Speaker discusses artistic design in Brown Bag

By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
Columnist

The thought behind graphics is more important than the design of an image, according to a prominent graphic designer who spoke at the College on Friday, Feb. 17.

Craig Welsh, principal and creative director of Go Welsh designs and co-founder of Society of Design, spoke during the College’s Brown Bag lecture series in a speech entitled “Narrow Minded.” For Welsh, graphic design comes down to being single minded, but not in a closed-minded way.

Welsh speaks about the principles of graphic design. (David Colby / Photo Assistant)

Being narrow minded at Go Welsh means being meticulous. They strive to design simple, but effective graphics at the Lancaster, Pa., studio.

For example, Welsh read students a long quote by Eleanor Roosevelt and explained how to make the quote more single focused.

The end result was that the quote could be summed up by “Consider what has value. The whole point of life.”

Welsh’s design process focuses primarily on research. In his process, graphic design is 5 percent design, as in feeling you get from an image, and 95 percent design thinking, which is the strategy behind the art.

He said his interns are most surprised to learn that the creating doesn’t happen until about the fourth step of the project. Welsh is always looking for creative ways to ask speakers to appear at the annual conference. He illustrated his creative flow by explaining how the society came up with its project to ask Jessica Hische to give a speech.

Hische was originally from Pennsylvania, like Go Welsh designs, but moved out to California for her business. After making a list of everything they could find about Hische, the society decided to use her home state and social media presence as the basis for the invite.

The idea for the invite was to use 27 Pennsylvania license plates to spell out their request. This meant convincing 27 people to legally change their plates and explaining to the Department of Transportation why they needed questionable letter combinations approved. The end result was a photograph of all the plates on a wall that was used to tweet at Hische.

“Bigness is undeniable. Loudness is undeniable,” Welsh said about the tweet.

Welsh specifically made the invitation public to make it harder on Hische to decline. As the tweet gained more attention, Hische eventually responded that the effort made her cry and she would definitely speak at the conference.

“I like how he explained that design strategy is 95 percent of the process,” said Maria Fegeley, a sophomore graphic design major. “As a graphic design major, this made me excited for the future.”

At Go Welsh, blending life and work experiences is the core of the company. Welsh, whose career started in architecture before switching to graphic design, emphasized researching clients inspires his work along with his own experiences.

After his divorce, Welsh designed a snarky campaign for Barneys New York around the theme of registering items on a bridal registry that you wouldn’t want to fight over in court. While in college he incorporated his humor into all of his projects, including advertisements for the graphic design department that were centered around double entendres.

“I loved the way he expressed how his work is part of his life experience,” said Emily Fuentes, a junior communication studies major. “His passion made me want to get out there and create something.”

Welsh reminded students that the most important skill in communication is listening because a client often isn’t being direct with what they want. He wanted students to understand the value of creating meaningful work.

“You know what a job well done gets you more work,” Welsh said. “When you finish a project with a company, you want them to give you another project right away.”

For Welsh, a job well done creates a lasting impression on the design community.