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01: Love & Creativity: 8 DIL artists.
  • Love & Creativity
  • Love & Creativity
  • Love & Creativity

Here at Design is Love, we encourage creative exploration in all that we do.

You can see it in our inwords section, where open discussion on engaging topics takes place. You can see it within Helping Hand, where we hook up designers and creatives for a worthy cause, and we especially see it in the Design Fund where participation = support. By providing designers a place to freely express themselves we bridge the gap between art and design. It changes the dialog we have with designers (and maybe even ourselves) and opens up ideas about message, intent and communication. Your support of the design fund helps generate the funds to produce the next project developed by someone you might not even know...someone who might create something that makes your heart sing. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

Love & Creativity, the first of the open projects from Design Is Love’s Design Fund, selected eight artists whose poster design captured the expression of freedom and self exploration. All proceeds from the fund are repurposed to produce the work and support this poster set and future Design Fund projects.

Like all freedoms, the freedom of expression opens doors. Creative expression is born from ideas. Please join us as Design Is Love talks to three of the Love & Creativity participants. Read about their challenges, inspiration and why they embraced the idea of the Design Fund. Read on to learn more about: Ryan Frease | Josh Layfayette | Justin Muir or see all the posters. Ready to buy? Shop!

Help support the Design Fund and celebrate the pursuit of creative exploration. We hope you'll pick up this gorgeous poster design set and share the message. Bring a little love home.

Ryan Frease is presently the senior designer at Alphabet Arm Design in Boston, MA. Ryan also takes on a limited amount of freelance design and illustration work. He graduated from Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida in 2000 and has been working in Boston since 2004.

Ryan Frease

Hi Ryan, thank you for joining us. How did you hear about Design Is Love?

Chris Piascik, my good friend and fellow contributer to the Design Is Love poster project let me know about DIL and the call for entries. It just seemed like a great reason to create some art for my own personal satisfaction. The client work I do is extremely creative, so I can't complain, but, there is just something very satisfying that happens when you're designing a piece for your own pure creative expression.

That’s great to hear. So you definitely felt this project was successful in instilling a back-to-the-heart, design for passion, kind of experience?

Definitely. It was a great excuse to design a poster because it's fun and enjoyable, which is the reason I got into this business in the first place. When I was a kid, the first designed or illustrated objects that really inspired me were the graphics on skateboards. Maybe it was the vivid colors or the high contrast, graphic style or the subversive subject matter, but they just hit me as so striking. They really made an impression on me at an early age and inspired me to draw, paint, collage and just be creative.

Please tell us a bit about your poster and its message.

I love printmaking and try to make prints whenever I have free time (which isn't often as I'd like). The poster project was a perfect opportunity to get some ink underneath my fingernails. Because I knew the end product was going to be printed from a digital file, I carved and printed the linoblocks by hand, but actually registered them in the computer.

I think my sense of humor comes through in the poster's concept — the idea of "Create or Die" is pretty ridiculous when you say it out loud. Basically, I'm trying to get at the fact that most creatives would be pretty miserable if they don't have the opportunity to be creative.

Despite the creative freedom inherent in the project, were there any challenges for you?

The biggest challenge with the project was actually meeting the deadline. In general I work pretty fast, but in this case I found out about the project a bit on the late side and had to really scramble. In the end, I think it worked to my advantage. The short timeframe forced me to be decisive and commit quickly throughout the process which gives a spontaneous feel to my poster.

What is the value of the Design Fund project for your personal creative expression?

The parameters of the project were loose enough to allow for tons of creativity, but still provided a theme to base my concept around.

When you received the finished project in it’s packaging and saw how DIL was promoting the Design Fund, what was your reaction?

I was pretty floored. The print and production of the posters and the packaging is fantastic. The screen printed box looks great. It's pretty amazing that even though all of the artists took different approaches to the project, they somehow work really nicely together as a set.

In closing, what would you like the readers of Design Is Love to know?

Participate. Remember why you started being a creative professional? Because it's extremely satisfying to create artwork for your own pure creative expression.

It’s all about the love. Thank you for your time, Ryan, and congratulations ♥

Winner Josh LaFayette was born in Alabama. He received a BFA in Graphic Design from Auburn University in Auburn, AL in 2008 and worked as an intern at Alphabet Arm Design in Boston, MA. From 2008-2009 Josh held a design position at Mammoth Printshop in Auburn, AL. He moved to Florence, Italy, for 6 months with his wife. They are now back 'Bama and you will find Josh working as a designer at Red Square Agency in Mobile.

Josh LaFayette

Winner Josh LaFayette was born in Alabama. He received a BFA in Graphic Design from Auburn University in Auburn, AL in 2008 and worked as an intern at Alphabet Arm Design in Boston, MA. From 2008-2009 Josh held a design position at Mammoth Printshop in Auburn, AL. He moved to Florence, Italy, for 6 months with his wife. They are now back 'Bama and you will find Josh working as a designer at Red Square Agency in Mobile.

Josh, thank you for taking the time to speak with Design Is Love about your winning poster. How did you hear about Design Is Love?

I don't remember, exactly, but it was most likely either Chris Piascik or Vaughn Fender, both of whom are involved with Design is Love.

Why did you decide to participate?

My favorite application of graphic design is the poster. This project was basically a do-whatever-you-want-and-put-it-on-a-poster project—that's my kind of project!

What was the inspiration for this project?

The inspiration for the concept of this poster was my GI tract and a line in the Cursive song, The Recluse, that goes, "My ego's like my stomach / It keeps shitting what I feed it."

Can you elaborate a bit on that for us?

Creativity is this thing inside of me, but to create output I first need to consume and digest other creations—only then do I feel that I can create quality work. Also, I sometimes find myself over-conceptualizing or over-thinking situations, so I often try to return to a child-like mentality and do whatever I want without thinking about it.

Even when we are given complete creative freedom we find challenges that are unexpected. Were there any challenges for you?

Well, actually I didn't find out about this particular design fund until the day before the deadline, so the biggest challenge was to create something with integrity and something that I was proud of in very short amount of time.

One of the main missions of Design Is Love is to provide the opportunity for creative exploration. Did you think this project was successful in that endeavor?

Yes. I think most of that was because there weren't really any requirements other than a concept. There wasn't any required copy or imagery—the main things that bum me out about some client-based design. For me personally, the poster accomplished this magnificently because I was able to use a photograph of my closest friend, whom I have known since birth.

Design is Love actually invests in and produces the winners work. What was your reaction when you received your final product?

It's always nice to see your own stuff in print, especially when it's something that you're proud of, so I was happy to say the least.

In closing, what would you like the readers of Design Is Love to know?

Making mistakes is part of the process.

Good advise. Thank you Josh and congratulations. ♥

Justin Muir was born and raised in Cranston Rhode Island. He attended the University of Hartford - Hartford Art School, where he majored in Visual Communications Design. Right after college Justin worked full time with his band Monty Are I and toured for about 7 years while building his freelance design portfolio. Justin worked as Art Director at a video communications company called ‘ANIMAL’ and is presently Art Director/Designer at QVC in West Chester, PA.”

Justin Muir

Hi, Justin, and thanks for taking time to answer some of our questions. Tell us, why did you decide to participate in the Love & Creativity Design Fund?

I love design communities. People in this field have a unique understanding of business and art, which I appreciate. Design Is Love also does a great job at keeping design fun. Doing projects like this remind me of that.

One of the main missions of Design Is Love is to provide the opportunity for creative exploration. Did you think this project was successful in that endeavor?

ABSOLUTELY! I had so much fun doing this . . . knowing that I could literally do anything I wanted for this, was exciting. There are rarely projects with such few restrictions.

What is the value of the Design Fund project for your personal creative expression?

It gave me a chance to not worry about a client, but rather focus on exactly what I wanted to do for the project. There was no one to critique this, or even look at it before it reached its completion. I hardly ever get that, and it was refreshing.

Your poster is stunning. Can you speak to your inspiration for this project?

I recently read a book called Ignore Everybody . . . strangely inspiring book. Anyway, it was a book on ways to marry business and pleasure in the art world and also touched on the fact that EVERYONE has a creative side to them, although, not everyone taps into it. Everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten and we are all forced to be creative. The drawings in this poster are from two little humans, Hope and Sasha. They are, obviously enough, budding artists. Creativity seems to come easy to both of these six year olds.

Do you think everyone has creativity inside them?

I do believe everyone is born creative, or has some creative bug lurking inside of them when they are tiny humans. At some point you either lose your bug or embrace it. I am thankful I've held onto my bug throughout my life. And for those who have lost it, it will return at some point, in some unexpected way. So never wonder why your retired uncle who was an accountant suddenly takes up painting.

Even though Design Is Love provides creative freedom in these projects, there are usually some challenges faced by any creative in a project. Were there any challenges for you?

Coming up with the concept. Defining creativity is a monstrous task.

The packaging and presentation of the final product is pretty sweet. What was your reaction to the finished product?

I thought all the submissions were amazing. It’s fun to see where peoples minds go with the same question.

In closing, what would you like the readers of Design Is Love to know?

Passion projects are important. They keep your creative skills sharp and remind you how fun your field of work can be.

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you for your time, Justin ♥

You took the time to read the whole article. That’s no small feat. We hope you’ll visit our shop to purchase this gorgeous poster design set and help start the Design Fund. Thanks for your support.

Article / Interviews by Design is Love contributing writer Lisa Miulski. Show some love: visit her site and blog.