A spotlight on Mat with 8 questions and our favourite pieces.
Mat is non-award winning Graphic & Motion Designer based in the UK with a style that mixes illustration, typography & short, looping animations. He is know for experimenting with typography and creating animated stickers & GIFs for the likes of Disney+, GIPHY & Honda.
Do you remember the moment you knew you wanted to become a designer?
As a child, art & design was always a passion and a subject I was stronger at especially in school compared to Maths and Science, I was better at the creative elements, rather than academics. When I turned 10 I entered a comic book cover contest for the TV show Futurama with The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, which I actually managed to win. I think that moment of knowing I had succeeded and been rewarded for creating something visual that I was proud of made me want to pursue design and see what else I could accomplish.
Did you go to design school? Do you think it was necessary to get to where you are today?
Originally I dropped out of my A-levels to head to college and solely study Art and Design. From failing multiple academic subjects to finishing art school as the student of the year, my career path started to become much clearer. From college I then headed to University to study Graphic Design for three years. However I don’t think anything can really prepare you for the reality of working in the design industry until you’re actually in it. But heading to study art and design had to be one of the best moves I could ever have made. I doubt I would be in the position I am today without putting all of my effort and energy into learning the subject.
Who is your favorite designer right now?
It’s got to be Jon Contino, based in NYC he is the founder and creative director of Jon Contino Studio. The way he mixes handcrafted typography with whitty, detailed illustration constantly inspires me to create more by hand. He released a book a while back that is an accumulation of his career and influential work for the likes of Nike, 20th Century Fox, and Coca-Cola. I highly recommend immersing yourself into it and basking in all that is CONTINO!
What is your method of getting out of a designers block?
Most of the time when I find myself stuck I tend to head straight out on my bike to get some fresh air or stick to the computer and try illustrating/animating a random word or a theme. Sometimes I find it helps to experiment with something unknown or try to learn a new motion skill to steer me back on track and apply it to my personal style or work.
Can you describe your ideal working environment?
As much as I love collaborating with other creatives in design-led spaces, the introvert in me finds creating my best personal work happens when I’m sat alone, in my own creative space, either plugged in with my headphones on or sat in another room in my home mixing up the surrounding scenery. As long as I am in reach of a few good design books, some fresh coffee and natural light it’s the perfect place to create!
Some of our Favorites
What advice would you have given yourself 3 years ago?
Remember talent is the desire to practise. It may not always feel like you’re developing as a designer but as long as you keep practising, you will get better, things will change and you’ll be able to look back on how far you’ve come and appreciate all of the time and effort has been worth it. Plus don’t be afraid to try something new, having a personal style doesn’t come overnight.
What is the greatest challenge you have faced in your career so far? How did you overcome it?
Self Doubt. Plain and simple as it is, it can be crippling to your own personal confidence. I’ve always worried about something even before I’ve even started thinking about how I can do it. For example sometimes I have found clients have asked me to create something as part of a brief which is instantly something I think there is no way I can do. When in reality it’s the perfect time to grow, learn something new and develop as a graphic designer. In our current day and age there are tutorials and ways to learn new skills on everything, so don’t be afraid or worried that you can’t do something that is asked from you, take a step back, think logically if this is something you can learn or you want to learn. If it’s not then come to a compromise or find a work around that works for both you and the client, people can be incredibly understanding if you’re straight up with them and explain your position or concerns as early as possible.