Noun Project: How did you get started as a designer?
Cezary Lopacinski: When I was a youngster my mom asked me, “Who do you want to be when you grow up?” Back in those days, I decided to be a fighter pilot. A wise man once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans”, so I made him laugh and went to art school. In high school I was a jeweler. In college I was making art: paintings, drawing, sculpture, photography, etc. and entered a school of visual communication — and that’s how it all began.
NP: What do you like about design?
CL: I can’t do one thing on and on. I quickly get bored. In graphic design sometimes you must draw, paint, take photos, or make videos. Sometimes you must write a couple lines of code or make creative copy.
Graphic design is mix of lots things, skills, know how, etc. If you want to be a good graphic designer, you must constantly learn new things. That’s what I like about graphic design.
NP: What are the biggest challenges of design?
CL: I think that graphic design can save the world. A well designed font can speed up reading a book and reduce ink consumption. A well designed road sign can make a drunk driver avoid a car crash. A properly designed drug label can prevent overdose, etc. The biggest challenge in graphic design is not to make only good looking things but things that actually work. If some of my icons help resolve somebody’s problem, it would be awesome. I am a big believer in karma, good returns.
NP: Where do you get your inspiration? Who inspires you?
CL: People who think outside the box inspire me most. People like plumbers who fix pipes with adhesive tape or a kid who built a drone in his parent’s garage. Right now it’s really simple to meet those kinds of people. Just watch TED or Creative Mornings on the internet. Right now we got unlimited access to people. We can tweet, send mail or snapchats and contact with everybody.
NP: If someone were to look at your Noun Project profile, they’d see a mix of drinks, nature, skateboards, tools, watches, cameras, and city icons. Does this mean you’re a handy traveler who’s always on time and has exquisite taste in alcohol?
CL: My icons are a lot like a personal diary. I make them just for fun. My alcohol icons were designed when I was asked to design beer labels for a brewery with long traditions and Polish historical roots. Skateboards were made when one of my friends gave me a limited edition shortboard as a gift. I made him a big advertising sign on a building for free with the icons in return.
NP: We love your collections on the Noun Project. It seems like you’re into showing details of different objects and their diversity. What do you like about having diversity?
CL: I like when I have more just than one or two options. Diversity is good not only for graphic designers but for rest of the world. That’s why my icons are diverse. I like to have choices, so i give choices.
NP: What resources do you use to create icons?
CL: My basic tools are paper and pencil. I prefer old school. Computer and software are my second resource. To digitize ideas I use 13 inch macbook pro with external second 27 inch screen and Illustrator.
NP: Do you notice any trends emerging in the design world? Are you trying new methods?
CL: It’s really important to know what’s happening in the industry to do our job. But most important is not just mindlessly following trends. Good design must be timeless and doesn’t need to be super fancy. and mindless following by trends is not helping. Timeless design is no need super fancy iPad applications for vector graphic design. But new method wise used can speed up our workflow.
NP: Where do you hope to see your icons?
CL: I like Apple products. They are well designed with good taste. My icons on an iPhone screen? Sounds great! Maybe someone from Apple is already reading these words…
NP: What’s a project you’re working on currently?
CL: Right now I am working on something special but i don’t want to say anything about it. It’s long term project and it’s not only a graphic design thing. That’s all I can tell you right now. Top secret stuff.