2

NOV

AREM DUPLESSIS

POSTED IN: '74 GAZETTE

Q&A

AREM DUPLESSIS- DESIGN DIRECTOR

Arem Duplessis is the Design Director of the New York Times Magazine Division (the Sunday Magazine, Key and T magazines). He has been Design Director and Art Director at various titles, including The New York Times Magazine, Spin, GQ and Blaze. He has received numerous awards from organizations such as the Society of Publication Designers (SPD), where he and his team have won both the Members’ Choice Award and the prestigious Magazine of the Year Award for The New York Times Magazine. His work has also been recognized byCommunication Arts, the Art Directors Club (Gold Cube for “Design Team of the Year”), the Type Directors Club, the AIGA, Print, American Illustration / Photography and PDN. While atSpin, his team was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Design.

Duplessis has chaired and juried competitions for the American Society of Magazine Editors, the Art Directors Club, The Type Director Club, Applied Arts, the Advertising and Design Club of Canada, American Illustration and the Society of Publication Designers, where he also served as a board member from 2003 to 2007.

He is an instructor at the School of Visual Arts and teaches a yearly Masters Workshop on design in Copenhagen. His work has been published in books including Area 2: 100 Graphic Designers, 10 Curators, 10 Design Classics; Magazine Design That Works, by Stacey King; 100 Habits of Successful Publication Designers, by Laurel Saville; and New Ornamental Type, by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson.

Here are his As to our Qs:

When are you happiest?

When I’m with wife my kids.

What motivates you?

Anything inspiring.

Which city or cities are centers of creativity and inspiration for you?

NYC of course, London, Berlin and Copenhagen

What’s on repeat on your ipod?

Depends on the day and my mood. I generally listen to the same artist for an entire day, then I move on to someone else. If I’m having a bad day it’s Miles Davis. He relaxes me. If I’m feeling inspired it’s Kanye West.

For you, what does Istanbul stand for?

Full-disclose, I have not had the privilege of traveling to Turkey but judging from my readings and the photography I’ve seen— the endless beauty mixed with deep cultural roots.

What’s your current source of inspiration?

My art books, always.

Your most memorable journey?

I’ll have to go with the most recent. We traveled to London where I was giving a lecture and we met some great, creative people with endless energy. It was a great trip.

Your favorite place to visit to get ideas ?

I don’t have one place, I live in NYC, inspiration is everywhere.

Your most cherished possession?

A Norman Lewis etching my mother gave me when I graduated from College.

Who or what inspired you to become a designer?

My mother, she’s a fine artist and she saw that I enjoyed drawing. She explained my creative options in terms of a profession while I was still in High School. I thought design sounded cool and appropriate so that’s what I worked toward.

Current favorite artist(s)?

Glenn Ligon, Chris Ofili, the late, great Mark Lombardi and Simon Evans.

Key moment in your life?

Becoming independent.

Favorite recent discovery?

I miss drawing, tremendously. I recently took my son to The Museum of Natural History. We brought our sketch books and spent the entire day drawing the animals in the dioramas. It was pure pleasure.

Favorite designer(s) of all times?

Well, these questions are really difficult because it’s hard to narrow these things down. But I’d have to say Robert Brownjohn. He was such a rebel.

Can you give us your own definition of creativity?

Someone who sees the world in a different way and can articulate why.

How will you be remembered?

Hopefully as a loving husband and father. In the end that’s what really matters to me.

What is the trait you most deplore about yourself?

I’m too passive at times.

If you had to be a Typeface which one would you be and why?

Helvetica. Simple yet classic and versatile.

What do you do when you’re stuck during a creative process?

Curse and push away from my desk. Take a walk, maybe buy a Coke Zero. Gossip. Anything to get my mind of my creative block. When I come in fresh the next morning I generally solve my problem right away. It’s amazing what a good night sleep can do for you. I try to get at least 6 hours a night.

Whats the first thing you think about when you wake up in the mornings?

Depends on the day, when I’m swimming I hope I get a lane to myself. When it’s raining I hope my wife will give me and my daughter a ride to her school. My life is way to varied to narrow this question down to one thing.

What do you look for in a designer?

Well, the first and most important is obviously talent, followed by their level of humbleness. I can’t deal with big egos.

What do you look for in the visual arts?

That’s pretty broad?

Advice in one word ?

K.I.S.S. {keep it simple sucker}