ArtCenter: What do you like most about your job?
Aaron Jacob (BA 08 Graphic Design) Associate Creative Director, Ayzenberg Group’s space.camp: The fact that I’m fortunate enough to spend my time collaborating with insanely talented creatives. Whether it’s other designers, illustrators, photographers or directors, there’s nothing that inspires me more than seeing what happens when creatives from different disciplines get together and make something amazing.
AC: How do you define success?
AJ: Creating something meaningful that you’re proud of, are able to share with others, and hopefully might inspire them in some small way, is how I define “success” for myself.
AC: What’s the one tool you can’t do without?
AJ: My brain.
Don’t compartmentalize the things you love simply because you’re focusing on refining a specific craft. Let those passions flow, bleed and blend together.
AC: What do you do to detox from media and screens?
AJ: I love playing with my Persian cat or taking my two beagles for a long walk with my wife. I also love to unwind by writing music and playing piano.
AC: If you could trade jobs with anyone for a day who would it be?
AJ: A Japanese architect. I’m obsessed with all types of architecture, but I especially identify with most traditional and modern Japanese architects with regards to their passion, design principles, aesthetics, love-of-craft and thoughtfulness of how people engage with their spaces.
AC: What’s the most unique thing you’ve designed?
AJ: Earlier in my career, I helped design a product launch event and silk-screened promotional materials for a collaboration with Incase and the Andy Warhol Foundation. The event itself was a multimedia Warhol-factory-inspired gallery space in New York’s Lower East Side. We filled the gallery with projections, music, video displays and iPhone “surveillance cameras” to ensure every attendee had their “15 minutes of fame.” It was a lot of fun collaborating and experimenting with the Warhol brand by bringing its spirit to life within a modern day digital context.
AC: What book is on your bedside table?
AJ: Currently, Haruki Murakami’s Men Without Women is at the top of a small pile of books that are in rotation.
AC: Who are the most interesting designers working today?
AJ: I’m clearly biased, but my wife, Paula Hansanugrum (BA 08), who is also a Graphic Designer and Creative Director, continually inspires me with her diverse and unique approach to design solutions. She always tackles every new project with a fresh way of thinking, which results in something that transcends a simple design “style.”
AC: Describe a moment in your childhood where you first identified as a designer.
AJ: There are a few moments that come to mind, but perhaps the most distinct is when I decided to create my own T-shirt brand at the mature age of 8. I designed a logo and a handful of graphics that I then printed onto iron-on sheets and proudly wore everyday under my school uniform.<?
AC: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
AJ: To prevent unnecessary harm toward all living things at any given moment. That, or telekinesis seems like a good backup superpower.
AC: What’s your most prized possession?
AJ: My instincts. They’re not always right, but at times when I’m most confused, unsure or doubtful of myself, they are a great reminder of which general direction I should be heading in.
AC: How would your closest friend describe you?
AJ: A passionate-rational-stubborn-zen-philosopher.
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AC: What’s your best piece of advice for an ArtCenter student who’s interested in following your career path?
AJ: Don’t compartmentalize the things you love simply because you’re focusing on refining a specific craft. Let those passions flow, bleed and blend together — it will set you apart from other creatives, and help inform how you think about and approach design in general. I’m lucky to have lead a somewhat eclectic and atypical career path for a graphic designer, partly because I’m always pushing myself to take on new and uncomfortable challenges, and also because I’m interested in so many different things.
If you love to write, go write a poem, short story, or script—then typeset it, design the book cover and the poster. If you love music, go write a song or make a playlist; then design and art direct the album art, website and merchandise that’s inspired from it. If you love photography, movies, technology… let those things bounce around your brain as you sit in front of your sketch book or computer trying to design. The more you go through this exercise, the easier it will become for you to tap into these things at any given moment in your career — a skill that’s extremely important if you want to make the leap from “design” to “art direction” or “creative direction.”