Conor Foran is in the enviable position of having just received one of the most prestigious awards in typographic design – the ISTD's Vincent Steer Award, given to an outstanding project in its annual Student Assessments. We caught up Conor find out what's next for this talented young designer…
When did you first realise you wanted to be a graphic designer and what were your early influences?
This is a difficult question. I’m still in the process of figuring out if I am a graphic designer. That may sound strange, but I suppose it’s down to how fast I have come from school to college and now to work in a studio, all in a three-year period. I’m still discovering what I like and dislike, what interests me and what doesn’t. I think it’s only by throwing myself into situations where learning and making mistakes becomes an everyday practice can I really understand what I want to do, and what I can do.
Words and the concept of textual meaning has always fascinated me, so much so that I wrote my thesis about it all. It is what spurred me to take up graphic design. Having this ability to share stories and start conversations through publications, posters and other means is something that has always interested me.
Tell us a bit about your course and what it’s instilled in you as a designer?
The course I did was Visual Communication in the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. It’s quite broad, though there is an undeniable emphasis on print. However, what you learn in a print context can definitely be applied to other situations. The course allowed for a lot of freedom and experimentation. It gave me the opportunity to dabble in a lot of different things, such as print, video, sound and experimental coding.
I also did Visual Culture as a joint course, meaning I wrote more essays per year. While this may sound like extra stress, at times it was a strange kind of escape from all the work going on in studio. In most cases, the things I learned in those seminars helped to inform or at least influence my own studio work.
What this has all instilled in me as a designer is the realisation that there’s always something new to learn and explore. Grasping this as I move into a professional setting is difficult as for me it’s a battle between understanding what I know and what I should know in a given situation, and dealing with the expectations that follow.