Designer Success: How They Do It

by Brian Tippetts

Have you ever wondered how well-known designers find inspiration and design on a daily basis? Here's your answer. We've interviewed the talented Heidi Swapp and Jennifer McGuire to share a peek into their creative processes.


Heidi Swapp, creator of Heidi Swapp for Advantus products and former CK Hall of Fame winner

Heidi Swapp


Q What path led you to become a designer?

A This was certainly not a planned or schooled path that I've taken. It must have just been "meant to be," because it's not in line with any of my interests or goals as a young person! I think that when you find something that works for you, it just grows and becomes part of you.


Q What are some of the artistic hobbies/talents you had before becoming a professional designer?

A Well, that is the funny part . . . I never would have considered myself "artistic" at all. I remember that I really loved doing my homework in different colors of inks. When I did my chemistry homework, I wrote the problem in one color, showed my work in another color and gave my solution in yet another color. My teacher made me start using "pencil only."


Q Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

A To tell the truth, I'll take it where I can get it! Inspiration can strike me while I'm on a run, in a department store, looking at a magazine layout in Domino or even in my dreams. I think I get my best ideas while I am actually scrapbooking.


Q What design principle do you use as a "go-to" method?

A I have a philosophy called "glue and go." I just go for it-I glue it down, then work around it and just build on whatever I have. I don't like to move things around and waste time trying to "commit." I just go for it.


Q Do you have a go-to color palette?

A My eye is drawn to pink and black or white and black . . . , but I am seeing yellow everywhere, and I love it. It's a really a fresh, happy thing!


Q Do you follow a specific design process when you create? If so, what can you share about your process?

A That depends on what I am working on, for sure! I have the stuff I have to do, and then the stuff that I just do. I like to clear off my work surface completely, then I get out either the stuff I have to use or the stuff I want to use. Then I try to limit myself to those items and think outside the box to use them. It helps me to be creative within the realm of those items and focus my imagination.


Q How do you get out of a "rut" when trying to design?

A I let myself get totally distracted. I jump into a totally different project and allow my mind to create something else to get my mojo back. Then usually that creativity can spill over into other areas.


Q What is your favorite color?

A My favorite color is PINK.



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