I don’t know if graphic design is a poor cousin of advertising. I personally think graphic design is a lot more interesting because the person involved has more freedom. So if anything, I would have thought the Art Director is the poor cousin to the graphic designer. First of all, the Art Director needs other people to do what they want to do. Usually Art Directors need photographers. Very few Art Directors take their own photographs. The Art Director needs a copywriter. Again, few Art Directors work without a writer. No, if anything, it’s the other way around.
I’m intrigued by the way you sit side by side, but with your screens facing inwards so that each can see what the other is doing. Lots of designers hate showing there developmental work, do you recommend this as a good way to work?
Kjell Ekhorn: It is a matter of trust – when you work with another designer on that level it’s much more like how advertising teams work where you actually share everything. You can be working on something and be completely stuck but then the other person can see the possibilities. But if you do that with a designer who you’re not in tune with, it obviously doesn’t work at all. When we’re sharing work we know that it doesn’t go any further than between us – it’s our work moving towards something better. We wouldn’t like to show other people our development work but between us we know that it’s a stepping stone. It’s difficult to find a relationship like that, to find somebody who you are compatible with. So I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, but if you find someone like that then it’s a great way of working. Jon Forss: Being able to glance over a screen is part of the magic of it – so we’ll have to ensure that when we’re passing files over in future that they’re in a raw state, not too polished.
Sometimes I think that Massimo Vignelli may be using too many typefaces, not too few. A true fundamentalist requires a monotheistic worldview: one world, one typeface. The designers at Experimental Jetset have made the case for Helvetica. My partner Abbott Miller had a period of life he calls “The Scala Years” when he used that typeface almost exclusively. When the time is right, I might make that kind of commitment myself.
Tibor was double-crossing me! He wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t stop him. The more I protested that the game was over, the more he goaded me. Finally, I walked off the stage in frustration, as genuinely pissed as we had planned to pretend to be.
5. Michael Johnson ponders upon design education, new hiring and whether a cleaner could supply the best idea:
Personally I’ve always adhered to the Miles Davis approach – always hire people younger than you and better than you. I never really went for that “here’s my idea now work it up” bully-boy school of art direction – the best idea gets worked up, whether it was done by the cleaner or scribbled by the placement. (Actually I haven’t yet had a cleaner supply anything close to a decent idea, but I live in hope).