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Fifteen years ago, two friends — Nand Dussault and Andy Hayes (Advertising & Graphic Design, Class of 2001) — collaborated on a piece for the Columbus Society of Communicating Arts to promote a visiting speaker and graphic designer, Chip Kidd. Now, Nand and Andy have reunited to work on another project in honor of the designer that inspired them both.

We sat down with Nand and Andy to talk about the iconic designer that influenced them in their youth.

Where are you currently working?

Nand: I own and manage formerfactory — a brand communications studio based in downtown Columbus, with an office in the Franklinton Arts District.

Andy: I run Hucklebuck Design Studio out of Springfield, Ohio. We focus on brand development and promotional materials.

What's your connection to Columbus College of Art & Design?

Nand: I am currently an Adjunct Professor in my second year of teaching. My class schedule consists of the senior-level “Trends in Design” class that is part of the Advertising & Graphic Design major at CCAD. Historically, I’ve been the beneficiary of mentorship, collaboration, and support from faculty, alumni, and interns from CCAD. For many years, CCAD has hosted Columbus Society of Communicating Arts (CSCA) events that helped me get to know, and be inspired by, other creative professionals from Columbus and abroad.

Andy: I am an alum. Occasionally I stepped in as an adjunct faculty member between 2002 and 2013, teaching typography and structural drawing.

Tell us about your first encounter with Chip Kidd.

Nand: A little nervous and definitely edging on full tilt fan-boy! It's always a bit magical to meet someone in person whose work served so long as an inspiration and a lighthouse for me and for how I think about the work I do for my clients and my company. Our first meeting was at an Express launch event in New York. He was pretty charming and funny and invited us to come by his office the next day at Random House.

Andy: In the fall of 2001, I was in the middle of my first design gig. My roommate Nand had just recently been laid off after the tragedy of 9/11. He came in to help me as a freelancer, and we began to hatch a plan to start our own studio. Long story short, that became formerfactory. Chip was coming in to speak for CSCA, and Nand and I were on the board and took the reigns of the promotional materials. We designed the poster and mailer pieces which ended up winning a judges choice at CSCA later that fall. It ended up being our first real design collaboration. The following spring, Nand and I found ourselves working on a project for Express that also included Chip Kidd. We met him at the launch party in New York and he invited us to his office the next day. He was very gracious.

Has Chip’s work made an impact on your design work?

Nand: Chip has always been very respectful and transparent about his experience during his design education — that’s something that I work to communicate to my students. He’s got a pretty unique sense of humor and articulates his work and approach in a way that is entertaining and insightful. My favorite works of his have layer upon layer of design, sometimes in a very literal way with the production techniques he uses on his book designs, sometimes more metaphorical in the visuals and language he uses. I love that there is always something interesting to discover in the details of his designs. He is a designer that not only appreciates the narrative but is equally comfortable writing and telling his own stories.

Andy: Chip's work is immediate. Accessible, high impact, and incredibly thorough. I take inspiration from his work in the way that he has a consistent approach, but strays from getting trapped in an aesthetic. I share one of my core approaches in design with Chip — the idea that you must dig into the subject matter of what you are working on in order to find the strongest result. Every project is a research paper.

How do you believe Chip’s work will affect current students?

Nand: At its core, Chip’s approach to me has always focused on crystalizing the most important part of the narrative — creating a compelling representation that visually, artistically, and honestly represents the client. It is the heart of what we do as designers, artists, and communicators. We can be any one of those things, or all three, but if you can’t illuminate the truth of what you're trying to say for yourself or your client then you haven’t done your job. Or you need to keep pushing forward. It seems like a simple thing, but I feel like if you can keep getting better at that one thing everyday, you’ll have a pretty rewarding journey.

Andy: Chip’s relentless search for the big idea should be an inspiration to all students. The notion that executing an aesthetic or a design solution should be secondary to the reason for it. This basic idea is what separates the Chip Kidds of the world from everyone else: the willingness and ability to go beyond the immediate solutions and dig deeper.


Chip Kidd is a guest speaker at Beeler Gallery on Oct. 20, 2016. Nand Dussault and Andy Hayes collaborated on a poster design to mark the occasion.