Monday, 20 September 2010

Primary Sources Update: Emails

I decided I had to get a head start on collecting my primary research if I was to complete this dissertation without giving myself a headache. I emailed about just over half a dozen agencies asking for some creative banter on the subject of originality. I have two responses so far with one of them complete and one awaiting. I emailed Michael Lewis who is head of Art direction and founder of studio MikMik a Graphic design and illustration studio in Saltaire. Their work is very much print based with some gorgeous identity design inbetween.

[Above & Below]: Yo Yo Café Bar
Illustrations and menus.

[Above]: Kirkgate Centre identity and business stationary.
[Below]: Area: A little inspiration.

I've decided I'll try and get some more primary sources of research by asking more agencies, I've also decided I may be a good idea to email past students, as they may be a bit more forthcoming when it comes to students asking for research.

Hi Michael,

I’m a final year student at the Leeds College of Art collecting some research for my dissertation. If it’s not too much to ask I’d really appreciate if I could have your thoughts on these few questions. I’m looking at the concept of originality and whether it is possible to be truly original within Graphic Design in particular looking at digital design in illustration and design for web.

As a practicing studio, working on new briefs would obviously require research possibly leading to looking at other existing pieces of design, do you feel that in your practice you are still able to retain the individuality without relying on other designers and your own previous work to create something new?

Early on in my career I used to find myself, like most designers, turning to my current design book of choice or the latest periodical for inspiration. I think it has to be understood though that what we are looking for is not an idea to take away but a glimpse of something that may spark an idea. It could be a colour, a shape, a form, a technique, a style, etc. These days I tend to turn less and less to graphic design books. I look for inspiration elsewhere, in art, product design, architecture, fashion, nature, etc. Inspiration is everywhere you choose to look for it.

As a designer working on digital projects have you ever found that with your work entering the public domain that you put it at risk of being copied or at worse in breach of copyright?

There is always a risk of copyright infringement when work is put online. The Studio MIKMIK website has been directly copied 4 times (that I know of!) and on each occasion I have had to notify the other parties of my copyright to the design. In one case a company had paid a designer to create a website and the designer had simply copied the Studio MIKMIK site and replaced the content. Needless to say the company in question was not pleased when I brought this to their attention.

In the future with more and more design coming onto the world do you feel there is more competition to create new design that is unique or does it open up more opportunities?

I was at a lecture last night by Jonathan Sands, chairman of Elmwood. In his lecture he quoted Jerry Garcia (of The Grateful Dead), who said — “You do not merely want to be considered just the best of the best. You want to be considered the only ones who do what you do". This is very apt, there will always be competition in design, these days more than ever, and so the best way to stand out is to be unique.

Thank you for your help and time, all the best.

Carl Holderness

And thank you again Mike, this will be really useful.

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