Interview with Julian Burford

Written by Gert Jan in Interviews

This week I had a great interview with a very talented young designer from the Netherlands.  It was not only fun but also inspiring to have a conversation with this all-rounder. His name……..Julian Burford.

I hope you enjoy the interview just as much as I had in making it. :D



Welcome to Iconpaper Julian. Would you please introduce yourself to our Iconpaper followers?

I am Julian Burford. Fulltime illustrator and designer and part-time entertainment freak, gamer and techno music lover.


Where did you learn your skills? Where do your creative instincts come from?

My skills really have grown the most at MediaMonks. We have a great design team and you learn a lot from each other. And! Drawing everyday! Not just at work but in your free time for fun. And the creative instinct is really a thing of our family. We have designers, photographers and writers in our family.



Can you give us an insight into a typical day in the life of Julian Burford?

Haha, well, let’s see, a typical workday would be….Wake up > Check Facebook to help me wake up > shit, shower and shave > nice bowl of Cruisli > train to work > check Dribbble > work while listening to music > go home > eat > and from there on it’s gaming, internet, movies and music.


Although Iconpaper is a website dedicated to Mac, iPhone and iPad customization, I really wanna know the answer to my next question from you as a designer. Are you a Mac or a PC and of course why?

Mac! Good design on the hardware and software side. Easy to understand and to use OS. And foremost you don’t need to install a thousand spam filters, pop-up blockers and antivirus programs that slows everything down.



What design tools do you use and can you explain your choice? Which tools would you suggest to fellow designers?

I mainly work in Illustrator and Photoshop. Sometimes I use Pixelmator because it has some nice filters and features that Photoshop doesn’t have.

I am really lucky to have a Cintiq 21WX at work. But at home I work with a Intuos 4.


Where do you get your inspiration from or go for inspiration? And how do you deal with creative blocks?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the internet of course. I check Dribbble a lot and at work we share everything inspirational we find. One of my big inspirations as a kid was John Kricfalusi, the illustrator and brains behind The Ren & Stimpy show. Music is also a big inspiration. When I need some help I listen to classical music. It really helps.



What are your favorite online design resources?

Dribbble, Defringe, Behance and sometimes I check out the WFA’s. But other than that no so much.


What’s your typical design process when designing an icon or icon set? And what makes a good icon or icon set in your opinion?

The design progress is different every time. Sometimes I need to draw some sketches first and other times I begin working in Illustrator right away. But I always make the shape first. Don’t bother with coloring, shading and gradients from the beginning, save that for last. Hard to say what makes a good icon. I personally like the shiny crispy ones. Use high contrast, strong colors and a lot of gradients and highlights.


How long do you spend on average creating an icon? What are the factors that contribute to how long you spend creating an icon or icon set?

It differs but I would say an average of 4 hours. Plus 2 hours when I need to make sketches and come up with ideas first.



What other things do you do besides designing icons?

Everything design and illustration really.  Logo’s, character design, pin ups, web design. And right now I am fooling around with typography. I always want to learn new things and work on something different. I get bored easily otherwise.


Most designers have unusual quirks. For instance I find the best collaborator is myself and often talk to myself to brainstorm ideas and solutions. What are your quirks?

I have this strange habit of zooming in and out constantly in Illustrator or Photoshop. It’s cmd + and cmd – at least 3 times a minute, haha.


Quick Fire Five:

Forrst or Dribbble? Dribbble

Comic Sans, Love it or hate it? Hate it

Hand drawn or Digital? Hand drawn

Facebook or Twitter? Facebook

Design for Life or Design for Pleasure? Pleasure!



I follow you for quite some time now and like/love your work a lot. What do you think is your best work (so far) and why?

My personal favorite illustration is The After Party. Not necessary in terms of quality but more in terms of content, haha.


What are your plans for the near future and where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

I am not really a planner. I am more a wait and see kind of guy. But I would like to think I would become a successful freelance illustrator.



Can you tell us who your favorite designer is and please tell us what’s so special about him/her?

I would say Matthew Lyons. His work has so much ambience and atmosphere. It’s a really unique style and sometimes his illustrations just blow my mind.


Please tell us what’s the last song you’ve listened to, the last movie you’ve watched and last videogame you’ve played or we should listen, watch or play and do you have any good tips for us?

Last song or I have to say track I have played is “Jochem Paap – Wood and Organics dept. – Original mix” a nice techno track. And you should listen to “Homework – Whipped Cream” and “Noir & Haze – Around Solomun Vox remix” two of my favorite tracks this year. Last movie I saw is “Just go with it“.  I really liked it, it’s extremely funny! A game I am playing now is “Deus Ex – human revolution” and the last game I have finished is LA Noire. What really was a fantastic and unique gaming experience.



Do you have experience with commercial projects and if so can you tell us something about your experience with these kind of projects?

Actually most of my work is for commercial use. All experiences are different but most of the time I have nothing to complain and work with nice clients. And sure, there has been a client from hell to.


Thanks again for providing Iconpaper with the opportunity to interview you. Can you at last share some pearls of wisdom for up and coming designers in the field.

Design and illustrate  for your pleasure in your free time. Not just for work.

Thanks for having me. I really enjoyed this.



A big thank you to Julian for taking his time out in making this interview possible. On Dribbble you can find more work of Julian. And of course don’t forget to visit his website.

1 comment

  1. ILIKECHEESE says:

    i hate this

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