Leading designers, illustrators, art directors and the heads of creative firms reveal what's hot for 2015, what’s influencing their work and how that work's evolving this year,
What are the key skills or knowledge that you're acquiring this year?
“I would like to finally learn how to use my Wacom tablet. All my illustrations are hand-drawn but some commissions makes me work my ass off to get it done in time. So to save time I would like to learn how to use that. But I still love the feel and quality paper and marker gives.” Frode Skaren, illustrator
“There are many things I would love to learn. I just have been to this amazing sculptors’ supply with loads of waxes, silicones and plastic materials in different colours to do model making. This opens a new world to me. One other thing I want to start to learn is wood carving – I can’t wait to sculpt characters in wood.” David Luepschen, director, illustrator and animator
“I’d like to immerse myself in more random information. We spend too much time focused on the exact answer to a problem without thinking laterally. We need to know about available platforms and future technology but we should be pushing beyond these to create amazing products and experiences, rather than painting-by-numbers.” Dean Johnson, SVP of Creative Innovation, Brandwidth
“Presentation and teaching skills. And expanding my own job description by taking interns and letting them do daily tasks that doesn't require my signature style. This way I’ll get more time to concentrate on the creative part and get more done.” Janine Rewell, illustrator
“It’s more than just staying on top of the stuff we know. We are in an evolving field. On the design, animation, VFX side, software and hardware are constantly being upgraded and invented. On the live action side, the camera market is ever changing, as are high-speed techniques. We’d love to shoot more high-speed product stuff, especially liquid.
"Personally, I will have a chance to speak at at least one major design conference in 2015, and those outings always represent incredible opportunities to pick up knowledge from other industry leaders. From the small lessons to the big ones, I’m hopeful that it will all combine to make 2015 a spectacular year.." Erin Sarofsky, president, owner and executive creative director, Sarofsky
“I’d love to learn a bit more about film and video this year. Not necessarily motion graphics, but creating short films, even ones without a narrative, just capturing movement. As I’ve gotten more and more into photography lately that is a natural interest that’s been occurring to me. I want to see my photos come alive. I also want to continue developing as a creative director – I’ve had several opportunities recently to help steer projects visually and conceptually. Less me sitting in Photoshop, more sitting down and hashing out ideas and directions. It’s new territory but one I enjoy and feel prepared for more of.” Chuck Anderson, artist and designer
“By the end of 2015 I would like to have the knowledge and experience of getting products from idea, to sketch, to screen, to product, to market. Whether that's personally or crowdfunded. First up will be a range silk scarves which will be my first foray into running a Kickstarter project.” Matt H Booth, designer
“I’m learning Mandarin and getting my pilots licence, just after I export this PDF.” Simon Manchipp, co-founder, SomeOne
“I’m actively figuring out how to create fine art quality, tactile-looking but digital textures that passively animate on surfaces within interior environments.” Jason White, executive creative director, Leviathan
“New projects for 2015 will require deeper knowledge of the digital landscape and I am looking to learn more about UX of interactive platforms. I’m really intrigued by behavioural market research and neuroscience, I would like to make at least a tiny scratch on the top of each to learn from the enormity of knowledge.” Radim Malinic, art director, illustrator and graphic designer
“I think the animation side of things is something I will explore. But instead of new technologies I may try and revive some old ways of doing things. Using GIFs to animate my portfolio, using a pencil more and finding interesting ways of using instagram as a marketing tool. I'd also love to hide away in a log cabin in the Hebrides and read books for a month, but that may not be as practical.” Neil Stevens, illustrator
“We're partnering with a new outfit called Future Forever creating original children's entertainment formats – which is exciting for us but a steep learning curve. To quote Charles Darwin ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It’s the one most adaptable to change.’” Adam Jenns, owner and MD, Mainframe
“More web-based skills or perhaps some animation. I'd like to collaborate more in 2015 – I think collaboration always opens you up to learning new skills.” Emily Alston, graphic artist
“To remember all the shortcuts on Photoshop.” Rebecca Swift, director of creative planning, iStock
“Lots of great apps would work well anywhere in the world if the content was localised, so I’d really like to learn more about how to localise efficiently and effectively, without huge cost and time implications.” Paul Boyham, client services director, Apposing
“I’m very keen on user centred design, it’s one of the most important things for us at ustwo, and with designing for the in-car environment there’s all sorts of extra challenges. I’d like to study human behaviour and the complexities of cognition to help give a roundedness to my design decision making, bearing the user and the human in mind at every step.
“I’d also like to brush up on my developer skills, to help me become more of a hybrid designer. There is an emergence of prototyping software this year that facilitates the learning, and programming languages like Swift are making developing for iOS even easier, so I think I’ll be looking into those with my training budget!” Tim Smith, lead designer, ustwo
“I’m going to invest some time in motion/interaction design. I fancy adding that extra level to my work that can only be added via motion. Another plan is that Mister starts to develop niche products such as standalone apps and to be seen and as an agency that does ‘that’ well. Whether that is magazine, mobile, fashion, retail and so on is to be seen – but that is the direction. I think it would be remiss not to develop some of the projects and ideas into fully-realised projects in 2015.
"I have a number of self-initiated projects that are ongoing and I’m working with some excellent designers and developers on a few new ideas at present that will see the light of day next year. And I'm going to learn to paint.” Mike Sullivan, Mister
“I’m starting a ceramics evening course in the new year, so hopefully that will turn into a new skill! It will be another way for me to explore working in 3D and I'm excited to see where I could take it.” Amy Harris, illustrator and set designer
“I would like to learn how to animate in 3D and take my projects to another level.” Jing Zhang, illustrator