Visually’s Marketplace connects thousands of designers with clients seeking to commission infographics and data visualizations. Every week, we feature a member of our designer community here, on the blog. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at blog[at]visual.ly.
Name: Simon Ramsey
On Visually: sramzee
In Design: 12 years
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it?
When this question is asked in a room, it’s normally the point that the people who know me, just up and leave. Here he goes again…
I’m Simon Ramsey; I’m 31 and gearing up for the big 32. I’m told you’re supposed to have grown a beard and written a book by the age of 32. I’m not really the copy writing type, and when my wife came back from the supermarket with a new shave gel that read in a hideous, default white star “60 shaves,” she was giggling because she knew that would last me a year. I won’t be doing either of these things.
I’m a rare breed of un-manageable creative, or so I’ve been told. Of course, like most arty folk, from an early age I could pretty much be dropped off anywhere with a felt tip marker, a pad of paper and been happy as a pig in shit. At 16, I used my first Mac (sorry: Macintosh in those days) and Photoshop 3.1, before it even had layers!!! I remember being taught how to make bevels and drop shadows with channels alone. Like technology, thankfully my skills have evolved over time. Now having had 12 years commercial design experience in UK-based marketing and advertising agencies, I’ve worked on a hugely diverse range of projects and used data vis as part of clients’ search and social strategy. I have learnt an absolute ton and I’m always trying to develop. Currently fascinated with motion graphics and 3D; I’ve been well and truly sucked into all things Cinema 4D and After Effects.
I finished my employed career last summer as Lead Creative to start my own business. Which is amazing… And would have been a lot less stressful if I hadn’t decided to do it four weeks before I got married to my wonderful wife Hannah. If anything, it just gave me even more drive for my decision to be a success. Luckily, all went perfectly well. And Ramsey’s Design Lab continues to grow to this day.
2. In 7 words or less, describe your style.
Promise a little, deliver a lot.
3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why?
Wow this is a tough one… So tough I’m having three. Many great designers and artists have been a source of inspiration over the years, but a few to whom I owe an awful lot of respect. So first up is Bert Monroy. An absolutely brilliant digital artist, and I’ve learned a shed load from watching him on his classic pixel perfect podcast tutorials. Second: Aaron Blaise. In my opinion, the world’s best freehand illustrator and Photoshop power user. A true master of animation and illustration, having worked on some of the most famous Disney films of our time. Lastly, but by no means least: Nick Campbell. This guy is extremely talented and continues to pass on his years of knowledge in design, freelancing and cinema 4D to the thousands of C4D fans that follow him on his blog. High five Nick!
4. What’s your favorite color? Why?
Right, I’m gonna tell you a secret here… I’m actually colour blind. No joke. I can see colour… I know what colour is… Just I get some mixed up sometimes. Let’s just say it’s lucky I have Hannah to go shopping with, as I don’t really pull off pink so well. Having spent years in a design agency environment, you learn not to be too precious about colour. As in design there are rules. Normally dictated by brand guidelines. But to pick a favourite palette or colour is impossible, as it just changes depending on how I feel about the project or what fits the brief…. I’m fence sitting again. Ok ok… Blue. Blue you can trust!
5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it?
Not sure about biggest, but definitely most embarrassing: One of my first jobs in print design shop many years ago, whilst I was still a very green designer, a lady walked and asked if we would create some nice bottle labels for her collection of essential oils and skin products. As you can probably imagine, the ingredients were weird and wonderful. After a very lengthy amendment process, the job became one I was glad to see the back of. I didn’t see her again for six months and assumed all was well. That is, until she stormed back into the shop one day demanding a refund. Checking the labels I then realised she had been bottling “hope” instead of “hops”!
Learning from this is clearly check, check and check again. Then check some more. Spelling mistakes these days in our digital kingdom are too common but equally embarrassing. In print it’s permanent. You learn that quickly…. Hopefully.
6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far.
There are a few projects that have stood out through the last few years. Working on our very own iPhone game for charity-based organisation Living Coasts, Mission: Penguin. Being in the game credits as Graphic Design by Simon Ramsey was a great feeling.
I’ve done a whole lot of front-end website design, but very recently I’ve re designed a five-star holiday cottage website, www.bluechipholidays.co.uk. It will go live in June with my new design. I’ve pushed myself to re-think property marketing from the ground up. The new site is a beautifully elegant luxury holiday user experience. And will act as a game changing property platform.
More recently, I’m most proud of my work on Visual.ly: a couple of my most recent infographics have done really well. I’ve never known what it’s like to have something viral. And then to have one as a staff pick was just inspiring. The very fact that I’m writing this is just pretty damn incredible, if you ask me. So thank you, Visual.ly, you guys are awesome!
7. Who should we feature in this space next?
Boris Benko. This guy is simply a fantastic illustrator. But also, his infographics have great composition. He uses characters to really inject impact. He has a very clean style and is a great designer.
[Editor's note: you ask, we deliver! Read our recent spotlight on Boris Benko right here on our blog.]