Graphic designer and all-round conceptual thinker Eric Hu already has more success under his belt than most 24-year-olds (and I’m speaking from the front line of 24 here). A graduate of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena and a very nearly-graduate of Yale’s prestigious MFA programme, not to mention one of the youngest recipients of an ADC Young Gun award, it’s fair to say that Eric’s got a pretty solid understanding of his chosen field and the ability to practice it with real flair.
As you’d expect of someone in the midst of their masters, Eric’s work is heavily motivated by research into the nature of graphic design itself, exploring the means of standardised production to which designers are increasingly subjected today, as well as experimenting with digital technologies within a print-based context. If that all sounds like too much to handle then relax, the man has a clear understanding of aesthetics too, and his work looks beautiful.
With graduation and a life of slavish freelancing just around the corner, we caught up with Eric to find out a little bit more about his day-to-day.
Where do you work?
I spend most of my days at my desk space in the graphic design studio at Yale; I share it with about 40 other classmates here in New Haven, Connecticut. Everyone’s mostly pleasant and open to discuss work so it’s nice to know I have a bunch of talented people I can turn to for input.
How does your working day start?
These days it’s coffee then I make my rounds with e-mail, RSS feeds, social media profiles, followed by a lot of walking back and forth. I can’t really think clearly while sitting still so I usually pace up and down near my desk. I’m quite certain it gets on the nerves of my studio mates but they’ve been gracious with me so far. After that I just sit down and listen to really loud rap music to get me hyped about working, then follow up with R&B to bring out the sensitive side of me that’s required in order to be a contemporary designer who possesses empathy.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I used to methodically approach work one step at a time from research to completion but I recently began to embrace a more scatterbrained mode of working which has actually made me more efficient and more lucid in communicating what I want. I make and conceptualise at the same time on multiple projects at once. This is also the first time I’ve ever gotten a dedicated workspace so it’s really nice. Before that, I’d mostly work at my bed or in a computer lab while my bones deteriorated from a lack of activity. I’m notoriously shy about asking for help or feedback but a consistent person having a desk right next to me who’s funny to be around has gotten me out of my shell. I also code a lot more than I used to as part of my work so it’s interesting to try to switch back and forth between the two mindsets.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
Probably messing around in Brooklyn on a Saturday night with friends. My other favourite activity besides design is dancing so I try to do that a few nights through the week. New Haven is sort of in the middle of nowhere but close enough to New York City to take a weekend trip out. It really helps to meet up with my NY friends to just decompress and engage in tomfoolery after a week of staring at a glowing rectangle on my desk. Yeah we get weird. David Attenborough should feature us if he does another Planet Earth. Crew love.
Would you intern for yourself?
Only if I’d get paid.
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