Thursday, 3 December 2009

Hamish Muir

Hamish Muir started the lecture by telling us he left art school 30 years ago. That's pretty amazing - he was a practising designer about 10 years before I was even born! I guess there were far few designers then, and a lot less competition. 'Now anyone with microsoft word calls them self a graphic designer'. He had a pretty amazing education in Switzerland an the Basil school of Art and Design. We've had so many influential, a-lister designers come to talk to us - Peter Saville, Adrian Shaugnessy etc. - we're so lucky to get this insight into a whole design era.

So Muir worked with factory records, before starting his own company Octavo with Mark Hott and Simon Johnston. Their ideals were working together, on the same briefs, at the same time which sounded like a great foundation.

I'm not sure I really got the idea of no ideas within the design though. Maybe it is because I don't work that way at all, I don't really see the point in communication if there isn't any message. I suppose it was refreshing to look at design as just form and rules which dictate the visuals, but I couldn't help thinking doesn't that get a bit boring after a while? I don't like rules much - sometimes maybe sticking to them and making them on purpose is good, but other times ignoring them is good too. I appreciated the idea that sometimes the best creative work comes out of being restricted and not having much, 'sometimes when you can do anything, you mess up'. That is totally true.

I did like the work they'd done which reacted with the environment. Absolutely loved the idea of water soluable ink which changes when it begins to rain. They said they never used that idea, and I'd really love to explore the possibilities of something like this. This really relates to the things Hamish was saying about their first computer work that has now become obsolete.

'Print is not dead, it still exists in physical time and space. Digital can become obselete and unretrievable as software becomes outdated'

It's a kind of fascinating topic to think about - all the paintings and artifacts that have physically lasted for hundreds, thousands of years, and yet some technologies that were ground breaking and revolutionary and changed the way we live, become completely lost within 20 years. It's funny how certain techniques lasted for millenniums, and now we change everything in just a few years.

'When you work on your own you get lazy, you are limited to your own expectations'

ah wise words. This is another thing I like about working with other people, the validation of your ideas and the ability to push them and advance then that I don't think you get when you work on your own.

I think this was another great lecture, a nice insight into the history of graphic design in the years before we were born, a totally different design perspective than my own, and it really got me brimming with ideas!

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