The second interview in our series belongs to Linda Whittig. Linda has worked with Foerstel for seventeen years, making her another member of the Foerstel “old school”! Linda specializes in packaging, primarily for food, and is easily distracted by shiny objects. Which explains why she likes glitter so much.
This interview is brought to you by the letter “L” and the color purple (Linda’s favorite).
What is your educational background?
One year at the University of Portland as a marketing major. I could hear the collective slap of my parent’s palms to foreheads when I dropped out of business school to go to the Pacific Northwest College of Art where I received my BFA. My dad was sure that I was making up careers when I told him I wanted to be a graphic artist and that they would be supporting me the rest of my life. Seems like he might owe Tom a thank you note…
Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
I always loved my art classes in school but figured it was way too much fun to be able to make a career out of it. Glad both my dad and I were wrong on this one.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
I like the very beginning the best – when the slate is completely clean and possibilities are endless (in an ideal world when the client hasn’t cramped the creative style from the start). I also like word play so find it entertaining to work on headlines, product names, cow puns, etc.
What is one of the most important skills to have as a designer?
Obviously creativity but I think also an understanding of who the audience is and what special things might be done to appeal to them. This might mean making the font size a bit larger when the end user is an older crowd, or calling out the health or environmental benefits if that’s the demographic. Our work plays a big role in consumer decisions – I know I’ve bought plenty of products because I liked the package – and while we’re designers, it’s not just about creating art, it’s about creating successful art.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Fine artist… although there’s so many mediums I’d love to try I’m not sure how I’d ever narrow it down.
Where do you find inspiration?
Mostly from traveling. One of my favorite things to do is go to grocery stores in foreign countries and look at their packaging (what a geek). But it’s not just the finished products that are inspiring – it’s everything about being somewhere new and out of my normal element. Seeing how other people live, the architecture, the food, the customs – it really opens my eyes to a bigger picture.
What is one of the first creative lessons you learned?
To always use a sharp Exacto knife blade.
What is on your iPod?
Disco! (shocker) Actually there’s a little bit of everything. My largest playlist is old school jazz. But as you’d expect there’s big 70’s and 80’s collections, some hair metal (ah… the good ol’ days) and a growing World music collection.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
On my beautiful road bike on a long ride with my cycling group.
What is your favorite quote?
Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Name one random thing about yourself that we probably don’t know:
I was the state delegate to National 4-H Congress when I was 15 years old. This was a really big deal in those days and something all young 4-Hers aspired to. I won the state level in Photography and Kodak footed the bill (along with the delegates from all the other states) to fly to Chicago, stay in a nice downtown hotel, feed and entertain us for several days. At that point Disc cameras were just coming out and each delegate got an engraved one, all the film we could take while we were there, which they also developed. (if you want more details on this, or a photo of my cool disc camera, let me know).
Do you have any adventures planned?
Always… it’s just a matter of narrowing it down and picking which one is next.
What is your favorite thing about Boise?
That I can go almost anywhere I want to go on my bike. 4 seasons. Nice people. Good quality of life. Availability of arts, culture and good food. Shall I go on?
What was your last creative pursuit (outside of work)?
I consider my garden a creative pursuit… one that is a continual work in progress.