People: Five Minutes with Don Clark from Invisible Creature

People: Five Minutes with Don Clark from Invisible Creature

Founded in back 2006, Invisible Creature is a multi-disciplinary design and illustration studio based out of Seattle, Washington. IC has had the honor of receiving four Grammy nominations for music packaging, and has worked with clients such as Target, LEGO, Nike, Adobe, XBox, the New York Times, Wired, Interscope, Nickelodeon, Nordstrom, and MTV—to name a few. Their work has been featured in the pages of Print, HOW, Communication Arts, IdN, Juxtapoz, and Stepas. (Here is a little piece of theirs we featured last year)

For a while now we have been hoping to get an interview with Don or Ryan but rather than take up more of their time, here is a fantastic interview that one of our favourite design inspiration sites Abduzeedo did with them back in 2009. (Click here to see the interview on

Please tell us more about your art and design background and what made you become an artist and designer?

I co-own Invisible Creature with my brother, Ryan. We have a little studio on the top of Queen Anne hill in Seattle and have been doing this “professionally” for around 10 years. Our grandfather was an illustrator at NASA for almost 28 years and our father is a gifted woodworker. We’ve been making things ever since we could hold a pencil, Lego or guitar—and have never really wanted to do anything else with our lives. We’re extremely thankful to call this our “job”.

Your work is pretty unique and full of creativity. Where does your inspiration come from?

We really draw inspiration from all forms of art. Whether that’s film, music, animation, architecture, furniture of fashion. Personally, I’m a big mid-century modernism fanatic and tend to love all forms of art and design from the late 40’s - 70’s - but as a studio we really like to dive into many styles. It keeps the work fresh and most importantly - keeps us interested in new projects. There is beauty in SO many things (from a Pushead skate deck to a Verner Panton chair) - we can’t help but to have a little of everything rub off on us ...

Could you describe for us your typical ‘start to finish’ workflow when working on a design?

We usually begin with a few concept pitches and sketches. From there it can go in different directions, with the extremes being: Directly to final design (where everyone is happy) OR - refine, refine, refine, refine and ... ruin. It took us awhile to figure this out, but no one said that a commercial artist always gets their way. It really just depends on the project and in general, we’ve been quite lucky to work with some amazing art directors who tend to give us a good amount of freedom. We don’t have much to complain about. OK, we don’t have anything to complain about.

What are your tools of the trade, both hardware and software?

Powermac G5, iMac, Cintiq, Wacom tablet & Adobe Creative Suite, paper, pencil and Starbucks.

What, for you personally are the pros and cons of being a designer?

Pros: It’s a dream job. Cons: It’s a dream job that you can’t clock out of. Something is always swirling around in my head - and at all hours.

How does your job as an artist and designer influence your life? Do you feel that you see things around you differently for example?

Well, I don’t really see a separation. I’ve been dreaming up things to draw and design since I was a kid, so that naturally influences your life and view of the world. I do believe that everything has been created- some bad, some good. As an artist, you can focus on the bad and how YOU can make it better, or you can focus on the good and get completely inspired to create something or your own. I’m fueled by both notions. It’s funny to see how my personal evolution of influences, perspectives and priorities have changed over the last 10 years. Something as simple as reading a Richard Scarry book to my kids is a perfect example of a normal real-life situation colliding with infinite inspirational moments. Bliss.

Once again , thank you very much for the interview. As a final word, do you have any tips for upcoming artists and designers?

There is nothing new under the sun - we have so much to learn from artists that have gone before us. Technology has provided us an abundance of tools, but don’t let that be a shortcut. Have fun, but practice and understand your craft. A kick-ass website doesn’t hurt either.


  • Images: Invisible Creature
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