Meet the Members: Tom Noon
Tom Noon is a multidisciplinary freelance graphic designer and illustrator, working predominantly across music and culture.
Tom approaches design with spontaneity and an open mind, he’s been lucky enough to collaborate on some very exciting projects with the likes of Adidas, Khruangbin & Jadu Heart.
This week we talk daily rituals, design inspiration and Tom shares the most enjoyable steps of his unique creative process.
What does an average work day look like for you?
My day-to-day varies a lot; I think as a freelancer things are inherently unpredictable. I like that. Although amidst the unpredictability, there are a few things I try to keep consistent:
First up, working to music is a must for me. The Do!! You!!! breakfast show with Charlie Bones on NTS is a morning ritual, after which I’ll riffle through a load of mixes and playlists for the rest of the day.
In addition to music, my process has a fairly robust structural skeleton at its core. It sounds blatant but I always start by making sure I’m completely aligned with what the client is looking for – I work through their story, values, motivations and target audience. At this stage I often have a few strong ideas of potential visual directions, but before exploring them further, I distill all the information I’ve gathered into a concept that provides the foundation for the visual work that will follow; from sketches right through to the final deliverable.
Despite maintaining a fair amount of structure throughout the process, I definitely also allow spontaneity and instinct to play a big role in my practice. I often have a strong gut feeling about how a project should develop and enjoy turning expectations on their head and looking for new ways of framing narratives; challenging the client to consider different perspectives is something they really seem to value.
Anything you’re working on at the moment that’s exciting you?
I work a lot on music and culture projects and I’m generally drawn to projects that require me to do some research around a new subject matter or niche area – something I might not be too familiar with. Lately, the lion’s share of my time has been taken up with an album campaign and a couple of logos for some new artist projects, all of which I’m looking forward to seeing go live.
Check out a small snapshot of Tom’s portfolio below:
What are you listening to/watching at the moment?
Listening to all sorts. Watching nothing – any recommendations welcome!
What excites you most about the creative process?
The thing that excites me most about all my projects is 100% the people that I get to work with. My practice is really collaborative, so the way I see it is, if you’re working with good people and you’re bouncing ideas off each other, then there’s a much better chance that all parties will enjoy the ride and be pleased with the end product. I’m not saying it’s a fairytale – there’s plenty of speed bumps and differences in opinion along the way, but nothing an open discourse can’t resolve.
Any top design tips or creative advice?
Work with good people, be open-minded and follow your instinct.
Who is inspiring you at the moment and why?
I try to be as holistic as possible when it comes to my sources of inspiration and to be honest I wouldn’t say that there is really a definitive origin.
From past to present, there’s an abundance of people working across disciplines and industries who are pushing the boundaries and challenging the norm, all of which I find really inspiring. In particular, I love looking back at conceptually succinct design from the past and asking questions about why decisions were made and scrutinise the details. Understanding the rationale of others provides a wider context for my own decisions moving forward.
What kit/tools can you not live without?
When it comes to tools and techniques, I’m trying to stay really open-minded and experiment with lots of different methods and details, working between analogue and digital. This is mainly driven by the different requirements of clients, but also doubles-up as an exercise of personal development. Beyond this, it’s definitely helping me to define my visual style by virtue of keeping hold of methods and details that work well and leaving the rest behind. For example, I love imperfections and will often set things slightly off when it comes to layout. Elements such as this help to create an overarching atmosphere that binds my work.
Why did you choose to come to Gather Round?
It was off the back of a friend’s recommendation and when I came for a tour it felt like a really friendly and productive environment to be in.
Cheers Tom! Thanks for taking the time out to get involved in our Meet the Members Q&A. If you’d like to check out more of Tom’s incredible work keep scrolling or head over to his Instagram page here.