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Name: Jason X Esteban
On Visually: jasonxesteban
In Design: 18 years
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it?
I got into design through art. I have both a bachelors and a masters degree in art, with a focus on painting and drawing. Design emerged as an opportunity to do work that was creative but potentially more stable / less risky than a career in art. My first job as a designer was with IKEA. Most of the work I did was in the designing of graphic displays, large-scale graphics, and wayfinding systems for new and renovated IKEA stores throughout North America, and a few in Europe. I stayed at IKEA for 10 years.
2. In 7 words or less, describe your style.
Clean and modern with hand made elements.
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3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why?
Probably performance artist / musician Laurie Anderson. To this day, I think she’s still the biggest influence on me in terms of discovering a freedom of what art could be. I first heard Laurie Anderson early in my BFA. Her work opened my eyes to the ways boundaries could be pushed, blurred or ignored when it comes to art. Her work is what every artist strives for: beautiful, meaningful, profound and challenging. However, the last thing she’d do is give a seminar, but I ‘d love to have a conversation with her over a bottle of wine and some nice cheeses.
4. What’s your favorite color? Why?
Purple. I actually have a physiological reaction to purple. I just makes me feel good.
5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it?
I can’t give a specific example, but I can certainly speak to a mistake I made over and over again before I figured it out and fixed it. As a designer it’s really important to get total clarity from a client about what exactly it is they expect from your work, and make sure everyone is on the same page before you begin. Sometimes I’m so excited to get going on a project, that I forget to lay all the right groundwork before diving in, and in those cases, end up delivering something that isn’t really what the client wanted. This not only results in awkward moments, but also usually additional unplanned-for work. I think I’ve done this enough times now to have learned that it’s important to work these things out at the beginning and start a project off with 100% clarity and communication. Measure twice, cut once.
6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far.
I was very fortunate to be on the design team that created the ‘Look of the Games’ for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games. We developed the graphic identity that was used in everything from licensed merchandise, to street banners, to the rink boards in the hockey arena. Few designers have the opportunity to have their work seen by literally billions of people all over the world — it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.