Student Answers 02: My inspirations

There’s no real answer to this: I take inspiration from everywhere and anywhere, particularly where type is doing something it isn’t meant to be. For example, a misprinted poster; peeling paint; reflections in windows; faulty signs… all these are techniques that can be used to tell a story or convey meaning. I think to really understand type you have to understand language too, so reading is vital.

In terms of designers whose work I admire, I’m a child of the 90’s and, as such, I’m particularly drawn to the work of David Carson, Vaughn Oliver, Stefan Sagmesiter, and Tomato etc. These are guys who were physically dismembering typography; showing you the guts and presenting you with sinewy, energetic compositions. This is something I try to bring through in my work and is directly at odds with much of the vanilla typography that has become so popular today.

I have also always been a fan of design where wit plays a part and where there is a reward for the viewer who sticks at it; such as the Fed Ex arrow etc. Designers like Saul Bass and Alan Fletcher who had a ‘symbolise and simplify’ mantra have also been particularly inspirational, along with James Victore and Paul Sahre.

Is imitation the highest form of flattery? No, it’s absolutely not. It’s very lazy. If someone set out in their career and said, ‘I’m going to try and do work like Craig Ward’ I’d be really annoyed. That’s not to say I don’t want other people working with typography, I just think everyone has to find their own angle. Learn from other people for sure but don’t try and be them.