Harry Pearce – D&AD president’s lecture

I’ve been into Harry Pearce’s work since seeing him talk about 3 years ago at the Design Museum as part of the Alan Fletcher retrospective. So being a massive fan of Mr Pearce I jumped at the chance to go see this lecture the other night, which turned out to be even more of a treat when THE Peter Gabriel joined him on stage to talk about their collective work for the charity Witness. (Check out the link at the bottom to see more on that). Pearce stated how he has worked for 18 years, completely free of charge on this project. This is great inspiration for us all I think, rather than just donating money to charities we should use our communication skills to further their appeals.

Witness is a very topical charity for us communicators as its main focus is on visual communication. It centers around the idea that we can capture the truth of events by filming and photographing them, we can all act as social commentators and by doing this we remove the spin and bias and get the truth out there. Just like the concept behind IndyMedia.

Amongst discussing his life’s work Pearce also brought up some other interesting points. He talked enthusiastically about collaboration, which seems to be a buzz word in the industry at the moment, and excites me very much. This is something we are exercising within this collective, especially in the run up to our show. It is great to see how the whole concept of ‘superstar’ graphic designer has been replaced by an understanding that we all have different strengths and if we build on this we can collectively achieve far better things TOGETHER.

I think most people left the lecture pleasently surprised by the way the talk veered off towards the spiritual when Pearce unleashed his inner Budda. His point was that nothing should be wasted, that every creative thought we have should be recorded for use at a later date including dreams. Infact he even admitted how influenced he was by his dreams, how he wakes up every morning and records them in his sketchbook and how the Anish Kapoor identity for the RA exhibition was completely conceived in a dream. Not sure how this all works with our modernist lead learnings about design process and appropriateness but it is very interesting to think about design from another angle. Perhaps we all need to open up our minds a little more and take inspiration from the subconscious… anyone for an LSD aided brainstorming session?

Check out the Design Week blog for Ms Relph-Knight’s take on the evening.


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