How would you describe your approach to graphic design?
What’s most important to me is that I make work that’s both conceptually sound and aesthetically interesting. A good project is first smart without being contrived or exclusive, and then I try to make it push up against the formal rules of design in such a way that it also nods to them. I use humour whenever I can. I love embedding detail that rewards those who look closely. I love research. Usually I end up hating something before it’s finished, then a day or two later realise all actually isn’t lost. Now I’m trying to develop a methodology that values, maybe even prioritises, elements that are made by hand. I want spending time in the world (drawing, photographing and traveling) to be crucial to what I make.
Tell us about a particularly rewarding project you’ve worked on recently.
Last semester I took a class on bookbinding, and my final project was a series of five books addressing five of life’s proverbial big questions. I made a long list of the stuff we all worry about, then narrowed it down to happiness, meaning, memory, love, and death. It was a rewarding project because it was so hard to produce. Not only am I always nervous about anything three dimensional, but I challenged myself to do the piece, without words or figurative images (there are some abstract patterns). The other challenge was that I couldn’t quickly undo anything, so I spent most of my time making and re-making prototypes, then working up the courage to apply those edits the final books. You realise designing on a computer is so forgiving! In the end there were many false starts and mistakes, but I got to play with a nice range of bookbinding processes, everything from waxing thread to four-needle sewing to trimming a two and a half inch-thick book block in one go. I’m pleased with the result (also a bit less afraid of doing objects).