Seven Questions for Fast Company Creative Director Florian Bachleda

The June issue of Fast Company, celebrating the “100 Most Creative People in Business,” is covered in Conan O’Brien—nine of him, in guises ranging from Madonna to Moses—and ends with Margaret Rhodes‘ delicious backpage infographic about pastries (in honor of National Donut Day, which is this Friday, June 3). At the creative helm of all this creativity is Florian Bachleda, who since his appointment last fall, has dedicated his considerable talents to ensuring that the design of Fast Company is just as visionary as its subject matter. Bachleda, whose previous positions include creative director of Latina and design director of Vibe, was kind enough to pause his Memorial Day festivities to answer our questions about his lead-off presentation at next week’s ABSTRACT conference, career highlights (other than those involving O’Brien and exotic costumes), his summer reading list, and more.

1. You’ll be presenting at the upcoming ABSTRACT Conference in Portland, Maine. Can you give us a sneak preview of your presentation?
I’ll be talking about the four or five guiding principles of the ongoing Fast Company redesign. For previous titles, I’ve always employed specific design frameworks based on an editorial idea, so I’ll be sharing how that approach works, and doesn’t work, for Fast Company.

2. What is your greatest graphic design or publication design pet peeve?
People who don’t create content passing judgement on those who do.

3. What is your best or most memorable design-related encounter?
Three things: 1) Working for many years under Bob Newman, and trying to practice daily the lessons he taught me; 2) My first SPD Board meeting in 2002, and sitting at the same table with people like Diana LaGuardia, Janet Froelich, and especially Fred Woodward, who is the reason I’m a designer; 3) Having the opportunity to get to know George Lois, which is an experience and a privilege all it’s own.

4. What do you consider your proudest design moment?
Seriously, it’s every single day that I get to make a living doing a job I love. My father worked as a steel smelter for one company all of his life, from the age of 16 (he told the company he was 18) to 62. He never understood what I did, but he saw that I loved it. It’s a luxury he never had.

5. What’s on your summer reading list?
I’ve been trying to finish Robert Wright‘s Nonzero for years, with no success. This summer I’d like to try again.

6. Last film you saw?
I watched The Thin Red Line for the thirty-sixth time in anticipation of The Tree of Life.

7. You have just received $100,000 that must be used for a single dream project. How would you spend it?
I’m working on a photo book about volunteer firefighters called Local Heroes, so I would use the money to finish financing that.

Motion graphics by Erick Fletes

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