Designer of the Week: Jason Hardy

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_jasonhardy_headshot-interactive-projectsDesigner of the Week Jason Hardy, a digital designer and self-proclaimed “creative generalist,” is executive design director at Nurun San Francisco, where he leads teams to create complex interactive projects for innovative clients. He also works for The Criterion Collection, designing for some of cinema’s top films and directors.

Take a peek inside the mind of this design leader and devoted collaborator, and find out how he succeeds in making work he’s proud of.

Name: Jason Hardy

Name of Firm: Nurun San Francisco + Freelance

Location: New York City

Design school attended: I studied journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with the intention of being a features writer. During my last semester I took one graphic design course and one typography course. It was far too late to change my major, but I was hooked and just rolled with it. Most of what I’ve learned has come from the help of friends and mentors, along with a constant rhythm of trial and error.

How would you describe your work?
I am constantly switching between two different areas. As executive design director for Nurun San Francisco, I’m a digital designer, focusing on products, connected spaces and platforms. So most of the time my work is focused on leading teams of designers and developers to create complex interactive pieces for innovative clients. I’m also a cover art/packaging designer for The Criterion Collection, where I use design to convey the essence of a film, to bring the story to life off of the screen. Either way, I tend to approach projects as systems. Identify the hook, the reason it is interesting and the reason it deserves to exist, then build a system that supports and clarifies that hook.

Where do you find inspiration?
Well, I am a pretty rabid Pinterest user and I try to keep up on the blogs and whatnot. I tend to think of that stuff as reference, more than inspiration. For me, inspiration is almost a state of mind. When I am excited about life, energized and optimistic, I feel inspired to create, and that has a huge impact on my work. I try to stay in that mindset by walking, cycling, listening to music, shooting photos, spending time with my family, spending time alone, listening to podcasts and, generally, just trying to maintain a curious mind.

Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Justin Kemerling, Steve Knodel, Steve Denekas, Sean Donohue, Yuri Ono, Chelsea Davidson, Sam Smith, Neil Kellerhouse. Plus the big guns—Sagmeister, Victore, Scher, Saville, Tibor. There are too many to list, but those are some of the main design-related people.

Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
I don’t really have a single favorite project, but I am particularly fond of the work that we did for Tesla and IWC as well as the box sets that I did for Jacques Demy, Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project and Roberto Rossellini. I tend to be the most happy with projects that were challenging and where I learned something.

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Interactive kiosk for Tesla Motors retail locations, designed to educate the user on electric vehicles.

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Six disc box set for “The Essential Jacques Demy” release by The Criterion Collection.

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Three disc box set for “Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Project” release by The Criterion Collection.

Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
The work that I do varies so much between my work with Nurun SF and the work that I do for the Criterion Collection, that the challenges are pretty different. With digital projects the challenge is leading large teams, sometimes 20 people on our side, on projects that can last 8–10 months. Oftentimes the client also has a large team as well, so it can be challenging supporting all of those people with clear direction and guidance. All the while pushing yourself and everyone on the team to do work that is truly innovative. Unfortunately I can’t speak publicly about some of the most challenging work that I’ve done, because of nondisclosure agreements.

With the Criterion Collection, the challenge is more personal, it’s just me in my studio, designing on nights and weekends. With those projects its easy to get caught up in a cycle of self-doubt and internal criticism, so I work hard to push through those moments and hope for the best. The Rossellini War Trilogy was particularly challenging because it was a very important release for the Criterion Collection, and they’re extremely important films. So I was terrified that I wouldn’t do the films justice. I probably did around 50 comps for that one. I’m proud of how it turned out, so it was worth it.

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Three disc box set for “Rossellini’s War Trilogy” release by The Criterion Collection.

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The cover for “Germany Year Zero” from the “Rossellini’s War Trilogy” box set, released by The Criterion Collection.

What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
My goal is to lead a creative life and to expand into different arenas of creative expression. I’ve always made art, music and photos on the side and I’d like to find more time for that work. I also want to work with cultural and educational institutions to create experiences that enrich and inspire. Ultimately, I want to design things that matter for passionate, courageous clients. Oh, and I’d like to have a lot of fun doing it.

What’s your best advice for designers today?
Don’t stay where you are the best. You cannot learn if you’re the best one there. Seek experiences that make you nervous, where you’re right on the edge of blowing it. Try not to blow it, but if you do blow it, learn from it and keep on keeping on. Also, work your ass off when you’re young. The older you get, the harder it is to find time.

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Interactive car customization kiosk for Tesla Motors retail locations.

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Interactive kiosk for Tesla Motors retail locations, designed to educate the user on electric vehicles.

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Web platform for IWC Schaffhausen, watch detail page.

 

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Cover for “Safe” release by The Criterion Collection.

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Cover for “Safe” release by The Criterion Collection.

 


15574 300x220 Print WearableHave you designed a wearable? Whether it’s a T-shirt you designed and sell in your shop, a button you created as part of a client’s brand campaign, or a health and fitness tracking device you designed for a company, your eye-catching, innovative designs belong in Print’s Wearable Design Awards.

Final Deadline: 7/24

 


If you’re interested in being considered for Designer of the Week, please email a headshot, 5–10 images of your work (around 628px max width if possible) and answers to the below questions to info@printmag.com with the subject line: Designer of the Week.

Name:
Name of Firm/Studio, if applicable:
Location:
Website:
How would you describe your work?
Design school attended, if applicable:
Where do you find inspiration?
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on? (Please provide an image of this project if possible.)
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far? (Please provide an image of this project if possible.)
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
What’s your best advice for designers today?

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