Meet PRINT’s latest Designer of the Week Mick Watson, a multidisciplinary artist and designer who works in paint, video, illustration, graphic and motion design and animation. Watson’s clients have included the likes of Hasbro, the United Nations and Sony Music, and he currently brings his creative expertise to Fabrica, a contemporary art gallery housed in a 200-year-old church in Brighton.
Name: Mick Watson aka smartestgiant
Location: Hastings, UK
Studio: smart giant
How would you describe your work?
Recently a few people described my work as “clean,” and I do like simple, minimal design. However, I also work on a range of projects, and as such my work changes. Sometimes it’s quite simple, like my recent work for Fabrica, and sometimes it’s busier. I find that, in the parlance of Bruce Lee, having “no style” keeps things fresh for me and helps me approach projects from different angles.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere! I walk my dog along the beach or through the woods every day and listen to a lot of podcasts. I find that listening to conversations sparks a lot of ideas—so I’m always leaving myself voice notes on my phone. I take photographs, go to art galleries, listen to an inordinate amount of music and am just constantly looking around and trying to take everything in. Currently big things for me are: Non-Verbal Club, Father John Misty, Adam Buxton’s podcast, the music of Richard Dawson, Daniil Kharms and Willem Sandberg.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
I’m a frustrated abstract painter, so Rothko, Twombly and Polke are big inspirations. I love much of Martin Creed‘s conceptual work. I enjoy reading my Pentagram design mailout when it drops into my email. I love everything Non-Verbal Club, Malika Favre and Flying Eye Books.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
Whatever project is enveloping me at the time is usually my favorite. I try, wherever possible, to do projects that excite me and work with great people so everything stays fun (as much as possible). I’ve just branded Turkish artist Ipek Duben’s UK premiere of her show THEY/ONLAR for Fabrica gallery, and that was a lot of fun. The project that I’m working on right now is football-based, so 10-year-old me is ecstatic that I get to draw football stuff in my adult life.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
I think most projects have their own challenges and some are easier to hurdle than others, but it wouldn’t be as much fun if it was all easy, right?
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
To make good and varied work. I want to do a bit of everything and work with good people. That’s all.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
Believe in what you do, try not to do things just for the money (but we all have to eat), have high standards but don’t be too hard on yourself when you fuck up; just don’t do it again.
Announcing this year’s Print Magazine Typography Issue! With a cover by John Keatley and Louise Fili, we dive into the turning tides of typography. Join the discussion, question the standards and give things a fresh look. Grab your copy of the Print Summer 2017 Special Typography Issue today.