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Two Halves // Daniel Britton and Hamish Muir

Written by
Helen Carney
Published date
09 November 2015

Two Halves is a regular feature spotlighting two people connected by London College of Communication.

Our aim is to showcase the conceptual intentions, deeper thinking and personal insights that come with the creative process.

DANIEL BRITTON

“As graphic designers we have the option to create something superficial, or solve a problem.”

• My name is Daniel Britton and I used to spend most of my time listening to or playing music (I had a sweet little set-up in my bedroom with turntables and mixers, so that when I had enough of design I would spend hours and hours mixing the stress away).

• These days, I barely have enough time to dress myself, so from when I wake up to when I pass out, it’s design and more design. The sweet days where I had time to myself are long gone!

• The best thing you can do is experiment in every aspect of design and gain a good understanding of each process within your field, find what you like and exploit each practice. For instance I am a graphic designer but I like woodwork, I like creating 3D as much as the 2D, so for me finding the wood workshop and incorporating that into my design was essential. Also looking back on the old processes like the xerox machine, screen print, letter press, book binding, drawing, photography; these are essential processes to understand if you want to create something beautiful, and you must see the value in each.

• My current project is on dyslexia – it hasn’t changed a great deal since Uni. I’ve applied some polish to it but it’s essentially the same. When I have more time I will make it a downloadable font and push it commercially (but again it’s not only finding the time, it’s now the money – things change a great deal when you leave Uni, all of a sudden your student loan is not there and if you don’t have parents to support you you are fucked!)

• I like to work on my own, I like the feeling of saying this is my work, this is 100% my idea, this project is an extension of me.

• Doing everything off your own bat is laborious and tiresome but I love the feeling of completing a project on your own. It’s a sense of satisfaction that not everyone gets.

• My work stems from problem solving… I only work on a project if it creates value, otherwise what is the point? As graphic designers we have the option to create something superficial, or solve a problem. What good is it to the world creating another chair or a new desk?

• In the world we are in today there are a million issues stretching across each culture and it is our job to try and raise awareness and fix them so as a society we can progress.

• I cannot tell you what I am working on, but I can tell you soon I will be developing my dyslexia typeface into a downloadable font.

• The dyslexia piece serves a purpose greater than me. Since it was featured in Design Boom, I have had untold amounts of e-mails from national magazines, or parents telling me now they are finally able to communicate properly with their child. One mum told me she was unable to understand her son, she could not understand what was wrong with him so she could not provide the correct help. Since seeing my typeface she said she finally gets it and she can now empathise with his situation, and now he is being addressed properly – how wonderful is that? And again for me this is graphic design.

Dan Britton is a graduate of BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design at LCC.

Visit Dan’s website.

HAMISH MUIR

“We need more specialists.”

• I have taught at LCC since 2001 shortly after closing 8vo, the graphic design studio I co-founded in 1985.

• I teach part-time on the BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design course, and with Paul McNeil, I am co-founder of MuirMcNeil.

• My activities in visual communication are focused on type, systems and language, which is more than enough to be getting on with. I never get bored working in this field; there are always new areas and approaches to explore.

• I’m not a great believer in ‘multi-disciplinary’, which in my view has been largely forced on designers by technology, expediency and a commercial environment that wants everything on the cheap, yesterday. We need more specialists.

• In late 2014 MuirMcNeil won a pitch to design the identity for LCC’s Summer Shows 2015. The modular typographic system we developed for Summer Shows has been extended, adapted and differentiated in its application for the PG Shows 2015 identity.

• (On working collaboratively versus a solitary approach) Always collaboratively. 8vo (1985–2001) operated as a collective; all the work was credited to the studio and not the individuals. MuirMcNeil (2009–) began as a project-based collaborative; Paul and I work closely together on each project undertaken by the studio.

• MuirMcNeil’s work is concerned with developing rules-based parametric constraints within which to work – we often try to find the edges / limits of readability and meaning to frame visual form.

• We are working on our next research-based / self-initiated project to follow up the type systems and posters MuirMcNeil have published over the last couple of years. It’s very much in the planning stages and I can’t reveal more at this time.

• [On the first piece of art he created] ‘A System for Representing Three-dimensional Objects Using Photography’ – a self-initiated final-year project (1979) from my BA course and despite the grandiose title, the only piece of work I didn’t throw away after four years at art school.

Hamish Muir