Meet : Joshua Cook

It’s the second week of my MEET series. I hope that this can continue on for as long as possible. I have artists lined up until the beginning of summer so check back every Tuesday to meet someone new. This week I’m featuring designer Joshua Cook. He is twenty-three year old graphic designer in Indianapolis, Indiana where he works full-time at Miles Design.

Q1. At what point in your life did you know you’d be an Designer? To be exact, it was November of 2004. I was a senior in high school and was completely unsure of the answer to “what does God want me to choose as a profession?” I think for most Christian kids this question can be one of the most stressful and potentially unnecessary to dwell on. I was struggling between going to school for Music Ministry or Visual Design. Growing up in church I was always distracted by the horrible images in PowerPoint and interior decorating in the sanctuary. It wasn’t until I toured Anderson University and saw current student’s studios that I saw relevant ministry through art+design. I was reminded that God isn’t limited by what profession I choose. Strategic and well-crafted design is so important for the church — for example, during the Renaissance period — and I consider it a necessary communication tool today.

Q2. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not designing? You would most likely find me drinking coffee or tea with my wife while watching Dexter. That show is freakishly–spectacular.

Q3. Who has been the most encouraging person in your life? It’s impossible to name just one. I would say my family. That includes my wife, my parents and siblings, my in-laws,  and grandparents. They’ve each been the most encouraging person at one point in my life and with their collective encouragement I feel like I can accomplish anything I want.

Q4. What inspires you? Design blogs such as BrandNew, Swiss-Miss, design observer, design-sponge, beast pieces, and also home improvement blogs such as hooked on houses and younghouselove. I also enjoy some of the articles posted on Wired and Fast Company.

Q5. What medium still intimidates you? Coding HTML (especially for e-mail marketing).

Q6. What has been you favorite piece of someone else’s art up until this point in your life? Conceptually I’d say Frank Lloyd Wright. His understanding of cohesion (note: in design, not marriage) is spot on and I referenced him quite a bit in my senior work at AU. The way he was able to harmonize his architecture with nature is inspiring to me. I try to incorporate his thinking in how I approach brand work. Design requires Gestalt and without considering all the parts to the whole, it’s just visual noise. Another aspect to Wright I appreciate is how he convinced his clients to hire him — his sales pitches were incredible. He was able to convince clients that it was more important to invest in artists than in doctors because without creativity everything would essential flat-line. The man was a genius.

Q7. Do you think you have a specific style? What is that style and do you see yourself evolving out of that anytime soon? I wouldn’t call it a style because I focus on designing visuals that are successful solutions to a specific problem. I think a sticking to one style can make you easy to recognize but not necessarily the best problem solver. Most of the clients I work with are in professional services looking for high-end, premium design solutions. It’s crucial that the solution we arrive at addresses the problem, the market and evokes emotion.

February 23, 2010