Interview: Tim Reddington
Last fall we collaborated with artist Tim Reddington on a photo series for the Porta Pro Limited Edition.
We recently caught up with Tim to discuss his design, art, process and work:
How did you get into graphic design?
I have always had a love for art and drawing, but my experience with design really started in my junior year of high school. I took a photography class where I learned how to shoot film and the fundamentals of photo manipulation using Photoshop. After that class I had a desire to learn more about photography and design. I worked at Officemax in the Impress department my senior year of high school, which gave me some knowledge about printing and my first taste of design.
You have a broad skill set – how did that happen?
I try to push myself to create as much as I can, no matter what medium I’m working with. I grew up on a farm so I have this sort of “figure it out” approach to most projects. School taught me the fundamentals of design, but I have picked up a lot of skills from real life experiences. For example projects like lifestyle photography, screen-printing tee shirts, designing logos and building bikes has helped diversify me as an artist.
Are you trained in all those areas or are you self-taught?
I try to be as resourceful as possible when I come across a challenge, however I graduated from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a BFA in Communication Design. Prior to my time at MIAD, I spent two years at Waukesha County Technical College where I received my Associates in Graphic Design. Although the rest of my skills I’ve picked up on my own along with the help of many others.
How do you describe your approach and style?
I am a traditionalist. I find it important to start on paper to thoroughly formulate a direction before getting locked in on screen. This is a part of the creative process that I enjoy. My personal style could be described as "Utilitarian-Minimalist"; I tend to lean towards clean composition and typography. However that being said, as a freelance designer, I enjoy the challenge of working with clients to capture their style and vision. It keeps this career interesting and only makes me a stronger designer.
What or who are your biggest influencers?
I am influenced by everything visual around me. I spend a lot of time on Instagram looking at different designers and photographers who give me inspiration. Behance and Pinterest are always open in my browser and have a large impact on my designs. It always helps to see good design in order to get a push in the right direction. My largest influence would have to be the target market for the given project. When designing for a certain audience I try to immerse myself in the style of design that they would interact with.
Who’s your favorite designer?
It’s hard to narrow down to just one, but if I had to choose an all time favorite it would be Herb Lubalin. His creativity in typography has always amazed me. Currently I have been very interested in Aaron Draplin. He has a very simplistic and clear style of design, which I strive for in my work.
What is your favorite kind of work?
Packaging design has always been a favorite. For the last few years I have worked on a variety of projects ranging from beer to bikes. The design aspects of packaging seem to compliment my style of work. One of the traits that I enjoy is the challenge of mixing a 3 dimensional form with a tactile user experience. Another preferred type of work is lifestyle photography. I love having the chance to showcase a product while also capturing the style of a model and their environment. This opens up really fun opportunities to travel based on the shoot.
What are you working on now?
I’m currently working on some t-shirt designs for a lifestyle-clothing brand that I started a few years back with a friend from high school. The brand is called Option Clothing Company. We haven’t released anything in years, but I’m shooting to drop some designs early spring of 2017. Another project I worked on recently was a logo for Gathering Place Brewing Company, which will be located in Riverwest, Milwaukee opening in spring of 2017. Of course, I’m constantly busy with new designs for my employer, Fyxation, ranging from posters to bicycle graphics and everything in between.
Tell us about Fyxation
Fyxation is a Milwaukee based bicycle company that was founded in 2009. The company started by selling an urban commuter tire. Next they moved on to components, and since 2013, complete bikes and frames. Fyxation’s world headquarters is located in Riverwest, Milwaukee, which is where I work. I have been the sole graphic designer at Fyxation for the last two and a half years. In that time I have worked on many different projects including: packaging design, lifestyle/studio photography, bicycle graphics, environmental graphics, website design and many others. Basically anything classified as “visual” at Fyxation falls into my department. Working at a smaller company has always been a heavy workload, but it is a labor of love. It keeps me busy and is always pushing my skillset.
What advice do you have for people interested in graphic design?
If I were to sum it up in two words: DO MORE. I think the best way to get better at anything is practice. If that is learning how to use the Adobe programs or getting better at sketching ideas, it all starts with practice. When I look back at my old designs I laugh at how bad they are! Everyday that I work on designing something is a chance for me to get better. So back to the two words: DO MORE!