Guest Blog: Designer & Podcaster Dave Clayton

Hello, it’s great to be back here on Scott’s blog and this time I’m talking about something different. So, this title, what am I on about and why?

We’ve all grown accustomed to binge watching telly now on channels like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon (takes drink) Prime. We decide our channels and viewing habits, if we fancy a comedy day we can plow through a season of Friends, have a marathon Star Trek session or educate ourselves with BBC’s Blue Planet and the English treasure that is Sir David Attenborough.

I’m going to go back a bit and explain the situation that has got me to the point of enthusiasm over podcasts…

Since changing my role last year by stepping away from being in a full time graphic designer position for the past 20 years, I am now the Training Manager at a UK company called Astute Graphics. As a designer I have always used Adobe Illustrator, and Astute Graphics have been making powerful, professional plug-ins for Illustrator for the past 11 years. I first met them at Adobe Max in 2016 at the San Diego conference. For those that don’t know what Adobe Max is, it’s the major Adobe conference held annually and usually on the West Coast of America.

Astute Graphics (our illustrious owner, Nick, our “absolute 10” Marketing Manager, Camilla and top Photoshop, Illustrator and AG instructor, Sebastian), were there to teach a full class to 300 people on how their plug-ins help professional designers, I was blown away and knew I had to include this workflow in my design life, as should every designer!. We got chatting and got on really well over the week, parted as great friends and I became a customer.

On the return to UK we met up again in London at an event I had set up in conjunction with Adobe UK to bring designer Aaron Draplin over for a post Max creative event. At the same event was a hugely talented Photoshop artist called Dan Mumford. Both Aaron and Dan are big names in the design industry. They may not be familiar to you but in the design world they are. As Von Glitschka has said, a ‘famous graphic designer’ is like a famous plumber. You are generally only know within your own industry. It’s a great quote! And Von Glitschka is another great Illustrator/vector designer.

What’s my point? And what has this got to do with podcasts?
I knew of these designers but I didn’t ‘know’ them. I didn’t know much about their backgrounds other than recognising their work. Roll forward a few weeks and I get offered the role at Astute Graphics, a huge factor behind the appointment was my ability to identify, contact, network and learn about the people in my chosen industry via the associations I am also proud to have, particularly my long standing relationship with KelbyOne. Nick, our owner, was impressed by my enthusiasm, knowledge and willingness to learn and train (also KelbyOne).

But now my job wasn’t designing anymore, it was identifying designers and businesses that could use our plug-ins effectively and improving their workflow. It felt quite weird not designing on a daily basis but this wasn’t a bad thing. I still get to write for Photoshop User magazine, design book covers for Rocky Nook and work with my best mate, Glyn Dewis. Now my focus is educating myself about other design mediums, styles and workflows. So that I can share this new found knowledge.

I had been a casual podcast listener but never really anything focused. I had picked up on a podcast or two about Aaron Draplin and Von Glitschka before to find out more about them when I was communicating with Aaron to bring him over. I then realised that these weren’t just one off interviews, these were established podcasts who were regularly interviewing designers on a frequent basis. I started researching how many there were, which had the kind of guests I though I would be interested in and quickly started to build up a playlist of favourites.

The laziest thing I could do is just listen to the ones with people I knew but you quickly realise some designers and some interviewers run through the stock questions and stock answers. So I started to listen to episodes with people I had never heard of and what an eyeopener it has been for me. I commute to the Astute Graphics office in Hereford twice a week, its a 90 minute drive each way so I get 3 hours to listen to these podcasts and educate myself, sometimes I will listen to someone like Tim Ferriss or even Marc Maron to change it up but for the most part, its 90% graphic design related content.

I have discovered so many talented and successful people in the design industry that I would probably never have know had I not opened up to widening my listening habits. I have now made some good friends and contacts from listening to their interviews, reaching out them and now some of them have become Astute Graphics customers and collaborators.

So for me, podcasts are my audio Netflix, I have a playlist of podcasts that go from daily, Adventures in Design with host Mark Brickey, weekly, The Honest Designers Podcast, MasterOf1 Podcast, Creative South Podcast, monthly, Passive Income for Designers with RetroSupply’s Dustin Lee plus some shows such as The Perspective Podcast, ReplyAll (tech), The Deeply Graphic Design Cast, Passion Behind The Art, Tangents with Corey Loven, QPR Podcast and a handful of others.

I have learnt so much from these shows, they have great hosts, they research their guests and this makes for a much more interesting show. I am learning about web design, UX design, poster print and clothing design, hearing from business owners, legendary designers and people just connected in some way to the industry. This is audio fuel for me, especially in my role.
Now, when you start to get into something like this you start to enjoy it and begin to wonder “could I do a podcast that would be interesting?”. If you are photographer you know that feeling with gear, very quickly after that thought you are knee deep in it and full of enthusiasm!!!

So roll on a few months into my job and I decided to start a regular podcast with my ex-Adobe and amazing designer buddy, Tony Harmer. It’s called The Vectorgenerians ( Vectors + Octogenerians, yep, two old fellas chatting about design based on our knowledge, experience and relationships, mostly around Adobe Illustrator). We are even working on an exclusive Illustration event in the UK this year. Watch this space!

Like most ventures, you start off rusty but we are getting into the flow of it and have some design guests lined up, such as the previously mentioned Dan Mumford, Aaron Draplin, Von Glitschka and more to come. We try to record at least once a month at the moment but its fun and I am learning this new medium by listening to others and learning.

At this point I am set up with my playlist, I am contacting these designers and hosts and its really helping with my role at Astute (and the podcast..and my own design methods)…

What happened next…
Then out of the blue I get contacted by two of my favourite shows, MasterOf1 and Creative South. Both ask to interview me! Yeah, cue gobsmacked me! They want to know about my background, my experience in the design community, my history with KelbyOne and my role at Astute Graphics. I really enjoyed the experience and honoured to be considered interesting enough to be alongside previously interviews design greats. The MastorOf1 episode can be found here, the Creative South episode is released Feb 14…..aah, Valentines Day, talking about my love of design! Plus I also got interviewed by the This Design Life blog – interviews are like buses, you wait for ages for one and then three come at once :)

But still the story still doesn’t end there!
Most of you know my relationship with my best mate, Glyn Dewis. We met via Scott Kelby on October 14th 2010. We have experienced so many awesome things over the past 8 years with Glyn’s photography expertise and my design expertise. It is immense and still astounds me how much fun we continue to have.

So guess what?

We are doing our own podcast starting in February, called He Shoots, He Draws (see what we did there!).

We’ll be talking about how our respective worlds, how we both experience similar things and we talk about our loves and loathes in the industry. We’ll be discussing listener questions, talking about things we’ve learned that have helped us and recommend things we have found and use. We’ll have guests and have some great sponsors lined up including RockyNook.

This new world of podcasting really excites me (and anyone who knows about my twitchy eye, I definitely have a face for radio) and I hope you can find the time to check out the ones I have recommended, subscribe to them and please love reviews on iTunes if you like them, tell them Dave Clayton sent ya ;)

And I would really appreciate if you would not only check out what we do at Astute Graphics but also the two podcasts I now co-host, The Vectorgenerians Show and He Shoots, He Draws.

If I could end on a thought it would be, whatever is your world, design, photography, business, gardening, even plumbing, research as much content as you digest to help you become better. Read blogs, listen to shows, reach out to people and never be afraid to ask for help and advice. To quote my buddy Sebastian Bleak…. NEVER STOP LEARNING!

You can check out the He Shoots, He Draws podcast right here or subscribe on Apple Podcasts. You can follow Dave and Glyn on Instagram, and check out Dave’s and Glyn’s design, photography, and compositing classes on KelbyOne!

  1. Way to go mate; great post and great to hear you’re the one now being contacted for interviews and being recognised for the damn fine, talented fella you are! Proud of you Brother!

  2. Great article, Dave. I like the “vectorgenarians” name. I fall into that age-group as well. I remember the days before Adobe Illustrator, creating the type of artwork we now create in vectors with Rapid-o-graph pens, various curve tools, stat/line cameras, and ruby/amberlith. Remember the joy of making a smooth link with Rapid-o-graph only to have a piece of lint clog your pen and make it barf ink all over your illustration board? Ah, those were the days … not so much.

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