NUMBER 04 — Interview

Number 04, design office based in Utah (USA). Interview with Davis Ngarupe, JP Haynie, Chris Mann, and Cory Sistrunk.

— Hello Davis, JP, Chris and Cory how are you?

Doing well!

— Can you introduce yourselves?

We are an independent Utah (USA) based design office. We mainly work in graphic design for identities, publications and web but we have also provided art direction and design for quite a few architecture and interiors projects.

— Where does your interest in graphic design come from?

JP:  I grew up riding BMX bikes as a kid and I started making my own t-shirts and stickers, etc. when I was around 14. Around the age of 21 I thought I wanted to be a printer but after doing that for a while I realized that I really just wanted to make things to be printed. I went to design school a little while after that. Also before college I shared a room with Bardhi Haliti, he was studying graphic design at the time and it definitely had an influence on me.

Davis: I was introduced to graphic design by one of my BFFs, Jon Troutman, while he was studying graphic design. At the time I was working construction and was really jealous that he was able to make posters for work.

Cory: Similar to JP, I grew up skateboarding and surfing in Southern California and was interested in pursuing art. My dad was pushing me to do something with art to make money at a young age. So I started a clothing company. At first everything was hand drawn and the various printers had to create the vector files for me. Then I met one of the designers for a skateboard company called Ambiguous. He took me under his wing and I knew I wanted to become a graphic designer.

Chris: It all started with music. I played guitar in a band growing up like a lot of teenagers and that naturally lead to creating artwork for CDs and posters. I didn’t fully understand what design was until university and that’s the moment I realized I didn’t really want to do anything else with my life.

— How did you come to start up the studio?

We (JP and Davis) started the studio part time in 2013 as a way to work on our own publication and exhibitions, then in August of 2015 we got together with Chris and Cory to start the studio full time. Since then we have brought on 12 employees so now there are 16 of us.

— Can you explain to us one of your projects?

We recently started a store in the front of our studio called Actual Source. The name comes from an exhibition we put on at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art in 2015. In the show we worked on a process book for 6 months and at the end of that time we printed it (1,000 pages) and made art works based on the book as a physical object. We never showed the inside of the book, only images made from pieces of the exterior. After the show we wanted to expand on our ideas; the store is really a way for us to show the inside of the book… it’s an outlet for all the ideas we collected and more.

— Do you have a favorite typeface?

JP:  Courier New in body has my favorite coloring.
Davis: I love so many typefaces and wouldn’t say I have one favorite but my go to is Univers and Times.
Cory: Hard to say one that is a favorite but definitely into Maria (Phil Baber) at the moment.
Chris: It changes a lot but most consistently Univers.

— A designer that you admire?

JP:  Karel Martens. I think he is a good example of someone whose practice is a reflection of his personal interests and craft. He can apply his own printing experiments to commissioned work (Amsterdam Telephone Cards) and because his life is spent working on these ideas his work looks unique.

Davis: Davey Whitcraft. He has been a mentor for me and amazing influence. Davey’s approach to designing/not designing, way of thinking, and teaching really helped sculpt my perspective.

Cory: I can’t think of one single designer right now. I like so many.

Chris: There are many but I’ve always admired Wim Crouwel for being able to work in both corporate and cultural settings. He has always managed to strike a nice balance between order and expression in design.

— Favorite books?

JP:  Steve Martin: Born Standing Up
Davis: I have really been influenced by the new and old Kaleidoscope Magazines.
Cory: I can’t single one book out, but anything we sell at actual source is pretty awesome.
Chris: I don’t have a favorite.

— The last word…


Pictures and projects by Number 04.

Interview: Dennis Moya and Tiffany Bähler, 07.16

Graphic Design