WELD Artist of the Week: Dev Gupta
Career: Designer| Illustrator| Educator
Mantra: Nothing big in life is ever planned, so the best way to ensure success is to focus on being good at the little things.
Interview by: Kristin Read
Self-acclaimed “part-time part timer,” Dev Gupta is a designer, illustrator, and educator, who focuses on interaction and experience design. You can also find him teaching creative advertising at the SMU Temerlin Advertising Institute. Before joining SMU, Dev worked as an art director, for ToyNY and as a freelance interactive designer at various New York and Dallas agencies. He holds a Masters in Advertising and Bachelors of Finance from The University of Texas. Dev’s work has appeared in Wired Magazine, GQ, The One Club, Mashables, TechCrunch, FWA and Gestalten. When he’s not teaching or designing, you can find him sipping a cup of joe whilst consulting agencies, tech start-ups, and Fortune 500 companies.
Explain the meaning behind “part-time, part timer.”
I try not to be pigeon-holed as an designer or illustrator—I enjoy lots of different types of work. I also have a very hard time going full-time with one thing, hence the teaching and consulting.
Why’d you choose this particular career path?
Believe it or not I have a finance degree. So I think I was drawn to advertising and design because it wasn’t finance. Also…
- I've always enjoyed solving problems and better understanding the process of creation
- I think the creative field, more than any other field, rewards quality over tenure; i.e., you don't have to put in 20 years to achieve success and garner respect
- It's a very dramatic industry—every project possesses different challenges...No two projects/clients are the same.
Describe your typical workday.
It's nothing glamorous, really—meetings, class, emails, coffee, emails, lots of coffee, and then actual work at night.
What do you enjoy most about teaching creative advertising?
I enjoy helping students find their passion. I believe in the old adage, “If you find a job you love you'll never work again.” And to help someone find that love is immensely rewarding.
What led you to teach (what you saw in the industry, desire to help up-and-coming creatives…)?
I think I’ve always had a didactic personality, but teaching isn’t something I set out to do—I fell into it. Now that I’m here, I enjoy helping students find their own path and opening doors. I kid with them that I teach so that when they are successful, they can hire me.
Just by scrolling the “App Ideas” tab on your site, it’s clear that you’re spewing out creativity. Where do you find and “house” all of your greatest ideas, and how do you choose when to pull from them?
I’m an Evernote and Moleskine kind-of-guy, so between the two I have scrawls and scraps of ideas everywhere. I also try to consume everything I can—movies, books, art, etcetera. Also, I Internet stalk designers and illustrators that are better than me.
If you had 4-6 sentences to share your life’s bio, what would it read?
No one ever said he didn’t work enough…
What 3 words best describe THE Dev Gupta?
Stubborn, Nerdy, Passionate
Name one of your favorite projects/pieces. What about that work makes it a personal favorite?
Project: I’m working on an on-going series of infographics for my students that outline processes and explain design. Piece: Advertising conventions in digestible chunks. It was a great exercise for me because it forced me to distill my thinking. It’s also cool to hear of people printing out the posters and actually using them.
If you had one piece of advice to offer to other designers, what would it be?
What’s your next move? Any great projects in the works?
In the short term, I’m on some interesting projects for a couple of larger clients, as well as a number of enterprise projects. Long term, the goal is to open a purely front-end interface design shop . . . Oh yeah, and classes start up at the end of August.
How’d you find WELD? Why do you love it so?
Fellow WELDer, Chris Titze, told me about it. The workspace is inspiring, the people are passionate, and the coffee is . . . delicious.
Why do you think creative collaboration is so important?
Outside of the obvious reasons (validation, feedback, and divergent perspectives), it forces you to articulate your idea clearly—because everything sounds good in your head.
How can one order a “meh” t-shirt?
Nowhere at the moment, but I’d be happy to share the design with anyone who wants to print their own!