Will Miller is a very talented designer based right here in Chicago! He is also the partner & creative director of Firebelly, an award winning design firm that is all about creating “good design for good reason”. I’m very excited to have our first gentlemen in this week’s feature!
What inspired you to become a designer? I was excited by visual communication’s power to create moods, excitement and interest. I was drawn to the organization and interpretation of info that’s so inherent in design. And around all of it is the use of alphabets, letters and language. There always seemed to be a creative path and an organized direction. A larger, louder, bolder expression made understandable through organization and clarity. Design appealed to the wild chaos of my right brain while letting my structured left impose on the process. I love the contrast and the battle.
What do you do to continue to challenge yourself as a creative person? I like to let those battles, mentioned above, play out. Sometimes it’s difficult to have a million creative thoughts at once and know you can really only get to a few and see them through to the end. So I file ideas away in hopes that months or years from now I’ll look at them with fresh eyes and new perspectives and take up the challenge. It’s interesting seeing where your mind was roaming as the months tick by. Elsewhere, I teach a Typography Basics class at Chicago Portfolio School, I try to stay up with my design and lettering feeds, I draw as much as time will allow for, my wife and I foster puppies (70+ so far who’ve found homes!) and I run marathons. While training for these I run routes in the shapes of large letters across the Chicago grid with hopes for putting together a mapped font project. I typically try to find ways to work on design projects while doing other things I enjoy. My hobbies suffer from feature creep in a major way.
What are you inspired by on a daily basis?
Lettering / So much of what I make involves alphabets, I get extremely inspired by people who make beautiful letters. This photo is of Andy Luce making some wonderful letters at the recent You Are Beautiful 10 Year Anniversary exhibit.
The Subjective and Reinterpreted Nature of Information of the Current Day / It sounds really wild, but so much of what happens across the internet feels like a game of telephone, started by an organization with a slant towards their own purposes. In my creative space that feels like deconstruction and recombination; two things collage was made for.
My Team / We all help each other out at Firebelly. We push each other everyday to go farther and get better with each project we work on.
Puppies / My wife and I foster puppies until they can find their “forever homes.” She also runs a non-profit that was started to help puppies get much needed and expensive medicine, volunteers and donates to many animal rescues and we’re working on a book together to tell each of our 70+ foster’s stories. Each puppy name will be hand-lettered in a style that captures that puppy’s personality! (This little guy was called Pigskin)
Music / Often, I listen to some odd music. It helps me get inspired and motivated from a different place. When I’m working, I use music as a tool to hang on to an excitement or train of thought. Sometimes it becomes more a reaction where making/listening feels like digital sketching. Getting things out as fast as possible to get to the next step of a good idea.
Portfolio / Firebelly / Twitter