Work inspiration with Greig Anderson

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Greig Anderson

Director & co-founder of design studio Freytag Anderson
@freytagandersonfreytaganderson.com

My name is Greig Anderson, director and co-founder of Glasgow based design studio Freytag Anderson.

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

I got my first job as a junior designer after graduating in 2004. I started at small agency (around 20 people) which worked in print, interior design, architecture and digital (basically just early websites in those days) and learned a lot, how to work in a studio environment, how to work with other disciplines and how to deal with clients and busy studio timelines. I also learned a lot of things not to do! I stayed for over 4 years at this studio which changed so dramatically over the course of that time when I left I was a senior designer at an agency with over 70 people.

I left to move to Sydney for a year and worked at a couple of smaller, more boutique agencies which definitely altered the way that I thought about the work that I did. They both believed in the craft of design and its ability to change the way people their lives. The first was far smaller (5-6 people), this meant less hand holding and more hands-on with clients and the business side of design but the quality of work output was incredibly important and attention to detail was paramount.

The second was an experiential environments agency which taught me to step back and look at the bigger picture of a brand across multiple touchpoints whether than be physical, digital or environmental. Working in Sydney at the time was a definite turning point, it taught me a lot about the kind of work I wanted to do and the type of agency I wanted to either be part of or create myself (which subsequently was what happened).

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

When I returned to the UK I worked alone as a freelance designer for a while at first working from small office (bedroom) in the apartment we had at the time. Although fun at first it became quickly apparent that I lacked the discipline required to work alone at home and also missed the social and professional interaction that you get from a studio environment. I hadn’t realised until this point how important it was to get out in the real world everyday and soak up the experiences everything that your surrounded with gives you, from street art to advertising billboards / posters that you see everyday, It made me realise that being culturaly aware is so important I think as a commercial designer and working from home I found myself missing out on seeing these new things everyday, it became easy to not leave the house for days on end. I took the leap to rent a small studio in the city centre and immediately it helped to create the physical divide between home and work. I have always since worked in studio spaces and try to surround myself with as many likeminded creative people as possible.

This is most evident now at Freytag Anderson where our studio is one within a larger creative building and rents desks to a variety of colleagues with similar and complimentary creative skill-sets. Working in shared environment allows you to interact with others and share thoughts and ideas, the best ideas usually come from just having a conversation with someone in the studio about what you or they are working on. A 5 minute chat can save hours of procrastination in my experience.

What software and hardware do you use for your work?

We are all Apple based, we couldn’t bring ourselves to look anything else. As for software its mainly the CS suite from our friends at Adobe. Also (and most importantly) we use pens, pencils and pads. 

Where does your design inspiration come from? (Do you believe in 'inspiration' at all)?

Anything and everything can be an inspiration, its usually starts the in the studio, bouncing ideas, thoughts around, it could be the client themselves, the environment you’re sitting in or even just a throwaway comment someone makes when your talking about a project. Its hard to pinpoint but generally I always feel we get a good feeling for a project pretty quickly. Not necessarily the final solution, but enough to get a overall look and feel together quite quickly which then allows me to think further for an original idea (Is there any left?) or a hook to make a project come to life. A good brief always helps with this, ultimately you want to find an idea which is unique to the client that you use to create something relevant to them or their business. Doing this always make selling the idea in much easier. 

Who are the designers you admire most and why?

It's so difficult these days to be inspired by just particular designers. It's hard to avoid seeing new and exciting things from all over the Globe everyday (as well as a fair amount of rubbish it must be said!). The modernist in me loves the great work of the likes of Stankowski, Aicher, Muller-Brockmann, Rams and Bass. There are some wonderful studios and visual artists doing all kinds of work which we admire today such as our friends at Toko in Sydney, MadeThought, Universal Everything and Snohetta amongst too many others!