Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Lauren Peters-Collaer

Singer, mathematician and designer Lauren Peters-Collaer seems to find success around every corner. With a slew of book cover designs for legendary names such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Hillary Clinton under her belt, our newest interviewee has been staying busy living in Manhattan and creating clean, conceptual and vibrant pieces of work. 

While settling into her new-ish job at Penguin Publishing, Lauren chatted with us about New York Chinese food, Irish hostel bathroom doors and the best bookshelf organization technique. Keep singing, designing and kicking ass, Lauren! 

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Luke Tonge

Luke Tonge’s world is weaved in technicolor, bursting with shape, shade and saturation turned up to 11. He grew up in the quaint countryside of Nottinghamshire and has taken his talents to the U.K.’s “second city,” Birmingham. 

Luke has made a splash spearheading the creation of the Glug Brum design talk series and the Birmingham Design Festival along with his friend Dan Alcorn, as well as art-directing and in general, kicking ass and taking names.

He was kind enough to talk to us over 6 time zones about his affinity for shorts and obsession with ice cream. Cheers, Luke!

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The Perfect: Shoe

The Keds Sneaker

Shoes are an essential part of our everyday lives. Not only do our feet need them to protect us against the elements, but they provide accessories to our favorite outfits, while taking us where we need to go. Look down at your feet right now. Are you wearing shoes? What kind? If not, it’s probably just because you’re sitting on the couch or at the beach. Shoes have become an extension of our personalities and play just as an important role in our outfit choice as the t-shirt or jeans we choose to wear.

There are certainly a lot of shoe companies that have created nice looking shoes, while still providing protection. However, when tasked with finding the perfect shoe, only one brand comes to mind – Keds. Close your eyes and envision the iconic rubber blue and white logo pressed to the back of ever pair. Keds are nostalgic and modern all at the same time. Keds sneakers are sleek enough to pair with a dress, or your favorite shorts, making them the versatile perfect shoe you’ve always wanted.  

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Mari Andrew

New York Times best-selling writer, artist, and speaker Mari Andrew doesn’t need to have it all figured out. In her opinion, that’s what art is for – to decipher the world around us, to lift our spirits, even to wistfully daydream – and the internet agrees. Her 1 million Instagram followers connect deeply in her daily watercolor vignettes showcasing her vulnerability and inner monologue.

Mari was kind enough to carve out some time to talk likes and dislikes, favorites and phobias, and she’s just as kind and bubbly as you’d imagine. When she’s not dominating social media, Mari travels to speak about her own creative process and how to use one’s unique personal journey when approaching artmaking. You can catch her on the road or online on Skillshare. Thank you for sharing, Mari!

And Michael B. Jordan – if you’re out there – she’s into tapas.
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Communal Marketing

How Simply Saying “Hi” Goes A Long Way For A Local Business

One of the most underutilized forms of marketing is community; it’s very easy these days to foster relationships with other local businesses over social media and create a family of businesses that are engaged, positive and supportive.  It all starts by reaching out and creating a dialogue with other local businesses; comment, like, make jokes back and forth, or reshare their content. Local businesses all share in the same uphill battle, and supporting each other can be mutually beneficial.

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Matt Curtis

Freelance illustrator and designer Matt Curtis has run the gamut of the art world, from organizing art shop supplies to creating bold original works for Slayer, Wu Tang Clan, Dead & Company, Andre 3000, and other enviable clients. We thoroughly enjoyed discussing kids, weddings, and inspiration, creative or otherwise.

Matt spent his undergrad years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and graduated in 2001. He worked doing a variety of different jobs while starting his illustration career, including making commissioned portraits and even painting storefront mannequins. His first big illustration job came a couple of years later when he was hired as the staff illustrator for a now-defunct monthly humor magazine, Jest.

Matt has been working full time as an illustrator for about fifteen years, and approaches illustration in the digital age with tenacity and polish. He lives upstate with his family, stacks of drawing notebooks, piles of brushes, and his two dogs Harry and Marsha. Thank you for humoring us, Matt.

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Surprised customer

What is your customers favorite color?

Blue, Red, Pink, Purple? This is an oversimplification of a question that every business owner should be asking themselves, but often lose sight of. When was the last time you really talked to your customer and asked them specific questions about their experience?

When we sit down with new clients to learn about their business we usually find the answers to our questions about their clientele to be rather generic. Business owners get comfortable assuming that their customers like what they like. But it is crucial that you (to steal from the not so popular band The Stylistics) Stop, Look & Listen. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Robert Fisher

As an art director, Robert Fisher has created some of the most iconic album covers in music history, including the seminal and iconic “Nevermind” by Nirvana. While that may be what he is most known for, he has a long career of design work, including campaigns for Narcos on Netflix, the 50th Anniversary of Night of the Living Dead, Disney, and Playstation.

After graduating from Parsons, Robert began his career at his dream job Geffen Records. As an art director at Geffen, he created many iconic and award-winning album campaigns. In 2002, he joined forces with Diana, who had worked many years in advertising, and together they spawned Flying Fish Studio, a creative design agency based in Los Angeles that specializes in visual identities and thought-provoking design.

It was a selfish pleasure to ask Robert some seriously dumb questions and get to know the man behind the design of an album that shaped the soundtrack of our lives. Aside from that, he is extremely humble and affecting. A true artist, no matter how silly these questions may be you get a sense of the human behind the design and the day-to-day hard work. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Beat Baudenbacher

Join us in welcoming Beat (pronounced Bay-Ott) Baudenbacher to the DQSD family. We admit that the publishing of this interview was very delayed, but good things take time, so we are thrilled to share this with all of you.

This Switzerland-born, NYC-living design master is killing it for loyalkaspar, an agency in Brooklyn that has done work for ESPN, Hewlett Packard, CNN, Hulu, and many more. Beat cultivated his love of art and innate sense of design Stateside and, in 2003, he and David Herbruck co-founded loyalkaspar with a vision of a hub to create, reinvent, and amplify brands through strategy, design, production, and experiential.

Beat likens his creative work to the core human impulses to hunt and to gather. Just as humans had to craft the right hunting tools, study the right climate patterns, and exhibit an openness to explore new territories, Beat argues that the creative process is no different: hunting for big ideas, gathering the smaller ones, and coming at it all with a fearless embrace of failure.

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AR Designs Year Ahead

Looking Back to Move Forward

It’s the perfect time of year for me to sit down at the keyboard and share with you all the fun things AR Design got to tackle this year, and what we look forward to next.


If you asked anyone in the office, I think that the agreed upon highlight of the year was having craft beer that we designed the packaging for show up on the shelves of Publix grocery stores (the largest grocery chain in Florida). As a designer, having something you made become so accessible is overwhelmingly gratifying. Plus, we got to sit back and enjoy it with a beer!

In 2018, we took on more social media management than we ever have. And I am proud to share that we have a developed a really great strategy for using it to help businesses expand their reach and tell their story (rather than just sharing cat gifs). It will be a difference maker for so many. The modern age of marketing has shifted so profoundly in the past few years, and we have welcomed that change, putting into place a framework to provide the leadership our clients need to make the most of it. Bye-bye SEO and digital magic tricks, long live quality content!

Within the span of a mere 365 days, AR Design defined and designed new brands, launched excitingly clean and modern websites, helped lead a CreativeMornings chapter in Palm Beach, partnered with more craft beer companies than we could have imagined, and hosted another successful Create Day, and this is just scratching the surface.

Perhaps what I am most proud of is the team that we built. We are all so uniquely skilled and adept at learning that there is nothing we have not been able to accomplish. We may be small, but we are mighty.

Our Pledge for 2019

  • Bring a new vision and hope to our clients, helping them see opportunities and ways to grow that they would not have.
  • Help business owners remember why they first started their business, and allow them to re-focus on their internal growth rather than external marketing pressures.
  • Treat our clients like family, embracing what makes them unique (here’s looking at you Uncle Dave), learning to manage their needs, and making them smile when they see us.
  • Prove the difference we make by having us on their team. We ultimately know that our value hinges on their success.

We wish everyone a most joyous holiday and a happy new year. Kisses and hugs from the team at AR Design.


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