Eibhlin Doran

10 Questions

30th September 2013
by Eibhlín Doran

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01 - Where are you in and why are you there?
I'm currently living in London where I have been since June 2012. I moved over here for my job after finishing my degree.

02 - Where are you working? How did you get there?
I'm working in Graphic Thought Facility. In my third year of college I was lucky enough to be selected for an internship with GTF where I spent four months during the summer. I went back to Dublin for my final year in NCAD and when visiting London the following December the directors asked if I would be interested in joining the studio when I had finished studying. And the rest is history…

03 - What's the working culture there like [place / studio]
The studio is great, it's an open plan studio where the 10 designers (including the 3 directors) work, plus our studio manager. There’s a nice atmosphere and good working relationships which gives me the opportunity to be constantly learning from those around. Its also good to work alongside the directors, Andy, Paul and Huw, who are very involved in all projects.

The studio has a meeting/library area with copies of all books and catalogues GTF have produced over the years and a large selection of books they have collected. You can find everything here from Andy and Paul’s RCA prospectus from the 90’s to old Letraset catalogues, we’re never stuck for inspiration! 

Project-wise we generally work in 'teams' where each of us have a client such as Gagosian Gallery, Vitra or Kvadrat; I work mostly on Kvadrat projects with Robbie and Andy. There’s a real sense of dedication and care to everything that is produced in GTF which I really respect.

While 10 designers is quite large as far as graphic design studios go, its also a small enough number to get to  know the people you work with. They’re a great group and the directors are incredibly kind to us. You will catch us in the pub beside the studio, The Easton, for a few ’cheeky beers’ on a Friday evening!

04 - Irish designer or just 'designer'?
With a name like Eibhlín there’s no hiding the fact that I’m an Irish designer!  

05 - Do your Irish experiences set you apart in any way?
When studying in Dublin I found that there is a really great irish design community. Through means like the 100 Archive and events like Offset this has only become more evident. I’m glad to say that this sense of community amongst Irish designers has also followed me across the waters. I feel that no matter what city I’m in, or even when I go back home, there will always be this network of Irish designers that are incredibly earnest and genuinely helpful. To have a network like this is a really lovely thing.

06 - Do you keep an eye on what's happening here? Do your colleagues?
Yes definitely, as a recent graduate I’m very aware of the quality of work being produced by both students and studios in Ireland. Things like the 100 Archive blog and Offset make it easier to keep up-to-date with the work being done and is a good way to showcase Irish design.

I work alongside another NCAD graduate, Deirdre Woods, who has worked in Dublin and it’s great to be able to chat with someone who is familiar with the design community in Ireland.

07 - Are your colleagues there active in promoting and celebrating their design culture?
Absolutely, GTF have been part of a number of design conferences, talks and exhibitions celebrating exactly this – design culture. Andy is a really fantastic people-person and has a genuine interest in meeting students, graduates and other designers.

Between myself and the other designers (there’s 2 Swiss, 1 Belgian and 3 of us Irish) we all have an interest in what's happening at home or the city where we studied. We try to keep involved or participate in events and I enjoy hearing about their design culture too.

08 - 3 Designers/studios there that you admire
1. 8vo – After writing my thesis on them I really admire their studio practice and the work they produced
2. Anthony Burrill – A favourite after seeing him speak at Offset 2009
3. John Morgan studio

09 - Is there an Irish designer or piece of design that inspired/inspires you?
I’m a huge fan of Eileen Gray. I remember watching a documentary about her when I was in school but only understood the prominence of her work, and her as a designer, after seeing it in Collins Barracks on a college trip. Not only did she break the mould in terms of her work, but also as a female designer in that ‘old boys’ club’ era, which makes her an inspiring person.

A few months ago I went to see the exhibition about her in the Pompidou (which I now see is going to be on at IMMA!). Again, I was fascinated by the sheer quality and intelligence of her design, not only in furniture and architecture but also in her lesser known work like her rugs where she uses simple designs and beautiful colours.

There is a lovely video of her in the exhibition, filmed when she was in her late 90’s. She talks about her career and work and comes across as someone very humble but also funny and bright; I think she’s great.

10 - How do you/your workplace archive, record and promote it's projects?
For all major projects we receive a number of file copies from the printers of which we keep a couple of copies in the studio as references (they go into our library) and the rest are brought to an off-site storage unit. The project is photographed to go onto the website and all files and images are kept on the server so that each of us have access to it.

Our website is the main form of showing new work which is usually updated every few weeks and the work often pops up on different blogs. Working in collaboration with other designers or artists also tends to draw more attention to a project too.

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