Tuesday, March 5, 2013

David Schwen’s Instagram feed is a thing of wonder

This designer has fully embraced the Internet as a point for both publicity and inspiration, and WOW the outcome is good

It’s fair to say that the internet is flooded with people trying to grab your attention, do something new and different in the effort to grab your attention. Many do but it’s not often that someone’s work can make you continually go WOW. This happened when I came across designer and art director David Schwen.

He’s truly used the Internet as a place to display his work – as he says himself he’s an active pinner, tweeter, grammer and dribbler. “The internet/social media has absolutely changed the way I work and think,” Schwen tells me. “When I first started designing, social media wasn't even present. I feel it was a lot harder to have your work get out to people. The only way was to win awards, or enter into illustration and design annuals. Now there are so many amazing presences online that help to propagate great creatives.”

But not only using the Internet as a place to display his work Schwen has used it as a point of inspiration. “I love the play with the digital world and the physical world,” he says referring to a series of images in which he added the familiar iOS red notification bubble to various objects. “I think that everyone is a sucker for the little red notifications that are constantly popping up on their apps and online outlets. I thought it would be fun to take those notifications and apply them to every day scenarios.”

Based in Minneapolis, Schwen has been a designer and illustrator for over 10 years and worked as a designer for Target most recently before leaving to work on his own projects full time. Since then he’s created designs for the likes of Wired, Apple, FastCompany and GQ.

“I am inspired constantly. Every day I carry around my Field Notes journal and I'm always writing down ideas, as well as sketching and drawing,” Schwen says. “I feel it's so important to write down everything - as you can always sift through the good and bad later. The biggest way that I stay inspired is to never stop experimenting or failing. I've never been the person that likes to get painted into a corner with having a distinct style. So my constant struggle of always re-inventing myself helps to keep my work fresh.”

Most recently Schwen’s Instagram feed has been awash with colour, Pantone colours to be more precise. But these aren’t your standard colour chips: “As a designer, you're constantly picking color chips and pairing them up with one another,” he explains. “A while back I had an idea of making Pantone chips out of real household objects - sponges, cardboard, etc. But while I was finishing up a poster design, I had taped two Pantone chips together to see how they looked together. Instantly I thought of how people pair food together. And that was that. Pantone pairings.”

With a journal full of ideas how does Schwen decide what to do next? “I have a lot of client work that keeps me very busy, so all of these personal projects have been a great outlet for me. The pantone pairings project will probably keep going for a while longer, as I still really enjoy making them.”

David Schwen's Instagram feed is a thing of continual wonder, follow him here and on Twitter here

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