On Design

smallergologo.jpgWhile I sit here listening to the intriguing sounds of Angus and Julia Stone, let me see if I can reproduce some of another days thoughts that missed any paper..

On Friday I had the great privilege of sitting in on a meeting at work with real life designer Jeremy Muijs I believe his business’s name is Hatch.

You read all of these books and some how by osmosis pick up these understandings around branding and what is effective, but it is really great to have someone give some concrete examples that are right there in your face and give a bit more gut to being.

Don’t get me wrong – I have a good deal of respect for books such as Lovemarks possibly because the same ‘effective branding’ concept of drawing emotions over rationality that is described in Naomi Klein’s No Logo, but I’m never going to be a hooha feeler talker. Designers seem to be an emotional bunch.

Let me explain.

As a general rule my cold cut rationality (or at least the front I present) steers from even uttering the word ‘feel’. I use the word ‘think’ even if I should use the word ‘feel’. And believe me, I do think about and take notice of this stuff.

Despite the word ‘feel’ coming up a lot, I was quite excited coming out of there and really happy to recognise that design does light the fire in my belly.

I go to a uni with a whole stack of highly talented designers (even if we are still first years) who can produce beautiful pieces, but what I would love to see is a practical conceptualisation about what actually works and how it drives business and intertwines with marketing. It truly is all linked. Perhaps this is why I loved system design so much last year?

Here comes the next problem, it appears to me – and I could be wrong – but to be in the position of actually getting where you are significantly impacting the position and culture of something through design, you need to be sitting somewhere where you are… okay, bloody good and perhaps have a few wallop names under your belt.

I know there’s the whole – ‘you’ve got to work your way up and get experience deal’ but it’s a fraction daunting and generally frustrating getting there. You’re producing work but can’t get that culture or something into it.

Prime example is the logo I’m doing for rebranding my workplace, true, I’ve never really done a logo before and sure it’s okay, but I don’t know if I fully believe in it and that disturbs me (just a confidence thing?).

Future speaking, part of me would love to be the casual ‘at home’ designer who freelances, is her own boss, works enough to enjoy it and to make enough and yet still isn’t driven by her work, but the other part would love and thrive off the culture of the sophisticated edge of the design world. Granted, they seem a little snobby sometimes (we can ignore that bit), a bit quirky (some of that is all right) and wear these funky clothes (that’d be nice by I seem to be a fraction lacking in the fashion sense arena)… Maybe I can combine the two and find a satisfactory Bec combination.

Here’s my theory, being good in the design world (besides the being good bit) requires confidence. That’s what it hangs off.

Let me stick with my ‘Art at uni’ theory. If you can talk about it, talk it up, and explain it (even if you’ve done it the night before) you’re 90% there.

Right. So confidence?

Do I have that? Sometimes. Mostly no. Sometimes I’m good at pretending. There is a definite need for my communication skills (and general personableness) to go up several notches it’s something tangible that I can define and work on.

The reality is that I’m good at design but I’m not brilliant – I don’t think I’m being modest, just truthful, so I might have to pull some more feasible strings to get there.

I think I’m okay with aiming for that medium between freelance/hot-shot. I want to be really good at what I do but I want the enjoyment of it to drive me and not hunger of getting that next big client (but damn it would be exciting) or working in the fanciest firm around.

On an even more extreme (and a little pathetic) note, part of me would love to take the safe option of returning all my design work from an email-anonymous front, but it’s not really that beneficial to character.

Design is more than producing something that serves a base level role of just being good enough, treating it as such is about as ugly as crawling the web for a generic swirly logo you can attach your name to and calling it your brand, it’s about communication and thinking way outside the box and beyond the Adobe Suite into culture and psychology and business and life and even in a funny way, theology.

You wouldn’t believe how much design makes me think about God.

Maybe that’s why I like it.


  1. said:

    I think that most of us are mediocrer rather than hot-shots, and those of us who are regarded as “hot shots” usually had a lot of help and luck along the way. This raises one of the problems I have with our individualised, celebrity/hero-obsessed culture…it ignores all the lucky breaks and coincidences, the significance of team work, etc etc. But that’s getting off-topic. 🙂

    DO you have to have lots of experience etc to have an impact? What about culture-jamming?

    It’s great that your connecting “work” with “faith” – too many of us fail to do it, especially at your age (and I don’t mean that in a patronising way – it’s just a fact that too few 40 year olds are thinking about it, let alone 21 year olds!!) One of my struggles is finding a balance between getting sucked into the materialistic, consumer culture that surrounds us; and getting sucked into a self-deprivation that forgets that God and God’s expression of love for us can be found everywhere, including in the fashion industry, furniture stores, etc etc. My husband and I aren’t visually creative people ourselves, but we both drool over a beautifully-cut suit; or the line of a beautiful chest of draws…

    September 17, 2007
  2. said:

    *Hatch link is now in the post above.

    Thanks for the comment Bec 🙂

    September 18, 2007
  3. said:

    i finally understand all that stuff that Jason talks about from your (a females) point of view!

    September 19, 2007
  4. […] you notice, the logo isn’t the one I originally did – I ran out of time (being a part-timer) and they needed it done fast… bit of a pity – […]

    October 26, 2007

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