Not Not Smiling

Not Not Smiling

26th February 2021 — London

I had the pleasure of attending this International Women’s Day event hosted by DesignStudio in London on Thursday night last week. Run by Designer Amelia Leuzzi and Marketing Manager Dervla O’Shea  (who did a stellar job). Not sure what to expect when I turned up, I was struck by how casual and approachable the vibe at the event was. Arriving not knowing anybody I left having made a bunch of new friends.

The line-up consisted of Designer and Art Director Caterina Bianchini, Fashion Designer Sadie Clayton and Art Director and Set Designer Sandy Suffield. An eclectic, multi-disciplinary and fascinating trio.

Caterina took us through her process designing posters and artwork for various clients and campaigns. Her poster work spans clients such as Red Bull Music Academy, Levis, Sub Club, Boiler Room and more. They are very expressive and free, an entirely different style to her other branding and packaging work, she says. It’s an opportunity to do “basically what the hell I want”, often quite typographic, and she always tries to capture a sense of the music/artist/event that she is designing for. Abandoning rules or as she says, making the type look somewhat “shit”, adds lots of quirk and personality to the artwork. She has found that presenting the client with multiple concepts, helps them figure out what they actually want and she’s often surprised by what they go for.

“you’re a pretty good designer… for a girl”

Earlier in her career someone told her that “you’re a pretty good designer… for a girl”. This lead to a discussion around how you deal with that sort of feedback (if you can even call it that). For Caterina it took weeks before she regained confidence in her work and found it hard to sit down to design. She said eventually, perseverance, and a realisation that she loved doing what she was doing, and that someone else’s opinion shouldn’t change that, was how she got through it.

“Just knock on that door!”

Sadie Clayton is a fashion designer who specialises in making garments incorporating copper. These extraordinary pieces are both mind boggling and wearable. She’s an unstoppable force who’s can-do attitude, I hope, inspired everyone to email all their idols suggesting they “collaborate”. “Just knock on that door!” She has worked on projects with/for Adobe, Gigi Hadid, Swarovski Tate Britain, Art Basel Miami and many more. Last year she collaborated on augmented reality piece and is potentially making work for a robot? Daring and experimental she’s someone to watch. She believes that you don’t need to feel constrained by your field, graphic, fashion, interior – as a designer you can be as diverse as you want.



“Your best work comes out of working with mates”

Sandy Suffield has a career that would make anyone jealous. Having worked at places such as, Wolf Ollins, Pentagram and Apple. She has maintained a passion for her various side projects, often featuring found objects and people. Admittedly somewhat of a horder – she’s collaborated with friends throughout her career and continue to do so. Playfulness and creativity really comes through in here image making. If you have and idea, you just have to do it, she says, and quotes Milton Glaser: “Your best work comes out of working with mates”. Her career advice includes: Don’t waste an idea, mix business with pleasure and call bullshit if you smell it.

We walked away feeling inspired and empowered and quite giddy from the karaoke dance break intermission led by Amelia and Dervla!

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#events #design #graphicdesign