Designer of the Week: Jaymie McAmmond
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Name: Jaymie McAmmond
Location: New York City
Design school attended: Ontario College of Art and Design How would you describe your work? My work is undergoing a huge transition at the moment. After graduating, I owned a small studio in Toronto and did some really great work for clients like McDonalds, Starbucks, Holt Renfrew and the Toronto Film Festival. A major part of this work was developing branding stories told through in-store art, murals and interior graphics. By my fourth year on my own, I was spending a large amount of time running the business and directing others. I also felt that my own work was getting a bit stale.
I decided the best way to breath life back into my work was by learning some new approaches and ways of working. Having never worked full time in another studio, I thought this kind of experience would be really valuable, both in terms of my design skills and getting a sense of how other studios are run. So I packed everything up and moved to New York to work at Stranger and Stranger on packaging design for wine and spirits.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far? A lot of the challenging work I have done in the last two years has been confidential, which in itself creates challenges, as it’s difficult to share. However, one of the challenges that stands out was my first big freelance project. Shortly after graduating, I won a contract story-boarding in-store graphics and branding ideas for McDonalds with another design firm. After the project was finished, McDonalds hired me directly to develop three major in-store branding packages that consisted of over 75 murals in just under six months. In addition to doing the work, I had to hire staff, buy equipment, and set up the financial side of the studio all at the same time. It was a challenging and exciting time. I took a lot risks, but it paid off.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on? My favorite project before moving to New York was probably the Starbucks murals. I had a lot of freedom with these projects, and I love typography. The team at Starbucks was also really wonderful to work with.
\Where do you find inspiration? Pinterest. I spent hours every week making collections of references. Lately some of my favorite typographic references have come from old Cuban cigar boxes and seals, children’s books from the late 1800s, and antique baseball ephemera.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists? Some smaller studios that are doing work that I am pretty excited about at the moment include Voice Design, The Collective and Mash in Australia, Underline Studio, Blok Design and Tung in Toronto, LOVE in the UK, Violaine et Jérémy in France, and Mucca here in NYC. I am also pretty inspired by some of the guys I work with here at Stranger.
What’s your best advice for designers today? Spend more time looking at work, researching and figuring out the story. I think a lot of young designers are inspired by an aesthetic and just jump right into designing without spending enough time figuring out what they are trying to say or why it’s important. For me, this means spending a couple of days reading and collecting references before I even open Illustrator.
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