I’m taking a course this quarter called “Design Methodology.” I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I registered for the class. It was required, and a per-requisite for most other courses, so I signed up without putting much thought into what the class actually was. Basically, it has been an intensive course that focuses on understanding the processes that allow me to create a design/visual solution. The subject of design methodology has come up in my Typography class as well, and this week I’ve had the opportunity to research the design methodologies of three great graphic designers: Neville Brody, April Grieman, and David Carson.
Neville Brody is a British graphic designer and art director. Brody attended the Hornsey College of Art, followed by the London College of Printing, where he chose to pursue graphic design. Heavily influenced by the punk music, his career started in record cover design. He is known for pushing the boundaries of visual communication. In an interview with E.M. Farrelly, Brody said, “For there are, he says – in typography as in other things – no real rules; what we habitually regard as rules are really just assumptions too often unexamined” (Farrelly).
Similar to last weeks interview with Craig Mod, Brody also feels like the dawn of the digital space allows for more creativity outside of digital medium. In his interview for The Blank Sheet Project, Brody explains how he sees the new frontier of digital space as a new form of the “blank page.” There is an incredible opportunity within the digital media for creative exploration. “People are much more interested in producing the one-off hand bound book than they are of creating an app for an iPad. I would like them to be doing both” (Interview by Tim O’Kennedy). Brody goes on to explain that the medium is different, but they each have creative opportunity.
In 2010, Brody was asked to help in the BBC’s website re-branding. A blog post by Bronwyn van der Merwe highlights the process. While I can’t say this is Brody’s methodology, I do think it gives some insight into how even a project of this scale still uses similar ideation steps. For example, at the begining of the project, the team came up with a word list that described what they wanted the company, and website, to represent. Van der Merwe then goes on to describe how they developed several conceptual designs, taking visual inspiration from many sources (Van Der Merwe). These steps in the project really aren’t that different from the average graphic designer’s methods.
“An Interview with Neville Brody, Art Director of The Face.” Interview by E.M. Farrelly. The Architectural Review. 11 Mar. 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.architectural-review.com/archive/ar-1986-august-an-interview-with-neville-brody-art-director-of-the-face/8611931.article>.
Interview by Tim O’Kennedy. The Blank Sheet Project. D&AD, 1 June 2011. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.theblanksheetproject.com/creative/1/neville_brody>.
Van Der Merwe, Bronwyn. “A New Global Visual Language for the BBC’s Digital Services.” Web log post. BBC Internet Blog. British Broadcasting Corporation, 16 Feb. 2010. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2010/02/a_new_global_visual_language_f.html>.
April Grieman is a graphic designer whose work is a fusion of art and technology that explores the relationship between image, word, and color. She attended the Allgemeine Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Switzerland, followed by the Kansas City Art Institute.
While many designers were skeptical about the Macintosh being introduced to the design community in 1984, Greiman embraced it’s possibilities and became fascinated with the medium. “This fascination comes from the core of her being, a core of perpetual curiosity and questioning that fuels her desire to explore and inspires the cutting-edge design work that places her at the helm of integrated design at the close of the twentieth century” (AIGA).
Although schooled in the Swiss style, Greiman challenged the grid and experimented with typography and image placement. She is credited with introducing America to New Wave design, which she learned from her professor Wolfgang Weingart. And while many designers still push for learning hands on techniques, Greiman has moved almost completely to digital processes. “I tend to pretty much exclusively work with digital tools. If I’m doing color palettes for buildings and architects I have a huge library of color chips and different systems, so testing colors is still a hands-on thing. That’s the only ‘analog’ work for us, really” (Smith).
AIGA. “April Greiman.” AIGA | the Professional Association for Design. 1998. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.aiga.org/medalist-aprilgreiman/>.
Smith, Josh. “Design Discussions: April Greiman on Technology.” Interview. Web log post. Idsgn: A Design Blog. 10 Sept. 2009. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://idsgn.org/posts/design-discussions-april-greiman-on-technology/>.
Unlike the previous two designers, David Carson doesn’t come from a design background. He attended San Diego State University and received a BFA degree in sociology. Carson was also a former professional surfer, he was ranked #9 in the world during his college days. In a video by Hillman Curtis, Carson explains that his lack of schooling may have contributed to his design aesthetic. It was only afterwards that people would come to him and say he was breaking rules. In an interview with Computer Arts, Carson states, “What matters is that you have an intuitive design sense, listen to it and explore your uniqueness through your work. Create rules that work for you and the type of work you’re doing. I never learned all the things in school I wasn’t supposed to do, so I just did, and still do, what makes sense to me” (David Carson)
In his work for Ray Gun, Carson often challenged legibility. Many criticized his style, calling it self-indulgent and disrespectful. Carson’s rebuttal is that “as we get more computerized I think it becomes more important than ever that the work actually becomes more subjective, more personal, and that you let your personality come through in the work” (Hillman). Regardless of the level of legibility, Carson says the starting point is always to try to interpret something.In this way, although an article may not be legible, it is still communicating.
“Artist Series: David Carson.” Interview by Hillman Curtis. Hillman Curtis. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://hillmancurtis.com/artist-series/david-carson/>.
“David Carson.” Interview. Computer Arts. 12 Sept. 2008. Web. 30 Jan. 2012. <http://www.computerarts.co.uk/interviews/david-carson>.