END BAD DESIGN: This week – Caroline Royce

END BAD DESIGN: This week – Caroline Royce

Caroline Royce, freelancer, designer of Transmission posters and our first design partner

Tell us a bit about who you are and the work you do:
I’m 23, just got done with my Graphic Design degree at MCTC. I got into Design because of my boyfriend at the time who’d seen some Photoshop stuff I’d done for fun suggested it. I was enrolled in the theater program at Augsburg at the time, and the next year I was at MCTC. I do posters for DJ Jake Rudh for Transmission at Club Jager. I borrow heavily from the 1950’s-60’s for inspiration, and like my pieces to have a vintage feel.

What is your go-to font or font combination as of late?
Looking through all the images in my “inspiration” folder, I don’t see a lot of font combinations. I’m really a one-font kind of girl. I like things to be simple and for type to speak for itself. That said, I like fonts that have a lot of different weights, so I can use contrast and variety without changing font families. My go-to fonts: Helvetica (and Helvetica Neue), Avant Garde Gothic, Univers and Futura. All sans-serifs. Lately I’ve also been using a lot of retro script fonts, like Coronet, or one called Tiki Holiday, by House Industries.

What font do you think is overused and about to go out of style?
Pains me to say it, but Helvetica. I think that people who don’t know how to design use it because they know it’s a well-loved font by designers. There’s actually a website called Anyone Can Swiss where you type in some words and it generates a design in the Swiss Style. Obviously, it’s not that simple. Design takes thought and people assume that because they use a well-designed font, then their work is done for them. I’ve definitely scaled back my use of Helvetica in the last year.

What do you wish you could tell new designers to quit doing?
Two things:
1) Don’t waste your time. Most designers can’t do it all. I would love to be able to do the kind of stuff that Adam Turman does, but I can’t, and never will, so I’m not even going to try. Find value in what YOU do, instead of trying to reach an impossible goal. It probably sounds cavalier, but design is about instinct and if you don’t have it, you don’t have it. Find your strengths and work on those.

2) Stop mimicking design you don’t understand. I talked to a student just starting out in the design program at MCTC recently and he said he got ripped apart in critiquing sessions even though he was copying directly from mono, which is a huge awesome agency here in Minneapolis. When the design has no context, then it has no meaning. You’re not a designer if you’re not creating your own vision. I borrow heavily from the past, but I always try to adapt it for new settings and I admit, sometimes my reasoning for a design is “I wanted to do it that way,” but usually I know what I’m doing. My advice would be to find inspiration in everything and come up with some sort of filing system (like a folder on your computer) where you can save images to come back to later.

What’s the next trend?
I think screen printing is becoming more and more accessible to people. I got a kit for Christmas and used it to make t-shirts and posters for Transmission’s 10 year anniversary at First Avenue. There’s professional shops that will even help you get started and even prep your screen for you. Places like Aesthetic Apparatus and Burlesque of North America have really introduced people to the fine novelty of screen printed posters, and it’s a great media to get in tune with.

Which trend is about to be over?
Designers holding posters. I hope.

What designer do you want to turn our readers on to?
Olly Moss is my favorite designer working today. He’s the same age as me, and is doing work at the level I would expect someone twice his age to be accomplishing. He has a totally hip and retro style that makes me melt.

Becky Lang has learned a lot more about design from sitting next to a designer at work than from reading any book explaining what ascenders and descenders are. END BAD DESIGN is her attempt to give everyone that access to designer opinions.

Former interviews:

Travis Stearns