A Conversation with...

Jon Newman

New York-based designer Jon Newman began his self-initiated journey to create 52 projects in 52 weeks as a challenge to himself to become a better artist and designer. What emerged, Daydreams & Nightschemes, beautifully chronicles the designer抯 growth while retaining his minimal and modern aesthetic. We talked to Newman about his dramatic and graphic rendering of the Oribe logo, his biggest design inspiration and the best advice he抯 ever given and received.

What spawned your interest in art?
I became interested in art at a young age because of all the cartoons I used to watch. This was my first real experience with anything art related, and I was hooked. I would spend a lot of time re-drawing the characters I would see on TV. Later in life I even considered becoming an animator, but realized in college at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia that design was the way to go for me.

How would you describe your aesthetic? Do you have a design philosophy?
My aesthetic is minimalistic, modern design. My philosophy is: Keep it simple so the concept can sing.

Why did you decide to render the Oribe logo the way you did?
I wanted to utilize only the elements I was given, so I took the Oribe logo and stretched it to give it a more hair-like feel. I then layered the stretched logos and used various opacities and color to create a new bold image.

In your perspective, what defines something as "beautiful"?
I find graphic things beautiful, so I抦 typically drawn to high-contrast photography, bright colors or typography with extreme thickness and thinness.

Why did you decide to do the 52 Weeks/52 Projects initiative?
I started Daydreams & Nightschemes as a personal challenge to become a better designer, art director and illustrator. I missed the self-fulfillment and personal growth I felt in college after working so intensely on a project. So, instead of spending a ton of money on graduate school, I felt that if I just kept myself on a tight one-week deadline per project, I could grow exponentially as an artist. The results so far have exceeded my expectations. I've really surprised myself with what I can accomplish with practically no budget and only a week抯 worth of time. I've already passed the halfway mark and am very excited to finish the full 52 projects.

What (or who) has been the biggest influence in your art?
In recent years, Stefan Sagmeister's work has really influenced me to think of design more as a fine art and not just something I do sitting in front of a computer all day at a 9 to 5 job. His work is so personal, and I wanted to do work that I could see myself in the final piece. That said, with each project I try to push my limits of what I'm comfortable with or to think differently about how to approach the solution. I had great success with project #15 (Hand Paint Font) and project #24 (Poured Milk Font)朾oth projects were done away from the computer and out of my comfort zone. I believe these two are some of my most iconic pieces so far from Daydreams &Nightschemes (more to come).

If you could work on a project with any artist living or dead, who would it be and what would you like to do?
I would choose Sandro Botticelli; he is my favorite Early Renaissance Artist, and I've always found his painting style mesmerizing. The proportions of his figures are a little bit off, and I think there's something fascinating about that. I would like to paint a large-scale group portrait similar to his Primavera piece.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever given? Received?
The best advice I've ever given is to put yourself where you want to be. For example, don't take a job in Ohio if you want to remain in New York卋e patient and wait for the job market to open up.

The best advice I've ever received is "work creates work." Whether it's a client seeing your new stuff directly or getting a referral from someone else, putting your work out there is always a good thing. The more you get out there, the more you'll get noticed (one caveat though: It has to be good work).

How do you normally wear your hair? What's the sexiest way a girl can wear her hair?
I actually get a lot of compliments from random strangers about the way I wear it: tight on the sides, high on top.

The sexiest way a girl can wear her hair is how my wife wears hers: black and cropped short. I love the graphic nature and simple beauty of it.

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