This week’s interview is shorter than usual — our shortest to date, actually. It’s a very brief chat with Bobby C. Martin, Jr., one of the founding partners of The Original Champions of Design (OCD). He’s been behind some of the biggest branding projects of the past few years, including the WNBA, the Abyssinian Baptist Church, and the Girl Scouts. Huge! I only wish I had more time for a more in depth interview!
How did you get started in design?
I studied design at Virginia Commonwealth University. I had encouraging teachers in both illustration and graphic design. I learned everything I could from them.
The best advice coming out of college was to work for people who are very good at what they do. Do everything possible to work with the best.
That advice has served me well.
Have you had any mentors that helped you along the way?
I’d be nowhere without mentors. But, I didn’t wait around for people to come asking to be my mentor. I proactively sought out mentorship.
Internships were incredibly important. They helped me become familiar with the professional work environment as well as the computer programs. Most importantly, internships taught me the importance of being on time and being nice to people.
What do you feel is one of the key factors affecting design today?
There are so many important issues affecting design. Both good and bad. Not sure where to begin.
What was the last thing you designed just for fun?
Starting off a new project and not knowing much about a particular brand, culture or industry is fascinating. I really enjoy that initial point of unfamiliarity.
We kickoff each project by doing a lot of research. I love learning about subjects that I wasn’t very familiar with before. The intrigue gets even deeper when trying to put ourselves in the shoes of their audience.
The design has become easier for me because it’s what I love to do. I’m in my comfort zone. We do broad explorations based on the research and audience. We then push, push, push to take the exploration further than what’s expected and it’s all fun.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Taking over the world.
About Bobby: Bobby C. Martin, Jr. is one of the founding members of The Original Champions of Design (OCD). Find out more about him on the OCD website.