Featured Awards Winner

Susannah O’hUadhaigh

April 2019

A big congrats to Susannah O’hUadhaigh (@sueowhoo), one of our 30 TDK Awards winners' for 2019. A Institute of Art, Design + Technology (IADT) graduate from Dublin, their work was chosen by Jessica Walsh (@jessicavwalsh) from Sagmeister & Walsh in NYC: "I loved the 'SUE O'WHO?!' self branding, fun and easier to remember. Each project was very conceptual, but with a high level of execution. #NOMEANS was my favourite project, an activist group tacking the issue of consent from a female perspective, which looks and feels like club posters. It also uses real experiences from clubs to create relatable content for the audience. Special mention for the last project, a bible with a contemporary twist exploring the word 'fuck' from the 1400s to present day. Well done Sue!" We asked Susannah to answer a few questions for next years TDK Awards hopefuls.

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

Realising that the little things don’t matter, in the grand scheme of getting a deadline done. It’s better to have an overall feel and vibe of a project than to worry about the line spacing on some piece of design. Not to say line spacing isn’t important.

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

I’ve been an art teacher during my summer holidays for the past 6 years and have always been interested in the paper crafts, where there is clean lines, colour and paper stock and not so much the messy stuff. I always knew I wanted to do something art/design related however I knew I wasn’t a painter, model maker or anything really very ‘arty’ . However, I still knew I wanted to do something creative then one day I got to experience a day in a studio here in Dublin and thought this is so cool. So I looked into many visual communications courses in Ireland and the UK . After applying for the UK and getting into some colleges I ended up missing out of the ‘studious’ marks so had to stay here in Ireland. However, it was a blessing in disguise.

I feel my course was so broad we didn’t just focus on one element of graphic design. IADT enabled us to dabble in projects that included web design, coding, way finding and exhibition design. We got to have our fingers in all the pies and I think that has really shaped me as a designer as I don’t like to do just one thing. If I do a book I’ll already be imagining how I’m going to shoot it and then what props I’ll need. All the skills I have learnt goes into this.

I’m currently a designer at RichardsDee in Dublin, I was lucky enough to go straight into a job after college. I was a bit apprehensive at the start as the work they specialise in branding and I always thought I would go straight into advertising, however I have realised that the the fun and the true challenge is making the not so exciting things more interesting to read or communicate is a talent. For example it is a lot harder to make a corporate brand book feel fun and exciting and engaging then it is for shooting a nude girl for a porn glyph book.

Any hot tips for getting ahead at uni?

Keep it personal, your personality is what makes you different and unique.

Don’t be competitive, as in do projects which make you happy or make you want to learn instead of doing projects you think the tutors would like. Be confident in your work.

Use your schools' facilities, just because you're doing graphic design doesn’t mean you should just be on the computer. For example, I was constantly in the photography studio because my ideas always seemed bigger than the screen and whenever I could collaborate with different courses I did. Since you’re in art college you have so many amazing people to help you make your dream come true.

Use your briefs in college and twist them to your interests. For example, if you have to make a book and you're not into typography, do the book but then think about how you're going to show off your work. Art direct your shoot to what your ideas wanted to be from the start.

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Keep it personal, your personality is what makes you different and unique.

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

For a small city we have a lot of platforms for design, like Offset and The Future. To have such big designers, illustrators, creatives coming from all over the world to speak in Dublin is amazing. I feel so lucky to be able to have seen so many talented designers speak with only having to go down the road.

Ladies wine and design night funny enough from Jessica Walsh, I love the ones in Dublin and always left feeling inspired about what’s happening on our Emerald Isle and love for the work we do from the amazing Irish ladies.

I really feel Dublin is becoming a booming design hub as we are so close to mainland Europe but also we are a country where storytelling is so embedded in our history that I feel it is embedded in us as designers.

Dreams companies:

God I have always been in love with Kessel Kramer everything they do is unique and absolutely mad.

Mother in London oh wow I just love them.

Anya Hindmarch a brand who brings an experience to their customers with every campaign, interactive show and even purchase.

It really sounds like I am tooting Jessica’s horn but in college I grew up looking at her art direction and wondering HOW and I want to do that so it’s pretty cool she picked me as one of her top three.

Where do you see your career in 5 years?

I’m currently based in Dublin but would in 5 years I would love to be across the pond in Amsterdam, London or anywhere really and primarily doing art direction and design as that’s what really gets me excited and who doesn’t want to be excited all the time.

2019 for you in a sentence

Aim for the stars and hit a bird.

Instagram: @sueowhoo

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