UNCOVERED: Henry Slaughter
We hung out with Henry Slaughter, designer of the Westerly Goods logo and brand mark, to hear where he finds inspiration in his hometown of Vancouver. Beyond his work as a Graphic Designer for Make Studio, and his talent for creating visual identities (ours included), we were stoked to learn a bit more about what makes him tick.
From early sketches to the finished product - clean, powerful and true to our West Coast roots.
What do you do?
I'm the graphic designer at Make Studio in Mount Pleasant. I am responsible for everything from conceptual development and research to layout within print and digital production. I like to think of myself as the “details” guy who takes responsibility for the finished product. I’m currently working on the 2015 UBC Viewbook for prospective undergraduate students. It’s the art of balancing the needs of many stakeholders while trying to make the content seem very inviting.
What is it about graphic design that drew you in?
Growing up religiously addicted to skateboarding was what started it all. I became a brand snob at a young age, following all of the ads, videos and skate graphics that were coming out. By the time I reached high school, I was completely dissatisfied with all career options and it became obvious that I was interested in fine art. I started making collages out of fashion magazines, and turning them into large graphic paintings. That’s when I realized my passion wasn’t in traditional fine art, but design.
Where do you turn to for inspiration in your work?
I find inspiration all over. My thinking has really changed after meeting with the guys behind Post Projects: a studio dedicated to creating and selling pure design, and nothing else. They work with clients looking to break out of an expected product image and really push the envelope.
I also follow a lot of European studios. Of course I’m years away from their level—but if I can apply some of that thinking to my work, I can feel proud that I’m contributing to the greater good of “design” here in Vancouver. And of course, if I’m in a crunch, there’s always designspiration.net.
You were born and raised in Vancouver, and still call it home. What is it about the city that keeps you here?
My close friends and family—and some great jobs. Vancouver is a very comfortable place to grow up. Every season brings something new: summers are unreal, and there’s always something to do in winter if you can get out to Whistler or Tofino. Whistler gets me through our wet winters.
The people behind these companies share a love for a unique product or an activity. Their stories usually start with someone not being able to find what they’re looking for in Vancouver, so they start making or doing it themselves. Each of them had a huge interest and passion for clothing, or surfing, or snowboarding, and saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the local market.
I think the West Coast inspires a workflow to create completely different products season to season. Our weather is unique and our landscape is unmatched—the people that settle here and start niche businesses have to be immensely passionate because the city just isn’t big enough to support a lazy attitude.
Where would someone usually find you when the work is done?
If I’m looking for an immediate celebration, I head to the office ping-pong table with our video editor. Otherwise, you’ll find me on my bike, at a tennis court, on my couch, on Ben’s couch, walking Charlie or at the beach. Or Toshi for a spicy tuna cone.
When it rains, what do you do?
In the winter, I’ll check the weather. If it’s cold enough, I’ll get in the car and go to Whistler. Otherwise, sometimes there’s a lot of Skate 3 and ice cream going down in my living room too.
If I’m going outside though, you’ll always find me with an umbrella. I’ve shifted away from constantly relying on my jacket, and with Westerly getting production going, it’s a good reason to look forward to fall!