Meet the Artist
It’s all about energy and a fresh perspective when you meet Alex McClelland, one of our newest graphic designers at American Greetings. Here’s what he has to say:
When did you first realize you are an artist?
I took illustration and intro design classes in high school and loved it. In college, I really started to get excited about design when we got into more fun and conceptual work.
What is your position at American Greetings and what is your background as an artist?
I am a graphic designer on the marketing production team for American Greetings Interactive. I create emails and landing pages for American Greetings, BlueMountain.com, and Cardstore.com. I’ve been given some other fun projects too, such as designing online products and designing for this very blog!
Could you tell us some more about your work?
My work is always evolving. Sometimes I’ll look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?” I think it’s important to always like what you create, but it’s also inevitable to have your taste and style change from time to time. I’m still learning and one thing I always appreciate and go back to is simple, iconic design. I really enjoy making little characters and graphics out of simple geometric shapes, and I have a recent fascination with color experimentation and hand lettering.
What is it that inspires you when creating a particular design or graphic piece?
I love looking into the latest design trends through blogs, websites, books, magazines, etc. I love to see new approaches to design and working to see how I can take those ideas and make them my own.
What’s your favorite piece/ecard ever created and why?
Some of my favorite designs are logos that I have created. It’s a different way of designing. With posters and books, and even greetings cards, there’s a bigger canvas to convey your message. With a logo, you have one opportunity to sum it all up.
What famous artists or graphic designers have influenced you?
I love to look at Craig Frazier’s work, and I actually created a biography project about him. He is known for very simple, yet conceptual illustrations and animations. Lately I’ve really gotten some inspiration from “Us and Them” studio, a design agency in Brooklyn. They have a website full of colorful, typographic, iconic, graphical eye candy.
What inspires you to create your designs and how do you stay motivated?
I love variety and I love to be busy. I think I do my best work when I know there is a tight deadline or if I’m juggling several projects at once. I get this sense of urgency that fires me up. When I get stuck, I go for a walk or workout…really anything to take my mind off it. Usually my ideas develop when I’m not trying so hard.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I would love to have an idea of where I’ll be in 10 years. I am still learning so much about what I like and don’t like doing as a designer…I know that I love designing posters, logos, cards, etc. I’d like to learn some web design and coding within the next few years to make myself more versatile. I am also interested in packaging design/ 3D design.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Experiment with what you love and learn how to take criticism. Don’t take anything involving your own work too personally. As a sensitive person it’s hard to follow my own advice sometimes, but I find that most times when people criticize it’s because they see more potential. Take advice but make sure in the end it is still your design and not someone else’s manipulation.
What do you do for fun?
I love to play tennis, go fishing, read- mostly fiction, the more imagination the better. I like to play cards and board games and just love to just hang out with close friends and go on adventures.