Interview with Mackey Saturday

1. When did you realise you wanted to be a designer?

The turning point in my life was less about when I decided I wanted to be a designer and more about when I realized that I didn’t have to pursue a traditional career to make a living. This decision enabled me to create a lifestyle, one that includes design as a provisional portion, and that changed everything.

2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?

I started doing commissioned art very early in life but didn’t pursue that as a career. When it came to starting in design, I didn’t know anything about running a business, but I never let my current level of knowledge limit me from pursuing an idea or opportunity.

Life is full of hurdles, personal and professional. Skateboarding taught me a lot about failure, dealing with pain, and overcoming obstacles. All challenges are important and I strive to enjoy the process as a whole compared to identifying challenges and barriers as obstacles to merely get by. The higher the barrier, the greater the challenge, the more rewarding the success.

3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?

Maintaining relationships. Do the best work you can for everyone, stay above reproach in how you handle everything and you’ll gain a great amount of trust. If someone is proud of the work you did with them and confident in you, they will be your greatest pipeline of new clients.

4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?

Exactly the same way I get new clients. It’s all a part of the same process for me.

5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?

Who doesn’t? This is a given for all businesses, deal with it however is appropriate for the situation with considerations for the amount due, who the client is, deliverables and time implications.

6. What does your typical work day look like?

Each day is different. I aim for balance, but being honest, I rarely achieve it. An ideal day starts with surfing, followed by a breakfast with friends. Studio time generally comes next, focusing on the immediate creative tasks at hand first, before dealing with the necessary meetings, communication, project planning, and so forth.

The afternoon is generally grouped into two longer periods of work, broken up by some brief time getting out for a coffee or snack. Ideally I’ll take off in time for an evening workout, skate session, or some yoga, on a great day, all three. Dinner timing is inconsistent and I’ll usually follow that with some research, drawing and stretching to wind down the day before bed.

7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at This Design Life?

Pursue things in life that push you outside of your comfort zone. Discovery is often rooted in the unfamiliar. Experience more, increase your awareness, make time for observation and reflection.

Mackey Saturday is an American designer and typographer whose work includes logos for Instagram, Oculus and Luxe. He is a principal at New York City design firm Chermayeff & Geismar & Haviv.

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Interview published on: May 15, 2018

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