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Graphic designers out to play

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Bryan Edmondson of SEA Design

Some highlights and observations from the Semi-Permanent digital design-fest in Auckland

One of the best digital design event brands you’ll find in this corner of the world is Semi-Permanent. There's one every year in Australia, and there’s one here in New Zealand too. For the Auckland event, held over two days last week, some of the smartest design talent is flown in from the other side of the world to shed some light on the way design is done in this modern age.

It flows that this is a popular event for specialist graphic designers, computer code workers, image-makers and shape shifters. The fact that the Aotea Centre in Auckland was full for two days is testament to the hunger for knowledge and learning in this fast-paced sector. Unlike any conference, there is no lunch included in the $190 entry price—this is lean, smart and hip. Anyway, who needs to eat when you're wearing skinny jeans?

The highlight for me was Bryan Edmondson of SEA Design in London. He’d been flown out to New Zealand from London only a couple of days earlier by the British Council to attend this event and to be a keynote speaker. The generosity with which he presented his work and shared ideas and experiences made for a masterclass in modern graphic design—the 1,500 designers in the crowd were spellbound, as well they should have been; his work keeps winning major international design awards, and he is a true star of the sector. Really world-class.

The trend he noted was a move towards wordmarks and fonts becoming logos or brands, rather than a swoosh or a splat or an image. An accessible example of this, from Bryan’s own desk, is the Jamie Oliver brand for cookware, with its own fit-for-purpose, one-off, workmark. Early adopters get on board!

Semi-Permanent should be around for years. Funny, that.

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