People: Interview with Graphic Designer and Illustrator Sherida Kuffour
At the Creative Arts Network we love bold colourful designs, so it was only natural that we'd be attracted to Sherida's designs. We caught up with her to find a little more about what she's been up to since graduating from Ravensbourne..
Hi Sherida, tell us a little bit about yourself and your work…
Hey! I'm Sherida. I'm a Graphic Designer from Rotterdam, Netherlands, currently working in London. I do dabble in illustration and photography sometimes, so think I’m pretty multi-disciplinary, but I love colours and use it wherever possible.
How has your university experience affected your style of graphic design/illustration?
I went to Ravensbourne, a very Swiss-Minimalist inspired university, where you couldn't hang anything on the walls, and actually there were no walls—just metal railings that separated class spaces. A lot of my friends never liked the place but I loved the architecture and the opportunity not to be distracted from the unnecessary. I suppose this is where my design work and my illustration work differ massively. My design work tends to be very clean and sharp, with little space for inaccuracy or things lacking reason. My illustration on the hand, is sometimes chaotic, crazy and most of the time doesn't make sense. The one thing that ties both these disciplines together is colour—I adore colour! I almost never ever wear black (unless I'm forced to) and my work in this sense is a direct reflection of me personally as a designer.
If you could go back to your final year of Uni, what would you tell yourself?
I'd probably tell myself to do what I really want to do. At university, I was so concerned about grades and what I thought the design industry needed of me that I lost sight of what my desires were. If I had grasped this epiphany sooner, I would have taken illustration more seriously way earlier than I did. I didn't start illustrating properly and in my own style until the end of second year. I wrote and illustrated 'VeryVerity', which I loved it so much but at the time my tutors didn't think it was “design”, so I left it. It wasn't until the night before Christmas 2015 when I decided to start living according to my own standards and using my God-given gifts. I picked up illustrating and writing again, and literally on the 26th December 2016 I decided to work on my children's book again.
What has been your favourite project thus far?
My favourite project so far, in terms of idea, social impact, design and execution has got to be my 'Smile' poster. 'Smile' was a poster I created in my final year of university about the escalation of street harassment. It chronicles how cat-calling language doesn't always start with obscenity, rather it often starts with seemingly innocent intentions. I printed the abusive words on pink silk to counteract the notion that women dressed in a provocative manner deserve to be harassed and abused.
If you could sum up your portfolio in a sentence, what would it be?
A colourful poem.
Any big plans/dreams for 2016?
Yes! 2016 feels like the year of doing and achieving. I was stuck in this horrible rut last year from being overcritical of myself and my worth, but I reckon this year will be loads better. I hope to get my children's book out this year. I purposefully use the word “out” because I'm not sure if it will be published, self-published or just printed and sold online via my blog. But either way it's been a long time coming and this would be a perfect milestone for me.
What advice would you give to emerging artists in your field?
I think you should enjoy what you do. I know so many designers say this flippantly and almost patronisingly so, but I don't mean for it to come out that way. I spent most of my university life worrying about grades, then essays, then finding a job that I just allowed that time to pass me by without really living in the moment. I got jobs straight after university and thought that I'd reached an ultimate high, but 4 jobs later over 2 years and I still wasn't happy and had burned out. Truth is, people will try and tell you that as a designer, an agency or a design studio is your end goal, and it's cool if that's what you want to do, but don't listen to them if this bores or scares you. Look at what you want to do and craft that out; it might be hard now, but it'll work out for you in the long run.
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