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Michelle Hayman knows good design. As a Loerie Award Winner, former Art Gallery Director, and Creative Director with over 12 years of experience under her belt, she's well-versed in Graphic Design, Art Direction and branding. Now a freelance consultant, she uses her suite of skills to shape the digital landscape of international brands and stories around her.
We're thrilled to have her as Head Teacher for our Visual Design course in Berlin, where she's eager to share her fiery passion for great design, and why it matters, with her 2018 class.
I am currently working with several start-ups in helping brands establish their visual presence. I recently designed a concept restaurant in Cape Town called ‘The Chicken Shop’, which has becoming increasingly popular as Cape Town’s first charcoal rotisserie. I work with an array of clients; from urban landscapers to coffee shops, leather makers, chocolatiers, NGOs, bakeries and even marketing agencies. I really enjoy gaining insight into so many different and varied industries; ultimately having an impact on the digital landscape I live in.
I see graphic design as an important component of the greater subject of design. Visual design, on the other hand, is communication through visual forms, and includes, but isn’t limited to, graphics, photo, video and illustration. Visual design isn’t as much something I do as it is who I am. I care a lot about aesthetics - it's built into my identity.
There is so much mediocrity in our visual landscape. I’ve worked with so many marketers and brand people who really don’t have any grasp on what makes design good, and why it even matters. I have a fiery desire to share more on these subjects with people who care. Both my parents are teachers and my brother is a lecturer. It’s safe to say teaching is in my blood. As far as keeping things fresh goes, when we open the fridge again and again and the same stuff is inside each time, we may need to go to the store. Unfortunately people generally want what they’ve already seen. It’s important to find a new grocer from time to time. You got that metaphor, right?
I’m looking forward to meeting young bright minds from around the world and opening a visual dialogue with each one of them - learning just as much as I will be teaching. I also can’t wait to see and experience Berlin!
Design has become disposable because of the speed at which we’re consuming content. What used to sit on the kitchen counter for days is now simply terminated with an upward swipe. Our work as designers has become more important, because there is just so much clutter. As a new designer, I’d suggest arming oneself with tech skills, sure. If reaching your target consumer means learning VR, learn VR; but quality content - in whichever dress - is still king. It’s important to distinguish that the new words we’re hearing are merely means to reach the consumer and these mediums are changing constantly. Acquiring a strong sense of visual understanding is applicable across the board and will always be relevant.
The course is broad, but we’ll be focusing on branding, so students will leave able to interpret the needs of a client, conceptualise and create a logo as well as visually impactful creative assets. It is my hope that my students will be visually aware; constantly noticing, questioning, and improving their surroundings.
Be a sponge. Take in as much as you can and really just allow yourself to be challenged. Don’t be defeated by the fear and hype of a blank canvas - make as much as you can and embrace criticism. Better yet, seek it out.
I’m a qualified yoga instructor and I was an art auctioneer on cruise-liners for two years.
I think if I had a copy of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, a VHS of Mrs Doubtfire and a few books by Dr Daniel J. Siegel I’d be pretty sorted. When can I go?
Most Missy Elliot circa 2003. And the whole Flight of the Concords Soundtrack.