Grant's Design Hero

We've been asking our team who their design heroes are, and of course, the first to go is our creative director Grant!

Selecting a personal ‘Design Hero’ is almost as challenging as choosing a favourite book, music track or movie - it all depends on context. I've chosen one, but can’t reveal who it is without first sharing the names of those that almost made it too. So here goes…

As a keen typographer, first in my consideration set is the inspirational Jamie Reid whose ground-breaking designs for The Sex Pistol’s ’Never Mind the Bollocks’ and ‘God Save The Queen’ virtually created the visual language of punk, leading to the punk style becoming an important feature of the Post-Modern movement.

Next in the frame (perhaps predictably, and quite literally, when considering his film work) is the incomparable American designer Saul Bass who greatly influenced the graphic design community and the movie industry with work that re-invented the way we view design. Some of his early work from the 50’s still feels contemporary today, such as the opening credit designs for Otto Preminger’s ’The Man with the Golden Arm’ and Hitchcock’s ’North by Northwest’, ‘Vertigo’ and ‘Psycho’ and later Martin Scorcese’s ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Cape Fear’ and ‘Casino’. He also created some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America including the original AT&T ‘bell’ logo (in 1969) and the later’ globe’ logo (in 1983) and even Kleenex (all iconic designs not to be sneezed at!) They're are all designs that stand the test of time, designed with longevity in mind aimed at building recognition and encouraging loyalty from customers.

Being a sucker for typography, I can’t help but include Lauren Hom a young Detroit-based designer and hand lettering artist whose motto (which she had tattooed on her arm when she was 23 years old) is “Work hard, snack often”. She has applied her hand lettering skills to brands such as Winsor & Newton, Starbucks, Google, Adobe and AT&T and shares her learnings through online courses also offering free resources on her blog.

So now to the big reveal…my design hero is the multi-award wininning Peter Saville. Arguably best known for his work with Factory Records and his iconic album cover for Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ - an astrological diagram of a dying star amid a black abyss - which in a revolutionary piece of design thinking, omitted the title, band name and song credits. 40 years after its creation, this image of a pulsing, wave-like stack of raw data has helped the album and band ascend to the status of pop-culture mythology. Saville has also designed for Burberry, Selfridges, EMI, Christian Dior, John Galliano and Stella McCartney becoming Creative Director of the City of Manchester and designing the England football team home shirt along the way. 

What’s the most valuable thing I've learned from him? Probably the value of cultural continuum and how juxtaposing the past with the present can add layers of value and emotional depth to even the most contemporary design.

Image: Unknown Pleasures album artwork for Joy Division designed by Peter Saville