A Brush with Design: 10 Designers Dish on Their First Design Encounter — Abhi Topiwala
In the lead up to DA’s 10th birthday celebrations in March 2019, A Brush With Design asks 10 designers who have been involved with DA at various times to nostalgically recount their first memory of encountering design. In this third iteration we spoke with emerging designer Abhi Topiwala.
Oh there are so many great memories but I do have that one I vividly remember changed the design game completely for me! It wasn’t revolutionary or a brand new discovery for the human race but a personal milestone that lead to bigger and better things. I feel sometimes you can be told the same thing numerous times but for me I really just need to have that experience for myself and then I will ‘get’ it.
I remember in my first year of the Design & Visual Arts degree (before I switched to the Creative Enterprise degree) I always enjoyed the studio segment of our classes as I got to have fun, draw and let my mind wander. I didn’t know too much about what the creative industry was and how it worked but drawing was what really had me show up to studio everyday.
One significant studio that really changed how I saw design was when we were covering typography and using type as form on a page. We were using zeta paper and large printed letters and tracing them to create an image. Being interested in mark-making since I can remember, I used the silhouette of the letter to house the marks I made. I’m pretty sure I used the letters of ‘f-a-c-e’ and filled them with marks made with a chisel tip marker. I couldn’t find the page itself after rummaging through my old work but here it is recreated as best as my memory recalls it. It’s funny to think that the way I treated each mark as a line hasn’t really changed and from the beginning, I’ve had a connection to the lines I create with a drawing tool. Each mark has a relationship to the next and I feel this resonates with Design on a macro level if you consider the different elements that make a whole, each element is related to its previous or next. I hope that makes sense!”
With the help of my lecturers at the time, I looked at the image objectively and this lead to a flood of open doors to what design is for me. I may be paraphrasing but I was told “as long as what you are creating is communicating what you need it to communicate then this is design.”’