Week 1

introduction & practitioner case studies

Lecture material:

Intro Design

Intro Design offer a different perspective of studio collaborations – they have their own clients and projects, and even stated that sometimes they won’t know what the other is doing for weeks. This is interesting to me – that a creative partnership is run by two people but they are independent designers. I suppose this is because of their different skills and therefore having varied clients, but it’s still a surprise that they have chosen to work in this way rather than as a team. I wonder why they have decided to call the company one name when they are singular designers – surely if they are individuals in their approach to working then they should be known by their names?

There were interesting topics that were discussed – including the unpopular opinion that “design cannot be learned”. I agree with this statement, but I know some of my peers did not (ideas wall discussion!). I believe being a designer is a multitude of skills. It’s being creative, but being good under pressure, adaptable, subject to change, being able to organise, prioritise and constantly evolve with society. You have to naturally have the qualities to be able to succeed. I do agree that you can learn a particular set of skills, but the overall combination to make a designer is a much more complex process. I find it refreshing that Intro have mentioned this – it bothers me that to some people, the creative industry is undermined and viewed as something “anybody can learn”. There is so much more involved than downloading Adobe apps and arranging text and images.

Sarah Boris

Sarah’s lecture was intriguing as she mentions being inspired by “people, and the streets” and I think it’s important to have knowledge of cultures and society when designing – you have to have the viewer in mind and you need to connect to a certain audience. Sarah’s work is quite heavily typography based in various formats which is inspiring for me, as someone who would like to learn how to be better at hierarchy and using typographic elements in design. I can take layout inspiration from her work, particularly the crafting element of laser cutting (above) as the contrasts look so effective!

Regular Practise:

Seeing Tom Finn and Kristoffer Soelling explain how their work is different from other design studios/businesses was an insight to how effective teamwork can be, and was quite the opposite to Intro Designs perspective. When asked “how have you responded to change within your practice?” Tom said “if your practice isn’t changing on a regular basis, things start to get boring quite quickly” which I enjoyed hearing – one of the main elements I love from studying (and look forward to by being in the design industry) is that there is always something new to learn, and something different to be made. There are thousands of outcomes for a project and there are so many experiments to be had. Tom even said himself he learns something new on every project, and I think it’s important to keep learning and asking questions.

Sam Winston:

Sam explained how he had dyslexia and by working through his struggles, became fascinated with type and writing. His work is definitely visually interesting to look at – there is so much detail. Simon said that “design is just asking questions and playing until it clicks in place” which I found to be an interesting approach – everyone has their own approach to working.
I’m incredibly inspired by the final presentation on a few of Sam’s projects – I find with today’s age of everything going digital, books are a novelty. It’s great to see a designer still making books in art form, and even the lithography processes behind his work are traditional.

Simon Manchipp:

I enjoyed this interview the most.
It was clear to me relatively quickly that Simon was part of a fresh faced, modern graphic design business as he spoke about his background working in advertising, then combining advertising with design. After looking at his website with work examples, I was not surprised that the projects are very modern – moving image, digital based branding and website design.
I really enjoyed listening to Simon, particularly as was able to touch on a topic that I personally have found myself stuck with, on many projects. He said:

“There seems to be a bit of a fight going on at the moment, and so a graphic designer is seen as a bit of an architect, and the digital designers are seen much more from an engineering point of view. What we need is a harmonious team approach, but instead the engineers have the data and the architect have got the dreams. If you’re data lead, you end up with a very same-y approach, because the data from one organisation is often very similar to another. So that’s why you’ll see websites that look exactly the same as it’s seen as best practise. That’s, I think, doing design at the moment a disservice. Provide enough dreams to get people interested and inspired, but enough data that people can navigate swiftly and efficiently.”

I really admire that Simon has spoken about this in great detail, using good examples of websites – particularly the architect example about a building standing up but it wouldn’t look that exciting. I myself have found to be stuck when approaching briefs as I increasingly find digital design, marketing, and graphic design are overlapping in the modern world. It’s actually reassuring to hear a successful designer have confidence that designers ARE still needed as they have an individual approach that businesses need!


The first webinar with Susanna and Sarah.
First module – looking at contemporary practice and looking at where I sit within that.
When looking at resources, look at things that jump out at you – don’t need to comment on every single thing. Extract and comment. Post thoughts, notes, development work on ideas wall, as it’s great to get feedback.

Work doesn’t have to be digital, I need to start using a sketchbook and scanning in – physically make things and just upload pictures.

Constantly ask questions.


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