Keep it Simple, Do it Well

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As a wet-behind-the-ears sixteen year old, recently freed from grammar school, as they didn’t want me cluttering up the sixth form, I trudged up the hill from Hereford railway station to the Art College at the top.

Because I had been a pain in the bum school pupil, I came away with the bare minimum O levels to enable me to get there, but not do a foundation course. That was for the cleverer people who had paid attention in geography, instead of drawing maps of fictitious places. So having also been a pain in the bum primary school pupil who could read before she got there, I decided books were my thing and I was going to do illustration, so enrolled on a graphics and illustration course.

Turns out I was also a pain in the bum graphics student, as I fulfilled the year’s briefs in the first term… and having resorted to my favourite boredom relieving tool of disruption, it was decided I should do the Foundation Course as I would be more challenged. I look back at this now with a wry smile. I was as a child/young person, the sort that would be my favourite sort of pupil when I became a teacher…

That was a bit of a detour, as what I really was going to write about was graphic design.

I’m doing a little bit at the moment, and I’m really enjoying it. I do a bit here and there, usually for my own projects, because I am always a pain in the bum client for anyone else. I wouldn’t want to do it all the time, but I’m finding that all my old obsessions are coming back to haunt me.

I have very particular requirements when it comes to font choice, alignment, layout, colour…

and what I find is that I like it if it looks like no one has actually designed it. Plain, simple, clean lines. Perfect alignments, even borders… I can usually spot something that is out, a mile off!

I cannot bear twiddly bits.

As I reflect on this, I realise these tastes manifest themselves across my practice:

I like crisp line drawings.

I like simple stitching (see a previous post about not doing fancy embroidery)

I’m not keen on unnecessary embellishments.

And as I reflect further, I realise I don’t like frilly songs either. I love that editing process of stripping things back, and building up again… questioning what is added…

I’ve just sent my preliminary/draft designs to Nicki Kelly for her perusal…

As a design for a logo for a project for visually impaired people, to be used by a visually impaired project manager, I thought I had designed something simple. A circle inside a square with white text on a black ground. Nicki’s feedback stripped it back further “Can it be a simpler font, that one is a bit blurry? And can it just be a square without a circle?”

Yes it can.

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