I always remember when I first started my design course at college and the lecturer caught me sitting myself staring at a blank sheet of white paper. Here was I, young, full of energy, positivity, ideas and thought this was easy. Asked to answer one of my first briefs, no problem I thought.
The lecturer could clearly see I was trying to come up with the solution to that particular design problem in my head before committing pen to paper. Try to get a hole in one! We talked and he explained why it was not the best of starts to any project.
After our chat I wrote the design problem in the top left hand corner of my sheet of white paper. From there I listed associated words, branching off where appropriate and the creative juices started to flow. Then I grabbed another sheet of paper and a pile of magazines. Ripping out pages, cutting out relevant content and then pasting it on the sheet of paper to create a mood board. To refine my mood board we (me and my newly found design friends) went to the library, sourcing books on our favourite designers to photocopy. As you can tell this was before easy access to the internet!
We all sat together perving over designs, asking questions like; how did they come up with that, what’s the font and what is it that makes it work? From then on we bonded and have been friends now for over twenty years. We bonded over a similar outlook on life, how we saw things, our experiences and what we wanted to achieve. We have all been to each other’s weddings, been there for each other when it matters and that one thing that brought us all together then still holds true today. Design.
Ever since that day, our friendships blossomed our designs flourished. We all worked together, shared, even competed but most importantly we inspired each other.
Things have moved forward, we have easy fast internet access, digital mood boards, all the fonts you need in the world are available and there’s numerous image galleries. Not as much need these days to trawl through tonnes of magazine, which I miss. No need to hand draw fonts for mock ups, which I 100% don’t miss. I suppose what I’m saying is that the design process is faster, arguably better, but one thing still rings true today as it was then: the importance of working as part of a design team. It breeds inspiration.
From that group we have four heads of design, one agency owner, one freelancer (previously head of design) and myself a senior designer/team leader. All of which, I know, are trying to inspire the younger designers they work with.
As our industry has grown our creative teams have grown too, collaboration with not only designers is the norm. Working with insights, copyrighters, developers and analytics to name a few come together to create the best possible product.
By Crawford Jolly, Senior Designer.