'Last year, while out having a drink with some friends, we decided we should go to New York to take advantage of the J1 graduate visa. I don’t think we actually thought we’d make it over here and I’m still sometimes surprised that we did... Once I'd made the decision, I started researching studios in New York. I found Work-Order and it felt like a good to fit to me. Luckily, it did to them too! So, I went for it and I'm very happy I did.' Archie Heaslip is currently living and working with Work-Order in NYC after graduating from IADT. Work-Order is a small studio based in Chinatown: 'Currently on the design side there are two partners: Keira Alexandra and Kiffer Keegan, me, one other designer and an intern. We’re a close-knit team and there’s a good dynamic in the studio.'
Working as part of such a small team means Archie is heavily involved in all the work there, so he's learning a great deal about all aspects of working as a designer. 'I've found that one of the most important things is communication, particularly communicating clearly with clients. How you explain the idea is vital to helping a client understand your visual choices. This was most apparent when working on the branding for Now This, a digital news company that pioneered social video for a generation that consumes news on mobile, with millions of views across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. We had to make an identity and toolkit that we could hand over to their in-house design and editing team of 30+ people. It was very important that while it needed to function well as a piece of design, it also needed to be easy to use and wouldn’t fall apart when put into practice.'
Outside of his role in Work-Order, Archie takes on the occasional freelance project too, such as his work for club night Sim Simma, above: 'Working on freelance projects keeps me fresh and I’ve often found that ideas I get during freelance work can be used or are better suited for my full-time job and vice versa. At the same time, its important not to get burnt out from over-working. I appreciate my spare time and it’s good to not always be thinking about work, so I try to only work on freelance projects that excite me or offer me something I might not get from my full time job.' Does he like to work in a particular style, or with a particular approach? 'While I think it’s important to be aware of trends in design, I think you have to be very careful to not be too influenced by them or get sucked into working in a specific style because it’s the latest trend or is something that feels comfortable to you. In terms of ideas or ways of working, I’m always a fan of something that’s witty, that can make me smile and is effective in doing its job. This doesn’t necessarily have to be something that’s meant to be funny, it can be something that has a subtlety to it that you might only pick up on with a second view.'
I ask Archie what kind of projects he would like to work on in the future, and it seems he's already on his way to expanding what he works on and how he practices: 'Any project that pushes me outside my comfort zone or brings me to new territory. I have found I enjoy projects that have a hands-on approach. While Work-Order worked on the music festival Day for Night, as well as branding the festival we curated and set it up so getting away from the computer screen made for a nice change. When you work day to day in a studio, you don't always see a reaction to the end result of your work so it was great to see our work come to life around us and see people interacting with it.'
Check out Archie's submissions to the 100 Archive, including his work with Aad on the Bram Stoker Festival and the Burren Smokehouse rebrand which have been selected for the 2015 Archive. See more of Archie's freelance work on his website.