We had the good fortune of connecting with Phil Bichsel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Phil, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
To me, it all comes down to whatever your passion in life is. I played a lot of sports growing up and always looked up to famous athletes. At some point, I had to make the choice between pursuing sports or going to college to further my education. Motion Graphics and especially Sports Motion Graphics helped me to stay close to my favorite sports. I consume a lot of sports content, trying to stay as informed as possible and understanding what every network is up to, graphics wise. Designing for something you’re passionate about makes things a lot easier. It is also what gets me out of bed in the morning. Sports is the last remaining piece of content people actually watch Live, so knowing that millions are tuning into a broadcast you helped shape thru some of your work is really exciting. Seeing what some of my friends create on a daily basis is also very inspiring and it keeps pushing myself to new heights.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Yeah, it’s the old cliché I suppose, but hard work did pay off in my case. I started obsessing about motion graphics back at Savannah College of Art and Design and just wanted to get better at it every single day. I was fortunate to meet some great colleagues back then and we started to work on side projects, which ultimately got submitted to various contests. It taught us how to work as a collective towards a firm deadline. Having a sense of competition was huge and it drove us to come up with a lot of creative ideas and techniques. As time went on, I found a lot more value in the relationships I was able to build over the years, both with other design studios, as well as, the client side. Your network is everything. It is important to keep people in the loop of what you’re up to, what projects you have worked on and how you stay relevant to the industry, For me, it’s a constant learning process, ranging from current design trends to new software and hardware. Things keep progressing and it is vital that you are willing to adapt to that. I pride myself in putting out the best design for the sports industry, no matter who the client may be. I feel very fortunate for being in this position and for others to seek for my knowledge. It is years of hard work, passion and overcoming a lot of creative hurdles to finally realize a solution everyone is happy with.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Living in Los Angeles, we are quite spoiled with entertainment options. I’m a huge fan of some local breweries here, like Boomtown in DTLA. It’s a great hangout space with a large outdoor patio and they play every Laker and Dodger game via projector. They are in close proximity to Little Tokyo, which has a ton of great food/bar options. There is a Barcade I frequent called EightyTwo. It’s a lot of fun to step back in time and play some iconic arcade games from my childhood. I also enjoy getting away from all the noise of the city and usually escape to the Palm Springs area to hang out by the pool and play some Golf. Definitely my happy place.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Yeah, the list is quite extensive, but there have definitely been a bunch of key figures and companies that helped me progress in a big way. Big Star, a boutique design shop in New York City led by Josh Norton, gave me the initial chance at a design gig after graduating college. They also helped me by sponsoring my H1B visa at the time, which was huge. From that point on, I was able to meet a lot of talented artists/producers, both staff and freelance, which ultimately helped to build a network. A few years later, Troika, a design agency located in Hollywood, reached out to me and ended up helping me move to the west coast. I was fortunate enough to help contribute to their in-house Sports division, led by Creative Director Gil Haslam. They taught me a ton about the Sports world and I was able to work on some high caliber projects. I then moved on to take a Design Director position at Big Block, which at the time started a new design branch within their company, led by Curtis Doss and Shaun Collings. Spent an amazing five years there, working on a range of great projects, such as Monday Night Football on ESPN, NBA Finals, Copa Mundial on Telemundo and many more. On a more personal level, I have had great support from my family, who all live back home in Switzerland. They have been there every step of the way.
These are all images of my home studio, depicting my work setup, some of my awards, sports collectibles and my putting green.