Interview: Night & Day's Graphic Designer Alan Wasem

Graphic Designer Alan Wasem took a moment to share what he does at Night & Day Studios, how he became a designer, and some of his major influences.

What is your role at Night & Day Studios?

I do a lot of things here, but mostly production design and graphic design. I often work with other animators and artists getting files ready for development. Sometimes I help the team concept and prepare proposals for client work, but I also work on Night & Day's original projects.

What project have you most enjoyed working on at Night & Day Studios?

I would have to say the project I am working on right now: Peekaboo Farm Day [coming soon from Night & Day Studios]. It is challenging because we are pushing limits on animation and functionality. It is an Night & Day Studios original project so everyone is involved in the discussion about improving the game and testing new ideas; it is always fun to work on projects where everyone at the table is excited and invested in making quality products.

 How did you get into graphic design?

I was always the kid in class whose responsibility it was to make the posters and artsy stuff for projects, so I guess that’s where it all started. Also, my grandmother got my family a computer with a page layout program that she got from a screen-printer friend—this was in like 1992! But really, I had an awesome photo teacher (Nicki Stager) in high school who opened my eyes to the fact that I could make a living making stuff; until then I didn’t realize it could be a career. She gave me a David Carson book and I realized that he was the art director at Transworld Skateboarding and at the time, I was really into that. After high school I went to Temple University in Philadelphia and studied chemistry, working toward a pharmaceutical degree, but I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in a Rite-Aid pushing meds. Now I just push pixels. I dropped out of school and moved here with some friends to snowboard, and I kept making graphics, so here we are.

There's a funny story about it though: I had a professor at Portland State University who had us put together a project brief; I said I was going to go for a style like Carson’s (his aesthetic is kind of unique and definitely not hip anymore). She pulled me aside and told me to “Drop the whole Carson thing…”

A few months ago I saw Carson speak at Weiden & Kennedy, and who is in the first row—and an organizer of the event—but that same professor. I mentioned to the professor that I'd seen Carson at a meeting with a recruiter; I told her it seemed he was looking to move to Portland. She called me a week later saying Carson asked her if she knew anyone to help his dad with an iPad, so for a few weeks I went over on Sundays and hung out with Carson's father. I showed him how to wirelessly print from an iPad and fixed a computer, but mostly just visited and traded stories. Now Carson’s in town and I just got an email inviting me to come over this weekend.

That's a great story—I love it. Who else has influenced your aesthetic?

A big influence is surely Shepard Fairey. I worked at this skate shop for a bunch of years. My friend’s dad has been running this shop since before skating was cool, so the reps always hooked us up with the best gear. I remember the first time I saw the “Obey” stuff coming out of the boxes – I was pretty stoked. I didn't really know what it was at the time, but I had seen the stickers. How could you miss them? For a while there, it seemed like every other stop sign in town had Andre's face on it. Anyway, I was totally hooked when I saw the Chomsky shirt.

Have you been working on anything outside of digital products lately? I’ve been working on a few things. Here are some of the projects I’ve made recently:

Have you been working on anything outside of digital products lately?

I’ve been working on a few things. Here are some projects I’ve made recently: