Christopher Bladon is the Design Manager at HL Studios, sponsors of BookMachine Oxford. As well as being a talented and creative designer, Chris is the go-to guy for anything technical. A problem solving genius that has earned himself the nickname ‘The Oracle’ at work. Charly Ford interviews him ahead of the big event:
1. What makes a really strong design?
The primary objective of any design is communication, so a clear understanding of layout is essential, as it allows the viewer to scan and absorb the intended order.
For a good design to become a great design, it needs to solicit a strong emotional response, justify its existence and inspire other designers.
2. Is there a particular type of project that you, or your colleagues at HL Studios, enjoy designing most?
Our designers and illustrators all have different preferences – as all our projects are varied and challenging in their own individual way. We are fortunate enough to work on all aspects of publishing, both trade and educational, as well as graphic and web design projects for our corporate clients. But, it’s the creative process that is important to us all – so anything that is lively and engaging.
3. How has the increase in digital publishing impacted on the way you work?
We have to think about the final format and end-user, first and formost – as this dictates our approach to the design and creation of our digital projects. We also pay more attention to the unseen foundations of any document – such as anchoring images into text or ensuring the proper creation and application of style sheets (something HL Studios has always been strict with).
Using an xml workflow helps in making a smooth transition from print to digital publishing – unfortunately, not all our clients use xml.
4. Who or what do you turn to for inspiration?
I personally use a sketchbook to record any thoughts or ideas I may have; which is probably quite old school these days – but it allows me to get inspiration from everyday items.
There are also hundreds of great websites, such as Behance, Creattica, and Dribble available that showcase other designers’ work and is great for sparking inspiration. (editors note: and BookMachine.me ;))
5. Which three words best describe HL Studios?
Forward thinking, creative and approachable.
You can meet Christopher and the HL Studios team at BookMachine Oxford on 25th September