Clay Boan is a designer at Wray Ward, but that’s not all, he also recently joined the AIGA Charlotte Board as a communications manager. He is extremely passionate about taking difficult problems and creating simple, easy to use solutions through research, design thinking, collaboration and prototyping. He also enjoys branding, interface design and illustration.
Clay first joined AIGA in 2009. Check out his work at www.clayboan.com
What attracted you to the design profession? Did you have particular mentors or experiences that opened the door to the profession for you?
I’m the son of a designer. My father designed maps in Vietnam during the Vietnam War, for the US Army. When I was 4 years old my father would share these uplifting hand-lettered messages every weekend. He would also design messages in Vietnamese characters, which really stuck with me. I was lucky enough to learn from my father about function over form. He taught me about proper user experience, structured design and extremely detailed execution. He showed me that design has to make perfect sense because people need to know the right directions or they will get confused and lost.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Inspiration comes from experiences and things that I have learned in life. I’m really inspired by psychology, architecture, fashion, furniture, music, films, and fine arts. I like to go to museums and shows and experience all kinds of creative work: painting, sculpture, fashion, and photography. I go to shows and listen to music and have great conversations with other like-minded people. Mostly what inspires me are the things that are done wrong or don’t work at all, that gives me ideas on how to fix them. I like to re-imagine everything.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I would definitely say fashion or commercial photography. I recently traveled to Los Angeles for a fashion photography workshop with 2 of the best fashion photographers in the industry, Lara Jade and Emily Soto. I learned so much and gained so many wonderful memories. It was a great professional experience. I learned how to create beautiful imagery and take my business to the next level.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Work my ass off, stay persistent, re-imagine everything, always ask why, and to continue to challenge myself.
If you could be any super hero, who would you be and why?
I’d really have to go with Iron Man on this. If I had my own personal robot like Jarvis, I would get a lot of work done. To have advanced technology similar to Tony Stark’s lab, I would be able to achieve greater things. Plus, by being able to fly, I would save so much money on travel and get to where I’m going quicker.
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