After a period of change, Raissa Pardini views collaboration as the most important part of her design practice
The Glasgow-based designer’s portfolio is filled with many fruitful projects, including the cover design of Nadia-Lee Cohen’s first monograph, Women.
- Ayla Angelos
- 24 March 2021
When asking Raissa Pardini what she’s been up to since we last spoke, she responds that it’s been a time of reflection. “It has been a really long year of meditative design,” she tells It’s Nice That. “I took a step back from posting much on social media, and I decided to cut off any inspiration process that was coming from there.”
The multidisciplinary designer is currently based in Glasgow, and she recently launched her own studio in the centre of the city. She decided to do so after working with international artists, brands and companies, including Dr. Martens, The Standard Hotel, Dazed x Gucci, Group Font, Vans, Flying Vinyl, The Garage Project, Fred Perry and many more. Although working in an idyllic set up that centres on community and collaboration, the last year has opened her eyes to the troubles of creative inspiration. “I feel we’ve been staring at the same things repeatedly, and that is leading us all towards a gradual cancellation of uniqueness and personal interpretation in culture. This constant exposure seems to have the power to divide the community sometimes. I’ve seen artists plagiarised by other fellow designers daily. I also experienced this a couple of months ago, which upset me.”
This gave Raissa the kickstart to question her own work. As such, she began experimenting with the buildings, books and various shapes of her surroundings. She’s always been highly critical of her output and designs, so working in a spontaneous and genuine manner is more than rewarding – it’s remedial. “My style is evolving into something new, which excites me,” she continues. “I am moving away from visual labels as much as possible. I know it will take me a while to achieve what I want, I’m patient and grateful every day to discover my creativity again.”
Still new to the notion of working on her own, Raissa has certainly adjusted to this new method of creating. For one, she has “loud opinions about everything,” which consequently makes it difficult to listen at first. But through working closely with other artists in her studio and collaborating regularly, she’s been able to take a step back and observe. “This was a process I needed to experience to become a better creative,” she notes. “I feel more kind and open than I was when I started, more appreciative and patient.” This has taught her to compromise on a project without tarnishing the design, in turn making everyone happy and avoiding anything that’s too safe.
Risk-taking, in this sense, is key to her practice as a designer. Working predominantly in art and culture, Raissa has embarked on many a project in the fields of music, exhibitions and books. Above all, however, she is devoted to ethics and engaging communities. “If the community thrives, everyone thrives,” she says. “The creative industry is a healthy place if the roots are planted in the community: ‘a tree with strong roots laughs at storms’.”
Raissa believes this can be achieved through a healthy approach to communication, getting to know the project well by “asking and asking again”. She wants to know it all, and once she feels like she’s reached a level of knowledge, she’ll begin her design. “I allow myself time to process everything I have stored in folders; notes, pieces of paper, sketches, emails, calls and photos,” she adds, before moving into InDesign and Photoshop for edits across a spectrum of colour and texture, not to mention the use of After Effects for any animation-led projects.
One of Raissa’s latest projects was the cover design of Nadia-Lee Cohen’s new book, Women – the British Los Angeles-based photographer’s first monograph, featuring 100 portraits. An “incredible” experience, it was an unmissable opportunity to work with an artist whom she admires for her “drive, hard work and creative vision”. Raissa adds: “We both are what we do to heart, and we clicked immediately.” With the book deciphered and in need of a few fonts, the two researched typography, opting for a typeface that reflected (but didn’t overtake) the powerful content inside. “The key was to test and check on each other constantly until we found something that grabbed our imagination.” The font chosen for the title of Women is incredibly 80s-LA, which Raissa says pairs well with Nadia’s aesthetic. “I feel incredibly thankful for the chance I had to work close to her, a woman I admire for both her art and passion.”
Otherwise, it’s been a somewhat hectic year for Raissa. Alongside working with ASHE, Speedy Wunderground and Giorgia, she’s also been developing a range of posters, cushions and iPad covers for a shopping app. And it doesn’t stop there – the V&A acquired 14 of her posters for its collection, looking at how the designer defined a style around a “particular music scene in Britain during an exciting time.” These prints will be released in due course, and she’s also got plans to launch her first publication, accompanied by a font she created especially for the project. “Lastly, I have an extremely exciting project coming up with Olimpia Zagnoli. Lots of details to be shared soon!”
Raissa Pardini: Two posters from the V&A acquisition collection 1/2 (Copyright © Raissa Pardini)
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she became online editor in 2022 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.