10 questions with Von Glitschka

If you guys don’t know who Von Glitschka is….well then…you should! Von is an amazing designer and illustrator with a knack for being silly :) Von tells us about his ‘official’ company name, favorite designers and how he began his freelance career.

1. First off….do you like bananas?


Yes I like bananas. Technically however I’m allergic to them. I had a blood test done about four years ago and found that out. I still eat them though. And a little factoid most people don’t know is my official incorporated name is “Floating Banana Inc.” or FBI for short. http://www.floatingbanana.com

When I started my business in 2002 my brother helped me being a CPA. I didn’t want “Inc.” after my company name so he suggested I use “Glitschka Studios” as my DBA and incorporate under and different name. I asked him “What does the name of the incorporation have to be?” He mad the mistake of saying “Anything you want.” and hence “Floating Banana Inc.”

2. If you could be any illustrator tool – what would you be and why?

You’re kind of like the Barbara Walters of design interviews aren’t you Niki? Well I suppose I feel like different tools at different times. So here goes:

- I feel like the “Blob Brush” during the holidays because I eat too much.
- I feel like the “Selection Tools” when I pick a line at the grocery store. Mainly because I have a hard time selecting the best line and always screw it up.
- But most of the time I’d have to say the “Pen Tool” because most days I have it under control, but somedays I drive my wife nuts.

3. What is your favorite thing about design? Least favorite?

The creative challenge I face in solving a design problem. Working through a process to arrive at a successful solution. It can be painful but like physical exercise creative exercise works on the same principle of “No pain, no gain.”

My least favorite aspect is when digital tools don’t work the way they should, thus effecting my creative process and productivity. Or the companies that create the the tools that my livelihood depends on keep ignoring certain functionality for the sake of creating more feature blot so their marketing people can get all hot and bothered about pimping the next version release.

4. How did you get started in the design field?

My career counselor in high school was lazy and told me she couldn’t find any information regarding a film school otherwise I probably wouldn’t have gone to art school I would have gone into the film industry.

I knew I wouldn’t go to regular college though and one day a person from the Burnley School of Art (Now called The Art Institute of Seattle) came by our high school and that interested me so my parents and I drove up to Seattle and met the dean. I enrolled the following winter in 1985.

5. How did you get into freelancing? What made you take the jump?

I didn’t really jump I got kicked off the full-time job boat. Cliff Note version: Caught my daughters cold over a weekend, called in sick Monday. Came in an hour early on Tuesday and my boxes were packed and I was handed a check and told “We’re letting you go.”

Come to find out later my emails that I forwarded from home to work which I had deleted my boss read and saw one where another agency in town offered me a job. I had turned it down but because that agency was made up of his former employees he over reacted and fired me.

The whole experience wasn’t fun at the time, but I’m glad it happened in hindsight. My wife was the one who told me at that time “Just go out on your own.” So I did.

Most don’t realize I worked 15 years for others prior to starting my own business in 2002. I wouldn’t recommend a freelance career right out of art school, get some experience under your belt, learn from veterans, make mistakes on other peoples dime, and build a network.

6. What designers inspire you?

Early on it was Neville Brody out of the UK. He doesn’t get a whole lot of press here across the pond but the work I do see I still really like.

A designer who I have personally enjoyed following over the past six years or so is James Strange who works as an Art Director at http://www.baileylauerman.com He is crazy good and one of the nicest guys you’ll meet too.

Another designer who always inspires me is Paul Howalt of http://www.tactixcreative.com he’s an incredible designer too and a good friend.

7. What is your favorite site out on the internets?

There are several I frequent a lot just to keep my finger on the pulse of design.

- http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/
- http://www.designobserver.com/
- http://www.core77.com/
- http://www.dexigner.com/
- http://www.mediabistro.com/unbeige/
- http://www.freelanceswitch.com

I’ve also been using Twitter since 2007 and that community of designers has been a very fun and informative network sharing links and inspiration and ranting about one thing or another. It’s a great way to share ideas and network. You can find me at http://www.twitter.com/vonster

8. Favorite Pantone color?

Pantone 1505 C. More commonly referred to as “Orange.” Ironically enough I’ve yet to get an idea using that color approved. Every time I have spec’d it I get reactions like “What? Oh! God no.” So, just because I like it doesn’t mean it’s ever been an appropriate choice for my clients. I think Halloween has forever typecast my favorite color.

9. Favorite project you have worked on?

No real over all favorite. It’s always changing. I do have current jobs I enjoy more then others though. Right now I’m working with a developer on the east coast who invited me to design a level for an iPhone game coming out soon. I’m still working on the graphics and it’ll be cool to see it in action once it’s all done.

If I had to pick a favorite type of project it would be brand logo development. It’s like carrying out a creative investigation of sorts. The research and brainstorming is fun.

10. Any suggestions for newbies or students just starting out?

1. Never stop drawing.
2. “Marketing without design is lifeless, and design without marketing is mute.” – Von Glitschka
3. “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” – Mark Twain

Thanks Von! To see more of Vons’s work check out his website here or read his blog Art Backwash!

If you guys have any suggestions for who I should interview leave a comment and let me know what you think!