Designer Checkout: Andy Rosenthal
Where do you live / work?
New Orleans / Behind a screen
What is your 'why'?
An overwhelming need to leave things better than they were when I found them—to the detriment of myself sometimes, but hopefully to the benefit of others, always.
Why a career in art / design?
I was given the gift of being able to draw—to convey ideas through pictures. So, in many ways I feel it was predetermined...part of my software. Secondarily, I love the problem solving that comes with the commercial aspects of design—having to consider external, unrelated forces and think deeply beyond simple aesthetics.
What makes good design?
Design is an applied art, so it should either directly provide, or contribute some form of utility—while of course providing visual and intellectual stimulation. Utility is what distinguishes design from fine art. When we evaluate objects for Autotype, utility is always front of mind.
Who (or what) influences you?
Opportunities require problems...so I'm influenced by the problems at hand. Discomfort and tension are big influences as well. When ideas are uncomfortable, or when we create tension...that's when I know we're on the right track. I try to make that known upfront—I want our ideas to feel uncomfortable.
What impact do you want to make in the world of design?
Professionally, I push to make sure that my work has done its job and solved the intended problem—which helps prove the value of design to not only those who engage us to solve their problems, but hopefully those who are unsure about design's value. I'm far less concerned with my place as a designer among other designers, and far more concerned with making sure that my work, works.
What advice do you have for future creatives?
Know your value, and push those around you into uncomfortable territories from time to time. The moment people settle into to repeating the same formula, or resting on the same ideas over and over—it's a comfort trap that is difficult to escape. It's the designer's job to break that comfort down, rather than to reinforce it. Tension is a wonderful tool, and discomfort creates interest.
What are your two favorite items in the Autotype Marketplace and why?
Hasami Mug (Natural). I spend time with it every single day. ITO Memo Block (Medium) — every conversation, every idea starts with my ITO block.
What are your two favorite design items (digital or analog) that we don’t carry, but should?
My Enso Architectural Casters — massive upgrade for anyone rolling around in a chair all day long, and my 9mm SAC-1 Stainless-Steel Graphics Knife — a lovely design object, and my go-to for cutting most anything.