David Pakenham

A big congrats to Dublin Designer, David Pakenham, one of our 30 TDK Awards 19' winners'! David's work was chosen by Hagit Kaufman from WIX. Hagit's epic feedback was: "A very good typographer, who uses type to create elegant design. I particularly liked the project ‘A loss of privacy, china’s journey towards a surveillance state’ where he cleverly used gold foil to navigate the delicate issue of China’s social credit system. I love the fact that he tackled each project from a different angle, bringing intelligent concepts and good design to each one." We chat with David about the importance of sustaining a good work life balance, his love for street art when he was younger, and Dublin's friendly creative scene!

What do you wish you’d known now when you started your design course?

I wish I knew the importance of maintaining a sustainable work life balance. It’s so easy to over work in university and there are only so many all nighters you can pull before you burn out. As I progressed through my course I realised that a lot of my best ideas came to me when I took a break and stepped back from a project. Having interests outside of design is so important. When you have lots of deadlines hanging over you, your hobbies might feel like a waste of time but in the long run they will give more depth to your design and help you carve out your own unique voice.

What originally lead you in to design, and how has that changed? What do you want to do/are doing now?

Growing up I was always interested in graffiti and street art. Drawing letter forms and making stencils really fascinated me. While I was in school, I helped create a poster for a musical which sparked my interest in graphic design. I really enjoyed the challenge of communicating both the functional information and essence of the play in one image.

To this day, what still excites me about design is the unique problems that come with every project. Especially multidisciplinary projects, when an idea can be expanded across print, motion, web and spatial design.

Any hot tips for getting ahead at uni?

One thing I learned was to forget about your grades and experiment. If university is about learning there’s no point always playing it safe. Find something in every project that excites you and go for it. I find when you are enjoying the work it really shines through in the final product.

At the start of a project it is easy to feel overwhelmed, especially if things aren’t going to plan. It’s important to remember that sometimes you have to make shit work before you make good work. Trust the process and generate as much as possible without being overly self-critical. Then take a step back, find out what’s working and iterate, iterate, iterate.

Also, be nice to people and people will be nice to you.

Dublin has a very small, close knit creative scene in which everyone is very genuine and happy to help in any way they can. The people are the heart and soul of the city.

What do you love about the design scene in your city and what companies are on your dream list to work or collaborate with?

Dublin has a very small, close knit creative scene in which everyone is very genuine and happy to help in any way they can. The people are the heart and soul of the city. There are all sorts of characters from every walk of life that come together to create a rich and vibrant environment for collaboration. However, spaces that were once hotspots of culture and creativity are being replaced by high-rise hotels, apartment blocks and offices for multinational companies. Couple this with the exorbitant cost of renting, it is becoming harder and harder for creatives to take risks and follow their passions.

At the moment I am really enjoying working with The Tenth Man in Dublin. In the future I can’t wait to move abroad, from Antwerp to New York there are countless studios I would love to work with.

Where do you see your career in 5 years?

I’m excited for what the future will bring. In five years time I will still be pushing myself and learning new things each and every day. I will have travelled and hopefully worked with some of the companies on my dream list. I look forward to collaborating with passionate people across a wide range of disciplines, creating unique and substantive work.

Where to find David:

Instagram: @davidpakenham

Website: www.davidpakenham.com

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