We continue to try to showcase our awesome team of creative thinkers here at 729Solutions. This time we chat with designer Bob Tait about his band Bag of Toys, good beer, and living in Wilmington, NC.
Tell us more!
Can you start with a brief intro about yourself?
Hey! I’m Robert Tait. I’ve been a graphic designer since graduating from Northern Illinois University in ‘95. I landed a job at an up and coming design firm (The Bond Group) in Downtown Chicago after school and stayed there until I was frozen stiff. I thought a thaw out was needed, so I looked west and landed in the Bay Area at another digital design firm called Birdsall Interactive. I spent an exhilarating 12+ years there and eventually moved from San Francisco back across the country to Wilmington, NC, where I reside to this day mostly designing remotely.
What do you do here at 729 Solutions?
I’m a Graphic/Web/UI/UX/Digital & Print Designer who spends most of my time taking client’s rough ideas and distilling them down to their essence to best accomplish their goals while staying on brand.
What do you like about working with 729?
Working with 729 is unique and rewarding in many ways. One thing that makes it exceptional is the fact that almost all of the employees work offsite and are scattered throughout the world. They’re not hung up on office politics because there is no office. The people that work here are the best at what they do and get the job done extremely well. Using the messaging system Slack allows us to all be in close contact as if we were all in the same office.
What do you like about working in design?
What’s not to love about working in design?? You get to be creative and problem solve all the time. It’s hard to beat this as an occupation…if you’re into that sort of thing.
How do you feel working in design has changed over the years?
I watched the birth of the web and was at the forefront of the introduction of most of the popular Adobe products (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc…), so I was able to grow with them. The technology and trends change pretty quickly, but design principles remain the same. Good design from 100 years ago is still a good design. You used to be able to make a website that looked great on your standard office/home PC. Now it needs to look great on phones, tablets, PCs…pretty much anywhere. Print is still hanging on, but I’d say two-thirds of my work is digital.
Tell me about your band Bag of Toys.
Bag of Toys is a band we cooked up around 2005 in San Francisco. We like to jokingly say we kind of sound like Jack Johnson on crack (or G. Love + Jack Johnson, with a little bit of Sublime). My role in Bag of Toys is typically songwriter, singer, rhythm guitarist, and I usually handle the recording, mixing, mastering, as well as artwork. We’ve had a couple of albums mixed and mastered, but we’ve done most of the newer ones ourselves. We’ve released 5 albums since 2005 and did some minor touring. We’ve played with a bunch of bands still touring now (O.A.R. invited us out to play a couple of shows with them in Florida), but most of us had “day jobs” we really liked. Living on the road can be fun for brief moments, but it can also be a massive grind. We had to make the decision to take it seriously and quit our “day jobs” and tour properly or keep the band more of a fun side-project. As you may have guessed, we kept it a side project. We haven’t played live in some time now since the lead guitar player needed to move back to the Bay Area for family reasons. We still write and release music, but I do miss playing live.
Seems like surfing is a popular pastime here at 729 Solutions, are you able to get a lot of surfing in where you are at?
I moved from San Francisco, where the surf was large, cold, and often blown out. I moved to Wilmington, NC, where the surf is usually small, warm, and often hardly breaking. Like most things in life, it’s a bit of a trade-off. The water can often get into the low 80s, but the surf is often small unless we get a good hurricane. I surf when I can and try to get to the beach at least once a week, but I don’t bother bringing my board if it’s not doing much.
Do you have a favorite surf spot?
I’m lucky to live in downtown Wilmington, which is only a 15-minute drive to Wrightsville Beach. This is usually where I end up going because it’s the closest, but it also tends to handle swell better than other local beaches.
In your 729 Solutions About You page blurb, you said you like beer. Is that just because you also enjoy hot weather or do you like to try the fancy beer? Do you have any favorites you can recommend?
I do enjoy good beer. The craft beer movement is great for trying lots of good beers. Wilmington has recently blown up with a plethora of great breweries. There are at least 18 in the immediate area; 7 of which I can walk to from my house. I think, by far, my favorite is New Anthem.
Do you like to cook? What is your favorite thing to make?
I’m a very average cook. My wife whoops my butt, so I barely bother these days. It would just be mean if I decided to cook something for her.
What is your favorite thing to eat out? Or any unique local food favs in your city? I am just, like, always looking for recommendations in everyone’s city!
I live in downtown Wilmington so I’m within walking distance to 90 or so food options. That said, I usually end up in only a handful of places that have the right blend of ambiance and food. There are some really solid high-end options all the way down to just grabbing a hot dog, so it really depends on your mood and how much money you want to blow.
I don’t think Wilmington is known for a specific food, but there are a handful of seafood restaurants that seem to be hot tourist spots.
Any other hobbies or pastimes you want to share with the world?
Writing and recording take up a fair amount of time, especially with a full-time job, a wife, and a 7-year-old daughter. If I ever get more time, I’d like to get back into oil painting. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I dig it.
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