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People to Watch in 2012 BACK FORWARD

eight hour day

katie kirk + nathan strandberg

Eight Hour Day is the studio of Katie Kirk and Nathan Strandberg, a husband-and-wife design team based in Minneapolis. Most often found at the studio, the dog park or an antique shop, Kirk and Strandberg aspire to live a designed life(style) — where work, play and inspiration are all equal and integrated organically. A recent feature on the couple observed: “Every project that passes through the door of this two-person shop seems to have an extra spark of energy or imagination that draws you in for closer inspection.” Eight Hour Day’s client list includes Target, The New York Times, Wired, Moët Hennessy and the Walker Art Center. The children’s book Eli, no! was recently released under Abrams Publishing and the pair just completed One Year, a yearlong journey in search of inspiration — a trip around the U.S., working remotely, meeting with creatives and blogging about it all: eighthourday.com/blog/one-year.

Where were you born or grew up, where do you live, does this effect your design style or sensibility?
NS: It wouldn't be a stretch to say that there is a lack of visual stimulation in Hopkins MN. Though, I do feel as I get older, that I have more appreciation for that town where I grew up. Being so close to Minneapolis, I was heavily influenced by all things urban. I was into skateboarding and was always asking my parents if I could take the bus into the city to skate. As soon as I could drive, I was out of there! Around 15, I began hanging out with a few guys from South Minneapolis and I absolutely loved it. My energy comes from city life.
KK: Yes, where you grow up has a huge effect on your art — personality and the way you see the world. Sometimes I feel it was as much of what I did have (nature, a loving family, a Midwestern work ethic) as what I didn’t. The town I grew up in had a population of less than 300 people and the closest metro area, a 30 minute drive away, was only 50,000. Growing up I was always seeking out ideas, diversity, culture and art that weren't readily available in my small town.

If you were not a designer, what would you be doing for a living?
NS: I’d build bicycles.
KK: Probably an artist or a teacher, maybe an Art Teacher.

What is your greatest strength and weakness as a designer or design manager?
NS: I have a good eye for seeing where a project needs to go but have a difficult time sticking to the plan that will get it there — I tend to loose focus quickly.
KK: I would say I'm extremely focused and driven, which can be a great strength but also a tough mode to get out of sometimes.

Design Heroes?
NS: I’m always impressed with artists and designers who can pump out a large volume of great work. Local heroes Aesthetic Apparatus come to mind.
KK: Does Don Draper count?
Favorite Color?
NS: Various shades of warm gray
KK: Yellow
Favorite Typeface?
NS: Akzidenz-Grotesk
KK: Gotham
Favorite App?
NS: Instagram
KK: Instagram
Favorite TV Show?
NS: Breaking Bad
KK: Mad Men
Favorite Books?
NS: Anything non-fiction, I’m reading On the Road.
KK: Atlas Shrugged
Favorite Movies?
NS: Gummo
KK: Anything by Wes Anderson
Favorite Music?
NS: Reggae & Dancehall. Oh, and Hip-Hop too.
KK: I tend to like individual songs over genres. Anything from jazz to classical to pop.
Favorite Fine Artist?
NS: Jean-Michel Basquiat
KK: Andy Warhol
Favorite Gadget?
NS: Canon 5D
KK: My 17" MacBook Pro
Bookmarked Websites?
NS: San Francisco Craigslist, FFFFOUND!, Flickr, Media Temple, Grain Edit, Design Work Life, JJJJOUND, Dribble, Quipsologies, Friends of Type
KK: FFFFOUND!, Grain Edit, Design Work Life, Drawn, DesignSponge, Oh Joy
Worst Habit?
NS: Procrastinating.
KK: Working too much.
New Year’s Resolutions?
NS: Turn off the computer & iPhone.
KK: Relax.
One Thing You Can't Live Without?
NS: Katie.
KK: Eli, our dog.
Talent You Wished You Possessed?
NS: I wish I was better at cooking.
KK: I wish I was a better dancer.
Best Gift Ever Received?
NS: A book of emails between Katie and me, when we started dating.
KK: A birthday trip (turned engagement) to Chicago.
Mantra or Saying You Live By?
NS: Don't worry, everything will work out fine. It always does.
KK: Just do it.