Inspired Talks: Alvin Diec

Categories Inspired Talks
After a long hiatus, we’re resuming out Inspired Talks series where we discuss inspiration sources and creativity with some of our favorite artists. This time we had the pleasure to interview Alvin Diec, one of the most prolific brand designers in the US with a brilliant taste for raw illustration. Check out some of his works below as well and feel free to throw in more questions in the comments section.
What are some of your sources of inspiration?
I work in graphic design, but I try to be inspired by things outside of that. I do a lot of work for restaurants, chefs, food products, and I find those things inspiring. You can find parallels in everything. Food, eating, and meals are such a mark of societies and cultures. It’s interesting and inspiring to observe.
Do you see any difference between designing for print and digital mediums?
To me, web design is graphic design. Digital is a different medium, and the parameters may differ sometimes, but the same principles apply. For what I and many others do — designing brand identity systems — it’s important to be able to work across a variety of mediums.
Can you give us some hints about your media diet (online and offline)?
I read a lot about food. The New York Times is a great resource for this. I’ve also been reading Lucky Peach, The New Yorker, Meatpaper. Opening Tumblr seems to give a nice survey of what’s happening out there.
How would you describe your typical working day?
I seem to have fallen into an weirdly organic, irregular work schedule that isn’t organized into day and night or weekdays and weekends. It’s mostly working a lot, and taking breaks whenever the opportunity arises.
Any tips on how you immerse in the creative process and how you start working for a new brand identity?
Get to know who you’re working with. To me, brand identity is such a personal thing. It shouldn’t be formulaic. I’ve found that I tend to have different processes with different clients. Get to know them, build trust, and it will make your life easier. Work with smart people. I spent a long time in the corporate branding world, and many of the processes and principles that have become the standard, they don’t work well with chefs or musicians. Get to know the client, the answers are right in front of you. Sitting down and talking over a meal will get you further than a “branding exercise.”
Read in another interview that traveling is one of your greatest passions. What is your first traveling experience that comes to your mind and where’s the next destination on your list?
The first experience out of the country I can remember is going to Mexico when I was seven or eight years old. I went with my family. I remember heat, unexpected food, and getting lost while horseback riding. I’ve been to Alaska on a short trip about six years ago, but didn’t get to see much. I’d like to go back there or somewhere really north and far away.
Do you have any piece of advice for young illustrators who are just starting out?
Consume everything, and not just design or illustration or whatever your line of work is. Look for inspiration elsewhere. Indulge in culture, always be observing and ahead of the curve. Learn a lot so you can have an opinion about things. Obsess over what you do. Being good at your work and having a point of view, I think these are the most important things.
Alvin can be stalked on his website, Twitter & Tumblr accounts.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.