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vol 5 - issue 03 (nov 2002) :: untapped
UNTAPPED TALENT: FORMER FACTORY
interview by vinnie baggadonuts

THEIR WORKPLACE IS AN OLD FURNITURE FACTORY. BUT THERE AIN'T MUCH FURNITURE COMING OUT OF IT THESE DAYS. JUST GRAPHIC DESIGN. GOOD GRAPHIC DESIGN. PAY ATTENTION TO THE ARIAL 9 PT, AS FORMER FACTORY DESIGN CO.'S NAND DUSSAULT AND ANDY HAYES GIVE TASTES LIKE CHICKEN'S VINNIE BAGGADONUTS THE WHOLE STORY.

Vinnie: How did you two goons meet?

Andy: We met in the Fall of 2000. Nand was working with a design firm up in Clintonville where I was going to an early morning Bible study. I’d stick around to talk design smack with Nand, and he started volunteering for CSCA (the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts). The rest is history.

V: So, when exactly did the Factory open?

A: Our first real collaboration goes back to the Fall of 2001. We launched as a business on April 1 of this year, and have been keepin' the Factory alive since then.

V: What compelled you guys to open it?

Nand: We weren't happy with our employment situations. I was let go by the studio I was working for (in the wake of 9/11 last Fall), and Andy was grinding it out at an "ad factory-esque" environment at the time. We also had the opportunity to meet successful studios with a little guy mentality who were turning out really cool work-- folks like The Chopping Block and House Industries-- who had the vision to start an independent studio. They all worked really hard to experience a fair amount of success amongst their peers, as well as financially. We got it in our thick heads that if the market isn't hiring young designers, why not hire ourselves and create our own jobs.

V: Is there a mission statement?

A: Just to make sure we're representin' at all times, and always, even in the face of corporate danger, keepin’ it realer than a mofo'.

V: So what do you guys do?

A: Our projects trip through a wide variety of disciplines, including print design, marketing strategy, illustration, identity systems, web development, and we really enjoy writing irreverent copy. Occasionally, we'll get the ol’ General (Lee) out-- straightenin' some curves and flattenin' them thar hills, all the while relentlessly pursuing the closest shave possible.

V: What got you into graphic design?

N: For me, I always loved comic books. I'd spend a lot of time drawing my favorite characters. That branched over into doing some illustrations for class t-shirts and whatnot,.. gradually moving into doing a school newsletter and lots of theatre sets. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized there was this whole "behind-the-scenes" thing going on with type, photography, and illustration. My roommate had declared himself “visual communications” at OSU, and I really got into his projects more so than the math & science my major required. I started playing around with Photoshop & Corel Draw during the early PC days. I got "discovered" by one of the senior staff members at the Wexner Center. They were concerned that I was posting stuff around the Wexner Center Cafe without any art direction. An internship came later. I was completely hooked.

A: I’ve been involved in art since I was three-years-old, and graphic design seemed like the best professional route to pursue. I have always been obsessed with packaging and display type as well. I think it goes back to being a child of the ‘80s, and my grandpa being a farmer. If you ain't hip to farm graphics, you best catch the next train to Clarksville, my brutha. Give me a three-color pallette (preferably orange, brown and tan) and I'm a happy man.


V: Whose design work made you say, "Yes, this is definitely for me."?

N: Locally, there are a number of folks whose work really inspires me-- Kirk Richard Smith, Terry Rohrbach, Charles Wilkins, Chris Jones, and Keith Novicki. These are guys whose work always seems to get better and better every time I come across it. As I learned more about design, I really followed David Carson's work, Designer's Republic, Art Chantry, Jennifer Sterling, and historically, Saul Bass and Paul Rand were always at the at the top of the mountain.

A: Without a doubt Paul Rand. What a stud. Paul Rand was just simply wise. He knew that a mark did not necessarily need to explain every single thing about a brand, but that if that brand was worth anything, the mark would grow out from that. His perfectly simple marks, like IBM & UPS, have been around for many moons with almost zero alterations! His bold color use has also been an inspiration of mine, even before I knew who he was.


V: You guys manage to tackle a range of styles in your work. What kind of stuff has influenced each of your personal styles?

N: I love old rock posters-- the old letterpress stuff from Nashville and Hatch Show Print, all the ‘60s psychedelia coming outta San Fran and Bill Graham Productions. And then, the grunge scene took off in Seattle-- all those showbills and prints were amazing. I really like Trucking Company Graphics now, and have started tracking down old ads from the ‘30s & ‘40s. There's a pretty sweet economy of line & color there. The Wexner Center really laid a foundation for a classic grid sensibility-- chaos for chaos' sake is tough for me to pull off.

A: Farm Graphics, Big Wheels, Hot Rods, old school tennys, The Wexner Center, old labels, Thundercats, Silverhawks, rollerskating rinks, Kroger, and a lot of other stuff along the way.


V: As creatives, do you ever find it difficult to deal with the business end of things?

A: Always. I think we agree that it's the worst part of the job. Trying to collect from deadbeat clients. Paying the bills. How much do we need to bring in to stay on target for next year? Neither of us are organized by nature, so it takes a concerted effort to keep our shiznit between the lines.

V: Who's your dream client?

N: I always thought Burton Snowboards did things right-- from the board illustrations to their catalog and website. All of it is tight, clean, and beautiful. Their marketing people seem to appreciate what their audience wants, and don't give them a Madison Avenue impression of what that is. They hire the boarders-- their peers-- and commission them for the art.

A: I would love to work with Paul McCartney. That's right, the Beatle. He paints and does some illustration, plus, he's a frickin' Beatle. How cool would it be to art direct Paul McCartney-- excuse me, Sir Paul McCartney?!? Maybe a poster or an announcement. I think that'd be swell.


V: What's your take on the design community around you?

A: It seems to break down into an OSU vs. CCAD schism. Overall, there seems to be an underlying tone of conservatism. There's a lot of different work in this town that looks the same. And that's a shame.

V: What's your take on this interview?

N: Any opportunity to liberally spread the gospel of Former Factory is welcome, so long as we don't have to make an appearance with Anna Nicole.

V: Will Former Factory be representing all up in the CSCA Creative Best Awards Show this year?

N: We definitely sent some of our best work in. Whether or not the judges like us-- really, really, like us-- we won't find out for a couple of weeks. Although, there have been rumors, and whispers, that we might have made it past the first cut. Cross those fingers, kids. And clap if you really believe. Come on out and support the ol’ Columbus design community on Wednesday, November 13. Check cscarts.org for more details.

V: And lastly, because I know you boys want it: do dogs have lips?

N: Absolutely. Otherwise they couldn't whistle. Because dogs can whistle, right? A wolf is a canine, right? And they always whistled in cartoons, right? Guys? Andy? Vinnie? Where are you guys going? I'm not finished yet--

BE SURE TO VISIT THE FORMER FACTORY KIDS AT THEIR WEBSITE.


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