visualising other voices

After our Design Walk (explain), I took the pictures I’d taken on the day and collaged these together with handwritten quotes from the first interview. The aim was to convey a flavour of the walk, the landscape, that it had been raining, how I got there.

I took a photo of the map at Scott Street, printed it and used that as a backing page for a pen drawing of the spot on the Fraser River where we’d chatted.

This is Sahil himself, and this picture sums him up: a warm and friendly person! I wanted to feature a picture of the designer himself and then overlay quotes in a photocopied, analogue way to avoid the A4 page, and traiditional Adone software – for now at least.

Before I started this course I had been experimenting with my version of neon writing – using el wire to replicate its effect at a smaller scale. I love the strangeness and loneliness that neon writing conveys – for me it captures the oddness and giddiness of coming to a new city. One of my works is below ‘giddy’. My aim is to ask Sahil to handwrite one of his quotes from the interview which I will then render in this neon-esque style. My aim is to play on the individual in the midst of a neon city, neon being one of the key typographical languages in many cities, but especially Vancouver.

Interview 2: Catherine Falk

This interview was carried out over the phone, it was a getting to know you conversation and should be followed up by a Design Walk.

Interview 3: Sarah Hay

This is my third interview and will be a stand alone as opposed to the two stage process. I’d anticipate in future that I would interview certain people a few times, to build more of a narrative.

Reflections so far

  • What is the connection between a person having a sense of place and this showing in their design output?
  • Can someone tell this or is this better seen by outside observers…so is gauging this better done by viewing their work ?
  • How would I gauge this? Do I have a sense of Vancouver? Not yet…so how would I tell this?
  • I think I can sense a different vibe in French graphic design but Vancouver specific is much harder for me to tell, so how do I recognise this in someone elses’s work? If I saw a range of independent design work fromVancouver designers would I sense a common theme?
  • I have the idea that great independent design is like fresh fruit sourcing. You have to get to know locals, find out the spots. What if is just as simple as asking lots of designers for local recommendations from their own backyard? Is it a matter of gauging if their work is influenced by sense of place? And then working out how to promote this wider?
  • Is what I am doing a form of Design Enthnography?

Sarah Hay

Walking along beside False Creek, a stunningly beautiful day with the grounded, calm, designer extraordinaire Sarah Hay. She was so clear in her values of mindfulness, calm and peace and living in harmony with the landscape. And when one of her favourite designers is Charlie, Whisky, Tango – a group based in Brooklyn – you might wonder what the connection is to Vancouver. The answer is simple: durable design made to last. And suddenly one aspect of Vancouver was clear. Yes the place influences local design, design thinking, the movement of sustainability in design. Not the same as the vibrant graphic design of Montreal but no less meaningful.


  • My impressions of Vancouver are forming around a city deeply affected by sustainability. The proximity of mountains and Pacific Ocean foreground the landscape here – and the outdoor opportunities it affords – and Emily Carr has drawn sustainable designers keen to be around a vibrant design group keen to change design for the better. I am going to diagram or trace or map or sketch / document the rhythms as I see them here, tuning in with nature as it happens and searching still for what graphic design means here. There is an aspect of independent cafe culture here and I need to tap into that. I wonder if the relaxed ( is that the right word?) vibe feeds that independence?
  • I think I need to be more specific with my enquiries. If I contacted graphic designers in Montreal, Asia or New Orleans and found distinct design, how would I celebrate and promote that – materially/visually etc

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.