‘The Working Wilsons,’ Old World Craftsmanship in A Digital Age!

By Admin, BuyLocalBG.com, BuyLocalBg@gmail.com/
Friday, January 14th, 2011 10:00 AM CST

Recently we sat down with Matt Wilson of ‘The Working Wilsons’ a husband and wife design team in Bowling Green. We discussed philosophy of design, misconceptions of small town designers and just marketing in general.
“The male portion of ‘The Working Wilsons’ the other is actually working.”
Buy Local: What do you think of this title for the interview? “‘The Working Wilsons,’ The Bonnie and Clyde of Design!”
Matthew Wilson: Does that mean we rob people?
BL: Basically. Do The Working Wilsons’ have a facebook page?
MW: No. We don’t. I guess we should, huh. We do have Bowling Green, Somebodies Gotta Live Here (Editors note: It’s a pro Bowling Green site you should check out) and Boy and His Brain.
BL: Well, we’ve already started, so I came across a great quote from the famous designer, Paul Rand where he said, “Design is the method of putting form and content together. Design, just as art, has multiple definitions; there is no single definition. Design can be art. Design can be aesthetics. Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”
MW: I like him. Do you know the famous designer Milton Glaser? This was a life changing or career changing quote for me. It made me feel secure in my philosophy of aesthetics.

Being a child of modernism I have heard this mantra all my life. Less is more. One morning upon awakening I realised that it was total nonsense, it is an absurd proposition and also fairly meaningless. But it sounds great because it contains within it a paradox that is resistant to understanding. But it simply does not obtain when you think about the visual of the history of the world. If you look at a Persian rug, you cannot say that less is more because you realise that every part of that rug, every change of colour, every shift in form is absolutely essential for its aesthetic success. You cannot prove to me that a solid blue rug is in any way superior. That also goes for the work of Gaudi, Persian miniatures, art nouveau and everything else. However, I have an alternative to the proposition that I believe is more appropriate. ‘Just enough is more.’” -Milton Glaser

BL: Why did that change your view?

MW: Same reason for him. You hear “less is more” in design school all the time and minimalism just isn’t how I approach things. I get really tired of it. Trying to create what is appropriate for the project is how I think design/illustration should be approached.

BL: So how does that influence you on logos or brochures?

MW: Well, you have to make people want to read it so you make it engaging.BL: How did you get involved with the SOKY Happenings? 

MW: well, I thought Bowling Green needed something like SOKY happenings – so I offered to help out. It just so happened that I was working for E+F (Earnhardt and Friends now Werkshop) so Tim latched on to it and we ended up doing the identity for the magazine too. so we kinda art directed it for a bit. I just did the cover art for 5 or six months, well, I guess longer than that…I can’t remember.

BL: How does your wife play a role in making Working Wilsons move past just the art and design phase?

MW: Sarah is really professional. She the business brain. She’s a jack of all trades & makes me secure in going out on a limb and challenging myself to learn. She’s just…brilliant. I  had no idea how to do anything on the internet. she’s really smart and learns at an amazing rate. so she just taught herself all the html & css, the email & online marketing and helped me get a portfolio online. I usually handle all the ‘artsy’ design stuff, though she’s a really rad designer and very capable.

We don’t exactly work “together” meaning, we don’t work on the same projects..but she’s my support team & I’m always there for her to work on stuff if she needs it (and she’s always helping me code things on my website.)

BL: When you guys do a project, obviously, many people look out of town. How do you beat out those in the “Bigger Cities” since there is a perception that marketing design is bigger, thus better there?

MW: well, we don’t really compete. we have our little network of contacts.

BL: Sure, you’ve done a great job on marketing locally and have a good contact base but, there is still a misconception of small town design firms, no?

MW: We have worked in the design & marketing biz for awhile and worked for large corporations. we are competitive. we just choose to live here. Yes, people have a tendency think that small is somehow inferior and I can see how larger cities just tend to have more options but that doesn’t always reflect the ‘quality’ of businesses in smaller towns – but in design you’re paying for the people.

BL: If there are any people out there looking for a redesign of their companies image what advice would you give them?

MW: well, no advice. I’d just ask them “why?” why do you want a redesign? what isn’t working for you? Don’t discount your current branding & client recognition.

BL: What about those who are creating a new business?

MW: well, that’s a different story all together. advice. hmmm. It’s an investment and a more visible investment than the office furniture that you’re lusting over. You get what you pay for – 🙂

BL: Well, Speaking of that. What should they look for in a designer?

MW: Well, I tend to think that ‘choosing a designer’ could be a lot more than people make it out be. We aren’t just hands to move stuff around on a page. A lot of designers are also really smart people. Good marketers & good business people. It should be a relationship – more collaborative than it some times turns out to be.

Check them out at their website, workingwilsons.com


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