I’ve been asked more than a few times what my style is and it’s a difficult question to answer. If you look at my work over the past 15 years, there’s a natural progression in quality and technique as I gain more experiences, there are certainly frameworks that have been both dropped and developed on.
But my portfolio is peppered with everything from corporate to consumer work. Music Festivals, Artists, Actors, a certain Darts Player turned Jungle Celebrity, Property Managers, SEO Agencies, even other Design Agencies. The start of my career was spent creating branding and packaging for the kids toy and gift sector; something I was glad to leave behind but now holds a soft spot for me if anything similar comes along.
What I’ve learned as my career has progressed is that while trends come and go, design thought and design theory remain consistent.
From a designers perspective, the finished project should reflect the company its for, and not the ego of the designer. I’m not ashamed to say that I was a few years in to my career before I realised this. Sure, there are ‘celebrity’ graphic designers that facilitate a style, Aaron Draplin springs to mind, but they’re few and far between and most of them are selling a slightly different product and they’re selling it to other graphic designers.
Stylists occupy the gap between artists and designers. Style inherently relies on trends, which is something Typeface tries to avoid. That’s not to say that modern shifts in technology and culture are to be avoided, those are integral to providing a coherent experience. But shoehorning a designers ego in to a client project is never going to give good results.
A leaf is beautiful not because it is stylish, but because it is natural, created in its exact form by its exact function. A designer tries to make an object as naturally as a tree puts forth a leaf. He does not smother an object with his own personal taste but tries to be objective.Bruno Munari – Design as Art, 1966
Design is the key word. Everything presented should have reasoning behind it that goes further than ‘because it looks good’. A brand should be designed to fit in with its tribe, a website should be designed around its goals. Function should dictate form.
Typeface as a brand has been designed. The words chosen, the images shown, not to reflect me as a person, but to reflect the tone of the businesses and the type of client I want to work with.
It goes without saying that Graphic Designers should have a sense of style. But that shouldn’t overshadow a clients goals and it shouldn’t dictate tone. The end product should reflect the client, and also their audience.