What led you into design?
I found my path in life (and design) rather serendipitously. As a young man, I possessed a high level of curiosity and creativity, but was unaware that a career path existed for such skills.
Ultimately, I think it was my art teachers—all incredibly talented and insightful women—who set me on the path I am on. (Thank you, Jennifer Van Patten, Judy McIntosh, and Britt Stadig! ❤️)
If I trace back to the beginning, I distinctly recall a moment during my junior year of high-school. My art teacher, Judy McIntosh, introduced the class to Margaret Kilgallen via Art21’s feature, “Extended Play”. This short film documented Margaret and her husband—Barry McGee—sifting through a tightly-packed rail yard, drawing stylized portraits of people and short phrases on vacant, rusted cars.
I had never seen anything like it before, and it stirred something in me. Art went from “a thing you looked at inside of galleries” to “a thing you can make and appreciate anywhere”.
Over the following years, I too could be spotted in rail yards around my hometown. I later found ways to bring my playful and irreverent practice into digital mediums, and eventually realized that I wanted to become a graphic designer and developer. A decade and some change later, here I am.
What does a typical day look like?
I’m a rather seasonal person, so it varies considerably. Some months, I burn the candle at both ends for the sake of a project that I can’t seem to take my mind off of. Other months, I’m a good little boy who rests and rises with the rest of them.
At the moment, life is rather structured. I wake up early, make a cup of coffee (with haste), and meet with my team over video to discuss the day ahead. I currently work as the Principal Brand Designer for Loom—a fully remote startup—and since my team is spread all over the states, I find it’s best to knock out my meetings in the morning so I can fully focus on my design tasks in the afternoon. Once meetings are done, I eat a small lunch, take a walk with my dog, and then sit down to focus on design. Often I ping-pong between Figma and Codepen/VSCode, but some days require C4D, After Effects, Glyphs, etc.
Each day is different (which I love).
Over the last decade, evenings have traditionally been my most productive time as a creative. This is still the case, however I've lately found myself wanting to spend less time on screens and more time with my wife/friends/dog/cats/book/guitar/etc during the pandemic.
What's your workstation setup?
Most of my work is done on MacBooks. My MacBook Air is hands-down the best Mac I've owned. Fast, light, portable, and adorable—what's not to love? When the job requires a bit more oomph—like 3D or ML work—I boot up my PC.
I do my best to keep my devices tidy and free of distraction. All of my workstation wallpapers rotate through an album called "Wall of the Greats", which features images of people that have inspired me over the years. Catching glimpses of them throughout the day gives me little hits of gratitude and inspiration.
My phone is boring as hell and sports only the apps I need. No Instagram, no Twitter, etc. Aside from basic utilities, listening to music, or watching a bit of YouTube, I do my best to keep my phone down.
Where do you go to get inspired?
In my experience, inspiration isn't tethered to a location; it's available wherever one can manage to tune into it. That's key, I think. If I've readied myself, inspiration shows herself in like an old friend.
That said, there are a few places where she'll often appear for me; listening to or playing music, reading almost any book I can get my hands on, and listening to interviews or biographies from interesting figures throughout history—to name a few.
The best way I know to find inspiration is to simply take a walk. Some days I only have time for a short lap around the block, other days I’ll wander for miles with a camera in hand. Whatever I can manage, I’ll take. For me, it’s in the quiet moments of whitespace where creative connections are most frequently formed.
What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
My little camera.
It’s deceptively simple, ergonomic, and useful without getting in the way. Along with its 35 mm sibling, it’s been unfailing throughout the years and has taught me to pause and appreciate what’s in front of me.
What pieces of work are you most proud of?
Perhaps this sounds a bit odd, but I don’t have that kind of relationship with my work. I pour my full attention and care into my craft, but when the creative process is through, I feel little attachment to the final product. If anything, I’m prouder of the creative process I’ve developed over time and feel grateful that I’ve been able to creatively serve others alongside so many interesting, talented people.
What design challenges do you face at your company?
My team and I are currently in the process of refreshing Loom’s brand and creating a marketing design system that will scale across all of our brand surfaces. This is a great deal of work for a small team, so we spend a good amount of time working on our own respective parts and come together to collaborate where possible. The greatest challenge with this sort of work is ensuring that design, engineering, product, and marketing teams are all up-to-date and appropriately involved.
What music do you listen to whilst designing?
Any advice for ambitious designers?
My advice is to follow Corita Kent's rules as closely as you can.
Anything you want to promote or plug?
Nothing in particular! Thank you for taking the time. If you’d like to get in touch, feel free to visit my corner of the internet at egstad.com.
Wishing you all the best,