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Q&A with Tobias van Schneider

Designer from New York working as an Art Director

I'm a german designer raised in Austria & currently living in New York City working as an Art Director & building new products with Spotify USA. Prior to that I had the privilege of working with companies such as Red Bull, BMW, Google, Wacom, Sony, Fantasy Interactive, Stinkdigital, Toyota, Ralph Lauren, Bwin & more. I pride myself as a multi-disciplinary designer with a broad interests in many different fields but like to focus on Branding & interactive experiences. (mostly in the digital realm). I'm completely self-taught which explains a lot of changes during my career - If I like something I chase it until I found something new & that often results in not having a traditional job description.

© Tobias van Schneider

Software / hardware

I use many different tools and they're always changing. They're just tools, nothing special. In terms of Software I usually use most products from the Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, After Effects, InDesign, Illustrator etc.)

Besides that I'm a big user of Keynote for quick presentations & prototyping, Spotify for musical inspiration, CloudApp for easy screenshot/image sharing, Dropbox for syncing & organizing my files as well as Evernote to keep my notes.

One of my most used apps on my iPhone/iPad are definitely Paper for sketching & Afterlight for editing my iPhone pictures.

In terms of hardware it's fairly simple: Macbook Pro, Wacom Intuos5 Tablet, a standard DotGrid notebook for sketching, my Fuji x100s or Canon 7D camera for shooting pictures and that's pretty much it.

It's important to mention that tools are just tools, they're changing and they should not influence your creative process too much. Whatever helps you to get the idea to paper the fastest is also the best tool, it doesn't matter how expensive your tools are, or how good you are at using Photoshop. I actually think that the better the tools are, the more they get in the way of my creativity.

Ideal work environment

I'm actually very sensible to my work environment. I like more warm environments, it need to as I'm at home in my living room - Cozy & Personal. I usually have a "messy" desk or workplace, full of little things that inspire me, books, magazines, toys, artworks or just random stuff. I like having people around me, listening to music and having a very casual work environment. The worst thing you could do is putting me in a sterile office environment. I also like to sit with my back to a wall, I can't work if I have people running around behind me - I'm always the guy occupying the corner spots in the office space.

My desk is usually a good representation of what is happening in my brain. It's usually messy, creative, experimental. Every 3 weeks I clean up my desk completely, it doesn't take long to get messy again but it always serves as some sort of fresh start/reboot.

Work inspiration

I really don't know. I wrote a blogpost about this a year ago, Inspiration for me is something that I just can't force, but I can try putting myself into lucky positions to attract inspiration. However, in general when it comes to most of my personal projects I had something I was complaining about in the beginning - And as James Murphy already said:

"The best way to complain is to make things"

I take this as inspiration.

Every time I complain I take my negative energy and change it into positive productive energy & since complaining is so easy (we all do it a lot) it's a fantastic source of energy and inspiration.

Creatives you admire most

Very hard to just put a few names here but I'm heavily inspired by people who just get shit done. George Luis, Dieter Rams, Charles Eames, Elon Musk, Bill Murray