April 23rd, 2012

I always find it a shame to celebrate someone’s work or talk about someone’s life after they lost it. I get annoyed at myself that I or others haven’t shouted about it before that time came. (David) Hillman Curtis passed away last week, aged 51. He’ll be remembered for his influence on the creative world but I think, more importantly, for his vision to always move forward.

I flirted with his career throughout mine because we both started in the same manor. As a digital designer myself I find it important to follow those people that have trodden the path before you to see where you can go yourself.

Curtis got into graphic design through music and love of poster design and film. After finding his feet in design he moved into ‘digital’ where he became an art director for Macromedia. When he left Macromedia he started his own studio and became a flash guru, web designer and author before eventually moving into becoming a film director. He constantly adapted to the digital environment around him and was never afraid to move on from something and sometimes stop it entirely. Constantly evolving.
What I like about his work is that it mainly looks at us. Whether an IBM or Nokia ad or a personal documentary, his focus was people. Much like it was when he was designing sites for Yahoo or Adobe. The ‘user journey’ was at the forefront. His films are no different.

Last week I created a post about advice for young designers. Curtis’ piece of advice for you, and something he followed throughout his career is:

“Be prepared to reinvent yourself. Be prepared to go out on a limb occasionally and be prepared to do the things that you feel strongly about that maybe other people don’t.”

To see more Hillman Curtis work visit hillmancurtis.com