James Love is Senior Designer and partner at United Agency.
What led you into design?
Do you mean recently or from the start?! Maybe not ‘design’ as such but something using colour, shape and probably the same as every other designer to an extent. The parents always got me art equipment for Christmas in my 4-16 years of growing up. Spirograph sets. Paints. Markers. A2 cartridge pads. [Always A2…] Art books and them vintage colouring books – where you add water to reveal the colour. Compasses. Rulers. Technical drawing boards – Once one including them rulers that moved on the up and down axis but stayed in place. Posh. A ultra modern [at the time] spray pen [Never used – the ink was to rare. And expensive]. Masking tape. Scalpels. Every issue of that collectable drawing series in print. Anything to do with Dick Powell [Seymour/Powell] I was on like a rash. My D&T teacher at the time – Mr Purse [I think] pushed me down the industrial design route at school with projects like design and build your own clock. I think my younger years led me into design or even just things I liked doing.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day… Up. Wash. Get teas on. If we have milk. If not, coffee, with that ‘Coffemate’ powdery stuff. Head to the study or to the office for a catch up with Jim, Mike and Kate, or we often meet over Skype. If its a day in the study. Check mail, do the paperwork and banking jobs. Plan the day – What Im doing and when Im doing it. Headphones on. Start any projects, whether it be finishing various ones off or starting fresh ones. I’ll speak to the team throughout the day about this and that. Catch up with Jim. Have lunch around one. Sometimes I’ll get out for a walk with Stan [My miniature Dax – As long as I can be confident there wont be any other dog walkers on our route. Or cats. Defiantly not cats.] for 15-20 minutes, weather permitting. Back to my desk about two. Continue with what Im working on. I don’t really have a finishing time to end a ‘typical day’, generally I’ll move away when I feel like I’ve got enough done or a project can be picked up the next working day. Catch up with Jim.
What’s your work setup? [Software/Desk etc]
Generally, music, emails, notes, calendars, banking and so on, is done on my 13″ MacBook Pro [This one] as I can take it anywhere in my backpack and use it when needed. Production and ‘work’ is done on my iMac 27″ Retina 2015. The usual rig for most I guess. Other hardware is a spiral bound Black’n’Red notebook and a particular Pilot pen.
Software is naturally all the commonly used, and what Ive grown up with. Adobe CC 2019. I do not use Sketch. [What?!] For those that do… I wish I did, but feel I do what I do best in the software I use best. I do however, use Principal and Origami Studio, but 90% of the time, I work within InDesign, Illustrator and of course, Photoshop. My desk is white. 1600 x 800mm and from IKEA. I use a Razor Mantis mouse matt. The big one.
Where do you go to get inspired?
On holiday. The South West. Closer to home, generally away from my desk. To be honest, a quick chat with Jim or Mike makes me take a step back, think and revisit something with a different mindset. It’s nice to see what others are creating now and then, but I try not to get to caught up on what other people are doing – Not that trends haven’t made there way into our work flow from time to time.
What have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?
Magnet App by CrowdCafé. Now it’s in my life, I’m not sure how I coped without it. I used to get obsessed by the alignment of my windows while working… It was almost verging on OCD. But then Magnet happened… And its 99p. 99p. I use it when I need too, it does exactly what its meant too and nothing more. Great design that is.
What piece[s] of work are you most proud of?
The first thing that springs to mind was done some years ago now. At a previous company. I worked with the team on an evolution of a 100 year old mark for Napier Turbochargers, then part of Siemens Industrial UK. The ‘Lion/Sabre’ symbol I redraw by hand, over and over and over to create the right forms to represent the ideas the team had developed. It was a big account for us to win at the time, as a small outfit, but we did and so for a combinations of various reasons, thats one of the pieces I suppose.
Really, though, work thats done for any customer or client that makes them proud, in return does the same for us.
What design challenges do you face at your company?
Her majesties service pulling the knot tighter for smaller businesses. Just being honest.
What music do you listen to whilst working?
Underworld. Everything. Pretty much all the time.
Massive Attack. Everything.
Faithless. Somethings with a lower BPM.
Simple Minds. Real Life.
Enigma. The Story of the fall of a Rebel Angel.
Phil Collins. Most.
Ludovico Einaudi. In Time Lapse.
Depends on how the days turning out.
Any advice for ambitious designers?
Graft hard. Do your own thing. Use a baseline. Set type well.