Design Partner Spotlight: Kirk Love
Storyware has been very fortunate to serve as Kirk’s web development partner on a variety of projects over the years, including The High Line, Frame Home, AVC, and Pegg (Kirk’s startup). Kirk is based out of Brooklyn and we look forward to meeting him at least once a year for breakfast at Buvette.
Why design? For me, it was the perfect hybrid of art and commerce. I’ve always been drawn to strong design and always wanted to work in that industry. I particularly like the idea of creating “something” out of nothing. That process of bringing a brand to life and sharing it with the world never gets old.
What/Who inspires your work? I’m a photographer too, so strong visuals always inspire me. For my design work I migrate strongly to clean, crisp, and modest design — things with simple yet bold imagery, limited text, and clean layouts. I like things that inspire order. As for inspirations I love the photographer Joel Meyerowitz. He finds such beauty in the every day and I try to bring that to my designs. I’m also a big fan of Dieter Rams and John Maeda’s rules of simplicity.
How do you come up with your top design ideas? It’s an iterative process… things never start out the way you want. At least for me. Often though I ingest what the client wants, mull it over in my head and eventually, an image begins to form. From there I sketch on paper. I have to do that first. Then move to the computer and start finding the two or three key elements (an image, a photo, a layout grid) that will serve as the anchor points for the design. Then build out from there. Often my best design solutions happen after I start to edit as well. It’s in the process of removing stuff you find the strongest design in the end. Rarely if ever does a design get better by ADDING something more.
What intrigues (or frustrates) you about web design currently? Intrigues would be people who still “roll their own” sites or custom code. Those always look the most pleasing to me and the most “human”. I loath things like Bootstrap or CSS libraries that make every site look exactly the same. Sadly, mobile design, UI and UX have only made that worse with everything looking robotic, boring, and exactly the same. It’s really sad.
How did you connect with Storyware? I met Todd through Tumblr and the ad hoc music community on that platform. Back then I was with a company called exfm (a music discovery platform). It was (and still today) the best way to find, listen to, and share great music on the web. I miss it every single day.
If you had 5 minutes to teach someone something new, what would you teach? Stop and appreciate the beauty around you. Carry a camera too (and not a cell phone, a real camera). It’s amazing how much of the world and the world’s beauty reveals itself to you if you just take a few seconds to stop and admire it. Carrying a camera gives you a license to see, capture, and experience the world. Trust me it’ll change your life.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I’ve been fortunate to get a lot of great advice in my life. I’ll cheat and share a few:
1/ My dad – you can be happy anywhere if you look at it from a positive perspective (I firmly believe this)
2/ My 7th grade teacher Ms Patrick – when faced with a huge task don’t look at all it, only the next task. Finish that, then move on, before you know it you’ll have completed the entire thing
3/ My wrestling coach – even if you are not the most talented athlete, you can out-train your opponents and outlast them
4/ Morrie Schwartz – the older you get, realize you can be any age prior since you have the experience being that. So if you want to act 10 one day, go head you know how to do it.
Current favorite designer? Casey Walter. He’s a friend, so I’m biased, but he’s just got a good soul and it comes through in his work. It’s very clean, very professional, and just always well done.
Favorite project you’ve worked on with Storyware? The High Line. Was a big undertaking with a lot of layers of approval and bureaucracy, but ultimately we were able to battle through and deliver arguably one of the best online digital experiences for a park there is.