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Antonio Carusone

Graphic Designer and Art Director of AisleOne

Primary design concentration:

Graphic Designer and Art Director

Most preferred tool for designing:

A well-designed grid system

1. How and why did you choose to become a designer?

It was by accident really. I’ve always been involved in art ever since I was very young. I started drawing in elementary school which lead me to apply to the High School of Art & Design in New York City. My initial passion was 3D computer animation. I studied it in high school and continued to do so in college. One summer, I came back to NY to visit for a few weeks, and I met up with an old friend. He was working at a small start-up and showed me this crazy new thing called Flash. I was addicted. He offered me a job, so I left school and came back to NY to work as a web designer. Eventually I would become obsessed with graphic design and typography. The rest is history.

2. Challenges you encounter as a designer and how do you deal with them?

Personally, for me, my biggest challenge is getting good ideas to survive through a committee of people who aren’t creative and don’t understand what makes good design. Working in the ad industry, this happens all the time, and it’s very frustrating. I find myself having to work extra hard to sell an idea, and sometimes I get so tired that I just give up and let it go. It’s unfortunate, because a situation like this can really zap your creativity.

3. Your definition of an “elegant solution,” that is, good design?

Any design that uses a grid system as a foundation. Any design that exhibits good typography. Any design that communicates the message clearly. Any design that makes me wish I had done it.

4. From skills to values, what makes a designer successful?

For one, a good sense of design is very important. A lot of people just don’t possess this. 

Attention to detail is vital in any successful design. To me, the details can sometimes be the most important aspect of a design.

A good understanding of design principles and methodologies like layout, composition, color, typography, grids, etc.

5. How do you stay motivated and grow personally and professionally as a designer?

I try to create as much work during my free time as I can. I think I create my best work when I’m not on the clock or surrounded by four account people. So when I’m home, I try very hard to do my own things. I’ll design something even if it has no purpose. I also try to read a lot of books pertaining to design and typography and I’m always in search of a design piece that really inspires me. Could be a book, magazine, business card, poster, website, anything that gets my juices flowing.

6. For those aspiring to become a designer, whatever the discipline, what is your advice?

Read as much as you can about design principles, typography, and grid systems. 

Build a solid portfolio. The quantity of pieces don’t matter, it’s the quality.

Gain experience. Try to get an internship at an agency, even if it’s not paid. Sacrifice a little at first, building experience is what’s important. 

Always design, even if you have no purpose. Create a poster for a fake movie, mock-up some pages of a book. Anything. It makes you stay fresh.

7. What is your quest in design?

Hmmm, not really sure. My main goal is to create good quality work. I feel that I’ll always be learning and evolving everyday which is one of the great things about graphic design. It’s an experience.

Antonio Carusone created and sustains AisleOne, an “inspirational resource focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism.” He highly recommends Grid Systems in Graphic Design by Josef Müller-Brockmann, Details in Typography by Josh Hochuli, and the documentary film Helvetica.

Image courtesy of Antonio Carusone.

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