BackGround – Ross James

This is Ross. Ross is an industrial designer. He was kind enough to give of his experience. Ross is great, and is possessed of an intimidating ability to remain calm in most situations, and because of this (*purely conjecture), Ross got a job straight out of University – but don’t be jealous of him for being great, learn from his effective ways and cultivate your own greatness, young ones.

I give you Ross James.


Can you recall any situations or environments or objects or animals or people which/who have inspired you to create?

None, really. I suppose I subconsciously draw from people more successful than myself, not just in design, but in all facets of life I take interest in. I strongly believe that you need to surround yourself with people better than yourself in order to drive your own betterment. Having said that, it’s also good to have a few chumps around to make you look good.

Do you have a set methodology for coming up with new ideas, or does your pure amazingness allow you to just happen upon them during the course of your day?

I have no idea how anything gets into my brain. Sometimes it’s a logical progression, sometimes it’s a ‘Eureka’ moment. A lively discussion over some beers always helps in the search for inspirado.

What do you do (or where you go) to open your mind?

Nowhere in particular.

Do you carry a notebook, or voice recorder, or camera (actually, a phone can do all those things…) wherever you go?

Yeah, I like to have a sketchbook at the ready at home & work just in case. I like to log most of my ideas and drawings.

And the mighty smart-phone is a great utensil for documenting ideas & plans on-the-go. I’ve awoken to many strange and ambitious plans noted down in my phone on a Saturday morning.


Do you remember anything from your first job hunt: feelings, interviews, resume, method of contact…

I was lucky enough to get a job offer straight out of Uni, so the job hunt was relatively non-existent. I remember going into the interviews with little idea of what was going to occur, so I pretty much just rolled-with the punches.

What would you suggest is necessary for a successful design/arts job hunt?

Knowing where you want to end up (in the short-term and the long-term). A well-defined goal is important. Horses for courses, though.

How do you execute a great job interview?

Hmmmmm… I’m not sure. Each person would have their own distinct ‘flavour’ to how they present themselves and their work. The old adage of ‘be yourself’ seems to have a lot of truth behind it. Most people can smell bullshit and insincerity from a mile away. I like to just try to act casual without being informal (if that makes sense).

Confidence is important also. But don’t show too much swag.

Research about the employer is really important. Having background knowledge on them, their products/services and their ethos will help make the conversation flow better during the interview.

How much sleep is enough sleep?

I get by with around 6-8 most nights.

Do you embrace new technologies in your work?

We try to, especially with a lot of apparatus increasingly becoming affordable to perform the processes in-house.

Have you won any awards? – Are awards ceremonies fun?

Nothing fancy, just some pats on the back. Awards ceremonies are pretty good when there’s an open bar.

What are some of the most powerful/memorable lessons you have learned on the job?

I don’t know about ‘powerful’, but there have been some memorable ones that have helped me in recognising the value in triple-checking your work before any kind of production begins. The simple oversights at the design end can cost grandé dollars to fix later. Those mistakes are at the forefront of my mind whenever I’m working on a new design. But, hey, it’s the learning process, right?


What are some of the most powerful/memorable lessons you learned while studying?

Long days early in the semester are better than late nights before a deadline.

You can exploit manufacturers for ‘samples’ for prototypes as long as you give the impression that the design will go into production.

Making parametric CAD models that don’t implode is handy.

Get to know the bar staff.

What was missing in the ID course that turned out to be important in your professional design career?

Do you learn best by doing, seeing, reading, hearing, or a mixture of some, or all of them?

It’s always gotta be a mixture.

If you could go back in time (forget all the other super-amazing things you could do, like meet Marie Curie, or Jules Verne, or be witness to the building of the pyramids by aliens), would you approach your design degree differently?

I’d probably work a bit harder in the first two years in order to have better fundamentals (sketching, physical modelling) come final year.


What was the greatest animated series ever made?

You’d hafta say the Simpsons or maybe even South Park. But to be different, I’m going to say this…


Are those pointy things on top of Astro Boy’s head, horns, or is it crazy-80s-metallic-robot-hair?

I’d say they’re some kind of stabilisers or ailerons for use in flight.

What are you listening to?

The gentle hum of the air conditioner. Musically, a bit of everything. I’ve been getting back into some early Alice in Chains & Silverchair again lately. And the album Fear Fun by Father John Misty has been on high rotation too.

Whatever really, just let your ear-holes go along for the ride.

What are you reading?

Not a lot. After all don’t pictures say a thousand words?..

If you had the space, would you keep a unicorn as a pet/housemate?

Not as a housemate. I can’t see them being able to maintain any kind of income to go towards rent. And not as a pet either; it’d probably keep shitting rainbows all over the place.

And, finally – is there anything I missed out, something which you feel is important in the search for artistic and designist excellence?

Well… I’d say you’ve got to have a really strong work ethic towards everything you do, but don’t get too hung up on anything. Uni is just uni, a job is just a job, y’know? Just have a beer, sit in the sun, and chill.

Thanks a bunch, Ross!

You’re awesome. Keep being awesome.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: