Submit Saturdays: Graphic design student Frank Sharman talks to us about image-making and his hands-on process
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Welcome to Submit Saturdays, a year-long series of articles in partnership with Squarespace. Be it a professional work website, a shop, a social enterprise or a site that hosts a personal project, Submit Saturdays will showcase the work of creatives around the world who use the online platform Squarespace. This is a great new opportunity to share your projects and ideas with our readers.
Frank Sharman is currently a graphic design student at Camberwell College of Arts, London. Having always had an interest in the visual, he’s currently using his degree to explore his interests in image-making and how that can relate to more traditional strands of graphic design. Throughout his Squarespace website, you can see Frank’s penchant for experimentation and play, a key part of his process. Here, the designer talks about how he tackles new projects, designers he admires and creating multilayered outcomes.
What sparked your interest in design? Why did you choose to study at Camberwell?
I’ve always had a strong interest in art and design from a young age. I used to paint with my mum a lot growing up and painting is still something I do regularly now. I feel this is sometimes reflected in my image-making work and process. In my foundation year I began to experiment more with type which was another reason for choosing Camberwell because of its interesting and rich history with typography.
How do you approach a new brief?
When approaching a new brief I almost always initially start physically making. I feel for me this is a really important time period to try ideas out at quite a fast pace, no matter how odd they may seem. This allows me to create a wide selection of ideas which I then continue to narrow down and refine throughout the design process. Above all I always try to have fun and be playful when approaching a new project.
How would you describe your style? Is it influenced by anything?
I wouldn’t necessarily want to be tied down to any specific style but again as mentioned I do like to incorporate playful aspects within my work whenever I can. Fraser Muggeridge has also held many workshops with us at Camberwell and the way he approaches design and his attitude is quite an inspiration for me. Also I’ve always found Dutch graphic design quite interesting and influential especially Karel Martens letterpress work.
Your portfolio is a mix of image-making, typography and more traditional graphic design. What do you enjoy about this mix of work?
I think that having that mix together in itself is most enjoyable. Being able to explore all these processes and forms to create is exciting. I think also these areas are simply things I have a passion for as well. It allows me to work in different ways with endless opportunity of outcome. I always try to experiment with anything that I can get my hands on, our letterpress workshop is one of my favourite places to try printing with unusual objects!
Can you tell us more about the workshop you did with graphic designer and visiting lecturer James Langdon?
James came in to hold a three-week workshop exploring the idea of observation from fixed positions. Each week we would meet and discuss our ideas for the project. James was also setting other mini briefs each week which would explore different processes of recording and documentation of fixed positions which were all followed up with discussion in our crits. My position of observation included a rarely used studio within the college. With the recent expansion of Camberwell and building works, lack of studio space has been an issue so I found the choice of my fixed position quite interesting and relevant.
The project focused on drawing the absolute maximum use from this space. Using the found leftover objects and litter within the studio I started to form imagery. To further utilise the studio, the images I had created were then projected into the space, creating another layer of use, incorporating the architecture as a last stage of image making which results in the final images whilst also using the space as a means of publication of the project.
What decisions went into designing your website?
The main decision was to keep it fairly simple, clean and easy to navigate through which would allow my work to sit on together well. Squarespace is really great! I have very little knowledge of code and website building unfortunately and for me as a student it allows me to overcome this problem and creates a platform for my work to be seen. Their student pricing is also another positive.
If you host your work on a Squarespace website and would like to be featured as part of this series of articles, please head here to learn more and get in touch.
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About the Author
Rebecca became staff writer at It’s Nice That in March 2016 before leaving the company at the end of 2017. Before joining the company full time she worked with us on a freelance basis many times, as well as stints at Macmillan Publishers, D&AD, Dazed and frieze.