Widening a Q&A series on my blog, where I've been interviewing people in the world of adventure sports, to include professionals in the creative industry and how they interact with photographers.

Kicking off is my interview with Edinburgh based graphic designer, David Orkisz. David has worked in the creative industry for over 10 years spending much of his time in both advertising and design agencies. His specialities include branding and print but he also does digital design (websites and display advertising) and social media.

An award winner at the Scottish Creative Awards, David is currently working in a freelance capacity, taking the opportunity to learn new skills and adding as many great clients to his portfolio as he can.

A selection of David's previous clients include;

  • Visit Scotland
  • Edinburgh Capital Ice Hockey
  • Muller Wiseman
  • Standard Life
  • The Royal Lyceum
  • Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

Find out more about David at www.davidorkisz.com.

Q1. What does a graphic designer do?

David: Design is quite a broad category but, ultimately, it is a designer's task to communicate, visually, as effectively as possible using the content provided (usually by a client in the form of a brief). This is done by creating a visual style, simplifying & organising information and removing as much 'noise' as possible.  The medium could be either a printed piece such as a brochure or business card, or a website or app.

Q2. As a graphic designer, do you read photographer's promos? If so, what do you prefer, email or print? What makes a good promo? How else do you source photographers?

David: I do read photographer's promos. If it's an email, the opening image needs to be immediate. I spend maybe about half a second looking at promo emails and if I'm trying to work out what it is or what is trying to be communicated I switch off. I think a physical mailer works better for me. If it's been produced to a high spec I'm more likely to keep it and go through it. It goes into my 'pretty things' box. Many of the photographers I have worked with I find through word of mouth. Over a couple of projects you build both a friendship and a comfortable working relationship.

Q3. When you find a potentially suitable photographer, what's your next step?

David: Generally I'm sourcing on behalf of a client so my next step is to either present to them 2 or 3 to choose from, however if it's someone I'm convinced is perfect for a job, I will solely push that person. If I have enough advance info I will try and tentatively gain some info on availability, and of course I need to know daily rate as early as possible.

Q4. How would you describe a good client / photographer relationship. What do you expect from them before, during and after a shoot?

David: Initially I present them with a visual brief to ascertain style, volume, locations - all the bitty stuff. This is there chance to make initial suggestions or flag any glaring oversights on my part! Though I'm the one normally directing a shoot, I still want a photographer to make suggestions and recommendations during a shoot. If I'm asking the impossible or ridiculous I want to know.

After, I often prefer the photographer completing any retouching based on my shot options.

Q5. You're an Art Director as well as designer. In an art direction role, what's your key focus, both before a shoot and on location? 

David: I suppose it depends on the shoot. Generally I'm the one to arrange everything - choosing models, props and, of course, location. Sometimes if it's a lifestyle shoot it might be in some show home somewhere but ideally I prefer it to feel as real as possible. I want the subject to be as comfortable in their environment as possible.

Q6. Following a shoot, how do you like to receive images from a photographer (method, time period, file format, etc.)?

David: RAW files are ideal. Maximum flexibility if I want to do further work on them (which I normally do). A contact sheet is always helpful just so I have that as a future reference. Time-wise I don't want to rush the process - if there is time, I like to allow it, however that is not always the case. The final selection back within 5 days or so would always be ideal!

David Orkisz is a freelance graphic designer with over 10 years experience in the creative industry. He is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Find out more at www.davidorkisz.com or connect with him on Twitter at twitter.com/davidorkisz.