On 4 September, I was given the opportunity to attend the Sex, Drugs & Helvetica Graphic Design Conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre. As a Junior Graphic Designer who is new to the industry it was a great opportunity to hear some amazing stories and design tips from some of the most successful designers from around the world. The three designers who I found the most inspirational from this conference are Ben Miles, Zoe Pollitt and James Greenfield.
Ben Miles from Interbrand started the day off with a very inspirational presentation about his recent project, titled Sky, and ran us through the complete design process. Ben made it clear that design is all about collaboration, ingenuity and imagination – to come up with strong, fresh, new concepts – you need to use your imagination.
Ben also spoke about how designers are problem solvers and that the design process is never a smooth process – there are always highs and lows. Understanding customer needs and the world clients operate in throughout the process is very important otherwise you find yourself going around in circles. Ben also stated that when working for clients it is important to find designers who will help you get the concept over the line. A quote I took away from Ben’s presentation was “A problem well stated is a problem well solved.”
Zoe Pollitt from The Eskimos shared her journey through her recent project Eastland. She started her presentation with a great quote: “fall in love not in line”. Zoe spoke about the highs and the lows of her Eastland project and it was great to see how she went from having a strong design team to losing everyone in the business to then gaining a new design team and pulling the project across the line. She stressed how important it is to build a strong relationship with your clients. Design is not easy, it is a tough ride and as a designer, you should always look at the positive in every situation and always have a plan B.
James Greenfield from Koto shared his journey through his recent project Airbnb. He started speaking about his company Koto and explained how it is an exceptional experience with a brand. Three quotes I took away from James’ presentation are “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” and “A logo is a good one if you can draw it in the sand with your big toe”. James mentioned when designing your brand to make sure it is a symbol of belonging and can be recognized anywhere (posters, bags, shirts, shoes, stickers, etc.).
Overall, it was a fantastic, inspirational day, where I learnt so many new skills and tips and which I have since brought back to our office and share with everyone!