If you don’t know what UNT Design Works is, you’re missing out. Run by Union Marketing, Design Works is a print shop that prints large and small format specialty print jobs, as well as operates as a graphic design firm. Services are available to students, departments, and the public. Design Works produces a lot of really great designs (hence the name) so we would like to take some time to profile the excellent designers we have on staff not just because they’re awesome but so you can see their past work and find insight on their personal style, should you like to hire them.
Michael Ryan Wood, Junior Communications Design Major, ENFJ, and Graphic Designer at Union Design Works
Michael’s strengths, according to Strengths Quest, are:
“What I would consider my personal strengths are ideas and ideation. I just enjoy it a lot, and it’s one of those innate things that I think I’m good at. I would say that I have some sort of innate leadership skills, I always tend to find these leadership positions and get put into them. They’re fun, sometimes it can be stressful, but I like taking the challenge and guiding people to one vision because I think it’s really fun and rewarding to everyone. Other than that, I think just being likable and empathetic of other people and having an open mind to how everyone feels and what they believe in. That’s something I really pride myself in. Ideation is a big skill I have. I love color choices and things like that. Even though I wouldn’t call myself an illustrator, I would say that I am an illustrative designer. I think of things in an illustrative way, even when I’m doing things with typography I’m thinking about it in an illustrative way. Just explaining myself, I have been told by peers that I can really pitch something, and I think that I can. Even if I’m not 100% on a project, I can pitch it like I am.”
What songs are on your designer playlist?
- The Most Immaculate Haircut, Metronomy
- Bloodflood pt. II, alt-J
- Droopy Remembers, C418
- Desired Constellation, Björk
- Laura Corporeal, Geotic
- XR2, M.I.A.
- Coat of Many Colors, Dolly Parton
What is your spirit animal?
“It’s kind of funny, I think this goes into my appearance as well, but I think it would be a Cinnamon Bear. You’ve got the outward appearance of kind of being large, and feeling like there’s a wall there, but I’m actually very open. They’re crafty, at times, and they’re just cool animals, everyone likes them.”
What is your brain food?
It’s not a food, but I would say iced coffee is my go-to. I have to have it when I’m working. Which is actually kind of bad, because I do a lot of work at night, and it will be like 8:00 and I’ll have coffee and do work but then be up all night. It’s a good and a bad thing.”
What is your favorite color?
“As of right now, pink. I love a hot pink. This is the pink that’s like my go-to pink: it’s like a coral that has more orange in it, and also red. So it’s like this electric-red-coral, but it’s also pink. I use it on my website, it’s what I like a lot. I like a lot of colors, but I tend to go to pink, or go to blue. In fact, one of my professors actually forbade me from using blue one semester in any of my projects, so that kind of steered me away from using blue, but I still like it. Pink is definitely my favorite though.”
What tools could you not design without?
“The main one isn’t actually a tool. People could consider it a tool, but Google drive is my number one thing that I credit to staying organized as a designer. Tool wise, I use my Wacom table to draw, all the main software. Google drive has made my life and my well-being as a designer so much better. I would credit that, because it makes printing processes faster, it double-backs up all my files, and it has taught me a lot of organization methods as far as projects that I think are really crucial as a professional designer. It’s an over-arching tool that has helped me organize myself better, and that has showcased itself in my design.”
What’s in your bag?
“Holy crap, there’s a lot. My backpack, I don’t use it just for school. It’s like my life bag. Everything I need is in there. My laptop is always in there, I have one folder that’s just all of my school stuff, I usually have my Wacom tablet with me, I have a charger, my laptop charger, I have rulers and circle templates, a big bag of pencils and pens, usually a magazine or a book, I have a flashlight, a first aid kit I’ve never used, a comb, it’s a lot of Utilitarian stuff that I need throughout the day. To be prepared. My favorite thing about my backpack though is that it has a built-in rain cover. It has a bottom pocket, and you pull it over, so that it protects your bag from the rain. I’ve had it for almost five years, it’s a good backpack.
What would you be if you weren’t a graphic designer?
“If I wasn’t a graphic designer, there’s three things I could be. I think if I wasn’t doing design, I could see myself studying sociology as a profession. I don’t really know where that would take me, but I could see myself going for that as a major. Advertising and marketing is something I could do, I have some things in my head that aligned with it, but I have always also wanted to be an engineer. I’ve always been really interested in industrial design. Design and engineering have parallels. I’ve always been intrigued in it, but if I wasn’t in design I could definitely see myself going down that path.”
What is your favorite (or least favorite) typeface?
“I love ugly typefaces. The thing I don’t like the most is uninspired typefaces. So, there’s a beauty in things like Helvetica, and really foundational, modern, types, and they can be used in really exciting ways, but like the default type faces can be used really well, but in most cases, they tend to be uninspired and badly designed. I think typography is the art of finding ways to express what you’re writing about. It’s the visual manner to showcase what you’re thinking about what you’re writing about. So there’s really good inspiration that can be taken from it, no matter where you get your type from. And so when I think that someone just uses a default or something that isn’t appropriate for the selection, that’s what irks me the most.”
What is your favorite thing about being a graphic designer?
“My favorite thing about design, wrapping up to what I’m saying about my skills, are the ideas. The ideas that go behind design, and the research that it takes, and the information that you pull, I think that’s the most exciting part of design for me. Conceptualization is definitely one of my favorite things just because there’s so much data available, online, in libraries, in books, and I love that. It’s so exciting to me. Because you can take so much information from what you have and what you are thinking about. It really helps mold what you’re doing.”
I am not afraid to pull from weird references and combine things that aren’t traditionally put together. I tend to see design and art mixed together. That’s also how I approach research and things like that. I pull from a lot of things. I pull from fine art, actual design that’s being made, ideas and things that have happened in history, and I see what can be made from it. It’s just like connect-the-dots, and I love that.