Alec Tear is a design student, currently at Northumbria University, doing a B.A. (Hons.) in Graphic Design. Already showcasing some excellent work in his portfolio, Logoholic decided to ask him a few questions to get to know him better.
1: Hi Alec, may as well start by asking a bit about yourself – Who/What/Where/When/Why?
Well yeah, I’m a third year Graphic Design student at Northumbria, or I am for a few more weeks anyway. I guess that leaves ‘why’ doesn’t it… Well I chose to study Graphic Design about four years ago with a pretty basic understanding of what that entailed, because of this I feel very lucky to have ended up doing it because I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I thoroughly enjoy the whole design process and working with people who feel the same way I do about it. I’ll miss university when I graduate this summer, but I feel ready to move on and I’m pleased to know that I’m moving into an industry that I know I am truly passionate about.
2: Is there a specific aspect of design you would like to specialise in? Or are you happy to explore everything?
During the 2nd year of our course we were given the choice between three separate pathways: Branding, Publishing or Image Making. This was to give us a more concentrated study in the areas we wanted to specialise in. I chose branding and I’ve never regretted it. I love that every brief holds a new set of limitations, problems and solutions, and that I’m always learning. However, despite specialising in branding at university I wouldn’t say that’s all I’m about, I really enjoy illustration and I find typography so intriguing. I guess I’m happy to explore any kind of design really. I love to be challenged with new things.
3: We really liked your work on the adaptable “unleashed” project with the range of different forms – can you tell us a little about the process?
The whole mark-making process derived from the concept behind project so I suppose I’ll start there. ‘unleashed’ was a personal project that me and a small group of mates on my course undertook when we found out that we had to raise £8000 for our end of year show. Rather than forcing people in buying, what would be, inevitably disgusting cakes to raise money, we thought that we should do something that could go in our portfolios rather than in the bin.
The name ‘unleashed’ came from the frightening fact that we are all soon to be unleashed into the big bad world of the design industry. We asked our course mates to each submit artwork for a print based around their own interpretation of freedom (which seemed quite fitting). These would then be exhibited and sold to raise some money or the show.
Like any branding project we then started to think about how this theme could be presented in a simple and expressive way. We knew that we wanted the identity to feel fresh, spontaneous and energetic, so we started by throwing around some paints and inks to try and get something organic and unrestrained that we could use. After a long, messy and highly experimental process we came up with the idea of creating a stencil from the counter-space inside a ‘u’, covering it in coloured powdered ink and water, and then blowing into the centre of it. This sent the ink flying off in all directions and created an explosion of colour and energy that we felt summed up the brand perfectly. Each ‘u’ turned out completely different from the last and after some trial and error we had 5 that we really liked.
4: What’s the most valuable ‘thing’ you have taken from studying design? Has a challenging experience or project helped you grow?
I think the most valuable thing I learnt so far is to be persistent. I’ve found that sometimes a good solution just comes to you right away, but a lot of the time you really have to dig deep to find it, its at this point that you realise its been staring you in the face the whole time.
The most challenging experience I’ve had so far is probably the project I’m currently undertaking: the branding of our final degree show. By accepting the challenge, a mate and I have been given a great insight into what the business-side of the design industry might be like to get into. We’ve had to work with printers to real deadlines, and with real pressure. We’ve learnt so much already. I can’t start imagine how quickly you’ll learn it all once you get your first job and you’re properly thrown in at the deep-end!
5: Where and when is the show taking place? And what can we expect from it?
The show, which is called ‘The Power of Three’, will be open to the public between the 20th and 27th of June at Northumbria University (City Campus East). The theme of the show is all about expressing the individuality that runs throughout our year group, so expect to see a wide range of work from a really hard-working and enthusiastic set of students.
6: What are your plans after Uni?
Well a couple of days after I graduate me and my girlfriend are flying to Thailand for a month of exploring, which is something we’ve both always wanted to do. Once we get back I’ve got a few days to recover from jet lag as I have a month-long work placement at a design agency in London that I love, which I am really excited about. That’s as far into the future as I can see at the moment but I hope to be able to continue getting the work experience I need to eventually get a job at a design agency that thinks I’m good enough!
If you’d like to check out more work from Alec Tear, be sure to stop by his Behance page, found here: http://be.net/alectear