Summer of Storytellers – interview with Summer Morris (12 March 2008)

Introduction

More often than not, I interview people who write stories, people who have had their stories published, editors and even one or two literary agents. I’ve never before interviewed a designer. I was, therefore, very keen to interview Summer. In addition, I’m familiar with some of her work as she was the designer for some of her father’s Steve Robertson works. I made my request and she consented. Without further ado, I have great pleasure in introducing to you, Summer Morris …


Aneeta: Summer, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Summer: Thank you, Aneeta for giving me the opportunity.

Aneeta: I already know a little about you as I’ve been in email contact with your father, Steve Robertson, for some years now. However, for the benefit of my readers, please tell us a little about your childhood, where you grew up, what you did for a living and so on.

Summer: Well, for as long as I can remember I have been a lover of creativity and every type of art. Coming from my parents, who are both artists, I suppose it was hard not to become one myself.

I was born and raised a block from the Atlantic Ocean, went to local schools and attended the University of North Florida. I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Graphic Design. I have worked in various professional design positions and have learned a great deal of knowledge over the last few years. I am happily married and have 2 wonderful basset hounds.  My husband and I live in Atlantic Beach, Florida and share a passion for art, music, yoga and especially travelling.

Aneeta: I know that you’re currently at a time in your life when you need to evaluate what you really want and how to get it. So, with that in mind, let me ask you about your new business, Sumo Design Studio – http://www.sumodesignstudio.com. What do you do?

Summer: I like to tell people that I make things pretty. While that is true, there is obviously much more to it than that. I specialize mainly in all printed design works; such as advertising, logo/brand development, book cover design, stationary packages, cards & invitations, brochure design, direct mail, illustration, painting and drawing.

Aneeta: As my area of interest is in cover designs for books, I’d like to know a little of how you come up with the graphics.

Summer: Creating a look for a book cover is much like the process of writing the book itself. There is a beginning, middle and end to it. First, I gather as much information about the book as possible. Sometimes this requires research on my end. I like to make sure that what I’m creating not only grabs the attention of the reader, but also conveys the message of the content of the book. After gathering the initial information, I then put colors, fonts and design elements to use. All of these elements combined work together in creating the ‘mood’ of the overall design. When the initial concept is created, I ultimately like to leave it for a while and revisit it later when my mind is fresh. A lot of times I catch things that I would have missed if I continued to look at it for a long period of time. It is a process. After the client approves the design, I run multiple checks for errors and get it ready for printing. I can honestly tell you that my favorite part of designing is when I can hold the finished product in my hand and know that I’m proud of the work that I’ve produced.

Aneeta: You said to me, in an email, that ‘… drawing, painting and illustrations are sometimes possible too.’ Can you please elaborate on this point?

Summer: My greatest joy as an artist is creating fine art. I love to paint and draw. As I mentioned before, I have been creating for as long as I can remember. I would love to take on the challenge of illustrating a book. It is something that I am still new at but would love to learn and grow along the way.

Aneeta: I am aware that what I am about to ask you may be difficult, but I’d ask you to consider it anyway – do you think that you use storytelling techniques in the work you do?

Summer: Definitely. As I mentioned briefly in the process of creating, I like to think that designing is much like storytelling. I find myself become quite attached to elements of any work that I produce. Colors, especially, affect my mood and my creativity and in turn the piece that I create. Much like the characters in books, I often reminisce about designs that I’ve created in the past and try to use them to my advantage in creating something new. The elements of design are so important when attempting to get the point across. Without careful organization and planning on a designer’s part, the message could become skewed and the end result confusing.

Aneeta: Summer, this is all I have to ask. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Summer: I look forward to working with you and your subscribers. I truly take pleasure in sharing creativity with other artists. I would love for anyone to contact me with any inquiries small, large and all points in between. In addition, I can be reached via email: summer@sumodesignstudio. For top design priority, your readers might wish to mention that they have read this interview in any email they send to me.

Aneeta: Summer, thank you.

Summer: Thank you, again, for your time and your interest in Sumo Design Studio.


This piece may NOT be freely reprinted. Please contact editor @ howtotellagreatstory.com for reprint rights.

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