Picture the scene. Sea Design co-founder Bryan Edmondson and The Brand Union’s executive creative director Glenn Tutssel are huddled round a piece of exquisite artwork, glass of wine in hand, as excited as kids not just about the design – an abstract image featuring finely embossed ridges on art paper with insets of lime green and citrus yellow lines – but about the exceptional quality of the printing.
That was the scenario last Thursday evening when the two convened in a hostelry in London’s Clerkenwell to celebrate the completion of a joint project celebrating the brief life of Richard Murray. That project – a limited-edition book of visual tributes to Murray, the wonderfully eccentric Williams Murray Hamm co founder who died, aged 44, last spring – was all about collaboration. It was created by his mates in design and designed by Edmondson and Tutssel, with huge help from printing and finishing company Team Impression and paper manufacturer G F Smith.
But so too was Edmondson’s study in sharp citrus tones, printed so expertly by London printer K2 Screen. Edmondson, no lightweight in design terms, modestly brushed over his design to point out the quality of the craft work and his collaboration with the printer. He knows he couldn’t achieve his objective without that partnership.
Such is the way with great designers of all disciplines. They not only appreciate good craftsmanship, they revel in it as well. Jonathan Ive once confided, for example, that he’d spent months sitting alongside factory workers in China to help them understand the quality required for Apple products, instilling in them a sense of pride in their part in the process.
Meanwhile, the Wim Crouwel show at London’s Design Museum demonstrates what can be achieved when a creative maestro blends craft with design – something visitors to next week’s Milan fair are likely to experience in the high-end furniture and products displayed there.
The demise of craft skills – and craft training – has been talked about at length in Design Week’s pages (and rightly so). Creativity should go hand in hand with great execution, with mutual respect a given for all collaborators in the project.
The importance of craft is something we should instill into the minds of the new generation of talents as they prepare to graduate – and it is something that should be high on the agenda of those currently rethinking design education. But designers of all ages should share the passion of the likes of Edmondson and Tutssel for a job well done.
Meanwhile, back in the Clerkenwell hostelry Edmondson and Tutssel sampled a surprisingly good – they said – English white, while I stayed Continental, albeit it with an Austrian number.