January 18-27, 2019

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Q&A with Prairie Koo

Eat design. Breathe design. Sleep design. This is a day in the life of Prairie Koo.

Prairie was born in Toronto and raised in Hong Kong, so it’s no surprise that speed and efficiency drive his work ethic.

When he’s not providing art direction to one of Toronto’s top design magazines, you can find Prairie providing branding consultation, creating furniture and dabbling in graphic design in his spare time. Prairie is constantly searching for the next project, the next opportunity to make a difference, and the next “holy shit” moment in his career.

Prairie is the latest designer to takeover our Instagram account as part of Prairie’s Inside the Designer’s Studio project. Follow @todesignoffsite from Dec. 18 – 20 to get a closer look at the work of the young, energetic designer.

We recently caught up with Prairie to talk about his inspirations, creative process and how he got into tattooing (Yes, he’s that cool). Read the interview below.

TO DO: What first drew you to design?

Prairie: Design is all around us and there’s really no escape from it. Since I was young, I always loved to build and create things. When I was old enough to learn about the concept of design, I dove right into it. I studied art and design at a young age, and that’s really what got me to where I am now.

TO DO: You started with graphic design but have since branched off into furniture design and art. What was that transition like?

Prairie: There wasn’t really a transition for me at all. I like to believe that design is one, and as a designer we need to know about all of the different design practices. I branched off towards art and furniture mainly because I was tired of working on a computer, and I love working with my hands!

TO DO: You have a vast portfolio. Do you have a different creative process or way of approaching say graphic design vs. furniture design?

Prairie: It’s essentially the same no matter what the project. It starts with a vision, continues with research and then conceptualization. If it doesn’t work, I scrap it and start from scratch.

TO DO: We checked out your Instagram before this chat, and noticed you also draw tattoos! How did you get into that?

Prairie: The funny thing is, I don’t just draw them. I also do the tattooing! I realized after getting my first tattoo at 15 that I loved the culture, specifically the Japanese tattoo culture. My inspirations for all my work come from nature, so my tattoos typically include flowers, mandalas, etc.

TO DO: You were born in Toronto and raised in Hong Kong. How have these cities shaped you as a designer?

Prairie: In Hong Kong, everything is very fast-paced and efficient, but in Toronto it’s quite different. So, since moving back to Canada, I’ve found a balance. Hong Kong has been very influential in my life. It allowed me to see the other side of the world, so when I design I’m not just thinking about people from Toronto but viewers from around the world and they would interact with my creations.

TO DO: What else inspires your work? What keeps you motivated?

Prairie: I honestly try not to look at too many designers out there, so they won’t influence me too much. I’m personally influenced by my upbringing and the Japanese culture. With regards to what keeps me motivated – it’s everything. With every project there are different components, events and people I meet that keep me motivated throughout the process.

Catch Prairie’s TO DO Instagram takeover from Dec. 18 – 20, when he’ll give our followers an insider look into this life, creative process and current projects. Follow @todesignoffsite and #TODOigtakeover.

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