GDE740 - Week 5

Week 5 – Research

Industry Set

This week marks the start of a new brief – 8 weeks long! I’m actually really excited to have such a long time to spend on a new project.

The interviews this week were quite eye opening in regards to how established designers still look for and complete competitive briefs or open briefs that they would be interested in – it’s something that’s never really occured to me that all the winners of D&AD for example are a combination of established and new designers. Not just new designers wanting to make a name for themselves in this creative world.

How do you research and identify new industry projects or opportunities that you would like to participate in?

Torsten from FELD went into a lot of depth as to how he goes for certain briefs – I really loved hearing that it’s ok to go for something that you’ve never tried before, even when established. It’s all down to personal preference and more often than not we’re gravitated to a certain brief because it’s something that’s close to us and important to us but also safe. BUT it’s also important to go for the brief you have little to no connection with – take a detour and find new ares to explore. It’s a really nice way of looking at things, I try not to work too safe but I know I definitely work within my limits.

Matthew and Michelle from Accept&Proceed seemed really quite corporate to me – they want to design for good and they want to leave their positive mark on the world. Everything is done in house and their large way of working means they utilise project managers and take on projects of a large scale. I think it’s really positive that agencies now seem to be focussing on the companies they work for rather than taking jobs because of exposure. They enjoy passion projects and encourage self initiated work within their agency – they then use these projects for conversations both within the studio and with new clients.

Studio Dumbar was quite an interesting interview – it’s evident that they don’t particularly seek and find projects, they tend to come to them. As a part of DEPT, they don’t have to work hard to find projects to work on. I think it’s evident in their work because they have SUCH a strong identity.

Stijn from Spiekermann echoed Dumbar’s statement that things and projects come their way. However, they do use self initiated projects or industry projects to push themselves into a new domain – I really love this ethos and think it’s quite vital for a studio to remain current. Take something you do already and build out from there – take your current identity and develop this so that your identity can develop over time. BUT he did say it’s better to know and understand some basic background on the topic before taking on a brief which, with 8 weeks to complete for us, is something to bear in mind!!

Luke, also from Spiekermann really focussed on how it’s important for YOU as an individual to find a problem that you want to solve. These projects need to be for you and to answer a question or problem that you have. And, as above, they need to match your existing skillset.

Overall, the opinions seemed pretty divided – do you go for a project that’s very much in line with your identity and usual work, or do you go for something completely opposite? I think Luke hit the nail on the head – it’s about the individual. You need to work on something for YOU – if that pushes you out of your comfort zone then great! If not, recognise why you’re staying safe.


Michael Beirut’s work is just great – it makes me smile everytime and his story about finding the forklift in the CLARK logo just shows how he’s taken this small detail in an old logo and takes this with him in his own work. His combination of finding historical identity and mixing it up in a quirky, funny way is illuminating and brings the fun back into traditional graphic design. I love Niemann’s work and I loved even more seeing this on the nuts.com boxes – he was given such an open brief for this company and he just made it so much fun and focussed on the customer’s happiness firstly.

Same again with Saks Fifth Ave – a brand and logo that we would all recognise but he decided to take this traditional logo and turn it on it’s head. By dividing the logo into 64 smaller squares, the result was an abstract, fun and still recognisable logo for a traditional store. In line with all this is the identity for Saint John the Divine – this could have been such a non-descript, standard identity design for the church, but in steps Beirut and a church is happy for this sign to be in their grounds:

I also really loved hearing the discussion between Marian and Jessica – they obviously have done a lot of work together and get each others history. But I really connected with Marian talking about not having the usualy design education and how she has felt she’s missed out a bit. She didn’t have references to hand so easily and knows that with the right education she could have utilised mentors more – I understand this as I too am working on building up my list of references and resources to look back on when finding inspiration.

“Inspiration is a moment of surprise – it comes from anywhere”

— Marian Bantjes



Following the above lectures and videos, I feel so inspired to read these new briefs and take my time to fully focus on the one that piques my interest. We have a rare opportunity to really go for something that we might not otherwise work on or utilise skills we haven’t otherwise used before!

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