Recently, I’ve found myself returning to the inspiration that really opened my eyes during my development years as adesigner. These development years established how I view design now, what I regard as good design and what I find aesthetically pleasing.
Note: I define development years loosely as late high school when I tailored my education by selecting graphic and design based subjects, through to leaving university.
After sitting down and really thinking about how I absorbed so much of this type of inspiration, and looking over a lot of my recent work, I realised that I have come full circle to what I originally aimed to create as a student – though with a little more tact and knowledge this time round. 😉
I found this extremely interesting to think that what I found inspiring over a decade ago still defines and drives much of what I do, how I design, and who I am today.
Here is a round up of inspiration that I absolutely devoured ( and still do today ), with some thoughts on how these influenced me.
The Suisse / International Style
Easily the biggest influence in my life. Although I never recognised it as Suisse / International, this grid based, typographically heavy style immediately caught my attention and was has forever changed the way I view the world – there is a reason why this style has held through a hundred years of sometimes horrible and tacky design trends.
Another massive influence on a young Ryan. Movement Magazine was the exact opposite of what that surf industry was at the time. Most magazines around this period featured horrible drop shadows, generic and tacky font choices, and cheap photoshop filters as a design base – not only did this draw away from the photography and content presented, but it gave the magazines of this era a very disposable quality.
Movement Magazine was the counterpoint to all this. It featured an extremely clean, minimalist, and typographically driven layout. I spent hours not just reading the articles and viewing the images, but just taking in and absorbing the style and feel that the magazine conveyed. This was probably my first experience with a product that was all consuming ( aside from Lego ).
Monster Children Magazine
Another magazine that I still can not wait to receive each quarter. This was in a similar vein to Movement Magazine – extremely clean, minimalist, and typographically driven, but branching more into the art and free form side of things. They would – and still do – take a very suisse / international layout and break it to create a unique and individual style.
Interior & Industrial Design
I put this influence down to my Visual Communications & Design teacher in high school. She came from working at Holden ( the
Australian car manufacturer ) and opened my eyes to interior, industrial and product design. Although primarily a branding and print designer, I can happily look at industrial and interior design and immediately feel the need to create.
This influence is a bit more obvious ( because every designer looks up to Dieter Rams ), but I became aware of Rams and his ten principles of good design through industrial design. His style of design, and what he created throughout the 1960’s for Braun, is still relevant today.
Looking back through these influences, how I design now, and the current state of design ( generally speaking ) I can see that design is maturing ( back ? ) to an era of cleanliness and minimalism. Web design would be a prime example of this with most well designed sites featuring excellent use of photography and typography while moving well away from the tacky effects and treatments that dominated the industry in the 90’s and 00’s.
I think that this return to the basic design elements and principals is one for the better and will allow us to create products that stand a greater test of time – we only need to look at what Apple has done over the past decade to see that cleanliness and minimalism is extremely effective when concerning the customer and their experience when using the product.
Notes & Sources