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Studio Victorious is the moniker and dedicated visual practice of Brooklyn-based designer Garrett DeRossett. We caught up with Garrett to find out more about his career to date, his working methods and what the future holds.
How did you decide on the pseudonym Studio Victorius?
I began practicing under the name Victorious after a year-long bout of depression and anxiety. I was really searching for a name that felt like it resonated with my desire to sort of elevate myself above the noise and focus on making work that I felt mattered. Sometimes I worry that the name now implies a sense of arrogance or aggression that I don’t wish to associate with myself, but as a 21-year-old kid the word “victorious” gave me a sense of hope and something bold to live up to. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to match the grandeur of the name, and that’s oddly fitting in my mind.
Your website states you didn’t have a formal academic education in design. How did you become a designer and art director?
I started designing, photographing, and creating as many mediums of art as I could in late high school. I spent one semester at college before dropping out. Before I headed to college I had completed a graphic design internship at a small web development studio in my hometown. Upon my return I simply went to go work with them full-time. I was very aware, perhaps more than I should have been, that I had made a decision to learn everything on my own, so I contacted potential employers and took on freelance jobs accordingly. I learn by doing, and if I have an itch to try something new, I generally try to find a client who will let me do it for them.
What are your favourite methods and mediums of working?
I tend to dabble in whatever I think might produce something unexpected. I’ve utilised scanners, paintbrushes, pencils and photography and my hope is that the end result doesn’t quite look like the means I used to get there. I love the idea of the software we all take for granted could break my work and create something new. A lot of my methods simply involve accidents that I embrace and turn into something lovely.
A lot of your work involves warping and stretching type and image – who are your influences and how would you describe your style?
I’m most influenced by work and ideas that grow organically. I gravitate towards a lot of film and poster work from artists like Neil Kellerhouse and Stephen Frankfurt because they’ve somehow combined ideas and emotions into visuals. For this reason I’m always digging really out-of-the-box branding and identity work from studios such as DIA, Athletics, SPIN, and Grand Army because I sense a little haphazardness to their flow. An idea and a concept, when merged with feelings, can form its own design. DIA’s work for Life Or Death exemplifies this really well: it almost looks like an accident, but the concept is so ingrained into every single visual cue that it gives you the intended feeling without having to understand what you’re looking at. I don’t know that I have a style necessarily, but I try to start with an idea and erratically try things until something clicks.
Tell me more about Mono Mono and how the project sits alongside your commercial work?
Mono Mono is a little side project I started with my friend Ian Williams, a designer and developer from Virginia. It really started one day when we discovered that the domain dadjokes.studio was available, and we decided to snatch it up. The concept of a studio or collaboration only happened because we felt we needed to do some work with our new purchase. Unfortunately, we quickly discovered that some friends of mine were already operating under that name so we shelved it, but the design practice lives on.
We really quickly got a couple of web projects under our belts, relatively awesome ones for really great people, but we got burned out almost immediately. We both operate full time jobs and freelance practices on the side, and adding a third responsibility just broke us. We’ve been quietly rethinking where we want to take the project after these two jobs wrap up, and the plan currently is to release a lot more self-initiated experimental work. I’ve had plans to launch a magazine focused around mental health in the design and art community for some time now and Ian is working on an app with another partner, and both of those projects will probably fall partially under the umbrella as well. My goal is for Mono Mono to become a playground where we try new things without the pressures of clients or paychecks.
How did you approach the design of your site? What functions that Squarespace offers do you use and why?
Squarespace, for me, was like an incredibly simple to use blank canvas. I haven’t gone crazy with the design and there are only two real pages to speak of –– I’ve even disabled the mobile menu. Personally, I find inner pages on portfolios to be an unnecessary blocker to getting to the good stuff and therefore my site is just one really long stack of images. I used Squarespace as an easy way to create a simple site in order to let my work take centre stage.
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