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Work / Graphic Design

Emily Schofield’s graphic design practice balances function with irrationality and expression

London-based graphic designer Emily Schofield realised that her interests in fiction, contemporary culture, art and politics didn’t have to exist separately from her design practice. Her beautifully, crisp portfolio of work spans print, digital design and art direction demonstrating a delicate balance between creative expression and logical functionality. Speaking to It’s Nice That, Emily explains that in her creative process, “I need to be able to express something with my designs but when you become too focused on style and expression you often lose the bigger picture,” she says. “I only find meaning in my work when I see its larger role in society — whether that’s functionality, or an ability to provoke reaction, or simply to communicate a message”.

During her studies at Central Saint Martins, Emily was inspired by an essay by Susan Sontag about Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, which allowed her to explore conceptual ideas which continue to inform the intentions of her work. “I believe we all hold a responsibility in what we contribute to this world and for graphic designers that can sometimes provide a real challenge”, explains Emily. “When I work with artists, designers or photographers who bring expressive visual content and a strong sense of what they want to communicate, the process is often really intuitive for me”. The designer’s creative process originates from “picking up on an atmosphere and trying to deepen the associated feelings, or, emphasising an existing message through visual and physical design”. This is evident in Emily’s catalogue design for Genus. The classic, understated design provides a coherent framework for the beautiful and intricate photographs; complimented by a sharp serif that’s in keeping with the scientific nature of the photographs.

Discussing her design process, Emily says that it’s “most enjoyable when the person you’re working with is open for new input and it feels more like a collaboration than a commission. I don’t see myself as the type of ‘empty page’ designer who refrains from bringing a personal sense of style to a project”. However, with regards to more commercial projects, Emily starts working “with a system that works, and then ends up breaking that system here or there to find differing ways to add character”. The designer states that “if there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s a thoroughly logical, clean and tidy system!”

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Emily Schofield: Genus

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Emily Schofield: Genus

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Emily Schofield: Genus

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Emily Schofield: PCID

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Emily Schofield: PCID

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Emily Schofield: PCID

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Emily Schofield: PCID

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Emily Schofield: PCID

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Emily Schofield: Jonathon Webb

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Emily Schofield: Symposium

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Emily Schofield: Ucon Acrobats