We speak with Jason Beckley on how working for big brands has fine-tuned his eye for products.
Were you brought up with design?
Neither of my parents worked in anything remotely related to design or fashion. I originally wanted to be a farmer. Then I realized it wasn’t for me; I wanted to travel and explore the world instead.
Is honesty an important aspect of creativity?
I have a strange perception of creativity. I want my work to be logical, to make people say “Yes, of course,” rather than “Wow,”. I think people at times justify their actions and work by merely proclaiming: “I’m a creative.” Work has to be receptive to the audience and right for the brand. Creativity isn’t a license to reimagine; it’s a license to do right. You have to keep yourself in check. Being both the pad and the pen carries great responsibility with it.
So how do you go about determining how to do right?
Don’t follow trends. Design has to originate from the heart of the brand. If you think about it, excellent design is very seldom born in the heart of big cities. Being bases far away from everything gives you an independence to create great design.
Is there an aim to your work?
I’m always the student and never the master. I had a wonderful boss when I was really young. He told me that he knew the key to a great career; I thought he was a bit mad at the time. He said, “Expose yourself to as many of the world’s best brands as possible for the first half of your career.” (Naturally he didn’t delve into how difficult that would be.)
How can globality shape design?
We live in an increasingly connected world and people have become more globalized. There’s more interconnectedness between cultures today than has ever been. You have to at once pull inspiration from across the world while being careful of not straying too far away from your values as a designer.
This is a very special time in history. There are some scary things going on politically and religiously but if you go to the basis of human society, we’re connected by what we believe in rather than where we’re born. This will, and already does, affect design.