Taking the pulse with 2022 Young Blood Brendan Irving

Q&A with this talented designer

September 2, 2022

Taking the pulse with 2022 Young Blood Brendan Irving

Introducing Brendan Irving, a 2022 Applied Arts Design winner in the Young Blood category (a category for individuals and teams with less than five years in the industry) and a recent graduate from George Brown in Graphic Design. Brendan's winning design entry was created as part of his thesis project, which was likely a factor in landing a job at the highly regarded design studio Bruce Mau Design. Brendan found time to speak with us about his winning entire design program, Memorabilia.


What is your creative process (from idea to finished product)?

I tend to adopt a more research driven approach with my design process. For me, it begins with words. Using techniques like mind maps helps me to identify a range of ideas that can be used to inform topics of interest, establish a tone of voice, and ultimately define my research focus. From here, I like to conduct a deep dive on my findings to assess the visual landscape surrounding my topic and gain an understanding of where my project can differentiate. Only then do I begin visual development through mood boards, creating concepts and refining these until I have arrived at a finished product.

Can you walk us through the specifics of creating this piece?

Memorabilia was a project that was rooted in history. Because of this, a huge amount of time was devoted to searching through digital archives for information and artifacts related to Ontario’s past. Not only was I searching for relevant ephemera from the last century, but I was also looking for objects that spoke to important milestones in Ontario’s social, political, and economic evolution. From a brand perspective, it was also important that the work I created felt modern enough to engage with today’s audience. Therefore, I tried to experiment with layouts and typography to contemporize each deliverable.

How do you stay creative/inspired?

I have a variety of hobbies I try to keep up with in order to remain creatively engaged. Lately, I have been really into creating graphic collages out of found magazine material and keeping a sketchbook. When I am not working with my hands, I remain inspired by books and music always.

What do you wish people knew about your industry?

Design is just as much about conceptual thinking as it is technical ability. I don’t think people realize just how much thought and care goes into creating concepts that becomes the work that permeates our world. As well, Designer’s wear many hats! We are typesetters, curators, and more. The beauty of this industry is that it allows you the opportunity to exercise all parts of your brain in service of creativity.

Here is to creating stellar design in service of creativity! We cannot wait to see what this talented designer does next!  Thank you Brendan for participating in our Q&A.