John Grigg has been part of the Rocketmakers team since 2016 working in the role of graphic designer. He leads the way on design elements for clients and has been instrumental in developing the Rocketmakers’ branding over the years.
I chatted to John to find out how his passion for design began, the inspiration behind the Rocketmakers’ brand design and how he stays focused whilst working from home.
Where, when and how did your passion for design begin?
I was always really arty growing up and at school so I guess it started there. I took art, photography and film studies at college which all had elements of design in them, and gave me a chance to learn how to use photoshop, and create different kinds of images. I then studied Illustration at uni, which led to me learning more about image-making and graphic design. I loved screen printing t-shirts and posters. After uni I managed to get a job as a web designer and learnt how to write HTML and CSS, and how to design for the web, which eventually led to me designing apps and to Rocketmakers.
Tell us about your creative process, how do you start a new project and how does the concept develop?
It depends on the project but it generally starts with research. I start by researching the industry and the market that the product or project is aimed at and check out any existing competitors to get an overall lay of the land. Ideas will then usually start to come to me about what I could design for the product that will suit the industry and audience, and also stand out in some way. I also want to make sure that the design is contemporary and suits current standards and trends within the ‘createch’ industry. After I’ve recorded the research in a moodboard, I’ll start sketching and developing some ideas. Throughout the whole process, I collaborate closely with the client on developing their initial concept through to the finished project.
When did the process for the Rocketmakers branding start? How has it evolved since then?
Fairly soon after I started working at Rocketmakers I started working on a new website design for the Rocketmakers website. After that I took the lead on brand identity design for the company, and designed a new logo for the company. I collaborated with the design team to build a new style guide and library of brand assets that we are still growing and perfecting today.
What’s the story behind the Rocketmakers brand?
When I joined I learnt that the 2 major influences of the company brand identity was NASA and 1950’s retro sci-fi. So I took that and ran with it and mixed in some of my own sci-fi pop culture influences as well as looking at brand trends and standards set by the giants of the tech industry.
What are your future ideas for the Rocketmakers brand?
I’m currently working on a 2020 styleguide to help keep all the brand assets organised in one place. The idea is that we can then use that as a guide for painting future internal products and everything is consistent. Another huge part of the brand are illustrations that are created by Lydia, our amazing illustrator, who I hope to work with more in the future.
What are your top three tips for budding designers?
The great thing about wanting to be a digital designer these days is that if you have a laptop and an internet connection you have everything you need. Figma and Youtube are free and you can use those 2 tools to teach yourself. You should also set a portfolio up for yourself on Behance or Dribbble. If you’re interested, give it a try. What have you got to lose?
What are your favourite things to keep you energised and focused at work?
Music and motivational podcasts definitely help me to stay in a productive zone as long. I mostly listen to more lo-fi instrumental music so it’s not too distracting. I also try and exercise as much as I can before working on a project so I have a clear head, and try to eat clean to not get sluggish. I’m still working out the best way to stay focused and I’m trying to kick the habit of just drinking way too many cups of coffee (which is a work in progress!).
What is the best piece of technology that you own and why do you love it?
To be honest I can’t really do anything without my macbook. I do love using apple’s pencil though and I would really like to do some more free hand illustration and lettering in the future.
How can people keep up to date with Rocketmaker’s design work?
At Rocketmakers we leverage our experience to build innovative software for companies of all sizes. If you have a vision for a project and you need a technical partner to help you design, develop and deploy it, get in touch: [email protected]