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Afterlife #3 – James Greenfield – Studio Koto

I found today’s afterlife session really interesting from a branding point of view and inspiring to hear about James’s journey about finding his way through industry. He spoke about how at the start of his career he felt quite lost and not knowing where he wanted to go. This showed me that some of the feelings that I am experiencing right now are ok and they are normal for people graduating. Also, the fact that he moved away from the area of static design to learn motion and 3D again showed me that in this industry we are constantly learning, even once we graduate.

Hearing about the reasoning behind Studio Koto was also really interesting because I have noticed one thing about the designers that we have heard from so far and they all have these mantras which have helped them to aspire to work in the way they do. The idea that Koto is about the experience rather than the aesthetic is quite powerful and I think shows what a brand should be.

Throughout the presentation James used a lot of quotes to explain his thoughts and this was something that I found empowering. One of these was “The complete designer does not exist, be honest with yourself, not down on yourself” which he used to talk about how working as a team is really powerful as everyone has different strengths. One person might be really good at the detailing while other are stronger in the ideation concept stage. It was useful as well to hear about his branding work and how he’d describe is role as a brand creative director. I’ve always known branding was a complex area to design in as it’s much more than just a logo its something much greater. This has also got me thinking about my FMP which I am considering a branding project.

At the end of the presentation James spoke to us about what 5 things that he has learnt over the years, and again using quotes to explain these really helped me see them in my own practice and life. One in particular that jump at me was “Think progress not perfection” by Ryan Holliday this is something that I struggle with as I’ve always thought about perfection rather than seeing progress. This talk as inspired me to think about who I want to be as a designer and what I want todo. This industry is so wide and vast I know I need to think about it further.


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