You know that time in life when you’re supposed to be making all the big decisions about what you want to do in life? When you’re 16-18 years old and the weight of choice lies heavily on your young shoulders?
So many of my friends were uncertain about their choices and didn’t really have a clue about what they wanted to do. But my future lay in Art. I knew that, without question.
FURTHER EDUCATION & ART
When I left school at 16, I studied A levels at sixth form, then went on to take a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Newcastle College. It was the kind of course that covered loads of aspects of Art as a discipline and fascinated me at the time.
For me, Art was Art and I knew I just loved being creative. So, the course at Newcastle College was not only eye-opening but thrilling too.
The first term involved eight different disciplines of Art:
We spent a week on each discipline (I know, whistle stop tour!), with each week culminating in a small project. It was intense and such hard work. But at the same time, it was an amazing term. Because by the end of it we had to narrow our choice down to our favourite two disciplines to focus on in the second half term.
My choices were Fine Art and Graphic Design. I loved both. The detail and creativity of Fine Art appealed to my need to draw and depict the world from my unique perspective, while the Graphic Design side fascinated the side of me that loves to solve problems and create pragmatic solutions to sticking points in the world.
GRAPHIC DESIGN VS FINE ART
The second half term of the course was spent between the two disciplines of Graphic Design and Fine Art.
I loved creating pieces of work in the Fine Art section of the course. I still love drawing to this day and I was really proud of some of the pieces I did during those weeks. But I soon realised that Fine Art as a discipline, was too abstract for my liking. I’d spend hours and hours crafting a brilliant, hand-drawn picture of a still life subject in minute detail while others on the course would present a blue square and receive the same mark and acclaim as me. I realise beauty and excellence is in the eye of the beholder, but the abstract nature of those weeks frustrated my pragmatic side.
And so, it was Graphic Design that really captured my imagination. I went on to take a degree in Graphic Arts and Design at Leeds Metropolitan University, which was amazing. I loved the course and went out into the ‘real world’ with a unique portfolio and a toolbox full of knowledge and ideas to help others.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN
Oh, there are so many things. Let’s start at the very beginning.
Graphic Design is about solving problems.
And I love that.
I have quite a logical, practical mind. So, the fact that Graphic Design can solve problems and ease issues within businesses to communicate a message is absolutely amazing to me. Alongside aesthetically looking good of course!
The first question I ask any new client in my business is, who are you trying to communicate with? Because I quite often get asked to create a flyer for a business. I could do that. I could simply design the flyer, get it printed, send it to the client then sit back and wait for the invoice to be paid.
But I want to make sure that a flyer is actually what my client needs to solve a problem in their business. Once they have the flyer, who are they going to give the flyer to? Will that flyer help solve their problem? Or do they just think they need a flyer?
And that’s where I go slightly outside the ‘norm’ for Graphic Designers. I want to make sure the work I do for my clients will actually get results.
HIERARCHY OF INFORMATION
Heard of it?
If you’re not a Graphic Designer, or involved in the world of design, you might not have.
Basically, it’s a design principle that involves the strategic placement of information on a page, flyer, screen, product, to ensure the reader can digest the information we need them to. The placement of information on a page or screen reveals the hierarchy of importance of that information.
And this is an area of design that has always fascinated me. Put that hand in hand with the meanings behind different fonts, colours and design elements and I could get lost for hours!
I love the challenge of receiving a problem from a client and find beautifully designed and incredibly useful solutions for them. In whatever form that might take. And nine times out of 10, that solution is totally different from the solution they thought they needed when they first came to me.
For me, the rules of graphic design are based in science and psychology. The human brain works in certain ways and, for design to be successful, we have to understand those ways and cater for them.
What could be more fascinating than that!?