Take Five with...
What is the most unusual project you’ve ever worked on?
No “unusual” project really comes to mind. However, I can safely say one of the most difficult projects was the identity and visual language for de Bono Global, Dr Edward de Bono’s global management representative. The project was focused on presenting Edward’s life’s work, rather than the man himself. It’s about his legacy and the means to leverage that into the future. Clients often say their audience is “everyone” but it’s rarely the case in reality because they usually have a very defined customer grouping. But with Edward’s work, over his 50+ year career the audience ranges between age 4 and 94. The challenge was therefore to reflect Edward’s approach and personality, while also developing a visual language that spans that 50+ year body of work, including 56 book cover designs that needed to look individual while also being seen as part of a set. The visual language also had to comfortably accommodate any language for translation, and it needed to be adaptable for numerous possible future scenarios. It had to be simple—but not simplistic. It was the first time this had ever been done for Edward’s work so the challenge was daunting. But working closely with the de Bono Global CEO we successfully managed to develop an identity and visual system to accommodate the requirements. It was a mammoth, but rewarding challenge!
Who is your creative hero?
There are many, many designers whom I admire – too many to list. But my creative hero is David Attenborough. His consistency, approach and curiosity of nature (which I believe is the universe’s most prolific designer) is utterly inspiring. He is an ambassador for creativity and innovation in media, technology and education.
What would you do with a spare €100?
I’d invest it in my DESIGNerd initiative. which is currently getting a massive overhaul in approach, strategy and content. For me, self-initiated projects are so important because they are an ever-evolving lab to test ideas and build something I’m passionate about. But due to studio work, they rarely get the attention they need or the investment they require, so the pace is often a lot slower than I would like. Regardless, they are rewarding in so many ways and they keep my mind active on different levels.
What piece of work do you wish you had created?
Definitely Michael Bierut’s identity refresh for MIT Media Lab. I just love the monochromatic simplicity based on a systems grid, and the ability for co-creation for new identities to add to that ever-evolving system. It’s the perfect example of balancing simplicity with complexity.
What’s your soundtrack?
I’m currently listening to a lot of ambient music, for example ‘Thursday Afternoon’, (Brian Eno), ‘Selected Ambient Works 85-92’ (Aphex Twin), and Boards of Canada albums. I tend to work in relative quiet, which might go against the grain for most design studios, but I like the peace and calm of my studio and ambient music really helps that environment. On the flipside, there are occasions when I’ll puncture that quiet with Moon Duo, Fever Ray, Underworld, Son Lux, Radiohead or The Velvet Underground, etc…
Designer, strategic thinker and communicator. TEDx speaker. Founder of TheSumOf, DESIGNerd and design publication Open Manifesto. de Bono Global Advisory Board member. Lived in the Australian outback for there years. Previously Joint Creative Director of Saatchi Design, Sydney. Loves chocolate.