“Realising ideas and helping others visualise a narrative or concept is incredibly important to me.” Having worked with clients for the past 14 years, we decided it was time we got to know Guy a little more and delve deeper into his visual and brand communications.
Why did you decide it was Graphic Design for you?
Why Graphic Design? At school I was always the so-called ‘naughty child’ at the back of class. Drawing on desks, writing on walls, putting tip-ex on my pencil case and then drawing all over it to change its colour; it wasn’t until later in my teens I realised it was called Graphic Design and I could get paid for doing it. Are they mad???
So I went to Art College and honed my skills. The strange thing is I wouldn’t call myself a ‘Graphic Designer’ as it’s one of the many tools that I use to answer creative briefs.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Hopefully going full time as a Creative Director either in my own company or for a fun, ahead of the curve, on trend, creative agency. But when I do reach this goal there will definitely be another one pushing me forward and keeping me on my toes for the following five years :0)
From logos to rebrands, you name it you can design it all. Which type of project do you feel most confidently working on and why?
Everything I do I love. It’s up to me to make it fun and engaging for myself and the people I work with. If you don’t enjoy what you’re creating, it will show in the end product.
But the thing I love doing the most is creating a brand from the start, developing it with the client and other creatives, then putting it into the cold harsh world to be criticised. But when you get customers or public interacting with your brand and they understand it, enjoy it, touch it and buy into the physical and mental experience – that’s what I love. You have created an emotional engagement with a product for someone else. WOW! I suppose it’s the closest I will ever get to playing God.
That and ‘God2’ on PlayStation ;0)
Tell me something about your latest design projects. What challenges did you face and how did you handle the project?
At the moment I am working with the CCO of a global retail XP agency within the WPP group. We are working on a branding project that could change the outcome of their agency and offer a unique experience for retail brands. I suppose the biggest challenge I have faced, was myself and the lizard brain.
As a creative you have to question yourself and analyse why something would or wouldn’t work. So not being too hard on yourself and giving yourself time to think, I suppose, that’s what you learn to do as you progress. Learning when to take a break and how to criticise yourself for the better. So the biggest challenge is yourself and having confidence in your ideas and standing up for what you think is right.
Talk us through your project BHS Flagship – what were the highlights and challenges you had to face as a designer?
This was one of those projects you wait for, and comes around once every couple of years.
I was lucky because the team at BHS were fabulous. They had expert market knowledge and made the initial briefing easy. That and the fact that you could experience the space you were going to brand before hand. Normally you have to visualise the end product from nothing, which is great, but if you’re given a space that you’re going to bring to life, then all you need do is fill in the gaps. It’s a really fulfilling and tactile experience and there is more time to enjoy the ‘bringing to life’ of the brand.
One of the main challenges was the window decal, as we wanted to express our new typographical style for the launch, but not be too imposing on customers when they were tucking into a Prawn mayo sandwich. But once the light hit the window and the shadows from the typography filled the room, we knew we had created a great space for a customer to be in and experience the brand.
Tell us something that may surprise us…
On some toothpicks there are a set of grooves at the ‘non pick’ end. You might be excused for thinking that these are decorative or for tiny sword fights, however a very clever Japanese product designer has designed these many centuries ago. After use, you can snap the lathed end off and use it as a prop for the used end. This will indicate to the other diners that this pick is in use and it is more hygienic to use again as it hadn’t been in contact with the table. A lovely look into Japanese culture and design history!
But be careful to clean your teeth in eyeshot of another guest at the table, as this is considered impolite. ;0)