Inspired – David Sudlow

The mind has a way of controlling memory, and I find that it is early memories that reveal themselves as significant influences on, and inspiration in, later life.

I have what I will call a ‘recurring National Geographic magazine memory’. This magazine seems to pop up in so many memories from when I was growing up, but it feels more like an accumulation of recollections rather than any single memories.

The magazine’s iconic yellow border and its distinguishing, eye-catching use of photography on the covers etched themselves into my developing visual awareness. The photography and photo-journalism introduced me to new countries, new cultures and new animals, and to geography, history and politics. Its photographic editorials and powerful storytelling embedded a sense of discovery and exploration.

Its use of photography introduced me to the power of images, and it is still a source of reference when it comes to my design work for museums and exhibitions. I turned to it when researching for the recent exhibition on graphic design that we did for the Great North Museum in Newcastle upon Tyne. Its Living Planet gallery demanded careful curation and imaginative three-dimensional editorial design, and the use of photography played a key part. Luckily, it’s in my nature not to throw things out, so I had very handy reference material to refer to.

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