London Trip: 4 Designers & Studio Visit

As part of the course we were given the opportunity to go to London on a trip to do various activities that related to our subject, including a conference and studio tours. We were also given the opportunity to visit exhibitions and explore around the city, as it has a very different culture to that of Cardiff. The first day we spent majority of it traveling up to London itself then we spent that evening just settling into the city and visiting various tourist spots.

Monday 18th February

We attended the scheduled 4 designer conference which was held at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square. At the event there were 4 leading designers who talked about their work and practice, which allowed me to think about what it would be potentially like to work with the industry. All the designers were interesting to listen to however, I felt that 3 of them really stuck with me and interested me as they work in areas of the field that I am more drawn to.

Jack Renwick was the first designer of the conference, she set the entire tone for the conference. Throughout the course of her talk she mentioned various messages and key lessons that she has learnt, this was useful as it made me think about how these are things that I need to be aware of. She spoke about her childhood and her early years of working and how these experiences had influence over her work and still do to this day. This was a common message throughout all 4 talks, that design comes from your own experiences. Jack spoke a lot about keeping it simple, always thinking about who, what and why.

One of Jack’s work that I found interesting was her project Carpenters Wharf, as it showed how research is so important to a project. Jack describe it as ‘getting under the skin’ which meant going out into the area researching, for this project visiting Fish Island learning from the artist community there and seeking inspiration from there. This lead to how Jack obtained the ideas for using wood prints into the design. Also, as Jack had learnt to do welding in her earlier years, the idea of tools and materials that she would have seen in the workshop link back to her experiences. One of the most important things that Jack mentioned was her process of working which I really liked, speaking about the importance of sketching before going digital, this is something that reflectively looking back on previous projects I haven’t done which has lead to me potentially not giving the best possible outcome I could have. Always take sketches and pin them up on the wall to help.

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Harry Pearce was another one of the designers who I thought gave me a lot of food for thought. As I started out as a photography student, the fact that Harry uses photographs to influence his work really inspired me to consider this as a process for myself, keeping a catalogue of the interesting compositions I gain from my photographs. Harry spoke about his dreams frequently throughout the course of his talk mentioning how they have helped him to come up with outcomes for projects. The idea of keeping a dream diary was something I hadn’t thought of before but could be something to consider if it works for him it could help me in my own practice. Harry was inspirational to listen to as he talked about being honest through design, that there aren’t any accidents and make the design easy. This is something that I thought was very inspiring to hear from a top designer.

Finally Laura Jordan – Bambach was the third designer that I felt really inspired by. In her talk she spoke about her belief that design has the power to change the world and her work is mainly based around her beliefs as an individual. She has a belief in leaving a legacy through design which was something that I hadn’t really considered before. The two projects that interested me were her project on St James and Freesat because even though the two projects were very different they both used interesting ideas to convey the message. As digital design isn’t something I was keen on before, I think that after heard Laura speak it is something that I won’t write off as quickly.

Tuesday 19th February

As part of the trip we had the opportunity to visit one of three studios in London. Out of the three I decided to choice LittleHawk who are a young studio based in Dalston. As a studio they mainly work in branding and I thought visiting them would help me understand the process of working for a studio. When we were at the studio Gavin Leisfield and Rafaela Perera who are creative directors at Littlehawk, spoke to us about there experiences in industry, how they decided to start their own studio & their process of working. As a studio they have worked on various rebranded but they spoke to us about the rebranding for Doctor Who. It was so interesting to hear about their working method and how they run their teams to meet deadlines, and ensure that the best idea is taken forward. It was interesting to here more about branding as this is something that I am intrigued by and have yet to have a go at within the first year. We had the opportunity to ask questions to Gavin and Rafaela about studio life and industry, one piece of advice they gave us was to be strong and passionate about your work, understand that sometimes people aren’t going to like it and take constructive feedback and improve. Also, they spoke to us about the importance of saying yes, if somebody asks you ‘can you do this’ just say ‘well I can try!’ the whole creative industry is about constantly learning new things not being afraid to learn. Overall, I found the trip to London very helpful and inspiration, it has made me think about my own practices and how I can apply this advice to my work to improve.

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