Today we get to know a self-described “design geek” who we think happens to be one of the coolest members of our community. No doubt by now you’re familiar with Eric Comstock’s or e-ray’s whimsical, hand-drawn lettering and delightful cherry and blueberry color pairings. Eric is a veteran designer who came to minted with a very large portfolio and a lot of experience in both the advertising and design worlds. We hope you enjoy getting to know Eric a little better!
A cool marquee letter Eric found on ebay.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer?
I loved art from the time I was a kid, but it was really when I was working in advertising as an art director that I really started to think about it seriously. I was jealous of the graphic designers at our agency. It just seemed to me that they had the really fun job.
A drawing that I did when I was 14. When I did this drawing I realized I wanted to go into advertising. I didn’t even understand what one did in advertising but I thought if I could do drawings like this all day I would love it. Ten years after getting into advertising I left that career and started working with my wife. We spent a lot of time designing surface design. Advertising was good but I really love what I do now.
How would you describe your style?
Definitely not serious. I like to have fun and create things that make people smile. So, I think modern with a quirky flair and emphasis on typography is a pretty good description.
What is your normal workflow or process like?
You mean after I’m done procrastinating? Well, I usually draw out some sketches on paper, then scan them into illustrator to finish.
How many iterations does it take for a design to become final?
I guess it depends on the design.
How did you hear about minted?
I read about minted on designworklife.com. Shortly after, I met Mariam and the rest of her team at SurTex and they invited me to participate. I’ve loved it ever since!
Favorite design for sale on minted and why you like it?
The Retro ABC notebook is my favorite because I really love the colors and the texture from the hand drawn letters.
Favorite design challenge to date?
I have enjoyed the art poster challenge best of all. One of the things I love about Minted is having the opportunity to work on these different assignments. Every challenge gives me a chance to solve a new problem and some fun solutions have come from that.
It seems like you had a ton of fun with letters during the notebook challenge. All of your designs are incredible. Can you walk us through what it’s like to hand letter an entire alphabet?
It can be a challenge to create new ways of designing a letter, but that is also the fun part. Sometimes creating a new way of looking at the alphabet can lead to a bunch of other ideas.
I believe you’re married… what was your wedding invitation like?
I am married… My wife had her neighbor, a talented artist, hand letter our invitation. The lettering was shot with a stat camera and printed on an ivory cardstock.
Uniball Vision (Fine)
My Retro ABC notebook, of course!
Favorite design tool?
Illustrator, Wacom tablet and my scanner
A sketchbook pic.
How does living in the Utah influence your design?
I’m not sure Utah has really influenced my design much. Sitting on our deck enjoying the perfect summers here with a glass of wine might not hurt too much though.
Although I will say that because I am not skier (not a fan of the winter here) it forces me to stay at my desk. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fall and Winter are my most productive times of the year.
Another sketchbook pic.
What are the places in your hometown that you would recommend a visitor check out?
Caffe Ibis for really great coffee, lunch or breakfast. Logan Canyon for hiking. Sardine Canyon in the fall for seeing the leaves change.
Eric thoughtfully brought Mariam a bag of his beloved Caffe Ibis coffee to our Salt Lake City meet-up.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
I put on some really good jazz music, pour a really tasty cup of coffee and then I just wait. Sometimes they show up and sometimes they don’t.
My desk. Sort of boring. This is how my desk looks for about 5 minutes after I have cleaned it.
On the wall above my desk is a print that Nate Williams sent me. The other is a print by Jim Flora that I bought on fab.com.
Where do you like to shop? What are your favorite stores?
Being 6′ 5″, I shop online mostly. I like JCrew, Gap, Etsy and Fab.com (my latest favorite).
What are your favorite online design sites and blogs?
designworklife.com, designsponge.com, grainedit.com and of course my own site that I just put together with the help of virb.com, the url is www.eray.us (a work in progress).
What designers do you really admire?
Alexander Gerard, Ray and Charles Eames, Miroslave Sasek, Jim Flora and Richard Diebenkorn whose paintings I just love.
What advice would you give a new designer?
The more work you do, the stronger you will become at what you love doing. When I worked in advertising, we were expected to come up with 20-30, maybe even 50 ideas for each assignment. Only 3-5 of those ideas would make it to the first round of presenting to our creative director. It would be narrowed further from there. Persistence is more important than talent. Don’t give up!
Keep in touch with Eric on his website here.
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