Scott Fuller is an immensely talented graphic designer out of Newnan, Georgia, and was also the artist behind out Furrow Books logo and belly band design. We recently had the pleasure of interviewing him via telephone and wanted to share some of his responses below. This is part one of the interview.
Tell us a little bit about your past – how you got into graphic design.
I guess I started as most folks do. I liked to draw a lot when I was a kid and was severely into rail roads. The CSX logo is still one of my favorites to this day. I used to draw model trains and draw different themes on them from the time when I was five and six years old.
My first commission, if you want to call it that, I had friends who at the time liked trucks, and were always getting rims and grill guards put on them and different things like that. You know, mock me up a cool redneck truck, if you want to say that; and my friends would give me a couple of bucks and I would draw it for them over the course of the week. I’d do side views, draw from life, and make up everything else. That was my first ones. I think I did that when I was about 10 years old.
From there, I moved into, I’m a big NASCAR fan, and most designers know the work of Saul Bass who designed the AT&T logo and stuff like that; well I grew up with a different Bass, Stan Bass. He designed paint themes and everything for NASCAR, and that just jumped out to me. So I made the choice to go into illustration and fine art in college. After 2 years, I hated it, and was ready to change back to what I was originally going to go to school for, which was mechanical engineering. I decided to give it one more year, and my first class was graphic design 101. After one hour in the class, I changed my major to design and never looked back.
Tell us a little about the Studio Temporary and how it got its name.
At the time, I was the director of in-house design at a company, but I had always done freelance on the side and I had just an inkling, that I wanted to have my own place. My dad owns his own company from the time that I was about eight years old to this day and I always enjoyed working with him and doing different things; and I saw how much he enjoyed it, so I thought that was cool, but the fact that I could just do design on my own and make it, you know, was appealing to me. So I tried to build up my base and everything, and I did an identity design, menus and everything, for a restaurant in Newnan called, The Cellar, I took a day off – I called in sick to work – to build the sign at this old sign making shop in downtown Newnan, just right across the street from The Cellar. This guy was ambidextrous; he could letter; he could carve; I mean, he was just this amazing guy. We were in this cool little back room, and I said, “Man, do you ever rent this place out?” because I was within walking distance of the place. He gave me a key, gave me internet access, you know, whatever I needed, and never charged me a penny for almost two years. I’d go there almost every night after work.
My first night there, I had been trying to figure out what I was going to call this company, and just as a joke, I called it The Studio Temporary, and after three months, I realized that’s exactly what I was: The Studio Temporary – good design wherever we happen to be. I don’t have a place of my own and I don’t feel that any specific design studio is its location. I think it was Alan Fletcher who said, “The most important tool in my studio is my head.” So, I took that under consideration and threw it all on the line and called it The Studio Temporary and the response was pretty overwhelming. I always got a chuckle and people enjoyed the story and it’s kind of what I became known for.
Do you have any other artists working for you?
No not right now – it is just me. I have some people that I contract with. I have a developer that I contract with and I have friends in the industry, you know, sometimes they pass me work, sometimes I’m able to help them out, but right now, It is just me.
Are interested in expanding with more artists?
Maybe one day. Maybe if I have one or two other people, I think would be pretty cool. I don’t feel like growing any more than maybe three, would be idea. Then again, while I’ve worked for people, I’ve never actually worked in a design studio, which is kind of interesting. I’ve never a creative director over me, so it’s kind of hard to say; but If I were to grow, it probably would be no more than a couple of people.
How would you describe your style?
I would say it’s kind of utilitarian. I believe that the best designs, just work. You know, it’s not about my artistic license, or any ego, or any agenda that I have. It’s about what works. Some would call it rustic; some would call it vintage; some would call it utilitarian or simplistic, but I just say it works.
Each person is different. I can’t approach everything in the same way, because every client and job is completely different. But I come with the idea that it’s the simple things that work. It’s the most memorable. The simpler it is, the easier it is for people to remember, especially using familiar shapes and things like that, especially when it come to logos. I want people to be able to look at it and get what they need to out of it. Whether it’s a logo for Furrow Books or a flyer for medical devices, it doesn’t matter. We want people to get the information and I don’t want them to have to struggle through reading it because it was so poorly designed. I think that each design has a purpose; each logo has a purpose; and if you miss that by throwing in your own agenda, then I would consider that piece to be worthless.
What are your influences?
I can only think of a couple modern day designers that I really look up to. I would say that Saul Bass, Aaron Draplin, Paul Rand, Jon Contino, Lance Wyman, Malcolm Grear and some others are influences, but a lot of my influence has nothing to do with any particular designer. I’m big into junking and do that quite a lot, and I look at, not necessarily work that’s done from the past, but how they worked from the past. Things like how they used hierarchy and color theory, and different things like that that we just beautiful to look at but were absolutely utilitarian and did exactly what they were supposed to do.
You won’t see me reading through design magazine – I have no subscriptions to them. I probably haven’t picked up a design magazine in three years because I don’t want to be influenced by the fads of today. You know, people consider nowadays, vintage is a fad, it’s in now, and I don’t see it as vintage really. I see it as a way to do something that’s hand crafted as opposed to something that’s done quick or something that just follows the fads or whatever of today.
So, my influence is more along the lines of work from the past.
Also, for those in the Columbus, GA area, Scott will be speaking at Creative South at 9am on April 12th. So stop by and have a listen, you wont’ be disappointed. You may even grab some Studio Temporary swag if you’re lucky.