Advice for students

In my position as creative director and as a mentor for the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, I get to work with a great deal of young designers and students. I really enjoy sharing some of the things that I have experienced over two decades of working within the design industry. I have featured both practical advice and posts on creative thinking. I hope that the articles featured below are in someway helpful and that over time this page will build into a valuable resource for those who are beginning in their career path. Please do get in touch if theres anything that you would like to ask or comment on.

That Word 'Just' & How To Work With A DIFFICULT Client

As the creative director of a busy design studio, along with also being someone who has in the past run my own design practice and worked as a freelancer, I have come to dislike the use of the word ‘just' and I know that I am not alone. I used to come across it a lot. For example; a client who after signing off a job, gets back in touch and asks, “Can you ‘just’ make a change for me.” "It’s 'just' something small and I need it quickly." This usually translates... Continue reading ...

THINKING DIFFERENTLY

Just the other day I had a realisation that its been over 20 years since I left university! Two decade's later I still feel so fortunate to be able to do a job that I love so much and that challenges me on a daily bases, thanks in part to some of the fantastic teachers, lecturers and mentors who's lessons back then still play a role in my thoughts today. One of my favorite lessons, that will always stay with me, was being taught the importance of your work really meaning something to you... Continue reading ...

LEARN TO UNLEARN

I recently became a dad to a wonderful, amazing little boy. Watching him observe and learn has made me see things with a whole new perspective. Just the other day we were in our garden and he was pointing to the sky. As much as I looked I couldn’t see what was so interesting to him. With his limited vocabulary he kept saying “that!” and continued to point with great excitement. I kept looking... Suddenly I saw it. He was looking at the moon. Something I take for granted every single day... Continue reading ...

WHY THIS DESIGNER WRITES

If you’re a regular reader of this blog then you'll know that I'm a designer who also like’s to write. Creativity has always been a part of my life. Some of my earliest memories are of drawing and mark making and it's been a life long passion that ultimately turned into my profession as a designer. The recent addition of writing about all things creative has been a natural and organic extension of my love for what I do. Don't get me wrong. My practical design work still comes first an... Continue reading ...

THE MOST IMPORTANT WORD YOU USE IS WHY!

"The most important word you use is why?" That was what Sir John Hegarty told the crowd at an inspiring presentation that I was lucky enough to attend back in 2013.
In my role as creative director, I get to brief in the design team. It's important to ensure that everything that goes through the studio is the best it can be. I have to mentor and up skill creatives and I always love to watch how designers respond to briefs. Many designers sketch out ideas, others go straight to their computers... 
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Designing Success

What is success and how can we achieve it?

Image: Olga Popova/Shutterstock.com

DO IT FOR THE LOVE LOVE LOVE!

I have a belief that love and hard work go hand in hand! I strongly believe that if you don't love what you do then you'll be unable to dedicate yourself fully to it and it's unlikely you'll be able to produce great work! It may be hard work to get out of bed and drive to the office each morning. It may be hard work to get through each day, but that doesn't mean that your actually working hard at what you do! if you don't love what you do then how can you invest yourself fully. In his now famous Stamford commencement address, Apple co founder Steve Jobs outlines the importance of loving what you do.... Continue reading ...

WHAT IS SUCCESS? - DESIGNING YOUR SUCCESS

In a new series for the design life, I am going to be writing about success, specifically success within the field of design. In this first instalment I want to discuss what success really means? Then over the forthcoming series we will strive to break down what it takes to achieve and maintain success. I did an exercise a while ago to try and visualise what it takes to be a success within my chosen creative field. I thought it would be fun to feature it in the opening illustration to this ... Continue reading ...

Mentorship and My Design Life

Some of my own personal experiences from within the design industry.

MY DESIGN LIFE

In a recent interview for a design magazine I was asked, "who and what inspires me". It's a question that I am often asked and my initial reply is usually "everything", from my family (my wife and son are without a doubt my biggest inspiration) to the great icons of our industry such as Paul Rand and Soul Bass to the the work of Henryk Thomaszewski, Jan Lenica and Henri Matisse (the list could go on and on and on…) I wake up inspired almost every morning and by the time I am in my studio... Continue reading ...

THE ADOBE ICO-D MENTORSHIP PROGRAM

For the past three years Ive had the great honour of being selected as a mentor for the Adobe Design Achievement Awards. The mentorship program is oganised in collaboration with Adobe and ico-D (the world body for professional design, an international council that promotes the designer’s vital role in society and commerce that unify the voices of designers worldwide. www.ico-d.org). Throughout my involvement, I have had the pleasure of mentoring some fantastic students... Continue reading ...

Design Masters

It can be a real advantage to be well read and have a sound knowledge of some of the pioneers of the art and design industry and their work. Below I have included articles that showcase those who have inspired and help shape the design industry. You can also check out my recommendation of good design books by clicking here.

Icons Of Design

In another new series for the Design Life, I wanted to write about some of histories design icons. Everything around us has at some point been designed. The designers who produce the worlds most recognised symbols, branding and packaging, play a role in our daily lives, but the designers themselves seldom get the notoriety or the similar celebrity that is awarded to those who work in the world of music, film, sport, fashion, art or even product design (Jonathan Ive, Philip... Continue reading ...

ADDICTED TO CHAOS - INSPIRATION FROM DAN WIEDEN

Earlier this year Dan Wieden spoke at Cape Town's Design Indaba conference. Wieden's words have inspired me for many years, so it was a rare opportunity to hear one of the most respected authorities on advertising and creative thinking speak in person. Wieden is probably best know for co-founding one of the worlds most admired advertising agencies;Wieden+Kennedy and coining the Nike tagline "Just Do It." Incidentally Wieden pitched the idea to Nike in 1988 after he had read a newspaper article... Continue reading ...

MEETING MY DESIGN HEROES - MASSIMO VIGNELLI

Last year we sadly lost one of design's greats; Massimo Vignelli.

I recently moved house. Living in Cape Town Ive built up quite an impressive collection of local wines and one by one I pulled out each bottle from the wooden rack and wrapped them in bubble wrap. Within the collection was one very special bottle and I knew eventually that I would re discover it. Im not sure I will ever drink it. Not because of the wine inside (I don't even know what wine is inside!), but isntead for the memory... Continue reading ...

MEETING MY DESIGN HEROES - MICHAEL WOLFF

Its spring in Cape Town and this time of year is filled with colour as the wonderful varieties of flower open up to display an impressive palette. People travel from far and wide to visit the Westcoast national park where for a limited time (1 month) the impressive bloom is in its full beauty. I get a lot of my colour ideas from nature and this is such a fantastic time of year to discover brilliant combinations. I will always remember a presentation by renown brand designer Michael Wolff... Continue reading ...

Inspirations, observations, news and reviews on all things design, tech and culture. A blog for designers, written by a designer.

The design life is for anyone who has an interest in the world of design. There's regular articles, creative showcases, topical discussion and resources.

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