John Rushworth: Designing Identity

John Rushworth PentagramIf there’s anyone who knows the in’s and out’s of developing an identity, it’s John Rushworth.

An experienced graphic designer and partner of the internationally renowned Pentagram, he’s a mentor for the Fashion Fringe Finalists in the creation of their brand identity.

Sitting in the sleek, stunning London offices, the creative hub of Pentagram seemed the perfect setting for John to set out his best advice and top tips for emerging designers.

“Identity is a much better word than branding,” John began. “Identity is a rounder word – it has much more breadth and depth. Branding is a single stamp. When it comes to the importance of identity though, designers have no choice. You cannot not have an identity. It’s an impossibility,” he explains. “Just by saying you’re interested means you have one. You have to think very carefully about who you are because that’s the start of managing your identity.”

The importance of branding covered, John continued to set out his top three tips for emerging designers when it comes to designing identity:

  1. It has to be the truth.“Don’t try and look like something you’re not, because you’ll look a fool. What you want to achieve is that all your decisions are coherent and contradiction free. Contradictions cause anxiety. When you’re doing it yourself, it’s possible, but as soon as you have to manage 10 people, that’s hard to get right. You want to make sure it’s right or your audience won’t be sure about you.”
  2. Manage your identity really well.
  3. Never stop. “You can never stop managing. The best brands in the world have someone doing that, and it’s usually the owner. Giorgio Armani is in every single meeting about every part of his business. He doesn’t let anything go and that’s why you have such a clear picture of what his business is about. Whether you like it or not, that’s not the point – you know what it stands for.”

Invaluable advice from someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about. Having been a mentor and real asset for the Fashion Fringe Finalists since 2007, John explains how “every year I go through this process and I’m always reminded about how interesting people are and how normal people are. Meeting young designers at the beginning of their journeys is very fresh. They’re starting and their originality comes out of their background.”

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About Author:

Josh Walker, our Fashion Fringe guest blogger for summer 2012, is studying Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion. His most recent internship was with fashion magazine DASH and he is a Vauxhall Fashion Scout contributor. With a passion for contemporary and avant-garde design, Josh is committed to seeking out and revealing stand-out, upcoming talent (just like us). @josh_walker_

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