Back in January I had an idea to feature monthly interviews with designers that I've grown to love through the blogging world. I can't believe we are all the way in September now - and back for another installment of the bedsidesign files. I'm thrilled for today's Q/A with Erika Dillon of Foxtrot Press & Studio because most of you know I have a huge crush on letterpress!
[head shots are courtesy of Jen Brister of Brister Photo]
What's your bedside style?
My dream bedside table (as of the moment) is the Mid-Century Nightstand from West Elm. I live in a 1930s bungalow and have been trying to incorporate more mid-century pieces into the space because it just looks so good and like it belongs in the house!
What type of design work you do?
I'm a letterpress printer and graphic designer who focuses on brand identity and letterpress printing for small businesses. I also design a line of stationery that includes greeting cards and prints. I also have calendars and notebooks that are in the works for a mid-September launch, so I'm excited to debut those to everyone!
When did you “know” you wanted to be a designer?
I've always been involved with art and design pretty much since I could hold a pencil. For the longest time, I thought I was going to be an animator for Disney and spent much of my days drawing the characters from the Lion King (I wish I still had those sketch books!). It wasn't until I was enrolled in a Photoshop class at RISD that I realized what I really loved was actually graphic design. Logos, typography, color and combining all of these elements was far more interesting to me than animation had been. I just never knew that what I really loved even had a name until that point!
I also realized that when I took my first class in letterpress printing in 2008 (at a continuing education course through RISD) that this was something I really wanted to do. It wasn't until 2011 when I took another intro to letterpress class at the AS220 Community Printshop that I decided to follow through with it and start printing regularly. I absolutely know that letterpress printing is what I'm really meant to be doing (in tandem with design, of course!).
What is your favorite part of the design process?
My favorite part of the design process is definitely the sketching and ideation phase. I spend a good chunk of my day sitting in front of the computer screen, so it's absolute bliss when I get to just sketch and get lost in the process. All of the possibility and ideas that are out there really energizes me because it's a way to just get everything out there without worrying about the final outcome.
Also, when it comes to printing, pretty much everything that goes into creating the final printed piece is my favorite thing in the world. The process is far more important than the finished product for me. I'm definitely so thrilled with each and every piece I print (seriously, my heart flutters after each finished print I pull) but for me, it's more about all of the set up that went into the piece… from the initial design to making the plates to setting it up on press to printing. And honestly, there are few things in life better than pulling a two-color print and seeing that the registration and alignment is spot on. Typically, I do a little dance or maybe shout an "eff yeah!" when this happens.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere… from online sites like Pinterest (who doesn't use Pinterest as inspiration?) to just being out in nature for a while and looking around at everything. I also have my go-to books and magazines that will forever feed me inspiration (Anthology and Uppercase for magazines, Type, Image, Message and the Pictorial Webster's Dictionary for a small sample of books). Also, I've found that yoga inspires me… I think because it calms my ever crazed mind and makes me see clearly for a while. Note to self: do more yoga!
Tell us about the city/town that you live in:
Currently, I live in Providence, Rhode Island. I absolutely love living here. The art culture is super rich, the restaurant scene is one of the best and I love how small the city is. I love that I belong to an amazing printshop community where I can continue to grow my skills and that there's a whole lot of creativity in general in Providence. I'm able to soak it all in without getting overwhelmed… and I feel at home here. I grew up just outside of Providence but it hasn't been until the past 5 years that I've actually felt like I belong here. It's made a huge difference in how I view this little city.
What is your favorite Pantone color?
Okay, this is a tough one. I'm going to bend the rules and give two of my favorite Pantone colors. My first favorite is PMS 317 and my other favorite is PMS 380.
Describe your design/interior/fashion style in 5 words:
Let's see if I can do this: modern, bold, clean, fun, quirky. That kinda sums it up for all of those areas. ;)
Do you freelance? If so, do you have any tips for people starting out?
I do freelance (disclaimer: I also maintain a full time job). The advice I can offer is be as organized as is possible for yourself, never give up and always be learning and open to new ideas and experiences!
Describe your “perfect” day.
My perfect day would involve me waking up and starting the day off with some yoga, working on ideas and concepts for new client work, letterpress printing for a good chunk of the day, taking some time to relax with the cats and spending time with my boyfriend. Mind you, all of this would take place in an awesome house in the woods which would have my own studio and press and there would definitely be a personal chef involved. A girl can dream, right?
Did you attend school for design?
I did attend school for design. I went to Rhode Island College where I got my BFA in Studio Arts with a concentration in Graphic Design. I have a fine art background which lends itself nicely to my design career. I only wish I could find a way to incorporate charcoal drawings of skeletons into my work more often… maybe there's something there for a stationery line I should flush out!
Who is your all-time favorite musician?
All-time favorite musicians (because I can't follow directions): Fiona Apple, The National and Muse.
Thank you so much Erika for sharing your input with us!