Ed Dye is the Chief Creative Officer and Founder of UTÖKA in Atlanta, Georgia. In this article, he talks about the process of creative problem-solving.
How was UTÖKA formed?
UTÖKA was formed from two companies with two separate client bases. Artistic Image, a post house, and Artemis Creative, a print design production studio. We wanted to form a Creative agency that had a high level of all production services and ad in branding designers along with strong conceptual directors.
When was the last time you felt really challenged by an assignment?
I think all of our projects have challenges, or they wouldn’t have made it to us. Sometimes these challenges are strategic, budget-specific, time-line restrictive … but I don’t like UTÖKA to get into a comfortable place, and want us to greet challenges with a fresh and innovative perspective. I look to challenge myself and my team on every project and to make something both the client and ourselves are proud of.
Is it important for you to do work you love?
I do not believe that the work you love is just given to you. You often have to make yourselves feel passionate about the assignment or create something that you love. And at the end of the day, creating work you love is less about the assignment and more about how proud and successful you are. That is the work I love, work that works. I am very proud and love the work that is coming through UTÖKA, as you can see the passion our entire team shows and the unique skill set each designer brings to each project.
How do you believe in the process to solve problems, and how do you get your team and the client into a place where you feel they trust the process?
Creative problem solving is something we use directing all work through UTÖKA. The process of creating each assignment and how a client would like to work with you is very important to its success. From a 3D project gets to a compositor or how a job write-up gets to the team. We are all constantly communicating and working on the project details. We have great processes in the building of files and understand we will want to make changes along the way. Starting an assignment with the best possible understanding of why it's needed helps in making the best process and solve any problems along the way.
What is a project you’ve worked on that you are most proud of?
I feel proud of all the work coming out of UTÖKA, and the fact that I’m a person that can help us get that great work to our clients. One of the projects I’m really proud of is a publication I started for UTÖKA, where we can really explore our work and strategic thinking in a new way. Each newspaper has its own topic with all the content focused on something that somehow relates to us and our work. In each issue, we talk about how we work, how we think about work, things we think are cool about our city and get to exercise a little more creative freedom than we often are able to with clients. So much of the process often gets lost in file folders, but we unveil the behind the scenes work and process it takes to get there and show how we bring our work to life and make magic. I also love that it really gets the whole agency working together on these projects and bringing their own individual skills, interests, concepts, and writing together.
How did you get into the design industry?
I started my career as an illustrator. And back in 1988, a computer program Paintbox had come along with very few artists working on them and the demand for digital art growing. A professor of mine suggested I go to a studio in Detroit looking for an illustrator to work on a Paintbox, and the rest kept me moving down the digital design path.
Your influences in art and design?
Illustrators and fashion designers are where I look most to be influenced. Both could say so much with a single image.
Your design style?
I love to mix disciplines and finding the way they compliment each other and enhance both with stark contrast.
Your favorite fashion designer right now is ...?
I find most of my inspiration in fashion Lately. I love Dior’s storytelling and the classic design of Bottega Veneta.
Your favorite thing about Atlanta is?
The way it has this history of burning down and rebuilding seems to happen over and over. I see parts of town tearing down and reinventing becoming better every time it forms a new chapter.