Raising my Games.

So I haven’t written for the past couple of weeks; it has been a busy time at University.

Two weeks ago, a group of us took a trip to London to visit the ‘This is’ exhibition, at the Conningsby Gallery in London’s West End. The exhibition was put on by the previous third years at UCS. Having been to the private view it was really good to go and see the work of the students who have recently graduated, in October. It was a time to consider where I may be in the future, looking at how the show was exhibited and getting to talk to those exhibiting was really interesting. Also the thought that I will be in the same situation next year when formulating the graduate show; my portfolio and my personal brand as I look to the future. I wait to see what it holds but this experience lead to remind me that I will be doing this in only matter of months.

Among the other things we also visited the Jewish Museum London in Camden to see the work of the designer Abram Games. His work spanned over the 20th century; he designed from pre-war up until his death in 1996. His work was clearly ahead of his time with such a simple professional philosophy:

“Maximum meaning, minimum means.”

This ability for any designer whether it be one just starting out, or one that has been in the industry for many years following such a clear way of working is one to aspire to when designing. His ability to encapsulate so much meaning in simple concepts allows for wide spread understanding for most of the work he released. His work is well known from his time working at the war office, where he was named the official war poster artist, the only man to get such a title. Even though he had the complete control and was liked by the war office, there are some examples of his work that were banned and shunned as they upset the government officials around the time.

Abram Games Stamp 2014

Abram Games Stamp 2014

As the exhibition charts his life in design, looking at everything from the roughs he created to the final posters that were released, it was clear from what I saw that he had control in everything he did when designing. Take the Guinness poster for example. The confidence to propose something that was so simple that also split the company’s name had a lot of guts. The simplistic mark that he has used for the poster, just allows the whole concept to be strong. Even though he worked with such confidence, Games said in 1996, “There is so much to learn that I consider myself a beginner”.

I suppose even though I have been at university for the past three years, I know there is so much to learn.   I have a handle on the basics and maybe some more intermediate elements of design, but I know I don’t have all of the answers. I notice this when in the process of creating work, I always show a willingness to learn those new skills. It’s not about noticing the benefits straight away, as I know that I may reap the rewards in the future.


Guinness poster 1956

Considering the whole experience in relation to my own practice, it has challenged my own way of working and allowed me to scrutinise what I do as a designer, both when working as an individual and as part of a group. Often the case is that when I design I can dress it up a lot, adding too much information to the ever increasing message we are trying to get across. Over the past three years, the notion to ‘keep it simple’ has been said multiple times, and this is something I remind myself when starting to design for a new brief; I very rarely do so when I get further on in the process.

You may ask why is the post called ‘Raising my Games’? Well I suppose the whole experience of looking at Abram Games’ work has inspired my thinking; my working style and most of all challenged me to raise my game in the sense that, as I look to the previous third years’ work, along with the work I do now, it might be a bit daunting but that I will be where they are in a year’s time.

To see more work more of Abram Games’ work, check out his website: http://www.abramgames.com/bb.htm

For more Information: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29618289

Games. N and Webb.B (2013) Abram Games Design Woodbridge: Antique Collectors’ Club Ltd

©  2014 Matt Finch. All rights reserved.


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