Tuesday, November 17, 2009

★ 5Qs with Inka Mathew

Rob: Today I was reading a blog on The New Yorker's site when suddenly my eyes locked onto their header. A classy man with elongated proportions, nose pointed upward, and an eye glass in hand stands on the left with the THE NEW YORKER title directly in front of him. As I sat there marveling at this wonderfully conceived concept, the faint flutter of a butterfly consumed my interest even more. Whoever designed this is not just a good designer, they are a great designer! They didn't just design a logo, they designed an Identity. They created a symbol that moves the viewer into the world they skillfully created. When I came across the work of Inka Mathew, I realized that she is one of the great designers. With skill and purpose, she creates designs that will inspire you over and over. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing her.

Q1: Tell me a little about yourself?

Inka: My name is Inka Mathew, a freelance graphic designer. I'm originally from Indonesia. I live in Sugar Land, Texas (near Houston). Before that, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for about 10 years. I've been designing for about 12 years now. I love graphic design, especially logos and branding. My background is print design, but now I do web design as well. My company is Green Ink Studio (www.greeninkstudio.com). I also have a small logo collection for sale at Brandstack.com (http://brandstack.com/users/profile/GreenInkStudio)

Rob: I can't decide if I love your identity or packaging work more! The Tino Vino, Michael Bautista, Red Bike, and Tiny Bird identities are all masterpieces. But then I remember the Peppermint Chocolate Swirl Marshmallow Packaging design and I am torn! Then, when you throw in the packaging you did for the Shrek products, it makes the decision even more difficult. I think I'll just say that your work is beautiful! Besides that you do custom invitations as well! So talented.

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Inka: I loved drawing since I was young. I wanted to be an architect since I thought that's the only profession that would allow me to draw. I was doing really bad at perspective drawing, and figured there's no way I could be an architect! Only much later on around the end of high school I heard about Graphic Design and thought to myself that this is exactly what I want to do! I also found out that the US had really good schools for that field. So I braved myself, and I flew to the US to study what I loved. I went to Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Awesome school. They gave me really good grounds for my love of identity design.

Rob: This is what I love about interviews-hearing the stories behind the work and in this case, the stories behind the artist. That's great.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Inka: I listen. I also pay attention to the psychology/mental aspect of a client or a company. Who are they really? And how can I bring out their best and present it in a brand identity? At the end of the day, your design is to help your client evoke emotions from their customers, to help their customers feel that they can trust your client, and feel confident in their product and services. Branding is a part of marketing, and a good brand identity is supposed to shout out the best of your client and what they can be to their customers. My job is to design based on that thinking.

Rob: Inka, you do a fine job in helping your clients present themselves in a memorable way.

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Inka: I'd like to be known as a good graphic designer, especially in doing what I love, identity design. I'm saying good, not great, because to me great should always be an aim. I always believe, that no matter how good you are in what you do, there is ALWAYS someone else who is much better than you. That way, I'll always be open to keep learning, and push to be better than I was before. The journey should never end. You shouldn't think that you're "there" because that's your dead end if you think that.

Rob: Fine. You are only a good designer. I'm just kidding. You are right. The journey should never end. When I look at some of your designs, I think, I can learn a lot from her work and hopefully someone out there can learn something from my work. I may not be the best, but everyday, like you, I aim to be the best and because of that I become stronger in my craft.

Q5: Why Green Ink?

Inka: Well, green is my favorite color of all time. You should see my closet when I was young. I used to go to church wearing green from top to bottom! I used to get looks from people, and not in a complementing way, ha ha! So I have to have "Green" in my company's name. "Ink" is a short version of my name, but also to indicate my background as a print designer - you do printing with ink :-).

Rob: I love your thought process. I am honored to chat with you today and I am thankful for the knowledge I have learned from it. That's all for today, but follow my blog or click the RSS feed for more 5Qs with the Best in the Industry!

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