Marian Bantjes / Maryam Zafar

Hella Jongerius said “Design is not about products, design is about relationships,” a common theme in this industry. This semester has really opened my eyes to see how important it is to meet new people not only for jobs but also for project collaborations. Inspiration can come from anything or anyone, from a simple object to a top designer. Wednesday class touched upon all these themes with a TED talk by Marian Bantjes and a special guest, Maryam Zafar.

During class, we watched a TED talk by Marian Bantjes. She is a Canadian designer, artist, illustrator, typographer, and writer. Bantjes describes her work as “graphic art” because she incorporates fine art with the fundamentals of graphic design. Her presentation projected some interesting work, some which reflected back on the idea of not burning bridges. An example of this is her valentine hearts that she drew out as a token of appreciation for people she worked with. This was interesting to me because it’s an idea to some of the things we can do to keep a connection with a workplace; if future projects pop up, they might even call you back. Bantjes projects were made of unusual materials as well as using abstract shapes. An example of this is her sugar project for Stefan Sagmeister. From this, I was inspired to look up projects made from objects from our everyday life. The idea that stood up the most was creating a Christmas tree from plastic spoons and forks. This is not the first time I hear about doing a project with everyday items, previously I created a book cover from scratch and then took pictures to create a book cover. Another thing I found interesting is the questions she asks herself before designing; the questions that she asks herself are who the design is for, what does it say and what does it do. These questions are important to any designers so that the project can be successful. The final point that was interesting about Bantjes TED talk was to always find inspirations and spend time into something you’re passionate about.

Nelson Mandela said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done,” this quote reflects back to designers, completing a project can be such a satisfying feeling because its finally done. The process can be stressful, especially when ideas take time to come, but it all takes a little inspiration. That’s what the second part of the class was about. We had a guest speaker, Maryam Zafar. Zafar is a creative direct: digital strategy, branding and user experience for McCann. Her presentation touched various points that are relatable to our day to day routines. Something that stood out was when she suggested to always as questions. This is something that everyone needs to do, to ask questions and to also take initiative and act like a sponge when it comes to knowledge. Another important lesson is having work experiences; each and every work experience may not be the best but it’s worth adding a project to your resume. Like Zafar said, “make best of what you got,” do the job while you find something better. She also mentioned something that reflected back on Bantjes’ TED talk, and that is to always keep the door open between connections and connections can be made anywhere. Keeping the door open between connections can lead to a job in the future.

My inspirations come from a lot of things; Pinterest, YouTube, colleagues etc. Sometimes even a photo can spark an idea. I like being around other designers, because through their work they bring new ideas. Going forward I want to challenge myself to be more hands own, and built my own style using all the tools provided outside and inside the classroom.