Nice Kicks: What was the inspiration behind using Michael Jordan typeface?
Ziare Smith: Some people may find this weird. As a designer, most people would think that I look up to another designer, but I don?t. I actually look up to MJ. Not because he?s an awesome basketball player. Not because he was good at what he did. It is because of who he was. Michael Jordan was the type that improved on all his weak points and turned them into strong points. His work ethic, dedication, determination, push, and drive always made me say wow! So as a designer, what can I take away from that? A lot of things. Jordan was an all-around player, and I?m not the type of guy to specialize in one area of my craft. I never wanted to be that guy. I always felt if I got to a point where I?m good at this (particular thing), I?m moving on to another aspect of designing. If you ever checked out my portfolio, you will see that it is well rounded. I have everything from video graphics, motion, to 3-D. Basically, I try to mold my designing career after MJ?s.
Nice Kicks: To that point, I was able to look at your portfolio and noticed Nike commercials you created. What prompted those?
Ziare Smith: I?m a Nike fiend. I was trying out a new format with stop motion. Anybody who has followed my work and has seen the type of designs I do knows I try to create things that I relate to, and things that I like. Half of my portfolio are things like basketball, shoes, and things that I?m very interested in. So, when I had to do a project for class, Nike was the perfect thing.
Nice Kicks: Were the shoes from your actual collection?
Ziare Smith: Yes. They were all my shoes. I love Nikes!
Nice Kicks: Being a designer, and a Nike guy, would you have aspirations of possibly designing a shoe in the future?
Ziare Smith: Yes! Believe it or not, every project I do, I always try to reach somebody. When I did that Nike commercial, I didn?t take it just as me doing a class project. I took as if I was working for Nike; like they paid me and I?m doing this for them. That?s how I take all my projects. I work so hard to polish all my projects to make it look like something Nike would do or Gatorade would do. I work on all my branded projects like I?m working for the company itself.