Interview with Nick Polifroni
Who is Nick Polifroni and what are you passionate about?
I'm a graphic designer/illustrator from metro Detroit, MI who recently moved back to the west coast (Portland, ME) to further develop my craft in another city that I love.
How long have you been involved with the graphic design field?
I started out building websites for music projects I was involved in back in 1997, but didn't really get into doing commercial work until 2005.
What inspired you to pursue graphic design and who is your main inspiration?
It's always been a hobby of mine, and my mom was always pushing me in that direction while I was in college. It took me a couple years and changes of major before I wised up and actually went for it. Looking back, I wish I would have started out on this track… it would've saved me a lot of time and money, but you live and learn.
I noticed that a lot of your design work (found on your website) involves the use of Illustrator or Photoshop. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each tool?
There are a lot of advantages as far as correctly preparing files for printers, and each program has its own advantages for specific jobs. For example, whenever I do logo work, or anything exceptionally large (i.e. - billboards, vehicle wraps…) I use Illustrator so I can go to a larger print size without losing any of the integrity of the original image. Photoshop also has a number of advantages, my favorite of which is the undo button. I wish I had one of those in my traditional art.
A good graphic designer should be able to...
Communicate well, and understand good typography. A lot of designers are really amazing at putting a layout together...but if they don't kern the letters properly, or make sure their lines aren't breaking at odd intervals it can really break a good design. As far as communication, it's important to know how to get a clients message across to their target audience proficiently...as well as have a dialog with your client so they aren't taking the project over. Remember, you're the designer that's what they're paying you for. Not just to have the program knowledge and work as their hands… sometimes it's unavoidable though.
Who have you worked with in the past and who would you like to work with in the future?
I do a lot of work for individuals and small businesses and musicians. I really like doing that kind of work because you're usually a lot more free with what you can do, you have a closer knit relationship with a potential for future work, and if a client comes to you it's usually because they like the style and quality of what you create. In the future I'd like to do more flyers and gigposters. I grew up being really influenced by a lot of poster artists in 90's, plus a few years ago I was making a lot of them and I really loved doing that.
How can potential clients get in contact with you?
The best way to get a hold of me is through my email, email@example.com. I check it everyday, and I'm pretty good about responding within a couple days.
Do you have any set rates for graphic design work?
Not really, I've actually been asked that a lot lately. I'm planning on getting something together soon, but for now I just base quotes by the project.
I recently presented a post that talks about the importance of cover art for an album. Do you think it is essential for musicians to have good cover art?
I've actually bought quite a few albums based on the artwork, so I would say yes..I think it's very important. Having artwork that looks more professional can also help validate the quality of music, essentially it's the packaging you're using to sell your product. People say don't judge a book by it's cover, but they do that all day with other products...different things appeal to different people, but your first impression is usually your visual presentation. People are going to see a poster, or album cover, or website graphic before they ever hear your music unless you've got some sort radio (even Internet radio) play...or getting shows where you can attract and impress potential fans.
Thank you very much for your time, any last words?
Do what makes you happy, that's what life is all about. Sometimes you have to work really hard to get to where you want to be, but if you're happy with what you're doing...life is a lot more enjoyable. If you're not happy… you're doing it wrong.