Archive for THOUGHTS - page 2

Let me be your cheerleader

Let me be your cheerleader





I’m not having an identity crisis as a designer. I’m just trying to work out why on earth I do what I do, and what really is my purpose… when all is said and deep-etched. I’ve just returned from my (what seems to be becoming a yearly) pilgrimage to New York, and I’ve had a few thoughts regarding the “why”.


Sometimes I feel like I’m a cheerleader. I don’t mean that I see myself in a very small lycra costume, wiggling my bootie and flashing my sparkly white teeth for an otherwise supposedly disengaged crowd of spectators. No. What I mean is, I feel like my role as a designer is to glorify everyone ELSE. I’m there to shine a light, bring attention to, best present and generally do all I can to ensure that they/you look as good as you can, and perform as well as you’re able.


We don’t assume to be the main event. A good wine isn’t made famous by the way the typeface is used on the label but by the taste of the grapes. A gallery or museum is not about the catalogue, it’s there to give us art. People generally don’t flock to the theatre or a sporting event to read the program, they want to be entertained. And as much as I’d like to think otherwise, I know that albums are purchased for their music and not for their cover art. The popularity of iTunes is proof enough of that.


I get it, it’s ok… it’s not about me. I know. But hear this, dear client: I’m gonna jump, shout, chant and cheer for you as best I can, just because I want you to win. And if I get a little attention along the way (God knows I’ll try) – I guess that’s just a bonus.

Love for type: it’s hereditary

Love for type: it’s hereditary


Some people are destined to be teachers, others experts in the migration habits of a particular species of moth found in South America. Me? I believe I was destined to be a designer and develop a passion for type. My grandfather, Alf Pausey, was a small business owner and typesetter for 50 years. I grew up playing cubbie houses with my sisters in and around giant stacks of paper and with the sweet smell of fresh, thick ink in my nostrils. Poppa got up early every morning, donned his blue overalls and worked hard all day manually setting lead type and printing it on his big, loud rhythmically thumping letterpress machines. I remember the big guillotines and the women in the shop with their rubber thimbles for collating the pages of client booklets. These pictures are of a letterset collection of his and an opening of one of his favourite type books, which he’s given to me. Thanks, Poppa… for a heritage I’m so glad to have.

Design in Words

Design in Words

Throughout our creative lives we have sifted through everything to select what we thought best. We sifted through materials to find those for which we have the closest affinity. We sifted through colors, textures, typefaces, images, and gradually we built a vocabulary of materials and experiences that enable us to express our solutions to given problems – our interpretations of reality. It is imperative to develop your own vocabulary of your own language – a language that attempts to be as objective as possible, knowing very well that even objectivity is subjective.
I love systems and despise happenstance. I love ambiguity because, for me, ambiguity means plurality of meanings. I love contradiction because it keeps things moving, preventing them from assuming a frozen meaning, or becoming a monument to immobility. As much as I love things in flux, I love them within a frame of reference – a consistent reassurance that at least and at last I am the one responsible for every detail.
And that is why I love Design.
Beautiful thoughts by Massimo Vignelli from The Vignelli Canon
Reflection on design

Reflection on design

My parents are proud. So very proud. But whenever I take a finished piece back to my old family home to show my mum and dad what we’ve been up to, I usually get a series of questions which, as they are dealt to me blow by blow, slowly undo me. Upon handing my mother a brochure/book/invitation/90 x 50mm card with someone’s address on it, she is guaranteed to make thrilled, breathless noises and tell me how clever she thinks I am. Clever Claire. I’m usually just beginning to really let the moment envelope me, beaming and smiling and doing silent little internal cheers, when the questions begin:


Did I take the photographs?

– No, I just watched someone else take them.

Did I retouch the pictures, making them clean and bright?

– Nope.

Did I write the words?

– Not that either.

Create the font the words were written with?

– Um, not exactly.

What about the illustrations? Did I draw those?

– No to that too I’m afraid.

Oh, the colours! Did you pick the colours?

– Actually – that was part of the branding – they were in the Style Guide…


And on it goes. As I leave Gumnut Road, Cherrybrook with my head just a little lower than when I arrived, I have to ask myself, “What exactly do I do?”


Mum, if you’re reading this, thank you first of all – with all my heart – for believing in me. But just in case you’ve found yourself wondering what exactly you supported me through for 4 years of University, and what on earth I’ve been doing since, let me try to nut it out for you.


I (and when I say I, I mean we – the graphic design community as a happy whole) – make things happen. Think of me if you will as a chef. What I’m aiming to do is create a beautiful, sophisticated meal – with a delightfully surprising and subtle harmony of flavours and a seemingly effortless but elegant presentation. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time making hamburgers with fries (gotta pay the bills somehow)… but even those meals I want to make special.


I don’t grow the vegetables. I don’t milk the cow or breed the chickens. I don’t collect the eggs and I don’t farm the wheat, or the sugar, or anything else. I’m there in the end stages, just before you sit down for your moment of pleasure. I find the perfect ingredients and bring them together to make something which I hope will make your insides sing.


I aim present to you visual beauty in an organised, creative, intuitive and intelligent fashion. And I call it design.

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