Designer Matthew Richmond is Founding Partner and Executive Creative Director at The Chopping Block. As one of HOW’s go-to interactive gurus, Matthew has built a career focusing on brand identity and establishing himself in all mediums—print to digital. A seasoned designer and teacher with a robust work history that includes Microsoft to MoMa, Matthew’s design communicates a keen sense of versatility.
Matthew will be presenting on the how, what and why behind HTML and CSS for visual designers at the HOW Design Conference this June. In preparation for the HDC, we caught up with Matthew to pick his big brain and solicit his advice to other creatives entering this growing world of design.
Going back into your history a bit, tell us when you first realized you wanted to be a graphic designer?
I don’t think I ever did, I used to draw logos (mostly on Monster Trucks) in elementary school. I have always been one of those go-to people for design things.
I realized I wanted to be an interactive designer while studying architecture in college. The Internet was happening at the same time I was first learning about structural engineering. I remember being way more interested in structured data than building technology.
Speaking of your entry into design, what was your first job in the field?
I had a paid internship with the Digital Imaging group at Microsoft in the mid 90’s, mostly interface design projects. If that does not qualify as a first job, I did a lot of design freelance the following year for various silicon alley startups here in New York City.
Well… we count them both, Matthew! And here at HOW we all admire your hearty resume. What’s some of the most valuable advice you could bestow on other designers aspiring for a similar career path?
1) Don’t be prickly; there is a difference between being serious about your work and taking yourself too seriously.
2) Inspiration will only get you so far. Keep working. Fail often.
3) You are not going to be a good interactive designer if you don’t understand how interactive projects are built.
It pretty much happens all day long. I have always been the guy at parties (and family functions) who is tossing out ideas for new interactive projects or helping somebody with their complex Internet thingys.
That is no surprise… But what about when you’re not feeling creative. How do you break out of a rut?
I step away from the computer. Go outside and spend time with the kids – which always eventually turns into making something creative.