21 September 2015

Creative Talk with Dave Clark, Principal of Dave Clark Design Associates


How was your Design Education?


I was at Art School in England during a revolutionary time in both fine Art and Graphic Design, with new visual styles being created all the time, in synch with the rapidly changing social scene.  People like Andy Warhol were doing revolutionary Fine Art work and Design was really in its early, Heroic stage, feeding off Fine Art as well as other exciting stimuli.


American designers such as Bass, Lubalin, and Glaser were being matched by British Designers. The Design Industry was smaller and a lot more dynamic and interlinked than nowadays and easier to understand in that more simple time.


You are an NZ design icon – Tell us how your design career started.


I started work as a designer working for a Nightclub company in the North of England in 1973. They were opening clubs all over the North, and I did all the Ads, and collateral. The Launch Ads caused near- riots from people trying to get in on opening nights. It taught me how powerful Design can be.


When I came to NZ in 1976 it was a lot harder. Nobody seemed to know what a Graphic Designer was. It took me quite a long time to get any clients. I had to other jobs like being a stunt-man just to keep going and pay my studio bills to Gordon Harris and the printers. The Ad Agencies seemed to do everything at that time, and I had to put quite a lot of time trying to educate clients in the differences between Design and Advertising.


You are now Dave Clark Design Associates; across NZ, Australia and Asia – you must be very proud of your achievements?


I know it sounds terribly cheesy, but actually, the things that make me the most proud are looking at successful work done by us, the thank-you emails that we get from clients as well as getting to know the many talented people in the Agency.


You have a strong senior team; how does it work?


My fellow shareholders Andy, Andrew, Jonathan and I have worked together for a long time. We have a strong shared idea of what’s important in running a Design Company, and now that our operation employs more than fifty five-staff in four offices, we all keep working hard to keep our culture of excellence in work quality and service.


You are forging ahead with Digital; do you find yourself competing with advertising and development agencies, for your clients work?


The Design industry is a bit chaotic at the moment with a continual blurring and merging of areas of expertise, so we do find this. But it’s important to know your strengths. We believe that a focus and expertise in visual design is a key skill which will stand the test of time.


Who are you outside of work – do your other passions sit within the design orbit?


I’m very interested in drawing and painting as well as design and love to relax by going outside to sketch. I also do some mentoring work.


What is your favourite font?


Good old Helvetica every time!


Where to from here Mr. Clark?


It’s a great time to be a designer. We live in a glorious new age of breakneck innovation and change, and the Design Agencies that master the process of using these changes to drive their businesses will be the ones who will stay. We think we’ll be one of these.