Martin Naumann on ideas generation, inspiration and technology.

Martin Naumann is a graphic designer based in Germany who creates sleek and stylish digital work, often with the use of abstract computer generated imagery. He creates beautiful branding work and enjoys re appropriating well known logos to fit into his striking and brightly coloured world. He's also a fan of using artificial intelligence to aide his design work, and says that "randomness plays a big role" in his creation process.

How did you begin designing and what were your early design inspirations?

I started doing that in 2015, I think, but my goal at the time wasn't really to study design or do it as a profession. I started making unofficial album covers (fan art) for songs I liked, which I then posted on my Facebook page. At some point, I got requests for logos, banners, and so on. It was a hobby at that time, and with time I realised more and more that it could develop into a serious job, and from that, it developed into what I do now.

What’s your ideas generation process like?

It depends a lot on the project I'm working on. For client projects with a briefing, it's usually different, because the idea is usually already set, but for my personal work, there is no direct ideation phase. Most of my projects are very random. On the one hand, I work a lot with parametric and generative methods, where randomness also plays a big role, and on the other hand I experiment a lot with each new project. Many artists have a very concrete idea of their art when they work on a new piece, that is very rarely the case with me. In addition, I have an incredibly large folder of unpublished sketches or experimental stuff, or scripts lying around over the years, which I always like to fall back on if I don't have any new ideas at the moment. 

You use a wide range of programs to create work - do you have a favourite one? 

Currently, I use the common Adobe programs, as well as Blender and a few others for more specialised purposes. However, the program I've worked with the most over the years has been Filter Forge indeed. The software is hardly known but hides a lot of possibilities for graphical work. As the name suggests, you can create filters with it. These are small programs in the main program that let you build your own effects or textures from the given components. So I'm not only designing the actual artwork but also the technique for creating it. It's a pretty sustainable process for me that requires less manual effort than Photoshop, for example.

Is any of your working process analogue?

From time to time I also work analog, but lately less and less. The main reason is probably that I can't really draw well, so I prefer Computer Arts. Also, I always try to get an efficient workflow, and analog work always takes a long time, at least that's how I feel. But sometimes I use photos (even though they are actually digital again) or develop logos or other typographies the manual way. 

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