“FUCKING SOULLESS”
the game.

THE TASK
Produce a quadriptych (four images) to illustrate your answer to each question above. Design your four images as a grid and save as one image. This is a relatively quick exercise but all final images must be considered in how they communicate and answer the questions. Your quadriptych should be posted onto the ideas wall to be shared with your coursemates. Please also email to your online tutors and module leader and post on your blog before the webinar.

Who are you? (Name, background, influences, what makes you you?)
What is it that you do? (Showcase a pivotal project or moment in your practice)
Where are you? (geographically and does this have an impact on how you work?)
Why Design? (What does design mean to you? What does it do?)

So my quadryptich design jumped around a bit. I was fairly set on doing something very minimal, type based or symbol based for this. The temptation to start illustrating or creating abstract pieces of “art” as a response to the questions Who, What, Where and Why am I, felt too cliche. If I’m completely honest with myself I think a minimal response is the best way of portraying a sense of being a little lost as a designer that I feel.

Keep reading to explore my rationale behind things. But on the face of it, I’m met with a dilmna: I don’t believe Graphic Design is art, so my workshop response needed to have a purpose. Yet my reasoning behind the minimalism was to show an intentional lack of depth to the answers. How could this quadryptich be both devoid of meaning and have a purpose at the same time?
That was when my partner chimed in in response to one of the designers talking about his work on the TV; “your industry can be so fucking soulless…” and that was it! a four card game (more on my passion for game design later) called “fucking soulless” that allowed you to explore your entire meaning behind your work in four cards. Who you are, what you’re doing, where you are and who it’s for.

I added a fifth “MAKING” card that would tie everything together. But realistically this could be replaced with “BUILDING”, “SAVING”, “TEACHING”, “LEARNING” and so on for whoever you are. We all feel like we’ve lost direction sometimes. So here’s a quick and easy game that will direct you in what you are doing today.

I also created language free variants depicted as symbols!

Exploring my initial ideas. I’ve often struggled with focussing on self-identity as having any importance to what I do as a designer… or realistically any of my creative expressions. I play guitar in a moderately successful rock band and this has never been about me – if anything focussing on me detracts from what is being created.
The same rings true for my design practice. I opted to name my freelance business “Mephisto’s Cafe” which aimed to separate any importance of who I was from the work I created. Perhaps as well, a decade of designing for other companies and in agencies has further instilled this importance. I think by this point, I consider namesake in design an exercise in ego.

This is how I eventually landed on the WHO? being the word: SOMEONE.

This theme carried through all the questions. Exploring what I do is very vague. I make board games, I make gig posters, I make record sleeves, photography, websites, animations, flyers, brand designs etc etc etc. So at that point, what is it I do? Whatever lands in my inbox, or whatever I feel like doing realistically. SOME SHIT.

Why kind of tied into this same answer too. I reflected on the answers in the case studies presented by the various designers (Intro Design, Sarah Bors, Regular Practice, Sam Winston and SomeOne) and I was struck by the extreme contrast in motivations from there’s to my own. Am I so jaded by the industry I love that I can’t see the self importance they injected into their work? Or should I just be better at “selling myself”? The answer as to why I work is honestly to pay the bills, and that doesn’t happen if I don’t do my work for SOMEONE ELSE.

That’s not 100% true though, I often work on projects because I want to, something I think will be fun, or something to keep me occupied.

Perhaps I should focus a little on my own motivations as well as my insistence on creating design for function and purpose.