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Q&A with Dan Button

Senior Designer at FRUKT

I'm Dan Button, I'm a Senior Designer at FRUKT and I'm a co-founder of the illustration outfit Hero of Switzerland.

How did you get started in illustration? What is a turning point in your professional career?

I've drawn for as long as I can remember. At first when I was young, when I didn't know what I was doing, I just enjoyed the praise my drawings got from family, friends and strangers. It was therefore a no brainer to do art for GCSE and A Levels, but it wasn't until university when you actually have to think 'do I want to do this for a living?' that you have to make a choice. Turns out I didn't want to just do illustration (as I thought at the time that it'd narrow my chances of employment). I'm always one to keep my options open, so I went to the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and did Visual Communications as it allowed me to do Illustration, Graphic Design, Photography and Animation. Career wise I only dabbled in illustration sporadically, doing story boards or small editorial pieces when working in Advertising and PR. Illustration didn't become a big fixture in my life again until I persuaded two like minded and equally creatively frustrated friends to meet with me every week to draw stuff and drink beer. This turned into Hero of Switzerland and it was the best thing I've ever done. It not only allowed me to put ideas into practice without censor but it also allowed me to draw all the things I couldn't do or express in my day job.

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What is your ideal work environment? Do you prefer to work in your art studio all day long or prefer to mix a few activities?

I get easily distracted and I can only work through guilt, not discipline, so the life of being in a studio on my own and being freelance just wouldn't work. I love being surrounded by others, not only to be able to bounce ideas off of or get instant feedback from but also the social side of things. So a busy design studio with chatter and music blasting out is how I work best. Also the nature of the work we do at FRUKT is incredibly varied (festival activations, websites, advertising, merchandise, apps etc.) so that keeps me on my toes, holds my interest and gives me the good mix that I crave.

Where does your work inspiration come from?

It sounds corny and over said but inspiration is everywhere. I'm a firm believer in absorbing as much visual or audio stimulation as possible, and I constantly tell my juniors this. Whether it's rattling through your Instagram feed and Tumblr, going to shows and the cinema or just noticing things on your feet/bike/train/travels. When a brief lands on your lap and you've been open to everything around you, you'll find ideas come far easier as you've got so many different touch points to draw from than if you'd just sat at home watching the same old shit on the TV.

Where are your favorite art places in your city or outside?

I love London because I love at any given point, whether it's during your lunch break, after work or at weekends, there's always something to see or do. I don't have any places in particular that I go to all the time as things come, go, grow and mutate. When you've been in London for over 10 years like I have you see areas grow and spoil but because London is so progressive there's always something or somewhere else to go. Outside of London I obviously have a soft spot for Birmingham and can't believe how much it's changed since I studied there, I really enjoyed New York (but it's not better than London) and I love Berlin. All really based on beer and food and all the little creative things in between.