The Bearded Man Speaks:
Unanswered w/ Grammy winning designer
Julian Alexander 



How are you during these times-more productive, creative or repressive? 

Right now, it is important for me to take things one day at a time, stay balanced, and not try to force being productive. Sometimes all I want to do is absorb our current situation and check-in on loved ones. In the end, this flexibility gives me new creative energy. The answer varies by day tho...

We’d love to hear more about your concept of not being a vendor and being able to fire a client. How do you protect yourself from being fired and a client ending a project prematurely?

In a creative partnership, the parties are in a relationship to complement each other and should be dedicated to producing the best outcome for all involved. Basically, things should be mutually beneficial. When it’s not working, either side can call it. As a vendor, there is a deference to the client’s wants. Understanding what you signed up for prevents problems down the line.

What was more valuable the launch of the 50 album cover or having marvel comics reference it? 

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ is more valuable by far. Without the artwork working its way into our culture, Marvel wouldn’t have reinterpreted it. Their version is acknowledgment, not validation. I appreciate the nod.

Looking back how do you evaluate winning a Grammy before 30. Was it a gift or something that you unfairly measured yourself by? 

Winning a Grammy was definitely a gift. I don’t measure myself by it. It is something that happened in my career that I am proud of but I don’t stay stuck on it. I am a hungrier, stronger artist today than when I first got the trophy.

Who are the mentors you mentioned in your Live and what about them made them mentors? 

My mentors are people who invested in my growth by sharing information unselfishly. Outside of internships at Def Jam and Atlantic Records, these came organically. Greg Burke by name was the first person who sat me down and spoke to me about my work as a peer, despite him being far more experienced than I was, to help strengthen my work. I think all he wanted in return was the satisfaction of seeing me do my best. I’ll never forget it.

Do you think having a formal education in design necessary to accomplish what you’ve accomplished as an Art Director? 

Formal design education is not necessary to accomplish great things in this field. The benefit of school is that it provides a learning environment where students are surrounded by people with a shared passion and resources. Some people have the drive and determination to reach their goals through other means. Dedication and output are more important than your path.

Is there a list of books and or habits you think every aspiring designer should possess? 

No. We draw inspiration from different things so there isn’t a universal thing that will have the same impact on everyone. Here are a few things that have served me well.
1.Stay open to feedback from trusted sources
2.Look at things critically to understand why the do/don’t work
3.It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden - is a book I return to often