An Interview with an Industrial Designer

Oct 31

An Interview with an Industrial Designer

Industrial designer JD Orr, is not only an  incredibly talented and successful designer but he also happens to be the man behind the amazing new art featured on the Prismacolor Art Marker packaging! This awesomely energetic individual will inspire you to bust down the door of creativity and then start looking for another one!

A car and Prismacolor enthusiast, we jumped at the chance to chat with him about what revs his creativity engine and how he turned his passion into a very cool career.

Want to learn more? Well, you just need to click right here!

What inspires you as an artist and what do you feel the is “true meaning” of art?

JD Orr

  1. The inspiration come from the “undeniable truth” that we have been given a powerful gift… powerful in a sense that it must be directed to inspire others to aspire to thinking that is“always beyond” our reach. If we can touch it, wonderful; if we can’t, magical!!! Why is it magical? Simply due to the fact that it opens up the corridors of creativity: newness, discovery, innovation–and last but never least–provides us with a stable sense of “identity” supported by the spirit of adventure and purpose.
  2. Art’s “true meaning” is this–

Never fall in love with your work: it leads to a quick divorce!!!

How did you get started working as an artist? How do you get the creative juices flowing?

  1. My career path in Industrial Design began when I was working a summer job to support my education. I had a habit of taking a sketch book to work– and during the lunch hour I would draw like mad: anything and everything. By chance once of the crew members came over to me, looked at my sketches, and said that he was going to introduce me to his brother who was a member of Ford Motor Companies design staff. He arranged the meeting, I took all of my sketches along, and had a great one hour meeting with him, and the rest of the story is history– one that I am eternally grateful for. It absolutely dramatically altered the course of my life!!! One of my goals in life was to become an automobile designer, and had it not been for that crew member’s intervention and curiosity that lasted five minutes, who knows what might have been? Rather than “this is it!!!”
  2. Based on the account discussed previously, it is without question this: Gratitude. I’m grateful that someone took the time to care, and throughout my career I have never forgotten my mission to speak clearly and LOUDLY this simple platitude: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If you could have your dream car, what would you choose to zip around in?

  1. Without hesitation, nor reservation: A Ferarri Dino 246 F!!! It is the absolute assemblage of all things beautiful and elegant within the realm of transportation design. It’s a history maker and often referred to as the “Maranello Miracle” by global enthusiasts. The Dino is timeless, classic, elegant, tailored, and above all else, “the pinnacle of all that is purposeful!!!” I’m striving to become a member of the “Owner’s Club.” Time will tell.

What’s your favorite “effect” you create in your work?

  1. Sincerely, I do not have a chosen favorite “effect” while working on projects. I much prefer to keep matters open to “Flexibility” and “Adaptability.” This approach maintains my curiosity and enthusiasm while working on projects no matter the scale, be it mighty or meager.
  2. If I had to choose one system that intrigues me, it would be the “pastel wash” methodology. It takes on the character of “airbrush” without being “airbrush.” It’s greatest personality trait, when done well, is that it is forgiving and permits us to move in and out of the process without “guilt.” Another way of stating it would be this: the process embodies the complete necessity to “build” reality and confidence in our work. Thus, it forgives us and directs us toward a more fulfilling series of results within creativity!!!

What Prismacolor products do you use and do you have any tricks for that particular medium?

  1. JD's design on our packaging for the Double Ended Art Markers!

    1. I enjoy working with many or all of your products, e.g. marker, pastel, colored pencil, Sharpie markers (Sharpie is a sister brand of ours!), etc. Each product has a unique personality and function. For example, markers are terrific for rapid sketch concept studies as well as finished presentation illustrations. Pastels compliment one and all as a “soft integrator” or process “bridge.” Pencils are quick, smooth, elegant, and inspiring!!! Sharpie markers crank out the clout of “high contrast” design studies. They teach us the valuable lesson of “being committed.” For if we are not committed, it will definitely show or expose us from “conviction’s perspective!!!”

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

  1. I would not hesitate to “cover the check” for a big steak dinner with the one and only Michelangelo Buonarroti!!! What a force, what a power, what a legacy! And where to begin?! When you know that there is no end to the discussions that would take place. We cannot categorize the magnitude of the form of talent he possessed other than to say that it was “divine.” There aren’t enough pages to highlight what this one individual did for so many. So many live on as a result of his tenacity to never look at things from a typical perspective. He certainly is deserving of the truth found in the statement, “things are not as they appear,” and that “sight is a faculty, but genuinely seeing is an art form!”

Favorite Prismacolor product, why?

  1. Standing ovations to your equivalent of a Ferarri or a Roles Royce Silver Ghost! That equivalent is the Prismacolor Colored Pencil!!! They are beyond description when attempting to convey what they do. They have been my greatest companion throughout my career and will continue to be so for as long as I remain in the business. They are functional, expressive, melodic, bold, subtle, sincere, pure, and above all else, mysterious! Well, I gave my best effort in attempting to describe them, and I certainly came up short. Perhaps best to encourage you to maintain your excellence with them; for without them in the market place, it would be next to impossible to excel!
  2. Lastly, may I become your “global spokesperson?” Not that you need one — it would just be great fun to own that title!!!

Finish this sentence: “I am…”

  1. I am completely invested in what I believe to be the secret of creativity: whether you are working with people, working on projects, or just plain working to become better– not bitter! As for me and my house, that secret is simply this: “I am thoroughly persuaded that if we are too big to do the little things, then we are too little to do the big things!!!”

Check out JD’s website and be sure to be on the lookout for his work on our new packaging!


  1. What type of drawing markers and paper do you recommend for creating packaging design mock-ups?

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