David Hahn Q&A

September 1, 2021
David Hahn is an associate creative director at Fast Horse.

“I originally started out in design perhaps because of the inspiration that physically surrounded me. After getting my feet wet though, I realized that I wanted to impact more than the visuals.”

What got you interested in design as a career?

I was getting questioned, as all high schoolers do, what they were going to do when they grow up. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Not to follow a stereotype but my [Asian] mother’s expectations were lofty and included medical or legal designations before/after my name. I was interested in art, and had been doing taking classes since I was young. My HS art teacher actually encouraged me to look at graphic design as a profession (my mom was pissed). I looked into it —  loved it — and never looked back.

You’ve worked in both creative director and designer roles in your award-winning career. When did you figure out you could do and wanted to do both?

I was born and raised in Wichita, which has an abnormally large amount of identity design bad asses. So, I originally started out in design perhaps because of the inspiration that physically surrounded me. After getting my feet wet though, I realized that I wanted to impact more than the visuals; I wanted ownership of the idea as well (the genesis not just the execution). So I realigned my goals to shift from strictly design to art direction as well. That pursuit bounced us around the country as a result, but I’ve learned a lot and gave me opportunities to learn from some really smart peeps and create some amazing work. I value both equally; it was never on the table for me to lose one for the other, so I apply both constantly.

What is your definition of great design?

That’s a deep question. Unfortunately, this is probably a semi-shallow answer: To me, great design is something that can move a person. I’m a firm believer that design is an exercise in influence. If the work can stop someone from their routine, change their POV, or open them up to something that was deemed inapplicable before — those are identifiers that you’ve done it well. To affect any of those areas is hard — especially if we’re talking strictly design — crafting something to aesthetically push a notion to that degree… it has to be great.

What is your home computer set-up?

It’s an old wooden librarian desk in an unfinished basement. With the pandemic and all the WFH/Virtual learning that’s gone on for the last couple years, it’s the only room in the house that no one in the family wants to be in. So it’s dark, and dingy, but it’s all mine. And of course, I’ve got a large monitor for getting my work large and in my face- can’t push those pixels on a laptop screen.

What websites do you turn to for visual inspiration?

It changes constantly. But Designspiration has been a go-to for a while. And IG in an indirect way. My feed is filled with artists and ads- I rarely post, I just scroll and observe.

You’re a Wichita State alum. Does the name Xavier McDaniel mean anything to you?

I feel like you just googled Wichita State for anyone of celeb status. The X-man is a good one for WSU. But, if we’re talking college hoops: I was raised a KU fan, so we should maybe shift that way if we want to talk about ballers. Rock Chalk.