We met up with the incredible team of Bruce Mau Design and interviewed 3 of their awesome designers. First we have Alec Donovan. Read on to get a glimpse of his photography using the LC-A+ and LC-Wide!
Tell us a little bit about what you do, what your role at BMD is, and what your life philosophy is.
I’m a designer here at Bruce Mau and I think my ‘Philosophy’ is always mutating and morphing to fold in whatever it is I’m learning at the moment. I find that I’m more creative and ready for collaboration when I allow my own guiding principles concerning design to be something that is in a constant state of flux.
What inspires you to work at Bruce Mau Design?
When I was in design school I became very familiar some of the publications that the studio had produced – particularly ‘Life Style’, ‘The Third Teacher, and ‘Spectacle’. These books blew my mind apart. I used to check in on the BMD website all the time, to see what they were up to at the moment – thinking how great it might be to work there. I was (and still am ) a huge fan of the work. I had this idea that the studio was probably full of super clever people with no egos…and I was right…it is.
When did you first get interested in design?
Ever since I was very young I’ve been interested in Art and Design. My Father was getting his masters in Art History when I was about 5 or 6 and remember going with him to lectures about Art and exhibitions all over town (I don’t think my parents could afford a babysitter sometimes). I’m not sure I intellectually understood any of it at that age, but I think those experiences were the seeds of what grew to be an unwavering belief in the power and value of beautiful things and ideas.
How does the Bruce Mau Design team come up with work ideas?
I think the collaborative process here is slightly different for each project and for each team. But I think that most everyone takes a very open minded and inclusive approach. If someone has an interesting idea, then it gets investigated – regardless of that person’s position or seniority.
Can you briefly describe your typical workday?
It’s difficult to identify what a typical workday is at BMD. They all feel so different. There is a lot of discussion. Sometimes you find yourself sitting on the floor in the library with a teammate swimming in research, notes, diagrams, and post-its…and you don’t leave until both of you agree on the best way to make sense of it all. I guess it’s safe to say that a typical workday here involves a lot more reading and writing than in any other place I’ve worked, which has been a really nice change.
What activities outside from work inspire you further?
Blasting up-tempo music in my ears seems to work for me. Caffeine never hurts either.
In terms of fashion and style, what is your favorite decade? Why?
I was working with someone in the studio and she called herself a maximalist. I think this is true about myself as well. There is nothing like a complex image with a million colors to really get my blood pumping. Lately I’ve been looking at the work of this artist named Lari Pittman. It’s incredible! He makes these paintings of complex collage-like systems that feel at once totally chaotic and completely logical.
Do you incorporate photography to your work? How?
Yes. A Lot. Photographic imagery can sometimes express an energy or emotion that text or graphics alone cannot. Finding or taking the RIGHT photo can be the most crucial part of visualizing an idea. This may seem simple but it is often not.
How do you execute your ideas?
Researching and asking questions – the better I know what it is that wants to be communicated, the better I can start thinking about how to start communicating it.
Analogue vs. Digital, what’s your stand?
I think they are different words to the same song. It’s all about communicating ideas well – and I’ll employ any tool (digital, analog, or otherwise) that helps do that in the most impactful way possible.
Are you working on other projects? Tell us about them.
I am currently on a couple of projects, but one that is nearing completion is for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. BMD is partnering with an architecture firm in Chicago to help the school develop a new vision for their future campus. There are a lot of components coming together, but one that I’ve been mostly responsible for is an abstract visualization/diagram that illustrates diverse student experiences of the campus. It’s been a bit of a mind bender, but I’m really happy with how it’s shaping up.
Any inspiring tips for our Lomography Community?
Pay Attention. It might sound trite, but ideas and inspiration are everywhere. Not just in glossy design blogs and on haute couture runways, but also in the way the woman across from you on the subway is slouching in a way that makes you wonder what her day must have been like.
Look out for our next article with other two amigos inside BMD!