matt meet the team

Matt Hamilton has been one of the linchpins of CSG Creative since October 2006, almost ten glorious years.

As CSG’s Director of Digital Design, he is responsible for digital projects, presenting creative and for everything else that is thrown at him. His broad background and natural flexibility mean he can dive into any kind of project.

Q: Matt, how did you get started in design?

A: Well, actually, I started out in IT with a degree from Goshen College, a small college in Indiana not far from where I was raised. The first company I worked for out of college often needed help in their design area and I just edged over, starting by doing power points, web work and postcards for them. This snowballed into more and more design work until they offered me an opportunity to transition full time to the design side. I was hesitant at first, but realized I enjoyed it and wanted to take the plunge into a new area.

Q: What do you think convinced you?

A: Basically, I enjoy taking the jigsaw pieces of all the necessary elements, the parameters and hierarchies, and putting them together into a creative, cohesive and effective design. I like organizing all of the disparate elements and integrating them into a whole.

Q: Where do the solutions come from? What inspires you?

A: Sometimes you get stuck temporarily and can’t see how the pieces are going to work together. I try to change the scene so that I can flush away the elements that are causing the problem and get a fresh perspective — maybe look at Pinterest or other on-line visuals, read Mashable or twitter, work on a different project — anything that shakes things up and clears your vision. Sometimes the smallest change sparks a solution. I don’t look for inspiration as much as give it a chance to take hold. I start a project by grabbing all the elements and putting them down, seeing where they take me, rather than looking for inspiration as the first step.

Q: What suggestions do you have for translating print design into web design?

A: Simplicity is key. If copy is too wordy or too busy, it can’t and won’t get read. Make everything as succinct as possible to aid the reader in finding the “meat.” Don’t try to say everything at once: you can always offer the reader a link to more detail if they want it. I try to remember that everything you add to a page minimizes the impact of the other elements. I’m also alert to weeding out redundancy — it wastes space and is boring to the reader. It’s important to focus on readers being able to find everything as easily as possible and to focus on providing a clear next step for them.

Q: Do you have a life bucket list?

A: Not really, maybe to go sky diving or scuba diving. Just leaving Elkhart, Indiana, checked off the biggest item on my list. I’d say the best thing I’ve done so far was a service program teaching English in Honduras for two months. Something like that gets you completely out of your bubble and offers totally new perspectives.

Q: Do you have a favorite book or TV show?

A: That’s easy — Dr. Who. I just discovered it a few years ago and immediately became obsessed — now there’s definitely a different perspective for inspiration.

Q: What is the quirkiest thing about you?

A: Probably that I’m not much of a talker and really enjoy being alone. (That may be the secret to his success in an all-female work environment.)

Matt would also never toot his own horn but, as a colleague, he’s almost a perfect design himself. He’s creative, hardworking, easy to work with, always willing to take on any task for anyone and not too wordy!