Designer of the Week: William Herring
// Print Magazine
Call for entries: The International Design Awards early-bird deadline is August 14.
We're not sure how many times Brooklyn-based William Herring has had to specify "like the fish" when telling people his name, but he did make it his domain name, which we just love. A move like that seems fitting for this funny, sincere guy who identifies as a creative director, illustrator, animator, designer, writer, ad geek, game maker and creative tech enthusiast.
Name: Will Herring
Location: Brooklyn, NY
How would you describe your work?
Enthusiastic! I love motion, characters, animation loops, fluidity, interactivity, iconography—everything I make really comes from a place of being a fan of the medium(s), and driving to make something that I'd want to champion as an outside observer.
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of my interactive stuff, as goofy as it is, is very autobiographical and heartfelt, and a lot of the work that appeals to me the most comes from capturing small, universal experiences. Few things make me want to sit down and make stuff like finding sincerity in art.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
Oh geez, so so many. I'm a big fan of Nicolas Menard, Devon Ko, Rebecca Mock, Jane Mai, Sam Alden, Kris Mukai, Michael Deforge, and Jillian Tamaki, and I've been super fortunate to work with amazing folks like Lyla Ribot, Andrea Hickey, Faye Kahn, Tyler Naugle and a ton of others. I'm a fan of things being made. If I could be a full-time enthusiast I think I could be pretty good at it!
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you've worked on?
I'm working on a new, somewhat ambitious video game that should be out in the next month! It's a little under wraps right now but, spoiler alert, it involves animals and sincerity and I think it might be pretty fun!
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
This might be a cop-out (it's probably a cop-out, I'm sorry!), but getting to the point where I consider myself a "designer," or "designing" as a thing I'm allowed to do, has been a struggle. I haven't had the formal training, and my work is permanently rough around the edges, but the more I've created, the more tools I've learned, and the more visible work I have under my belt, the more confident and valid my experience has felt. There's been a lot of me trashing my projects, starting over from scratch, tweaking and fine-tuning until I'm stuck in a ctrl-Z/ctrl-shift-Z feedback loop, and really just looking at a thing I want to be proud of and asking, "Is this even good? Is this a thing that's okay to look at/play/watch move?" But powering through that, continuing to put stuff out there, and treating others' work with the same enthusiasm that I'd like mine to be treated with has been enormously helpful.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I'd love to dive deeper into the indie games scene and see what I can carve out there that feels uniquely mine. Something interactive and engrossing that could only come from me and my experience. It's easy to put your own work in a box when trying something new, and I'd very much like to keep doubling up on my ambition and output with each project.
What's your best advice for designers today?
It's very very easy to be over-critical of your work, and it's easy to get down on yourself about a project before you even start, but making anything at all, even if it's something you don't initially like, should be something worth celebrating! It's hard to create, and putting original work out into the world is a big achievement, and it's yours, and that's really fantastic. Be kind to yourself and your work, because just by trying, by picking up a pen or stylus or mouse or whatever it is, you're making enormous strides.
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