Member Spotlight: Tony Buford

This month our Member Spotlight shines on Tony Buford!

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your current job?
I’m currently working with the firm I’ve had as a side job for the last 20 years, TonyBuford Creative. Since leaving as the first-ever Art Director for Philadelphia City Council this summer, I’ve been working as a freelance designer. My main areas of interest and expertise are print design, identity & logo design, and building entire communication systems across mediums. Also training to better understand UX/UI design, re: typography, page layout, and copy editing.

What do you geek out about?
I geek out about the ability of design to underscore a culture, and represent a brand. As someone who designed software packaging for Apple while still a junior in college, I got initiated to graphic standards (now called brand or identity standards, basically the same thing) very early. I’ve built full identity programs for virtually every firm I’ve worked for over the last 15 years or so.

Why design? What inspires you to do the work you do?
I like the idea that I get to help people communicate their dreams, culture, and passions through how they choose to appear in public. Whether it’s fleets of trucks, or billboards, or even just their business cards, a designer can do for their ideas what an architect can do for their home.

Who helped get you here?
My dad first, of course. The Doc was pressured to become a doctor by my grandfather, so he made sure he wasn’t going to be “that guy”, and tell me who to be. He helped me explore, to determine what I was best at. By the time I was 15, I was using airbrushes and had painted my first custom Harley. Also critical was Alan, my high school art teacher and landscape architect, still a friend, who taught us that art was a community, not just something to do hidden away in a secluded room somewhere. It all ended up in a design life.

How long have you been an AIGA member? Why did you join?
Member for four or five years or so. Joined to be part of a community, since the Art Directors Club was a lot of fun when I was on the Board there, and was on a kind of hiatus. Plus, I saw the members were wildly different and talented.

What do you enjoy most about the Philadelphia Chapter of AIGA?
I’ve enjoyed the speakers (Deb Millman was my favorite), and being a mentor (everybody should do the mentor thing at least once). I’m hoping someday the AIGA will really help diversify this industry.

What gets you through a rough day?
The fact that there’s so much new to learn. I sit, read, study, watch tutorials, go to events from AIGA, PANMA, One Club… it never ends. And that’s great.

One last thing: I would like AIGA to consider doing what the old Mac User Groups did: bring in sponsors who donate products or services, and/or demonstrate their new technologies. I got interested in Adobe InDesign after years of being a Quark XPress user because I won a copy of InDesign 2 (!) in Doylestown at the Bucks County M.U.G. meeting, and ended up being an Alpha and Beta test designer for Adobe.

Also met the woman who hired me to teach Graphic Design at Rowan in a Philly Mac Business Users meeting when she introduced their Computer Graphic Design program to the group. Book and software reviews were also popular for a free copy of the product.

By aigaphiladelphia
Published November 6, 2018