On improving processes
To prepare myself for the gruesome realities of becoming a medical illustrator, I spent two co-op tours with a hospital pathology department, assisting in general and forensic autopsies. You could say the experience gave me a discerning eye for dissecting terminally ill design-to-print processes and initiatives to understand how they can work better. Or, you could say I need to get out more.
On favorite packaging designs
Impossible to pick just one. A few stand out. Orangina: the bottle and the graphic of the peeled orange. The reinvented Pharmacy Rx bottle and label by Target. Almost all premium cigar packaging.
On what inspired his design career
In 1990, I was an art director for Dick Jackson’s NYC advertising agency. Dick had worked with legends, like Jerry Della Femina, Onofrio Paccione, Norman Tanen, Mary Wells, and my favorite, Lou Dorfsman. I was a conceptualist and visualist at heart, and Lou was the legendary Creative Director for CBS. Although a copywriter, Dick knew what made me tick, and one day invited me to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in midtown. Soon after we sat down, in walked Lou Dorfsman to join us. I struggled to not say anything stupid through our conversation over noodle bowls. Lou soon became a friend and mentor. He taught me the important lesson that my job as a designer was to solve client challenges with my own creativity and not with textbook styles from design school.
On what he’s into lately
I love revisiting the applied ceramic label (ACL) technique for printing on beer bottles. Rolling Rock, Corona, and others used this enameled look and feel rather than a paper label. While this technique is mostly simulated now with a build-up of ink and coatings on a PSL material, I still enjoy the vintage aesthetic. It takes me back to college days enjoying a Rolling Rock and rubbing my thumb across its mysterious imprint, “#33.”
On how he recharges
The Cornelia Street Café in NYC, the best under-the-radar restaurant and basement jazz club ever. The diverse musicianship inspires and humbles me.