Graphic Design
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Words of wisdom

Iceland’s godfather of Graphic design Gísli B.

Few individuals have had such a lasting influence on Icelandic Graphic Design legacy as Gísli B. Björnsson. With a career spanning five decades, Gísli spearheaded the introduction of modernism to Icelandic advertising and graphic design. We asked Gísli to list a few selected words of wisdom from his many years of experience; valuable lessons for other designers to take into consideration in the world of visual communication.

Author: Arnar Ingi Viðarsson / Photos: Arnar Fells

Collaboration, not competition
Our role as designers is not only confined to responding to briefs that come our way but also to show initiative.
A phone call or a surprise visit to a client can create new relationships or new projects and is a thing of great worth.

Everything in moderation
There are thousands of typefaces and each designer has his or her favourite. A small collection of good typefaces has been sufficient for me; I could probably make do with four fonts with all their variations.

Knowing how to say no
Is more important than knowing Latin. Clients sometimes have a tendency to maltreat or belittle designers. We must possess a strong sense of self-respect, diplomacy and courage to resolve such issues in a positive way and take the high road. Working as a mental punch bag for other people is not the way to go.

Two eyes see better than one
It is a good habit to get opinions from fellow designers while working on a project. This adds value and eliminates avoidable mistakes that can prove costly in the long run. Shrugging off comments in self-absorption is never good. Feedback and open discussions are important parts of the workflow, it is better to admit errors and always seek better solutions.

The school of life is the best school there is
Your whole lifespan is an education and your role as a self-educator cannot be overstated. Reading, listening, looking, travelling, absorbing life and art. A reclusive designer has a tendency to become stagnant.

Don’t miss out on the Words of Wisdom in HA magazine.

Gísli B. Björnsson - Ljósmynd / photograph : Arnar Fells

Gísli B. Björnsson – Ljósmynd / photograph : Arnar Fells

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