Norwich graduate Jeremy Downes discusses his approach to work and his favourite projects
Jeremy is a Dutch/English designer who graduated in 2019 from BA (Hons) Graphic Communication and has since gone onto specialise in motion design.
Approach to Design
Jeremy begins by discussing his approach to his work whilst studying at Norwich University of the Arts. He highlights how he treated going to the university Graphics studio as a 9-5 job to make the most out of the resources and tutors. He follows this up by saying how he wished he’d used the library more as it wasn’t until his third year, whilst writing his dissertation, when he found a book on black letter typefaces. In the back of the book was a CD containing 243 black letter fonts, to which he describes as a treasure trove moment.
Jeremy moves onto discuss his approach to research. “The more you research, the less time you waste doing sketches that don’t mean anything within the design process.” He goes on to say, “learn everything because the more you know, the more wealth you have when designing.”
Archetypal symbolism aids Jeremy in his practice by understanding the most significant symbols from every age and culture. He brings to light the discussion surrounding the psychology of knowing the audience and how they process thoughts, come to conclusions and what motivates a human, in which he references Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He concludes that these research factors inform what you design, how you design and how you communicate, which ultimately elevates you as a designer.
Jeremy’s advice is to “stay curious” and explore other fields from which to draw inspiration. For example, he enjoys shooting 35mm film, as well as playing bass in his free time. “The more you do other things, the more you can draw on that for your designs.”
North’s Process Funnel
Jeremy reviews his approach to design and draws on his experience from when he worked at North and how he was taught about the process funnel.
Stage one is about research and collecting visual resources. This is where Jeremy would use the thesaurus and download every word related to the brief which helped him build a language surrounding the project.
Stage two is where you form the initial ideas. Jeremy often used Adobe Illustrator to create sketches.
Stage three is about developing the strongest routes which leads onto giving the first ideas to the client.
The final stage is about development, finalising the chosen route, building guidelines, mock-ups and running the brand across different applications.
After graduating from Norwich, Jeremy went on to do a one-month internship at North, a six-month internship at The Green Space and a two-month internship at Studio Dumbar, which led him to land a job at Pentagram as a Motion Graphic Designer. It was here where Jeremy got to work on one of his favourite projects for Love Supreme, a yoga company based in London.
He designed a constantly evolving logo from paint splatter photos, explaining that the idea behind the motion was about looking within yourself and growing. He used the specific colours to convey light, truth, joy and happiness to communicate what you can achieve from meditation and yoga.
Another project from his time at Pentagram was for EDP Group, a global green energy supplier. Their brand identity was about changing tomorrow, now. Jeremy explains how he used Cavalry to generate the design of the logo. The spiral shape logo indicates transformation, growth, references the renewable energy element and the intricacy to the task ahead to reach their commitments of having a green earth.
“Be proud of what you’ve done at uni and the fact that you’ve been to Norwich University of the Arts”
Jeremy Downes, Graphic Communications graduate
Post published: 20th March 2023
Last modified: 28th March 2023