A Conversation with Andrew Berkemeyer

Social media and the internet, as many of you know, provides plenty of opportunities to foster community and discover good people doing amazing things with their work and pursuits. I came across Andrew Berkemeyer's work via Dribbble and Facebook a year or so ago and something I noticed besides his high quality and versatile body of work was his genuine good nature and positive attitude that radiates from all of his social media feeds. 

Andrew gave me the pleasure of taking the time from his busy schedule to answer a few questions and share some of his work with us.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where did you grow up and how did you get on the creative path you are on now? 

I grew up on a small farm in rural Texas and I have been drawing on things ever since I can remember. I used to spend hours drawing horses, goats, and farms... As a kid there was nothing more exciting than a blank piece of paper and a sharpened pencil. As I got older I had a few people really encourage me to look into graphic design as a career since I loved to draw so much. I started teaching myself design when I was fourteen and did freelance design work on and off for several years. I started pursuing graphic design more seriously about four years ago, initially with freelance work, and then working in-house at a software company for a couple years.
I currently work in-house for Woods Coffee, a coffee chain in the Pacific Northwest.

2. Your work is very versatile featuring a lot of clean vector work and hand drawn pieces.. how did you develop your style and approach to what you do? 

Honestly, when it comes to personal style, I'd say I'm still in the process of developing it. Early on I had an attraction to clean, thick, line-art work and really focused on developing that style. Since I grew up drawing a lot, hand drawn designs have always resonated with me and I have enjoyed working at honing that style as well. I think how each of these are used just depends on the client and what will work best for the project at hand. I love work that gives a nod to the past. Old labels and badges are my jam.

I love work that gives a nod to the past. Old labels and badges are my jam.

3. Can you talk a little bit about your process? How do you take a project from start to finish? 

Any given project starts with a lot of questions: Who is the client? What are the design questions that need to be answered with this piece? What is the right look and feel for this design? etc... After working through some of those questions, I begin the brainstorming process. I generally create a mood board on Pinterest and start gathering inspiration and images that match the look and feel I am going for. The other half of the brainstorming process is sketching. I generally sketch out several concepts on paper until I land on something I like. Once I have a good idea of what the design should look like, I redraw the design and then take it into illustrator to finish vectorizing it. Before sending the design to the client, I generally run it by a couple design colleagues to get their two cents. Having fellow designers give me feedback on my work is such an important part of my process and has helped me grow immensely over the past few years.

Any given project starts with a lot of questions: Who is the client? What are the design questions that need to be answered with this piece?

4. Are there any tools you use that maybe some other creatives may not know about that helps you make the work you make? 

Dude. The rounded corners tool in Illustrator CC. I freakin' love that tool! I also am a huge fan of the Smooth Tool in illustrator for simplifying hand drawn stuff. Lastly, I have a texture press Photoshop effect that is really helpful for that rough, worn out feel. I am not sure who created the ones I use, but I think Ian Barnard has good one on Creative Market.

5. What are some of the things that inspire you to keep doing what you do?

That's such a good question. I think the fact that I am never completely satisfied with my own work keeps me inspired to keep creating. In addition to that, the plethora of crazy talented people out there that continue to put out mind-blowing work each day inspire me to keep creating. Lastly: life. Everyday life can be so inspiring when we let it. I get random ideas all the time for projects I want to do, or even just inspired by a simple badge on a can of soup in the grocery store... Really anything.

One thing I have come to realize is the unique voice we have through art and design. As designers, we have such a powerful voice to influence the world around us with the work we produce and the emotions the design invokes. I have a growing desire to use this voice for the greater good and to change the world around me. This inspires me.

Thanks again for taking the time out for a quick chat Andrew. You can see more of his work on his Dribbble account.