I was once described as a ‘scientific determinist’. For a designer, this cold, logical summation was unsettling, but it occurred to me that I have always been split between academic and creative pursuits – I flunked A-level biology, maths, and physics, because I was busy drumming in my first band.
At art college, I kept my ‘science explains everything’ ideas to myself. However, I now realise how the conflict between the two sides of my brain has greatly influenced my work. I find it fascinating how science influences design -for example, the way it plays a part in explaining why certain colours sit well together. In this way, science helps to explain not only how our emotions are affected by information from our senses, but also how art and design is constructed to stimulate them.
At Dorling Kindersley, we employ science and art in equal measure. The information in our books is highly organised and easy to access, but also extremely visual, to stimulate and to ‘show you what others only tell you’.
In the end, though, it’s not science, per se, that I find inspirational – it’s the way humans interact with, and interpret, the world around them and how they react when we reflect it back at them through our work.
Phil Ormerod – Dorling Kindersley