It’s taken a whole week for me to get this online because I’m clueless but’s done! very happy, seems to work on all browsers, please tell me if you spot any errors
I went to the Manchester Design Symposium on Wednesday at the beautiful Manchester Town Hall. The symposium explored the relationship with design and the economy and brought up the question of whether the UK’s place at the top table of world design is under threat as emerging economies invest more in their ‘knowledge economy’ and whether design and innovation has the potential to power the UK out of a recession.
There were some incredibly inspirational speakers at this years design symposium including 28 year old Will Hudson, the founder of It’s Nice That and the brilliant Adrian Shaughnessy, author of How to be a Graphic Designer Without Loosing Your Soul. The person who inspired me the most was Morag Myercough, she has been a designer for the past 20 years but only in the last 10 years she has been doing exactly what she believes in.
Her main passion seems to be boosting community spirit and making people feel good within a space. This signage in the image above was for a youth-led venue called Platform in her local community a few streets from where she was brought up. The quote was written by children who go to the community centre. Her designs are quite eccentric and off the wall but well executed and considered within a space. She does a lot of work for schools, such as bold signage and uplifting wall designs for children’s hospitals.
Westminster Academy school
Dagenham School world map
Hand-stencilled stools for the new Royal London Children’s hospital
She doesn’t care about making profit, she makes the most of the budget she gets for projects especially with her passion for making things. Whenever she has a hands on project she aims to do all of the work herself, whether its painting stool tops or constructing huge structures out of blocks of wood. One of her most exciting projects was asked to convert a train into a cafe, the Deptford project which brought life into a community which needed a creative output.
Her main message was to stay true to who you are, however I believe that she must have been doing work she didn’t want to be doing to get her career started. She mentioned that she never wants to design a logo ever again, which gives me the impression that she used to do quite commercial work.
I think its very hard for a designer to do exactly what they believe in but as long as you are aware of your ethical responsibility and your own morals and be proactive in trying to change something you don’t believe in, it will pay off in the long run. Morag’s talk has inspired me to make more hand crafted work and to work in collaborations, which considering I live with 4 other graphic designers it’s pretty ridiculous none of us have ever collaborated before.
On Wednesday 29th Feb I went to the Typo Event-Reseach and Practice talk organised by Tim at media city. The talk covered the following questions:
How important is research in practice?
Do designers still use sketchbooks?
Is there enough time to work on projects that are not profit driven?
The main speakers at the event were Nick Hard and Jeff Knowles for Planning Unit, they are also ex student from Salford. They took us through the background of their company, before Planning Unit they were at Research Studios. Their style was informal and down to earth and a good mix of humour and were really interesting to listen to. They talked through what projects they had worked on and were very honest about the amount of work put into each, such as for their Somerset House brief, the client needed to see the design literally so they put the logo on a huge flag and photographed it around Somerset house because they wanted to capture the beauty of the architecture, and admitted they weren’t very successful but the client loved it and still use the images today.
They have also worked on book layouts such as; “Eye” the story behind the London Eye, planning to construction and the life of the eye so far. They also designed the Global Visual Language of the BBC website which they worked on full time for a year, deciding on fonts, grid systems and colours. Another interesting client was Bonfire Snowboarding Company where they expanded their knowledge even further by designing fabric patterns and snow boots designs.
Research Studios designed the custom typeface “New Deal” for the title cards for Public Enemies.
Jeff and Nick them teamed up to follow their dream of launching a leading creative design studio in 2011. The name Planning Unit came from Nick’s Grandfather who ran a design studio of the same name.
The first project they took on as a studio was for Knoll Furniture because this is the company Nick’s grandfather found success working alongside.
They brought back their classic style and repackaged them, they gave them a simple recognisable language, which made it much more beautiful.
A client which they went into quite a lot of depth about was Salomon wanted a new logo which could be used across all of their product range. The amount of work they showed was astounding, research into the company, worked out what was going wrong with the original S, looked at hundreds and hundreds of different S’s, seeing if they look like an 8 when its small, sans serif or serif. All in all the project took 6 months and won’t be released until 2013.
Their advice for students was
- show enthusiasm and passion for the project, which is what got them a lot of projects over other designers
- understand who you are working with
- research the company, what will bring the company forward
- contextualise what you do
- learn by doing
The inspirations they listed were very broad, but every designer should be inspired by a wealth of areas.