I have been in the design industry for 30 years. I come from the UK but my design career has taken me to Germany, New Zealand and now Australia. My interest in design started very early, I had a keenness for typography and calligraphy and my very first commission at 17 was to hand letter certificates for Oxford University.
I would need to relate that question to my main discipline of packaging design and with that I would say design is about capturing a single idea and expressing it in the most compelling and memorable way possible.
That is a hard question to answer, as at the moment I have two. My first would be a project I completed last year for a coffee brand-Jacobs Coffee, which took a very simple idea and completely shattered the conventional way of packaging the product. The second would be for Bare Cosmetics, a range of bespoke natural extracts, which articulates the beauty of nature and its life sustaining ability in the form of facial serums.
I am very detail orientated, so everything really but crafting a beautiful piece of type whether it is the brand mark or a piece of romance text on the side of pack, it is all equally important to the over all design aesthetic.
Emotions are complex when relating them to design, the whole spectrum I would say, but when you can trust your reasons and judgments and feel happy with what you have achieved then that is a good place to be in.
In packaging I would say the design is successfull when it is commercially successful. It is no good having a great looking piece of design that totally misses the mark at POP. That is why I enjoy packaging design as there is so much bound up in such a small space and you have to get it right otherwise you get overlooked and over shadowed by the product sitting next to you.
I think some pieces of design are genuinely bad from a typographic, layout, image and understading perspective, we all know what these look like, they are the pieces that make your eyes bleed and make you want to weep. However before I judge a design I think it is good to be able to understand the brief that was given and any constraints that were applied.
Our responsibilities are to deliver well considered ideas in a way that respects our society and our environment. Particularly working in packaging I think we are duty bound to be mindful of the resources we engage to get a product to market.
Design style is clean and uncluttered. I think this style evolved simply from the discipline of packaging design. When you are working in such small spaces and wanting to maximise impact, you are very conscious of the value of space.
My approach to design is very rigorous, I always do lots of visual research, write down key words, develop very clear ideas and set territories for the concepts and so it rolls on.
I now live in Australia but am from the UK and have worked in Europe for a long time. I think I have been influenced by my cultural heritage but also working in Germany gave me new insights in to particular design disciplines, I think I learnt how to be far more rigorous and ultimately accountable for what I was designing.
I think that when you have that first face to face with a prospective client, that is when you can tell if the relationship is going to gel. Without having that sense of whether it is going to work, what is the point. That would be my recommendation, it is a bit like going on a first date—would you want to see that person again or not!
I love chairs. I sit on a Charles Eames, and have two Mies Van Der Rohe tubular chairs. My kettle is the wonderful whistling design by Richard Sapper but I also collect industrial pieces so have machinist boxes, traffic lights and numerous odd pieces that have lovely typography or badges.
We are all Mac based so the usual suite of creative applications but my program of choice is illustrator. My most faithful tool is my no. 5 long handled scalpel, it has helped me create thousands of mockups over the years.
I became a designer as from an early age I had a very keen interest in type and calligraphy. I was very captured by the art of lettering, the forms and the power of type to express. My very first commission was at the age of 16, I lettered certificates for Oxford University and after that was lettering pub menu boards and anything where I could develop this craft. Becoming a designer, a packaging designer was a natural progression and my passion has remained constant. I am motivated by the idea that design can make aspects of the world a better place to experience.
I enjoy working with different substrates and so I have a dream project in mind that is product orientated and involves using some of my favourite utilitarian substrates-all going well this may be realized next year.
Outside of being a packaging designer, I have a love of chairs and both my studio and home are filled with many- my current favourites are a string of circa 1930's cinema seats from a cinema here in Sydney, sadly I don't know who designed them - I suspect rather that a carpenter craftsman was commissioned. The design is simple, the detail quite lovely and they are enormously comfortable.
As I mentioned, I worked with great mentors and my biggest supporter was Knut Hartmann, founder of Hartmann Design in Germany. He was generous with his knowledge, a brilliant typographer and hand lettering artist, a packaging design master and teacher who gave me space, autonomy and freedom to create and resolve.
Favourite colour is charcoal grey, favourite place today is New Caledonia, all time favourite food is sushi, favourite season if I'm in the northern hemisphere is autumn, the southern spring, my favourite brand for as long as I can remember is Converse...