HAPPENINGText: Sam Brodie

British Graphic designer Vince Frost spoke next charming the crowd with his relaxed personality and incomparable creative output. Frost has recently relocated his family to Sydney where he will merge his London office with Australian firm Garry Emery Design creating Emery Frost Design.

Vince Frost and Sam Brodie

He presented a solid body of work from the last 6 years focusing on his art direction of literary journal Zembla, The Guardian and Big magazine. His work was characterised by its use of bold, playful layout, free-form typography, ヤgrunty’ photography and attention to detail. His work is timeless and he belongs amongst the list of great British designers such as Allan Fletcher and Neville Brody

Next up was Australian skin magazine Black and White presented by former art director Anthony Donovan. He showed numerous stills from issues 55-69 featuring predominantly naked woman set amongst the latest trends in typography. The whole magazine seemed somewhat indulgent and had a very plastic feel. I felt sorry for Donovan presenting this work, when you deal purely on an aesthetic level what do you say about it?

The final speaker was Jordi Crowes from Visual effects studio The Mill. With such a standout body of work including legendary spots for Playstation, Miller Extra-dry, Firestone and Toyota how could you go wrong? Easy, the dreaded technical difficulties. Sadly, it was a case of great content, bad presentation.

To conclude, it was the first of show of this kind in New Zealand and a sound beginning. The New Zealand participants should hold their heads high as there work was of a great standard. The venue was perfect, the speakers were interesting, the content was mixed but I know the organisers will be back again next time hopefully with more local talent.

The conference did reinforce my frustration with the graphic design profession.
They have a self-admitted identity crisis. Is this is because the majority of the industry is more focussed on self-expression, aesthetic decisions and trend watching to the extent that theyre no longer relevant. When a collection of stylists are held up as heroes of the industry to an audience comprised of students it sends a message that good design is about self-expression not communicating the clients needs.

Date: April 24th, 2004
Place: Bruce Mason Centre
Address: Cnr Hurstmere Road and The Promenade, Takapuna, New Zealand

Text: Sam Brodie
Photos: Kentaro Yamada

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