Interview with Noise 13

by Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Interview with Dava Guthmiller, Founder + Creative Director at Noise 13.

First of all, tell us something about your upcoming work. What are you into at the moment?

Currently we are creating a new website for St. George Spirits to incorporate their fun eclectic vintage feel. We are also doing the re-branding and e-commerce site for Living Green juices; updating the branding and website for Saison restaurant;  and working with our client Beauty Company on a new line of custom scented products (body scrub, lotion, bath gel).


Would you give a brief walk through your workflow?

For any project we start with discovery and strategy to find out what the clients needs are, who is their customer, and what the goals of the project are. For websites this is a much deeper process including functionality and use flow. Next we design and refine for a final look. then we also help the client through the printing process, website development, etc and also provide user guides for future use.


How has your work evolved over the years from when you where beginning?

We have been around since Jan. 2000 so the biggest change has been in web design and development. Much more user experience comes into play, making sure the functionally meets the needs of the users. This is also true with branding, where the connection to the customer needs to be much stronger to stand out against all the competition. We do a lot of strategy and consulting than we ever did when we started.


How have you handled the business side through these “horrible years”?

We cut back when business is slow. No new hires, no extra spending etc. We have moved a few times over out 13 years to adjust to our staff size and the economy. In some of those bad years we also started taking on jobs that were not our direct target market of lifestyle B-to-C. You do what you can to keep going and stay flexible to change. Back in 2002, Dava also supplemented by teaching for a few years at the Academy of Art. When things are slower there is also more time for extra outside work.


How do you choose the next project to be involved in?

Typically we have a three step process to taking on a new project. 1) Do we like the product or service this company provides? We don’t like to work with business we would not recommend to others.  2) Are we a good fit for the client’s needs: do we have the time, and specific skill set they need. 3) Does our proposal fit with in their budget? Bonus) is the project fun?


Who’s the first designer that comes to your mind in a second? 

Eva Zeisel. I know she is not a graphic designer but still a designer. She did it all, and for a very long time. I love the shapes she created, and all the different mediums she worked in. I also completely admired her spirit and spunk.


What’s the place or what do you do when you feel you’re thinking in a bright way?

Bright? Well I’m usually not in front of the computer when that happens. Vacations and museums are great places for inspiration and bright new thinking.


Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to.

Design a cookbook. Or really any full image driven book. I’m a big book nerd and hope to have a very full library someday.


Something you want the world to know about you.

Professionally as Noise 13, that we can work with businesses outside of the Bay Area.


Something that annoys or frustrates you about people.

Oh that is a loaded question. I guess one of the biggest is inflexibility, someone who refuses to really listen to other’s thoughts, opinions or advice.


Your idea about social networks.

Social networks can be annoying and overused, but when thoughtful people are using social media to enhance their brand story and better connect with customers they can be really powerful.


What’s overrated/underrated today?

In generic terms, subtly is underrated. Overrated, I guess the mustache right now.

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