You can’t judge a book by its cover, unless you’re just judging the cover itself. Coralie Bickford-Smith designs book covers for Penguin, and her works are as intriguing as the stories they protect. Check out this interview at design:related, as she talks about her education, inspiration, and working at Penguin.
Her key “aha” moment in her growth as a designer, “Stop designing and start playing!”
What was it like teaching with Wendy Chapple at the London College of Communication?
CBS: It’s been brilliant to have someone to talk to obsessively about the process of creating stuff. As Wendy is also a printmaker/artist, she comes from a different angle. Working with students has brought out a new side of me. I really enjoy seeing where they are coming from and the potential they have as designers. I try to demystify the creative process, and make the students more confident about it. Maybe that’s my own confidence issues surfacing, but, I think it’s good practice and everyone can get out of the their comfort zone and push themselves, especially as students.
I love your poster that says “Stop Designing Start Playing.” Can you elaborate on this ideology?
CBS: That came out of the teaching and was a collaborative project with Wendy Chapple. It was a way to get the students to free up their creative processes and really explore as widely as possible around a brief before focusing in on a particular solution. The temptation is always to take the constraints of the end product as a starting point as well as an end point. That shuts off so many avenues of exploration. What Wendy and I are trying to encourage is a period of free association (almost), of having fun with ideas and processes, and getting comfortable with the idea that although 90% of what you produce in this period will be discarded, it will lead to places you wouldn’t necessarily have reached directly, and the finished product will benefit as a result.
What advice do you have for future designers?
CBS: Keep enjoying the process, experiment and have fun. If you are in college get the most out of your tutors, they have all this information that needs to be squeezed out ,and it’s your job to learn as much as you can.
Keep working at it. I was really pushed by my tutors at university. There were times when I wanted to give up and felt I did not have it in me and they made me keep on … which frustrated me at the time, but when I saw the final product printed of course I was glad.
For the rest of this interview, visit design:related.