My last post mentioned the David Carson book, “The End of Print”.
I was thinking about the image below recently… it’s influenced my ‘re-brand’… (or rather my ‘brand’ as I didn’t really have a brand to start with…)
When I was a full-time graphic designer I had it on the wall above my desk. It’s the work of a David Carson workshop. Not sure if that means it’s not entirely his work or a collaboration with the students involved; but I love it. In every sense it communicates to me.
This reminded me not only of his influence on my work but also of a TED talk Carson gave a few years ago. I re-watched it and, if you haven’t already, I recommend you watch it. (It’s at the bottom of this post)
My fascination with Graphic Design crept up on me… I didn’t get excited about it at school and even at college it was illustration that interested me most. As with visual and audio effects in movies, graphic design works best when you don’t even notice it. Obviously it gets your attention, but graphic design should communicate without screaming for your attention.
The Designers Republic may be an exception here but only because the stuff they were doing (that interested me… pwei, angry man…) was almost a parody of advertising while also functioning as advertising. (see pwei’s Pepsi tshirt for an example…)
Thinking about Carson and tDR and their impact on me as a ‘designer’ (of any medium) made me think of other design influences. While the likes of Neville Brody and Peter Saville kind of passed me by (in the eighties) it was Mark Farrow and Vaughan Oliver that were shaping my sensibilities. I suppose they still do.
As the compact disc turns 30 years old this week it’s appropriate to remember the impact of Farrow on CD sleeve design. This was a time when designers were still coming to terms with designing artwork for very different media sizes. No one took the cassette seriously from the point of view of packaging whereas the CD booklet was at least square – even if it was less than a quarter of the surface area.
I owned the Pet Shop Boys ‘Please’ on cassette. I loved Farrow’s design so much I wished I’d had the vinyl so that I could see it bigger! To my frustration the images and layout were as small on the LP as they were on the cassette sleeve, as they were on the CD sleeve – but with a lot more white space. Farrow was flipping the sensibility of design for music on it’s head and designing for 120mm x 120mm.
The 12″ came second.
It was Farrow’s vote of confidence for this new digital media as the future. Farrow’s solution wasn’t a compromise, rather a combination of arrogance and pragmatism. The CD was the future, so design for the future.
I love it now, but at the time it drove me mad!
So already this post is long enough so I’ll write about Oliver and Place some other time. Carson too.
My completed re-brand will be apparent soon… maybe you’ll see some of these influences… but for now, here’s David Carson!