In her brilliant and wide-ranging article about systems thinking in the 2010 CA design annual, DK Holland writes: “In reality, effective graphic design is both a craft and a discipline requiring concentrated strategic thinking.” She describes it as both an artistic commodity and intellectual pursuit. Professional discourse over the years has oscillated between these two poles. From my perch in the marketing department at Mohawk I’ve seen this play out in designers’ approach to materials—alternately celebrating and dismissing physical substrates like paper.
The established designers of today will eventually give way to fresh talent. What are the thoughts these young designers have about graphic design and the challenges and changes we face? Will they reshape the way design is approached and valued? In what I hope will be a series of interviews, the students of Advanced Logo Design at the Chicago Portfolio School answer a series of questions provided by followers of the Processed Identity Twitter stream.
I am an independent Designer, Art Director & p/t University Lecturer at University College Falmouth.
Dott Cornwall is part of a program of events developed by the Design Council, driving design-led solutions to economic and social challenges throughout the UK. The Design Council, Cornwall Council, University College Falmouth and Technology Strategy Board have partnered to deliver the Dott programme throughout Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly during 2010 & 2011.
SEA Communications, an emerging social design agency where charged with delivering DOTT’s final showcase project, a community design challenge. I was invited to come on board to provide some creative direction and to develop the identity.
My first task was to present an overview of the Design Challenge objectives & strategy. What were the areas of debate, themes and insights? This initial overview became the working brief for the identity.
I’m not entirely sure that I do.
I’d challenge the reliance of objectivity within the design process. Design must serve a purpose but I believe it must also mean something to the designer.
As designers we use process models to simplify and to refine what we do, but if we accurately map how we work, our actions rarely match the model. The design process is not an absolute; as it has to remain flexible to the user. My own design process informs my work, and in turn my work informs my design process. Without that two-way relationship we become just facilitators of the model. I think we are more than just facilitators.
One of the first tasks that I was asked to accomplish when I came on board at Nossi College of Art was to look at their brand identity change and its process, which was already underway. Nossi was in the middle of a rebranding campaign and was struggling with some decisions that would help them establish a new perspective in the market. In the past the brand had suffered from some negative growth experiences and—after 37 years it had one more chance to be new again.
Nossi is actually the name of the woman who founded the school, teaching right out of her home after immigrating from Iran. She believes everyone should have the chance to express their creativity and she became devoted to educating those wanting to explore their opportunities in art.
Today, the school has just built a 55,00 sq. ft. creative oasis in Nashville. Complete with state-of-the-art technology and environmental upgrades the facility is truly a place conducive for creativity. Offering Associate and Bachelor degrees from Graphic Design and Illustration to Photography and Videography, it is an art college to be reckoned with.
The existing mark was dated and didn’t portray the college as a serious institution.
What do you do when a client insists on deviating from your creative process? How much lattitude do you give a client in this area, and when do you push back?
I try to allow client collaboration within my process. This hopefully removes the “deviation” and they feel they are part of the process, taking ownership in the results. Most clients desire to shortcut things due to time constraints. A process can still be achieved even if it shortened—abandoning the process is never a good idea. However, setting expectations on the front end of a project is always the best solution. Agreeing on the process allows for intervention at a later point and a gentle reminder of the necessary steps to success. Developing a project using these methods removes the subjectivity within the creative process and ensures the professional environment between the client and the designer. Alas, we don’t live in a perfect world and at times we can choose to educate our clients and hope for growth, or realize an unhealthy relationship and walk away. Freedom of choice is an awesome thing.