Blog – Creative Front Futures 12.03.14

Later this month I am giving a masterclass (italic-bold-underline) at the Creative Front Futures event in Cambridge.
My presentation will be on the value of research – what it is, who it’s for, and what’s in it for you. Here’s my quick guest-blog written for the Creative Front website:

If you visit our website and look up in the top right hand corner, you will see a small line of text which reads:
APROPOS-BLOG is an ongoing record of influences, experiences, observations and ideas which inform studio work…

I write a blog to record my experiences and self initiated projects – it is Research. By Research I mean the obvious stuff like visiting galleries, trade shows, conferences and hack events. But I also mean experimenting, making things, doing something for the sake of doing it.

Research has helped me to punch above my weight and work with international clients on big projects. It has formed the backbone of commissions for Reebok, Helly Hansen, Musto, Clarks and Salomon.

Research is the cornerstone of the creative process.
NO research = NO ideas.
Consequently, designers starved of the inspiration that research brings get their ideas from strange places –

Gemma Correll’s Pugs Not Drugs continues to be copied by designers around the globe…

M&S products very similar to Louise Verity’s designs…

Design writer Alice Rawsthorn recently noted that Liberty’s window display featured copies of Hunting and Narud’s Copper Mirror Series. Liberty quickly apologised and installed the originals…

In advertising it amounts to ripping off art films and YouTube hits –
e.g. Honda’s COG advert which was “inspired” by Peter Fischli and David Weiss 1987 art film Der Lauf der Dinge. The film was well known in the advertising industry, and its creators had been approached several times with offers for the right to use the concept, but had always declined.

For more examples, and there are a lot, take a look at –
Also ACID website for what you can do about it –

So that’s why you need research – by getting involved you raise your profile, make useful contacts, demonstrate your credibility to clients, get inspired, anticipate trends, and learn valuable information that materially helps you do the job of designing and consequently run a successful business.

Gareth is a graduate of the Royal College of Art. As senior designer at Neville Brody’s Research Studio in London he worked with Macromedia, Deutsche Bank, Salomon and designed the award winning GuardianUnlimited website. In 2000 he started APROPOS – a graphic design studio now based in Saffron Walden. He has worked with Channel 4, LOVEFiLM, Faber&Faber, Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, Clarks, Musto and Helly Hansen. He is a visiting lecturer at London College of Communication and has exhibited at the London Design Festival and Photographer’s Gallery.