ECA graduate, Daniel Bonner tells us about working on branding projects for some of the world’s major companies.
|Degree Course||Visual Communication – Graphic Design|
|Year of Graduation||1996|
Your time at the University
I was keen to join the Visual Communication course at Edinburgh because of its reputation at the time.
My time at ECA taught me how to think and problem solve. Our graphic design course leader, Barrie Tullet, told us one thing on the first day as new undergraduates that I will never forget:
I don’t care what you think graphic design should look like - you can answer every brief with oils on canvas if that’s what it takes.
This liberating point of view became a central approach to my final body of work and portfolio - resisting the development of my own ‘style’ and visual language I was keen to answer the problems we were set with the appropriate solution and ideas. This versatility and adaptation to each and every problem is something that I carried on into the working environment.
One other clear memory also came from the very first day in the graphic design studio at ECA.
All the students assembled with anticipation. Each of us were given a huge, A0 piece of card and we were told to divide it up into 50 equal sized squares.
Ahh - a technical, spacial layout task, we thought to ourselves as we diligently went about measuring, drawing, rubbing out measuring again, proudly creating the 50 squares asked of us.
Then we were all given one very simple word each - hot, cold, holiday, drive - and asked to visually depict our word 50 times. The realisation took a while to sink in but with only 24 hours until the deadline this was an indication of what we could expect from the next three years.
The next day we reported to the studio, each with our 50 answers to the problem. We were exhausted, empty, nervous and anxious of our tutor’s reaction. What we didn’t anticipate was Day 2 of our three year endeavour:
Bring 50 more ideas - you have 24 hours!
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
I joined Razorfish in 2011 as Chief Creative Officer, with a brief to focus on the creative leadership of Razorfish’s key multinational clients and to help realise the ambition of being the market leader in terms of creative excellence, talent, brand profile and positioning. So influential were my efforts that less than 12 months later I was promoted to Global Chief Creative Officer.
I get most excited when brands stop ‘talking’ and start ‘doing’, and I strongly believe that organisations require a new generation of thinking, ideas, storytelling, interaction, digital products and utility driven services if they are to keep the promise they make to their audiences and play a meaningful and indispensable role in their lives.
This versatility and adaptation to each and every problem is something that I carried on into the working environment.
Prior to joining Razorfish I spent 15 years as a key leader at AKQA, growing the business and working with a large number of the world's top 50 brands. As one of the worlds most awarded Creative Directors, I made a significant contribution to AKQA’s 18 ‘Agency of the Year’ accolades, reputation as a prominent innovation business and status as a leader in the advertising industry.
In 2010 I was recognised as the UK's No.1 Digital Creative Director by Campaign and in the same year invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his work and overall contribution to excellence in digital advertising.
In 2012 I was also invited to become an Executive Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.
I have said this many times before but it remains as current now as ever: have a superpower, something no-one else can do. No matter how small, any advantage you have is worth having and will be valuable to any potential employer or client.
Oh. And work hard.