I Used to be a Design Student

Cover

At the heart of new book I Used to be a Design Student, is quite a simple concept.

Authors Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou have asked 50 of their design friends and heroes to present two pieces of work – one from their student portfolio and one from their professional practice – and talk about how they relate to each other.

Student and professional projects from Andrew Stevens at Graphic Thought Facility
Student and professional projects from Andrew Stevens at Graphic Thought Facility

It’s a cute idea and pretty insightful, particularly when you get someone like Brian Webb, who discusses a 1966 poster design that involved shooting a TV screen (more complicated than it sounds, as he only had a couple of sheets of film and didn’t own a TV) and compares it to a 2009 poster project for which he used letterpress.

Brian Webb's student and professional poster projects
Brian Webb’s student and professional poster projects

The lesson he learned from both these projects? ‘An idea doesn’t have to be instant; it can sneak up and tap you on the shoulder.’

Interesting too to see Stefan Sagmeister comparing a 1984 student project in which he developed 20 different posters for a historic Viennese theatre, to his 2008 identity for Casa da Musica in Portugal. ‘Variations on a theme’, he says.

Stefan Sagmeister's 20 posters for a Viennese theatre, and identity for Casa da Musica
Stefan Sagmeister’s 20 posters for a Viennese theatre, and identity for Casa da Musica

As well as showcasing these projects, Phillippin and Kiosoglou have also asked each contributor a series of questions about their lives as students and their lives now – ‘What time did you wake up?’ ‘How many hours a day do you spend designing?’ ‘What’s your favourite food?’.

Thus we learn that Ken Garland has graduated from tomato soup to ‘gambas al aquilo’, Liza Enebeis has an over-riding love of Marmite, and the designers have put on an average of 5kg since leaving college (apart from Daniel Eatock, who still tips the scales at a frankly minuscule 54kg).

There’s also, entertainingly, a spread contrasting portraits of the designers today, with more fresh-faced pics of them as students. In fairness, most of them looked fairly dapper (with the exception of Sagmeister, who’s sporting an outrageous New Romantic quiff – he’s on the left-hand page, second row, third from the left).

Designers, then and now
Designers, then and now

I Used to be a Design Student, by Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou, is published by Laurence King priced at £17.95.

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