What inspired me to become a designer?

What inspired me to become a designer?

I arrived here in Shropshire via North Wales where I grew up, Preston where I studied (of a sort) Graphic Design and London where I spent 12 years at various design consultancies…

Growing up in North Wales in the ’70’s and 80’s, in the pre-internet, pre-satellite TV days, my exposure to iconic design was limited to say the least. Since an early age I was obsessed with drawing & design, and I have to say my youth was mis-spent only on the endless hours I spent honing my sketching skills (whilst listening to indie music and The Beatles in equal measures)…

Designers or artists who inspired me, for different reasons, were Terence Conran, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, David Byrne of the Talking Heads, some of Corbijn’s early images and videos for U2 and Depeche Mode, and I loved the graphic simplicity of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and its visuals.

Why Terence Conran? Mainly because of the early Habitat furniture designs, the simplicity, and the early Habitat ethos of design for the masses.

Andy Warhol because of the graphic simplicity of his art from the ’60’s – the iconic imagery he used – an early observation of the brand-driven society that the world would become? And offering 15 minutes of fame to a boy from North Wales? Wow.

David Hockney, an artist with a graphic, almost impressionist, style of painting. And a creator of a set of works which was a great inspiration – the photocollages. He was also an early advocate of using the computer to draw with… Some kind of 80’s paintbox if I remember. Something he still does now in fact, utilising the iPhone and iPad.

All of these people inspired me  – could I become a car designer, a computer games designer, a commercial artist? A painter? A set designer? A graphic designer?

Frequent visits to the Oriel Galley in Llandudno, The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, school trips to London and visits to the National Gallery were also a great source of inspiration and ideas.

So, there you go. No Nevile Brody. No David Carson. No obvious ‘graphic design’ choices in there.

I always tried to look beyond the ‘obvious’…

 

And I’m the same now. I get my inspiration these days from people like Chase Jervis, Anton Corbijn, Living Etc, Elle Decoration, Grand Designs, architects like Norman Foster. But that’s all for a different conversation. And a future blog…

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