Today, we’re with Dan Rubin, a designer, photographer, and creative director based in London, England. Dan wears many hats – co-founder of The Photographic Journal; speaker and workshopist; consultant for RedBull, Starwood Hotels, and more. Here’s Dan’s story!
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My story could fill a book, so I’m told, so the shortest version is that I’ve been a designer — print, identity, interaction, and product — for 20 years, always working independently, including running a small studio with my talented brother, Alex. Somewhere in there I’ve also managed to spend 24 years singing a cappella in small and large ensembles (a good place to find out more is my interview on The Great Discontent from a few years ago).
2. You work for yourself – do you have any advice to Strikingly users thinking about starting their own companies?
It’s incredibly rewarding, and it’s hard: there are a lot of things you have to do that have nothing to do with whatever your chosen field is and have everything to do with business and administrative tasks. Be prepared for that part.
3. What’s the story or thread behind all that you do — from photography and creative direction, to branding and ui/ux?
Trying to make things as incredible as possible for whoever it touches, however I can. I strive no matter what I’m doing, whether that’s music, design, photography, teaching, or even helping friends (and strangers) find their direction and passion (something I’ve always seemed to have done, and continue to do). The world is an amazing place, and the better our experience of it can be, the more we get out of it.
4. What are you using your Strikingly website to highlight (danrubin.strikingly.com)?
I’ve enjoyed how easy it has been to set up Strikingly so far — the easier it is to create and edit the content on my page, the more likely I am to let it keep up with my latest happenings.
It’s helpful to have a single place to point people for photographic purposes that isn’t just a portfolio. I appeal to a distinct set of clients — with my photographic work, as it’s creating images, but also reviewing equipment, teaching workshops, organizing, events, and editing publications.
5. You’re also a photographer and well known Instagrammer. How do you use images to convey your story (personally and professionally)?
I try to communicate not just a moment, but whatever feeling I associated with that moment. It’s an imprecise science at best, and I’m constantly experimenting. Imagery is so powerful, and yet an image can communicate something very different depending on who is viewing it, and the context. I try to find the story that needs telling, and support that in my own style and voice.
6. How has design played a role in your life? OR Why is great design important to you?
I’m not sure I believe there’s such a thing as ‘great’ design, as that’s potentially too-subjective a label. Design in the biggest sense of the word is creative problem solving, whatever the brief, client, project, etc. One could argue that ‘great’ design is the most elegant, purposeful, functional solution to a given problem, but how arrogant is it to assume we know what the ‘best’ solution is?
I’ve seen many designers — myself included, in years past — distracted by the goal of creating something great, something amazing, rather than staying focused on solving the problem(s) at hand to the best of their abilities, removing as much of their egos from the process as possible. To design is to solve with intent, with purpose — what is important is doing as best we can, every time.
7. What tools in your toolbox do you use for your photography? Any tips for Strikingly users on how to take a photo for their website?
So many tools, so little time! On my iPhone and HTC One I use VSCO Cam most of the time for post-production. Other indispensable apps in my smartphone arsenal include Touch Retouch, Afterlight, and CortexCa. When I shoot with a larger digital camera (SLR or otherwise), I use Lightroom for all my post-production, and rely on VSCO Film presets for consistency across shoots.
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