Dave Plunkert of Spur Design, The Interview

Pulp Ink & Hops Artwork, courtesy of Dave Plunkert of Spur Design

Dave Plunkert is a nationally-recognized designer and illustrator based here, in Baltimore, where he operates Spur Design with Joyce Hesselberth. Their studio provides full graphic design and marketing communications services for both print and interactive media. Since 1995, the studio has produced award-winning work for national and local clients.

According to Wikipedia, In 2009, Plunkert received the Best Poster Award at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) for the poster he designed for Antidote Films’ documentary “The Dungeon Masters. “Recently, Dave was gracious in agreeing to speak with us and designing and illustrating the poster for the upcoming 2010 Pulp, Ink & Hops.

Q: Any interesting projects you’d like to discuss?

Spur recently completed the Directory of Illustration 27 featuring artist Colin Johnson.  Aside from the editorial illustration jobs there are a number of poster jobs currently on my table.

Q: With 15 years under your belt as a studio principal, what do you know now that would have helped you had you known it when you first hung a shingle?

It took a while to realize that a big part of business is simply finishing a job and moving onto the next one.

Q: Has the economy changed the nature and/or scope of your work?

Budgets are a bit tighter and the flow isn’t as heavy as it was during the boom years but its nice not working every Saturday. But I’ve fortunately never had to lay anyone off since we opened the doors.

Q: How does Baltimore figure into your work? Does it (being local to Baltimore) shape the way national clients view what your studio brings to the table?

Not that I’m aware of on illustration side. As a designer I think that opportunities still tend to be somewhat local because the process sometimes requires face-to-face meetings.

That said, I think our California clients like that we’ve been working on their projects for a few hours before they start their work day.

Q: The AIGA organization has initiative in place to describe the skill/work process set of the designer of 2015. That would be the 20th anniversary of your studio and looking forward, what skill/work process do you see the designer of 2015 as having or needing to possess?

Same as always…. they need to be able to concept and execute an idea from start to finish and be flexible, curious and on their guard in regards to technology. Hopefully the initiative won’t include a lot of stuff specifically about the internet and social media.

Q: Describe the tension of doing work that allows you and your studio to do work that’s not defining, but yet being known or a particular style:

Well, the tension comes from striking that balance of experimentation and formula on a given job but not giving into trends or getting lost in the woods.

Q; What Have You Learned? (Free Form Parting Thought, like Esquire Magazine).

That the best thing you can do for yourself as a designer is not get too comfortable.

Find Dave Plunkert and Joyce Hesselberth on the web at spurdesign.com. Interview by Chris Jones.

By AIGA Baltimore
Published September 25, 2010