This month, we sit down for coffee and a chat with international award-winning designer Robbie de Villiers, who designed The Mission’s website as well as its signature font, Ellume. Pull up a chair and join us in getting to know this Mission Chattanooga parishioner.
Q. Robbie, what jumpstarts your creative process?
Robbie de Villiers: I’d say it is mostly hard work. Discovering solutions to visual problem solving sounds a bit sterile, but I think it comes closest. I call the initial phase of any project the discovery phase. It is incredibly enjoyable to get to grips with a project and thoroughly understand the client or product. I often compare this to an actor studying a character in-depth so that they virtually start thinking like the character.
Invariably I discover something during this process that sparks a creative solution. I’ve discovered a long time ago not to fall in love with any given idea during the creative process because it might prevent me from uncovering an even better solution. So I usually keep creating many different ideas and then let it “rest.” Gestation time is vital in the creative process… the right solution almost always shows up during or after a time of reflection!
Q. What is your morning routine that sets you up for work/creativity?
Robbie: First thing in the morning I go for a half-mile swim at my local Y. I have breakfast and then sit at my computer catching up on emails, Twitter, Instagram and BBC news. I then start working until about 11 when I take my dog for a long walk. I love this walking time because I get to exercise and usually call a friend to catch up or listen to an audio book. I then have lunch at The Camphouse, our local coffee bar and church where I will always bump into other creatives and enjoy their company—quite often this may result in my next project! I then return to my studio to work for the afternoon. Dinner, some Netflix and often back to work until 11-ish. Before bed, I dig into God’s Word and have a time of prayer. I have read the Bible five times using the one-year Bible (Chronological NLT). I have found many, many blessings from this discipline. I believe it is important to have a diverse but balanced routine to keep my mind stimulated and “on call.”
Q. What is your perfect day?
Robbie: I’d say all of the above but I’d love to add a walk on the beach.
Q. What are 3 important design elements or principles that church websites should take into account?
Robbie: A church is no different from a corporation in the sense that it projects an image that can be good, mediocre or bad. Many times, churches fall short in terms of overall quality. A church website is a direct reflection of a church and most people looking for churches today will visit a church website before they make a decision to visit a church. That in itself is enough reason to make sure you have a professionally designed website. I realize budgets can be tight but it is money wisely spent!
Learn more about Robbie.
On the Three Streams blog, Robbie shares his inspiration for The Mission’s visual identity, his proudest achievement and what made him fall in love with typefaces.