Design Bureau
Feb, 2012

Cardon Webb’s handiwork can be found plastered on utility poles around New York City and sitting on shelves in bookstores everywhere. We gave the Random House graphic designer ten prompts, and he did the rest.

Fill in the Blank: Cardon Webb

I design because… I have to, it is ingrained in almost every aspect of my life. Its my good and bad habit. A hobby, a vice, an outlet, a source of income, a source of frustration, a source of elation. I sometimes design for discovery, and sometimes for failure. I design because I love variety, to be as creative, ambiguous, literal, sloppy or swiss as I want. I design for the endless possibilities and surprises.

One of my favorite places is… the Brooklyn Flea market. I love going from vendor to vendor discovering things I haven’t seen before, or seen in person. There is so much to look at and appreciate–Eye candy. Furniture, fixtures, books, postcards, clothing, knickknacks, advertising, bikes, toys, pennants, posters and the list goes on. I almost always walk away with something. Most often something I want but do not need. A 4-or 5-dollar treasure. The last time I went I came home with a handful of lettered vintage dice, a pulp detective novel with a beautiful cover, and some old soda pop tops with amazing lettering and colors. I find comfort in these things, I want them close to me, if I owned a building I would put them all on pedestals and say “look at this stuff, its amazing and beautiful.”

To be creative, you have to… have a stepping-stone. I rarely, if ever, sit down at the computer to design without some reference, research or sketch. I try to plan a direction that I feel is appropriate for the subject matter, keeping in mind my own personal style and aesthetic. I want the process and design to retain a good energy, keeping me engaged and interested. Though I most often start with a loose plan,  or stepping stone, the design process usually takes on its own momentum and begins to deviate (this is a good sign). The original idea often differs from the end result—becoming something new and fresh, standing on its own, something original.

My personal style is… I grew up skateboarding, playing in bands and writing on walls. I would like to think these influences are subtly apparent in my work, given how they are a large part of who I am today. A style was something I never really had to work at. I naturally developed a style early on without really knowing it. I only realized it when people started pointing it out. I draw a lot of influence from contemporary and low-brow art as well. Like many, I love the design that was happening in the Mid-20th Century. Art, architecture, furniture, product and advertising of the period is all very inspiring. Vibrant color seems to be a very prominent characteristic in my work.

My dream project would be… to restore a vintage motorcycle or Vespa from ground up. I would love to purchase a farm-found bike, rusted and forgotten, dismantle it clean every nut and bolt, fix every hole, smooth every dent and build it up again. Researching then learning from trial-and-error all through the process. I would find deep satisfaction in getting absorbed, and completing such an endeavor.

I can’t live without… Access to the outdoors. I love rock climbing, swimming in lakes, building fires, hiking through woods. These are all very tactile things, involving textures and touch.

I’m most inspired when I… I try my very best to be hyper-aware of my surroundings and the messages around me. I have always had a natural passion for perceiving my environment, and using my observations to draw, build, and create from. I constantly reference New York City’s ever-evolving environments, patterns, colors and people, learning to capture these influences and channel them into the personality and function of my art and design.

I wish I… had the technical skills of some interactive designers, to be able to work with and manipulate the web. I have plenty of ideas but building them into a functioning web experience is another matter. I have dipped my toe into the html Jacuzzi, but that was before php/cms and css really took off. This field is constantly changing and updating. You have to be genuinely interested to stay current and retain all the information. It is a full time job.

I can’t believe… I get paid to read and make things all day. Don’t get me wrong there is hum-drum in every job, but for the most part I get to be doing what I love on a daily basis surrounded by people who are inspiring and better than me.

Tomorrow I… Will be getting up around eight, eight thirty, then tiptoe around my dark bedroom trying to get ready and gather what I will need for the day without waking our baby boy who is currently sleeping in our room with us. Once our babysitter arrives, having had little or no breakfast, it is time to head out and catch the 9:05 M60 bus to the Subway (N or Q train) to begin my half-hour commute to the Random House building, just below Central Park here in NYC

January/February 2012 Pg. 29