During the month of September, we are exploring graphic design concepts and strategies. Alphagraphics has a team member who over sees all of our graphic design work. Out of his vast experience, Jay Babcock provides graphic design for a wide range of customer projects, and has shared some of his insights below.
1. How did you get started in graphic design? How did you come to work for Alphagraphics?
I got lucky. My job at Boatmens Bank put me at a station that had a couple of graphic design programs on the computer, left over from my predecessor. Consequently, I quickly became the go-to person for banners, signs, and flyers. I commuted on Metrolink, and there met the manager of the graphic design office for Ernst & Young, which in the mid-1990’s was headquartered downtown. One day, she told me they had an opening, and I put together my first graphic design portfolio and won the job. E&Y no longer has in-house graphic design, but my job search led me to Alphagraphics St. Louis in 2003. When I interviewed with Bob Sanderson, who opened Alphagraphics in Sunset Hills originally, we hit it off immediately. Since then, I have had nearly 14 years of productive customer relationships.
2. What is a favorite design project you’ve worked on for Alphagraphics?
There have been many, but I do recall an organization that had a circus-themed event. I used scans of artwork from old circus posters to create an invitation and event catalog. All of the design elements were clearly old-fashioned, but I gave the layouts a brisk, modern style that could only be 21st century. That was fun.
3. Describe your creative process.
I customize the visual style to what is appropriate for the customer’s needs—their graphic design preferences, the audience they want to reach, and the materials they want to produce. For instance, advertising material requires different solutions than does a catalog or a menu. My conceptional style, however, is pretty uniform. I try to find out as many of the customer’s expectations as I can, put together text, logos, and photos that they have provided, and then push that into a shape that, I hope, makes the recipient want to look at it and respond—in a business sense.
5. What is one thing you wish (non-graphic-designer) clients did or understood?
Ha! That I am not psychic. Clients have artistic preferences and expectations that they may not be aware of. I want to succeed, and I want my client to succeed, and we can get there if they come to the table with specific ideas about what they want me to produce.
6. What do you like to do in your free time?
I’m an artist, an avid reader, an adventurous cook, and a casual cyclist. I exhibit my drawings and paintings in galleries in St. Louis.
If you are ever in need of fantastic, creative graphic design for print or web use, give us a call and schedule a consultation with Jay to get started!