Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Interview with Julie Burke

The Crew is pleased to bring you an interview with Julie Burke, an Industrial Designer from Chicago, Illinois. Julie has been a good friend of mine since Freshman year of high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. I love featuring Julie, not only because she is a friend of mine but because I am excited to feature a new kind of designer. While all the girls of The Crew are Graphic Designers, there are so many other directions design can take people. Julie is a fantastic artist and great talent. Enjoy the interview!

1. Who or what inspires you?
I enjoy simple things with just a hint of wit, i.e., things that make me laugh. I like products that surprise you and allow themselves to be discovered. I love looking at patterns and illustrations for inspiration for form. Places -- I love traveling. I think there is so much to be learned from the different ways different cultures approach things.

2. Do you have a favorite designer?
Right now I really admire Naoto Fukasawa. His work is all about an object being simple and natural in its environment. His attention to detail and awareness of human instinct is extraordinary. I love his work with Muji and ±0.

"Design means observing objectively.
It means being aware of our living
nature, a simple element in
the larger environment.
I like when a
project doesn't sell my name or my characteristic,
when it is just an object
that happens to be there,
...no, not anonymous, just natural.”

-Naoto Fukasawa

3.One word to describe your design style:
That’s hard to say. I’m a young designer; I feel as if I am still working that one out. Also, as an industrial designer in a consultancy, I feel as if my style changes with each product, client, or problem that comes my way, and they all tend to be radically different.

4.What frustrates you most about design (or your biggest pet peeve)?
Clients are so often afraid to make a departure from what they know even when the market is already full of similar products and bad ideas. I hate to see them shy away from new formats and ideas -- which would significantly improve the product -- in favor of traditional formats and features which already saturate the market. We call that “cherry picking.” You still end up with a better product, but one that often blends in with the rest.

5.If you could travel anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you go?
In the last two months, I’ve been to South America and China; I feel like Europe should be the next stop on the map. I’d like to go to Prague before it switches to the euro.

6.If you could design or redesign anything, what would it be?
At some point in my life, I’m going to have to do some sort of sporting goods (to those who know me, that shouldn’t be shocking). However, on a less materialistic level, I would love to work on making sustainable products that are more accessible to the everyday consumer. People are looking for a way to be green; designers need to help create an easy avenue.

7.What’s the strangest request you’ve received from a client?
I was asked to rotate a sketch in 3D. Hmmm…. we’re not magical.

8.Favorite color?
Oh, I can never make up my mind. Right now it’s green. I just bought some green shoes. They’re fantastic.

9.Favorite font?
Probably Futura. I tend toward a sans serif font. Arial is the office font-of-choice.

10.East coast or West coast?

11.Name one product/gadget can you not live without?
A Wacom tablet. I wish I could say I have a Cintiq, or an iPhone, but I don’t.

12.Do you have any advice for people just entering the profession?
Just because you are a designer, it doesn’t give you an excuse to act in an unprofessional manner. There is definitely more freedom as a “creative,” but you still need to be presentable. Additionally, you’re not expected to know everything coming out of school; you’re expected to learn.

13.If you were to change professions, what would you choose to do?
Oooh, maybe be a lawyer, but I don’t think that would last. I think I would end up right back in a creative field: maybe interior or graphic design.

14.Tell us three things about yourself that no one else knows.
1. Give me beer or give me bourbon. I would rather have either over a sweet cocktail.
2. I could be entirely happy on a farm with a horse.
3. I hate having to choose what I am going to order in a restaurant. I’d rather try everything. In China they eat family style and order 10+ dishes for the entire table. I loved it.

[If you, or someone you know, would like to be a featured artist on CrewDesign, email us at thecrewdesign@gmail.com] ••••


Meghan Colvin said...

Julie, Thank you so much for your FANTASTIC interview! I agree, it's great to have a different type of design represented. Thank you for your words of advice and for sharing you thoughts!

Tess Mattern said...

Julie, this really is a great interview! Thanks for sharing your work and ideas on our blog. And where can I get those well-designed outlet plugs??

Meghan B said...

Thank you Julie! What a great contribution!