Harrison Gill brings so many things to the team. He’s the resident DJ and our official horror-movie buff, and he holds the title of Spicy Meme Lord. As design lead, he is in charge of everything from brand collateral to product design—and he does it all with an admirable quiet confidence. He also just exudes cool.
We sent him some questions about his work at vitruvi, his penchant for do-it-yourself projects, and his design aesthetic—because everyone can learn something from his creative mind.
What’s your day-to-day like?
It’s always busy. It usually starts with a couple of emails to our printers or packaging suppliers. Then I’ll pick up one of the many projects I have on the go—probably the one that has the tightest deadline. I’m always thinking about all of the projects at once, making sure I manage my time to push forward on different projects each day to keep up with deadlines.
What do you love most about being on the team?
Honestly, it’s probably being part of a team that works together as a collective to get things done, but at the same time, we all have our own responsibilities. We are a young team full of great people who work really well together, and we know how to have fun while we’re at it. When something comes up, everyone is there to give constructive feedback that helps further the brand and us as a team.
Can you describe the design process behind the packaging for our blends?
Well, I was brand new to the team when I started designing the blends. I was still getting familiar with all of vitruvi’s brand collateral: fonts, colours, and the subconscious tendencies and decisions that were made along the way to create the brand. I knew the bottles had to be simple and aesthetically clean, but at the same time, something that was interesting, eye-catching, and would stand out on a shelf.
I really wanted to explore all the possibilities that I could for the design, and I think it’s fair to say I did. While exploring colour and layout options, I was consumed with countless Illustrator artboards and prototypes. Seriously, though—there’s a decent-sized box full of iterations.
Eventually the process had to come to an end and we needed to launch the products. The collection of blends quickly became a reality—I think we nailed the design and we know that all of the possibilities were explored.
What are your top three favourite vitruvi products?
Grove, White Stone Diffuser, and Eucalyptus.
What’s another brand’s packaging that you love?
Blasted Church wine labels have always caught my eye. I’m one of those people who will analyze every label I see on the shelf, and I think Blasted Church has a really cool approach to make theirs stand out.
Beside building espresso bars from scratch, what do you like to do outside work?
I always find myself working on some type of DIY project, even though I tell myself I want to relax and do nothing for once. It must just be my personality of wanting to learn more about things like woodworking, textiles, or cars. When I actually get some real free time on the weekends, I can be perfectly content with a nice gin and tonic listening to the latest music or throwing back some classics and scrolling through some spicy memes.
Who’s your biggest creative inspiration?
That is hard—I don’t think I can pick just one. I know I have my own aesthetic approach to design, but I like to draw inspiration from some of the greats, such as David Carson and Michael Bierut. Recently, I gather a lot of inspiration from contemporary artists, like Shepard Fairey and musicians like Kanye West, Drake, and A$AP Mob.
Top five movies of all time?
- Grave Encounters – one of my all-time horror favourites, filmed right here in B.C.
- The Evil Dead – the original of course, with Bruce Campbell.
- The Lion King – my childhood favourite.
- The Lord Of The Rings trilogy – I was a huge fan when it came out back in the day.
Home Alone – the best Christmas classic.
Where would you travel if you could go anywhere in the world right now?
New York. I’m definitely a city person. The design icons, street culture, clothing, and music legends that come from the city, and the great sights, are all things I really want to experience.
“I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares, as opposed to ugly things. That’s my intent.” – Saul Bass
This interview has been edited and condensed.