Your Approach To Design?

Concept is always king. The big idea always leads in my work. The execution and style are dependent on what will convey the idea in the best way.

Who Or What Has Been The Biggest Single Influence On Your Way Of Thinking?

I participated in a Make Something Cool Every Day (MSCED) project. Basically, for one year, I made a piece of content every day. It was such a freeing exercise that helped me to experiment and become comfortable with many different ways of creating work.

What Are You Currently Fascinated By And How Is It Feeding Into Your Work?

Resonating with people, on a personal level, is the guiding force behind my work. I love finding moments that people can relate with and also bringing humor to their day, is a huge plus.

What Are You Passionate About Besides Your Work?

Being outside and hiking in the outdoors is a great release. I’ve found that when I’m off on a long walk or hike, that I will come up with my best ideas.

What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You Have Heard And Repeat To Others?

Never stop learning and always be comfortable with failing. Failing, by experimenting, is a great way to grow as a designer. If you ever feel too comfortable with how you’re working, try to mix it up and try something new. If you fail, big deal, at least you might have learned something along the way.

How Do You Respond When A Client Gives You Harsh Criticism?

I always try to find a positive thing, in the negative criticism that clients might give. At the end of the day, the client is the one paying the bills, so it’s always best to be able to collaborate with compromises in order to make the best work for both sides.

What Key Metrics Do You Use To Track Your Design’s Success?

It’s easy to get caught up on ‘likes’ or ‘views’ with work posted on social media. I measure a successful project by how my audience interacts and shares the work. I don’t care about how many likes it gets. I do care about if it brightens someone’s day and they feel that they need to tag a friend to brighten their day as well.

Tell Us About The Best Design Piece From Your Portfolio.

During some of my experimental passion projects, I stumbled upon an idea that resonated very well with everyone. It is my Pantone Food Pairings. It was such a fun project to work on and it brought me great joy to see how well it was received by the world. The passion project later turned into a very conceptual and fun project that I worked on with McDonald’s.

Who Are The People Who Have Influenced Your Aesthetics And Your Approach To Design?

Stefan Sagmeister and Daniel Eatock have been big influences in my career. Their ability to use different styles to convey their ideas,has helped me to not worry too much about experimenting and failing by trying new things.

What Are Some Of Your Personal And/Or Professional Goals For The Future?

I would ABSOLUTELY love to work on a stop-motion movie for Wes Anderson. Big time dream.

You can find out more about David Schwen here

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