Designer Interview With Scott Naauao
Scott Naauao is a designer and art director born and raised in Hawaii, currently residing in Kaneohe, HI with is wife Liane and son. Scott has over a decade of working experience in building compelling brands and eﬀective design solutions through print, digital and ﬁlm mediums.
Scott always saw the world from a different perspective. The very first teddy bear he owned, Rainbow Chevrolet, was actually named after a car dealership in Honolulu. The first art award, he won in preschool, promoted reading at the library by illustrating Johnny 5, from the classic 80s movie Short Circuit, speeding through a shelf of library books while exclaiming “Need More Input!” It would take many, many years for him to realize that his early affinity for pop culture references would benefit his career as an art director, designer and animator.
Scott is constantly looking outwards for inspiration and new challenges, absorbing details in everyday life — from a restaurant’s chalkboard menu to the user interface of apps — and calculating the success of functional and artistic design.
Over the years Scott has received numerous accolades for his innovative design work in the fields of graphic design, web design and motion graphics. Such awards from AIGA Best in show, and Awards of Excellence, AAF national silver, and AAF district gold, and Print Magazine Regional Design Annual, and creativity + Commerce to name a few. His work has been in print publications published by counter print titles such as Art Marks, Alphabet Logo: Trademarks & Symbols, Modern Heraldry: Seals, Stamps, Crests & Shields, and Nature Logo: Trademarks & Symbols.
Scott is often driven by a clean aesthetic, he also appreciates flourish where it is well-planned and well-executed, and especially when it goes over-the-top. His portfolio is alive with work in a multitude of different media, all of which speak to Scott’s ability to recognize and wield the strengths of these tools.
The Logo Creative — Hi Scott, Thanks for been apart of the designer interviews.
Scott Naauao — Hi Andrew, Thanks for reaching out, i’m glad to be a part of this, thanks for the opportunity!
The Logo Creative — What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Scott Naauao — Growing up, I was into art and drew constantly. In college, I was a photo major and halfway through my studies I discovered graphic design. I liked how graphic design was focused on communicating ideas in a media agnostic way. Meaning, I could incorporate diﬀerent art styles like photography and illustration if I wanted to. So, I switched majors and never looked back.
The Logo Creative — What does your day consist of?
Scott Naauao — My creative peak is either in the late afternoon or at night. That’s when I do my best work so I schedule my day around that aspect. I’ll handle emails, admin, production, etc. in the morning and clump all meetings together on as few days as possible.
The Logo Creative — What was the ﬁrst logo you ever designed?
Scott Naauao — The ﬁrst proper logo I ever designed would be for my university back in 2006. The Art Department held an annual exhibit for the senior class, and they would develop a theme for the graphic designer students to build out. My year’s theme was “Axis” referring to a turning point.
I created a word mark that treated the letter X as a central axis which the letterforms revolved around. That solution kindled my pursuit in creating seemingly simple logos with hidden meaning.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo you have designed?
Scott Naauao — In 2014, I did a logo for a made-to-measure men’s store in Virginia called Highcliﬀe Clothiers. It’s a relatively simple logotype with a secondary read of a needle being stitched through the last three letters of the name. It was one of my ﬁrst freelance jobs, and it gave me a boost of conﬁdence to go into business for myself.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite Logo of all time?
Scott Naauao — “All time” would be overzealous as there are many logos which are successful in one way or another that I love. I’ll stay away from the designer classics like Apple, Nike, etc. and talk about Roxy.
Roxy is a lifestyle surf brand for women and the sister company to Quiksilver, a men’s surf brand. Designed in 1973, Quiksilver’s logo features a wave and a mountain top. When Roxy was introduced for the women’s market, it just doubled Quiksilver’s logo. I love it because the solution visually tied the brands together in simple yet unexpected way, and a secondary read of a heart now appeared in Roxy’s counter shape.
The Logo Creative — Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Scott Naauao — It’s about ﬁnding the right solution, and doing studies that lets me explore quickly. Often, I’ll brainstorm ideas not by drawing, but by writing them out as that doesn’t require a visual style. After that initial brainstorm, I’ll sketch in my notebook or directly on the computer — whatever is quicker. Finally, iterating is an important part of my process so I build in stages to put the designs aside and review later with fresh eyes.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion regarding Logo Design pricing do you prefer working on a ﬁxed rate or customer budget and can you explain why?
Scott Naauao — I have ﬁxed rates based on the client’s scale and if I deviate from that, it’s because I see value elsewhere. Either the opportunity would be great, the company is very interesting, or I really enjoy working with client.
The Logo Creative — How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to ﬁnish?
Scott Naauao — I’d average a month. It’s a combination of always having multiple projects underway, along with giving myself enough time to properly explore. The best solutions always come from an area that seems unexpected but totally obvious once the right ideas have been connected together.
The Logo Creative — Are you a MAC or PC User and is there a reason for your choice?
Scott Naauao — MAC. It’s the industry standard. That said, it’s a matter of personal preference in today’s day and age, and the tool shouldn’t deﬁne the designer.
The Logo Creative — Which software do you use frequently?
Scott Naauao — Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, G-Suite, Keynote, Slack, Email. However, when you’re freelancing or working with diﬀerent teams all of the time, you’ll have adapt to their software ecosystem which can be challenging to maintain.
The Logo Creative — What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Scott Naauao — What really works for me is having a logo that is simple but meaningful, and resonates with the client and their audience.
The Logo Creative — What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Scott Naauao — Perusing websites like any other designer, and using my phone to take pictures of inspiration (color schemes, typography, layouts, etc.) while out and about.
The Logo Creative — In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job been a designer?
Scott Naauao — The best part is what I call “speed dating industries.” To understand your client’s problem, you really need to understand their business. When you’re engaged and asking the right questions, you’ll often gain invaluable insight for many industries. This knowledge is helpful not only for your assignment but for navigating the world as well. By far, the worst part is search for stock photos.
The Logo Creative — Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Scott Naauao — Obama. Even his graphic design was amazing.
The Logo Creative — Who is your favourite Graphic Designer and why?
Scott Naauao — Not an individual designer per se, but I always loved Pentagram and read all of their books from my library.
The Logo Creative — What’s your favourite design quote?
Scott Naauao — Simplify Simplify Simplify — Apple Marketing Department
The Logo Creative — In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Scott Naauao — Visual communication and problem solving using words and images.
The Logo Creative — What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacriﬁces on your journey?
Scott Naauao — I picked up a couple freelance projects while working for another design studio, and I found my own projects to be more satisfying as I worked directly with the client. When my wife and I moved cities, I used that opportunity to continue freelancing instead of looking for another job and it’s been working out so far. As a relatively new business, I’d say my sacriﬁce is about the stability of working for someone else vs. the freedom of working for yourself.
The Logo Creative — Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Scott Naauao — I try to live my life without regrets. Sure, things won’t always work out the way you want them to, but I chalk it up to experience and the messy, winding path called “life”. If there was something I’d change about my career, I would’ve taken the leap to self-employment sooner.
The Logo Creative — If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Scott Naauao — Learn a musical instrument. This has nothing to do with design — I just wished I knew how to play something and learning a new hobby like music is diﬀicult when I’m raising a toddler, and have other obligations occupying my free time.
The Logo Creative — What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Scott Naauao — Learning how to communicate is the other half of graphic design. Don’t just focus on your craft. Focus on aspects like presenting and managing client relationships that allow you to make a living oﬀ of graphic design.
The Logo Creative — What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Scott Naauao — This advice applies to when you’re stuck on a project: people are much better at criticizing than creating. When you’re stuck, force yourself to create something even if you know it is horrible. Take a break, then criticize it. Afterwards, create and criticize again and again until you get somewhere you’re satisﬁed with. You’ll be much happier with your work if you allow progress to be the process
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Originally published at The Logo Creative | International Logo Design & Branding Studio.