DDQ&A: Gregg Bernstein

I met Gregg last year while we were judging the Creativity International Awards in Louisville, KY. JJ was about 10 months old and Gregg’s wife was pregnant with their second — so we had lots to talk about on both the designer and the daddy fronts. And a nicer fellow you couldn’t meet…

Q&A with designer dad Gregg Bernstein

Tell me briefly about your design business and what kinds of clients you have.
I specialized in the art direction and design of music packaging and apparel for bands and record companies. I started along that path in 1996, and I worked under the studio name madebygregg. I still take on the occasional packaging project, but I fell into teaching back in 2006 and realized it was my calling.

I taught typography and design at Georgia State University for two years before going off to earn my MFA from the Savannah College of Art & Design [SCAD]. I’m now back at GSU teaching type and design again, and I couldn’t be happier.

Ellipse Alphabet, original font design

I somehow made the transition from designing punk and indie albums to examining government forms and legal documents for usability and readability.

My design work: madebygregg.com |  My design usability work: iagreeto.org

How long have you been a dad? How many kids? Ages?
I have been a dad since 2006, when my first son was born. We added a second son in October [2010].

How has fatherhood affected or influenced your work (positively or negatively)?
Like all parents, finding the balance between work and parenthood is tough, especially in a creative field where you never know when an idea might strike. If anything, I’ve learned to work more efficiently, and with less sleep.

Having a second child is exponentially harder; by the time both kids are fed, bathed, cuddled, and asleep, there is little time left to socialize or work.

Have you ever designed anything for or related to your children?
For our firstborn, I asked a few designer friends to help me out with the birth announcements. I came up with a collector postcard set featuring 4 designs. I did one and my friends handled the other 3. It was a nice little collection, but it might have been too conceptual for family members who didn’t quite understand why there were 4.

Designed by (clockwise from top L): Chris Bilheimer, REM's creative director; Jason Gnewikow, Athletics; Gregg; Phil Dwyer, apt13 design studio

I designed a postcard for our newest addition. It’s a nice card, but hopefully he won’t notice that he got a fourth of what his older brother got. Like I said, there’s very little time with 2 kids!

Are there any particular child products whose design you really like?
I love Wow Wow Wubbzy. The animation style is unique, the writing works on an adolescent and adult level, and it’s just fun. Visually it’s just awesome. I also highly recommend the “Follow the Line” series of books. They are tastefully designed and fun for daddys and their kids.

Motorola’s new line of baby monitors is pretty awesome. They are all digital, so there’s no static. The screen is big and bright. Thumbs up. I’m also into the “How Does a Dinosaur…” book series; the illustrations are detailed and the stories are cute. And of course anything Richard Scarry or Charley Harper is going to be a good time.

Any you can’t stand?
If I see/hear the Fresh Beat Band one more time on Nick Jr., I will lose it. So. Awful. (I wholeheartedly agree. -DD)

I also can’t stand these newfangled bottle warmers. Munchkin makes one, and it either boils the milk/formula or makes it lukewarm. No in-between. And Laurie Berkner needs to go away for a while.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Being a dad is the greatest experience. Everyday I wake up and love my kids even more.

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