Over the past few years, the Irish design scene has gained traction both at home and abroad. Being design enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve been blown away by the sheer quality of what our peers are creating and we’re excited to see what the future holds. We’re going to take a look at the burgeoning graphic design scene and regularly showcasing some of our favourites.
Graphic design permeates many aspects of our lives, both seen and unseen, giving elegance to everyday objects and applications. Last year, Ireland celebrated ID2015, a year long event which explored and promoted Irish design in all fields both at home and abroad. Organised by The Irish Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in collaboration with other partners, the year aimed not just to showcase the immense creativity of Ireland’s designers, but also to raise the profile of Irish designers abroad, increasing demand and sales growth within the sector. With 2015 being the year of our Kickstarter, we were lucky to be involved in the year’s heightened promotion. An astounding array of exhibitions, showcases, promotions and artistic initiatives made this year a rousing success for us all, with over 2,000 designers and over 600 projects showcased. Plus, after the launch of a new Design Ireland website in November, and the upcoming International Creative Expo in the RDS, we’re excited to see what projects will come next.
Speaking of exciting projects, the 100 Archive also does a great job of showcasing prolific Irish design. 100 projects are chosen from a pool of submissions by a panel to be featured in that year’s archive. The archive quickly illustrates the prevalence of graphic design in everyday life, as well as displaying the outstanding creativity and unique style of many Irish artists. The archive showcases many strikingly bold and original projects - we highly recommend checking it out. Submissions for 2016 end in January, meaning we’re in for a treat when the new archive is revealed.
The IDI (Institute of Designers in Ireland) Awards 2016, titled DESIGN:RISING, provided yet another platform for exceptional Irish design to be recognised this year. Some standouts include WorkGroup, who were awarded best Logo Design and Website design and the ad agency Boys and Girls winning the Commercial Animation Category for its Three rugby ad ‘Butterflies’. We were lucky enough to have been shortlisted in the category Consumer Product in IDI’s 2015 awards and were greatly impressed by the talent and creativity on display this year.
So far, we’ve mostly talked about firms and exhibitions but creativity ultimately originates with the individual. A number of young graphic designers are also quickly making a name for themselves in the industry, both at home and abroad. Maciek Martyniuk, also known as Yo Magick, is an IADT graduate originally from Poland who uses typography to create psychedelic imagery. He also handled the successful rebranding of the Other Voices alternative music festival in Dingle.
Fatti Burke, also known as Kathi, (young graphic designers love their aliases) is an illustrator with a distinct, quirky style that is reminiscent of Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl’s illustrator, or Nick Sharratt, Jacqueline Wilson’s illustrator. You might recognise her work from Irelandopedia or the current euro saver menu in McDonalds. Fatti co-wrote Irelandopedia in collaboration with her father, John Burke, and the result is a distillation of Irish history and culture presented in a bold, modern style. The book is a perfect example of using Irish design to present Irish culture in an easy, accessible form, elevating the industry’s profile.
ID2015 set out with the purpose of raising the profile of Irish design both and home and abroad - it resolutely succeeded. 2016 continued that momentum, being another showcase year for innovative design and creativity. Undoubtedly, the industry will continue to thrive and we can’t wait to see what our peers will produce going into 2017.
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