24 hours with Johnny Hardstaff/Mr Toshiba/Ms Toshiba - Mr Sony.

The experience of a 24 hour design thinking workshop with the very inspiring designer and director, Johnny Hardstaff

We were given a brief which we were to turn over in 24 hours, thinking fast and producing a BIG idea.  The reason Johnny gave for doing this workshop was to make us employable, giving us a taste of what it is like being a graphic designer in the industry.

The brief was to create a new potentially global way for Toshiba to capture public imaginations and position themselves as a brand that is hi-tech and cutting edge across all of their product range, but particularly in the field of imaging.

Johnny played the role of the client, who informed us of the changes throughout the workshop.  In doing this he informed us of the clients’ changes; limiting us to not using the colour blue and lions, Mr Toshiba dying and being taken over by a ‘Ms Toshiba’!  Although we all giggled as some changes were announced, Johnny made clear that similar events like this do take place in the industry when working for a client and it is important to being able to work with this in mind.  Needs and expectations always need to be met, depending on what the client desires.

As I set off to get into the zone as we started the workshop, I found myself concentrating on conceptual thinking more than the outcome, trying to solely think of ideas.  We were pushed to think BIG, even crazy ideas as they would cause intrigue and be unique and think of an idea that has not been done before.  My idea was based around the ‘beauty of life’; I came up with the concept of wanting the company to express what makes life beautiful.  This idea came to me during the first day of our workshop, and the next day I was thinking of ways to implement it which I struggled with.  I spoke to Johnny about my ideas and he emphasized for me to go to the ‘core’ of my concept which was strong and he went around the table asking what each person found beautiful.
This then made me think of ways it could be possible to show the different beautiful moments in people lives, for the company to be the collective of life’s beautiful moments.  I was running out of time and the final application for my concept came to; Sony having an archive of the world’s vision of beautiful moments, for the public to be able to capture, store and share their moments with the world.

A very brain tiring 24 hours, in which I enjoyed and learned a lot.

Self Reflection
  • Johnny clarified that there is no such thing as creative block;
    "Ideas = ten a penny"
    This phrase has been something I have constantly been re-assuring myself with when feeling stuck within my work.
  • To not just look into design for inspiration, to bring other influences into your work (literature, architecture etc), so your design concept and work is less copy-cat and more original.
  • If I could come up with a strong concept in just 24 hours, then I need to get into the zone when doing project work and it would develop a lot faster!
  • In Johnny’s words, “Do I want to be a conceptual powerhouse, or remain a visual stylist illustrating other people’s ideas?
    I want to be a conceptual powerhouse and be a visual stylist illustrating my own ideas.

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