Katherina Tudball, creative director at Superunion London and one of the speakers on the first day of the #Loeries2020 Creative Week, addressed visceral creativity. She said that during her time as a designer, there is one word that sums up her approach to creativity, and that is ‘ideas’.
‘What I mean is that conceptual thinking is at the heart of everything that I think of in terms of my approach to design,’ she said. Going back to being a student, there were a few books that were influential for her as she was starting out:
A Smile in the Mind by Beryl McAlhone. ‘This book introduced me to the idea that you could have visual ideas, that you could create clever connections with words and images that could really make a memorable connection with your audience, and I really started to love that way of working in graphic design.’
The other book, Problem Solved, was written by her first boss, Michael Johnson. ‘This was actually published shortly after I graduated and was already working for Johnson, and it was all about approaching design as a problem-solving exercise and then finding the ideas – these kinds of hidden gems and ways to solve those problems.’
She shared projects and different ways in which she sees a slightly more emotional side coming through in the approach to the work and the work itself. The first is Shakespeare’s Globe, a theatre and cultural centre in London on the South Bank of the Thames, that was about capturing the visceral nature of a real physical place. One of the things she particularly loved about this was the physicality of the project.
The next project is BBC2, a UK television terrestrial broadcast channel. The project was all about evoking moods and trying to put the viewer into a particular frame of mind. ‘BBC2 had this very iconic identity for 27 years and it was very much loved by the public and the design industry as a real classic of British broadcast design, so it was quite a scary project to undertake, but what we were trying to do was reflect what BBC2 is today, and that is the channel in the UK that commissions the most original content,’ she said.
‘The brief to us working really closely with BBC’s in-house creative agency, BBC Creative was to basically reflect that fact that BBC creates really stimulating content, and this was a super collaborative project. I guess trying to capture the spirit of a place that has so much history, that has so much storytelling behind it, that is messy and dynamic, and trying to kind of encapsulate that in a visual identity system that still works was the big challenge for the Globe. For BBC2, it was all about that great scope of human emotion that we all share and that can be expressed through abstract imagery and motion and sound in a way that can connect to anybody and kind of bypasses the kind of intellectual and rational side of our brain.’