This is the first Nerd20 Interview post, so let me explain more about it. Nerd20 is an interview based on 20 questions, that include questions of a nerdy nature. In this interview series I’ll be interviewing Designers, Developers, Online Marketing Experts, Internet Guru’s, and anyone I deem “Nerdy”. The purpose of Nerd20 is to offer a window into people that are working full time with the Internet.
I met Andrew McGourik almost three years ago. Andrew is an amazing designer. He creates amazing logos, business cards, posters, and t-shirts. Andrew and I collaborated on the Helpful Nerd logo, and he’s helped me with other design projects over the years for my clients. I even had the pleasure of putting together his WordPress portfolio site. And last but not least Andrew is a good friend and I’m happy to know him both personally and professionally.
Helpful Nerd: What do you do and how long have you been doing it?
Andrew: I’m a visual artist, designer and a musician. I have been studying composition in design for the past 11 years, and employed as a graphic designer for the past 4 years.
Helpful Nerd: Are you self-taught or have a formal education in your field?
Andrew: I have a bachelor’s degree from the Welch school of art and design at Georgia State University with a concentration in graphic design. However, it’s impossible to say how much that affected my composition skills. I always spent time outside of the program to discover new artists and new ways of manipulating what I learned inside the classroom.
Helpful Nerd: Are you a Mac user or PC user? Or Both? Why?
Andrew: I use Macs for the most part. Although I don’t feel like the interface you use is as important as your ideas. For the most part I use paper, pens, and collage before I set anything up on a computer.
Helpful Nerd: What are your favorite technology blogs or websites that you read most often?
Andrew: For design, I usually look at image blogs. Some of my favorite ones are Behance, fffffound, It’s Nice That, The September Industry, and graphic Exchange.
Helpful Nerd: What do you think of Cloud Computing?
Andrew: It’s a good idea. Hopefully information securities will catch-up with the technology.
Helpful Nerd: Any advice for small businesses using the Internet? Do and Don’t
Andrew: Unfortunately, I don’t have much experience in this field. But from what I have learned in the past few years is, don’t sell your soul for your business. Obviously, time with your family and friends is most important. Don’t forget to reach out and create personal connections with your clientele. Although everything is centered around the web today, the most important connections you make start with a hand shake.
Helpful Nerd: What are your thoughts regarding Responsive Design and Development?
Andrew: I think it’s important for companies to embrace the ever growing devices that people use to consume content, make purchases, and find services. The term “Responsive” though, is just the trendy term for what designers and developers are supposed to do to ensure that websites adapt to new technology. Responsive should be considered a standard practice.
Helpful Nerd: What are your top mobile apps that you use the most? (excluding Facebook, Twitter, and other social network related apps)
Andrew: I use an app called Clear for all my lists and chores. It’s very well designed and easy to use. I use Waze for navigating traffic around Atlanta, and I use Mint in order to help myself budget my spending. Last but not least Score Center by Espn.
Helpful Nerd: What do you love about what you do?
Andrew: I love creating something from nothing, and allowing the designs to communicate something greater, and faster than words, photos, or film.
Helpful Nerd: What do dislike about what you do?
Andrew: I don’t like working with uneducated clients. Some people without knowledge of composition, branding, and design, seem to think they know better than the experts and just want you to breathe their ideas to life. I spend a lot of time, almost daily, explaining to companies why they shouldn’t use pastel, Easter colors in their logo, and why they can’t use Daffy Duck in their branding.
However, that being said, some clients have a clear idea that works very well, and completing this idea to the beast of my ability creates a challenge. These are the best kind of projects and allow me to become a better designer often ending with a superior design.
Helpful Nerd: It’s 2012, and Technology and Internet has come a long way. What are your thoughts about how this industry has changed?
Andrew: The design and technology industry is constantly changing. Luckily for me, I was educated about web design, before it was still considered the wild west. Print no longer translates to web easily, and thus creating a strong branding through several mediums has become a focus for companies. Now designers have to work harder than ever. We must be on the forefront of technology and mediate how design can help communicate ideas seamlessly and practically.
Helpful Nerd: What are the pros and cons about Social Networking / Marketing?
Andrew: Social networking is a great way to spread ideas quickly. However, it’s also a great way to spread bad ideas quickly. Unfortunately, most of social networking is white-washed, secondary source information that creates hysteria or poor entertainment… Obviously, no one is interested in how you forgot to read the label on your expired milk this morning.
Marketing is also a tough ball game. Traditional marketing of email blasts, advertising, and personal networking are tried and true, but usually aren’t a direct way to get your customers into your funnel. Consumers are more educated than ever today, and most marketing models are outdated and offer very little more than a guess as to how your marketing
actually affects your bottom line.
I am not typically excited about marketing theories today. For me, when you have a good product, and a clear message, the products will sell themselves. Today, too many companies have so many gimmicks, and neglect the actual product.
Helpful Nerd: How do you feel about how technology has made us lazy?
Andrew: Well it goes both ways. I can get to the store by asking for the directions from Siri, but now I have to drive further to my destination. Or Maybe, rather than driving to the book store to buy a book, I have to buy a tablet, learn how to use it, and buy the book online, all so I can turn a page in real life.
Some technology has over complicated life. For instance, do you ever think about how a plastic fork gets to your table? Well, it’s starts out by refining oil in the ground, processing it, molding it, and shipping it across the world, all so I don’t have to wash the spoon in my sink 5 feet away.
Lazy will still exits no matter what, the process has just changed.
Helpful Nerd: Should it be illegal to text or talk on the phone while driving?
Andrew: I’m split on this question. Obviously, we are all guilty of this and it’s dangerous. But the alternative to this is allowing big brother to turn off your phone while you are in the car by monitoring your location. I’ve seen some solution apps to help this, but the best idea is to just educate people not to do it.
Helpful Nerd: How do you feel about how the government passing bills that will change, restrict, and
censor the Internet?
Andrew: I like the internet uncensored, censorship is bad in almost every way. The best way to curb this behavior is to make products, music, etc. easily available and cheaper online. Adobe, please take notes!
Helpful Nerd: If you could pick one innovative person in the history of the Technology or Internet
industry to have lunch with, who would it be?
Andrew: Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and whoever founded WC3.
Helpful Nerd: What technology that doesn’t exist yet would you love to see become a reality?
Andrew: I want to know where the cheapest, quality products are, closest to me, how many are in stock, and have them ready to be picked up when I get there. What would be great is some kind of online review to allow information to be validated for truth. Oh yeah and Teleportation.
Helpful Nerd: Do you have any advice for people that want to work in this field?
Andrew: Never stop looking and learning, surround yourself with people who are better than you. Also look for influences that make you happy, away from your field.
Helpful Nerd: What is the biggest impact the Internet has had on Humankind?
Andrew: Sharing information quickly to billions at the same time, for good and bad.
Helpful Nerd: If you didn’t work in your field, what would you be doing instead?
Andrew: I would be dead. I can’t imagine not playing music and making art, the whole point of life is to live it.