Unbelievable to be living through this? No, it’s believable. I believe it, the way you wake up in the middle of the night on a trans-Atlantic flight and believe: I am 35,000 feet above sea level, moving at tremendous speed through freezing air.
These Uber rides, these night lights, the dawn of the sky… this quiet time is my time. Sometimes when we’re driving, I feel as though I am sinking into the deepest part of my life. I sit there without having to think about anything in particular, except the song humming on the radio and the exact shade of green amongst the trees — how the rain falls so hard here, and as I perched by the roadside in my soaking wet clothes, it occurred to me that I already love it. I don’t think about anything except these small intricacies and by thinking about nothing, it’s simultaneously like thinking about everything.
We made it, baby. We’re cruising along in an Uber whilst my head rests between your knees. I love this city. I never want to get used to it. There are no real reasons to pretend: I want every last moniker of normalcy. Leave the window unlatched. Lend me a towel. Let’s just go home at the end of the night… These Uber rides. They’re just for me, bridging together the gaps between light years and uncertainty.
And so you see, driving back from Mendes, I let the song play out in full. And there was no lamentation. It came to me instead, a quiet gratitude. How lucky I am to have been held like that. And yes, I wanted to be understood. Cosmically, even, scientifically, down to every last molecule. But perhaps mostly on a soul level. It could be yet to come.
It all came flooding back — each thing that I couldn't have known that has consequently led me to this moment of peace. And if I didn't know that then, what might I not know now? Though the world is very big, sometimes it feels strangely small to me. But I would like to believe in other infinities.
"I employ the concept of intimacy as a way to develop a “political economy” of intimacies, by which I mean a particular calculus governing the production, distribution, and possession of intimacy. This understanding unsettles the meaning of intimacy as the privileged sign of liberal interiority or domesticity, by situating this more familiar meaning in relation to the global processes and colonial connections that are the conditions of its production."
Divorce the Desire/Pressure for Proximity to "Big Names" — firstly, it won't necessarily make you happy. Secondly, focus on yourself and the work instead, the types of creative communities that you want to cultivate and the people who are making that kind of work. Clout is momentary and feeds the ego, which is also something to divorce further from.
Guard Your Naivety — I think it's an interesting time to be a creative right now particularly within the design industry. I feel a real sense of flux and with the pandemic as a catalyst, that perhaps we are heading towards a real shakeup and a "genuine" restructuring, hopefully deviating from this really homogenous sense of "clean" design.
Sometimes I feel frustrated with design — saturation, overexposure, so many images, trends trends trends that all look the same! Cool and slick and beautiful but ultimately the same.
I want to hold on to that intangible sense that I had when I was a child or before I became more trained in these disciplines, "the original naivety". While I always want to be immersed in the latest work and to be abreast of broader developments in my industry, I think a lot about how important it is that we differentiate. After all, wasn't that the initial point? To distinguish one thing from another?
Differentiation in the end product relies on differentiation across all aspects of the process. We need our own, individual sources, we each need to dig deeper, to tap into our personal experiences and perspectives to draw unique correlations, and to stop caring about "being cool" — I think this could help develop divergent strands of work for a more interesting industry. Obviously there are systemic changes that need to happen, but guard the original naivety — the reasons why you started, the reasons why you feel 'x' is stupid or not good enough or whatever. It's this, what we've got inside of us, that differentiates us. I don't want to lose that as I notice some of my recent work seems to be manifesting through that streamlined lens and I feel like I'm becoming "a better designer". According to who and what?
Guard Your Naivety 2020
Less Is Often More — when I first started designing, I was drawn to everything that was overtly expressive. Bright, clashing colours, display typefaces, Brutalist design, everything that was where it shouldn't be. And I will always have an affinity with this nor do I want to lose the original naivety as I sometimes worry I am being streamlined by overexposure to "clean, mainstream design".
However, following on from the importance of typography and perhaps now leading into composition, simplicity can be so beautiful, so striking, so memorable. It's harder, for a maximalist like me to achieve this balance. I always feel the need to go big and bigger, but stripping back some design, making sure each element earns its place is also opening up a new realm for me. Of simplicity.
As we move forward, I'd like to think more about how simplicity can still be evocative rather than the soulless sans-serif vibe that often permeates.
The Importance of Typography — the more that I study designs, spend hours poring over portfolios and studios and work, honing my own personal palette — the more I see the importance of typography, to the point of make or break. A great typographic choice is enough alone to carry the work.
It loops back to research, putting in the time, not continually going with old favourites or following what is on trend. Research is very time-consuming, I will admit, as is foundry-hunting and collecting individual typefaces for my own personal canon. But it is worth it: you can't build upon a shoddy foundation. And so, typography.
The Importance of Research — it's all too tempting to just hop on the computer and start designing things. Since I am inspired constantly by the most arbitrary little details, I have a constant stream of mini-concepts, mostly ironic. I think this sense of play has been good for my experimentation but lazy for digging deep. It's like in my writing workshops: how easy it was to churn out poems, pop songs, that kind of thing. But to write one stanza like a gutpunch? That is what I'm trying to develop here and it is infinitely harder.
I know that when I put in the work to research, to encounter other resources and dig deeper — even if the work doesn't end up or look that different, it is somehow better. Smart thinking, interrogation, RESEARCH. It's so important, making each thing intentional, even if your viewer or consumer does not know why.