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Buildings beyond billboards

Beautifully-designed buildings can be destroyed by bad branding, but the architects must take some responsibility, Kellie Campbell tells Gemma Battenbough.

Buildings beyond billboards


September 23rd, 2010

It’s hard not to cringe when you see a beautifully-designed building topped with an ugly neon sign, but the architects must take some responsibility, graphic design’s latest hot shot, Kellie Campbell, said.

Conventionally one of the last steps in the design process, branding is not about using a logo as a rubber stamp, said Campbell, the only Australian to make the winners’ list for this year’s Art Directors Club Young Guns Competition.

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“No one can under estimate the idea of consistency in a brand. When you walk into a building, it should be about the whole experience. Graphic design is much more than a logo, more than a medium. Graphics is not 2D any more – it’s 3D!”

While graphic designers need to stop looking at buildings as giant billboards, architects also need to make a mental shift. Graphics should be integrated from the beginning and not shunned by designers of the built environment, Campbell said.

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“Graphic designers and architects should meet in the middle. Graphic designers need to understand that buildings change the cityscape … But equally architects need to understand that clients often want to sell a product.”

Whereas graphic design has previously been considered the full stop and the finishing touch to the built environment, Campbell is calling for the discipline to be part of the initial discussion.

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You only have to look at Grocon’s Pixel Building designed by Studio 505 to see how graphic design and architecture can be united.

And with architects, such as Michael Bryce, Life Fellow of the Australian Institute of Architects, proving that it’s possible to work in both disciplines (he is also a graphic and industrial designer, personally styling the ‘Opera House’ Olympic bid logo), there’s scope for more assimilation between the professions.

Campbell, a senior designer from Parallax Design in Adelaide, has just been announced as President of the Australian Graphic Design Association’s South Australian chapter and, as part of her role, she will try to forge stronger links across the creative communities.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and meeting people, listening to what inspires them, and seeing what they plan for their future careers,” she said.

Parallax Design


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