Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Kevin Jackson, hopefully you saw that at the top of the page. Most people I know call me “KJ”. The Internet knows me as @chuise and my kids usually call me “dude”. I’m a designer who specializes in UI and UX design, but I like to dabble in everything from logo creation to icon design. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty with code.
I’ve been working in the Philadelphia start-up scene for the past 10+ years. I’m currently the design director at Artisan. I recently co-created and launched Streamalong.tv — a video discovery service for Periscope.
What forms of media have influenced you the most?
Like a lot of people, I think comics and video games were a big influence growing up, but I think music influenced me more than anything. I was a big hip-hop kid in the 90’s. I think music gave me a wider appreciation for culture in general and caused me to look more deeply into how others experience life. Music also has a strange way of making you dig deeper into the past. Rap samples can lead you down a path to Otis Redding or Bill Withers. The White Stripes can take you back to Robert Johnson or Son House. The reinterpretation of music is similar to the way that we keep evolving the things we design. It’s a great reminder that there’s always room to try new things and iterate on old ideas.
Also, computers and technology. I love them/it. I’m a nerd for gadgets. I knew early on that I wanted “future-me” to work with computers for a living, even though I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I grew up with a computer in my bedroom since I was 9. If it weren’t for that I wouldn’t be where I am today. Thanks mom and dad.
Also, my two kids. Do they count as media? It’s hard to not look at things differently once you realize how much everything we do affects those around us. Kids make you a lot less selfish.
I’d like to say that I read a lot, but I get most of my news from Digg, Daring Fireball, and Kottke.org. Also, I watch a ton of movies and TV. Netflix and DVRs are my best friends.
What hardware / software do you use?
I live in a pretty Mac-centric world. My day-to-day setup is consists of a Retina Macbook Pro and Apple LED Display. I’m a keyboard and mouse kind of guy. I never got the hang of using tablets as inputs. For the most part I use the Adobe CC suite of products, but my software setup varies depending on what I’m doing:
Sublime Text, Photoshop, Illustrator
Omnigraffle, Quartz Composer & Origami, Skala Preview
Illustration Type Stuff
Illustrator all the way.
Special mention to Github and Dropbox.
What would be your dream creative setup?
I work in an open-office format. Sometimes it can get a little noisy, but that’s what they make noise-canceling headphones for. Overall I think it encourages communication and collaboration with my co-workers.
Ideally a quiet, clutter-free spot, but that rarely happens. Outside of the office I end up doing most of my work from my living room couch.
My dream setup is a single level, glass-walled building nestled in the woods in my backyard. One desk, a comfortable reading chair, and a small wood-burning stove. I think the juxtaposition of modern structures and nature is beautiful. Plus, I think it would be really rad to be working while deer are running by.