Matt Needle creates powerful iconic graphic imagery from the world of music and film. We loved his take on the greats like Bob Dylan, Bowie and Elvis so much, we launched the collection on Bamarang this week! How could we not? He’s already worked with the likes of Nike, Tiger beer and Hugo Boss! We caught up with Matt who told us of his life of late nights, sketchbooks and travel.
How did you get into this design career?
I am a Designer, Illustrator and Experimental Film-maker based in Cardiff, Wales. I graduated University Of Wales in 2009 by which time I had been freelancing, and submitting work to magazines & design competitions. My aim was to get it seen by as many people as possible. I worked for a few studios and magazines from 2006 and towards the end of 2009 I decided I wanted to go out alone and set up a freelance studio. In the past two and a half years I have worked on all kinds of briefs, for clients of all sizes, worldwide, including Nike, Big Chill Festival, Wired Magazine, CNN and many others. As well as working for many varied clients I have also been part of a fair few exhibitions worldwide; including places such as Sydney, Paris, New York, Manchester, Cardiff, and London.
You use a lot of iconic imagery in your work which is widely recognised, is that good design to you?
Good design is the marriage of style and function. By function I either mean registering an emotion, conveying a message or an actual physical function. Something that is over stylized and hollow is quite shallow design and pretty run of the mill. All my work is created in a minimal / iconographic style as I believe that something doesn’t need to be cluttered to make a point. I also approach every piece in a different way, hence why some designs are created in different and more experimental ways.
Where do you most like to create?
I work from a home studio, and even though it does get a bit of a cabin fever feel to it sometimes its still where I produce all my best work. I have a desk with my scanner, printer, Mac and lots of sketch pads around me.
Most creative freelancers tell us the biggest perk of the job is not having an average day. What is a Matt Needle day like?
I start work at 10am by answering emails, setting a work list for the day and doing any development work/sketches for projects and work solidly through to 6pm. From 6pm till midnight is my personal time, then I come back and finish of a few things before going to sleep at around 4am. I find it really relaxing to work really early in the mornings when everyones asleep.
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement yet is probably that I’ve put my degree to use and set up my own business from nothing. Although its still small and early days, I’ve already worked with great people worldwide including Tiger beer, Hugo Boss, Big Chill festival, Wired magazine and many others.
What do your customers respond best to?
My print customers seem to like it when I come up with stuff for iconic films but in a fresh way that completely differs from the film studios output, yet still completely represents the subject matter. As for my design clients, they like the fact that I am approachable, accommodating, willing to work effortlessly till we come up with the perfect solution.
What place in the world inspires you most and why?
I recently travelled to Amsterdam. I’m toying with the idea of moving out there but I would say it would have to be there, New York or India. All because of the culture and the architecture amongst other things.
Fast Favourite Five
Favourite Artist: Magritte / Warhol / Saul Bass
Favourite Food: Jerk Chicken. Generally anything with spice on actually.
Favourite Album: Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes
Favourite City: Amsterdam / New York
Favourite Book: American Pyscho – Bret Easton Ellis