I'm from Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil. I'm a
college graduated in advertising, but have been working as
a graphic designer since 2001. I got into design
occasionally. I worked as an intern in some advertising
agencies, doing art direction and copy writing, but graphic
design was more interesting and fun, so, all of a sudden, I became a designer.
Initially, I did only print, but in 2006 I started working in a design office called Coral Design, specialized in packaging, although there were print too. At that office, we used to work mainly with the dairy industry, designing packaging for milk, butter, cheese, yogurt etc. We also worked with mineral waters, juices, candies, cosmetics, sauces, sodas and a lot more. So, there was no way I could get away from packaging. Right now I'm working with print, brands and will start a long project for a new cosmetic company from Finland. For this company, I've designed the logo and will start the packaging part. About web, I've never done any work but my website, that's why it is very very very simple. Webdesign is too complicated and I don't dare trying that!
Well, I always say that references are the fuel for creativity. Even if the designer is the most gifted one, he has to see what is out there in the design world. When you see lots of design works, you stimulate your creativity. You can check out design books, magazines, websites and/ or blogs and get images or stuff that will certainly help you later. Everyday, I take a tour on my favorite websites and blogs and collect images that can help me and inspire me on my current or future works.
About the brain storm, we have to respect the clients requests and wishes. They know their company much better that anyone else. Having that in mind, we have to check everything (designwise) related to those clients, such as competitors, audience, market etc, than, later, come up with the brain storming. No idea can be discarded. We have to think hard and do not accept fast conclusions. Everything has to be well thought and planned. So, doing that way, the best and innovative things will come out. If any difficulties come up, "take a look" at the images that you've collected, books, websites etc and try to get more creative. If that still doesn't help, don't worry. Go home and rest. The next day you may have a nice fresh idea that comes up.
Today there are so many things in design. Knowing a bit of everything is ok, but I try to specialize myself in few areas: print, banding and packaging. As for the target audience, I believe I've never had a problem. Before starting any design work, there are some other professionals that help to build a design plan, which consists on: surveys, market analysis, audience profile etc. Having that, it's time to create. This whole process helps me to make the right design, even if it's not the most beautiful or creative one. Actually, most of the time I'm facing projects which creativity is not related to innovative shapes or graphics, but to what the audience really want to see and buy.
My favourite colour is yellow. Don't ask why. Always remember loving the vibrance and feel of this colour. I did once say to someone that asked; "Yellow is the colour of the sun, and the sun gives life, what other reason than this to love that colour."
Not everytime we can do what we want to do. This is how market works. I live in a traditional country, where people are not very receptive to different things. Brazilians like to see others using something first. If that works, than they'll start using too. Innovation can be a risk under those circumstances. So let's say I'm 85% happy. If part of those 15% hits the target and sells a lot, I forgive it (lol)!
Depends on the project. A TetraPak or some juice label design can take o short time. On the other hand, the shape of a bottle or a box for a cologne can take a lot more. It depends on the material, prototype tests etc. About the pressure... it's wonderful to work with enough time, so we can think and rethink our designs. Unfortunately it's not always like that. But I can't complain. My clients are very understanding and know that a project needs a certain time to be well done.
Well, I work in a different partnership. In some studios where I worked for, there was a creative director to guide me in some projects. Other studios I was the creative director. Yes, most of the time we (me and the other part) had different opinions, but, in the end, there were no hard feelings and we always end up with a reasonable conclusion.
Usually I try not to refuse a client because of its size or proposal. It will depend on my availability, interest in the job etc.
Tough question... I cannot change other peoples minds when design is the subject. I could advise them to go crazy on their designs, but always focusing on the market and its reality.
Oh, I said so many things already. I'd repeat: put your heart in everything you do.