Recently we started a series of lockdown candidate Q&A’s to celebrate some of the amazing talent on our books. With it, we’re hoping take a candid peek behind the curtain at the realities of creative’s current working lives, see how they’re coping in a tough time for the industry, and offer a platform to chat through their practice.
Next up is Barney Fagan, a multi-disciplined graphic designer who graduated from Kingston University in 2018. With a technical skill-set well beyond his years, his work leans towards interaction and motion, with typography and layout at its core. Since graduating his working experience has included NB Studio, Johnson Banks, Design by S-T and most recently Alphabetical. He’s one to watch, for sure.
Below, Barney chats to us about his love for motion design, exploring new technologies, and his lockdown successes as a football manager (ish)...
Talk to us about your practice and working year so far, before lockdown…
In abstract terms my practice is reactive. My commercial practice primarily consists of working with other peoples content, attempting to elevate, accentuate, challenge and communicate their content's strongest elements and ideas. In my personal work I like to test and explore different subjects, mediums and technologies, interrogating and celebrating their quirks, limitations and contradictions.
I primarily work through motion design, a medium which both encompasses my interests and accentuates my strengths. Motion design is inherently narrative based and full of character. I love bringing design to life through motion, accentuating intricacies and amplifying individualities. It’s also a perfect vehicle for communicating the narratives of projects. I thrive off diving into a project, attempting to understand how it's been put together and telling its story in a way that accentuates its personality. As a field, motion is defined by technology. I enjoy exploring new softwares and techniques to see how they can push my practice and how I can test them. Motion also encompasses a lot of my personal interests - sound, illustration, cinema, illustration and animation - giving me the chance to work with and alongside them.
So far this year I have been lucky enough to work with Alphabetical, C-ll-ct-v-ly and Design by S-T as well as on my own personal projects. My projects have consisted of robust visual infrastructures as well as individual pieces of animation. I’ve particularly enjoyed working with Alphabetical, using motion to animate their identities for The National Autistic Society and Bespoke by Landmark. I’ve really enjoyed animating their assets and accentuating their ideas and character. I’ve also worked on the brand films for both projects, working with the team to work out how best to communicate the thoughts behind both brands has been an exciting challenge for me. I relish testing and distorting these narratives in attempt to tell them in the most exciting and engaging ways possible.
What’s your experience of work/the design industry since then?
I’ve been lucky enough to continue working with Alphabetical on a few projects since - though I miss being in the studio and speaking to the team on a daily basis, we’ve continued to work on some really exciting projects since. I’ve also been extremely fortunate to have a couple of personal clients that have kept me afloat.
I’ve really enjoyed having the time to explore a few new technologies. I’ve begun working with AR which has been really fun and could potentially be a really exciting avenue for my practice.
Primarily, I think It has been a really scary time for everyone. My thoughts are with all the amazing studios who are struggling at the moment, I really hope they can survive during this testing time and continue to make exciting work.
Have you got a daily routine in place? How have you been keeping motivated?
One of the positives of the virus has been that it has allowed me to define my own daily routine. I usually wake up early and start working at 7. I really like how my brain works in the morning, a lot of the time I’m still little confused which leads to exciting ideas. Starting at 7 also means I can finish slightly earlier and go for a cycle in the evening or get a head start on my night job, being QPR’s most successful manager in history on FIFA career mode.
Any side-projects/hobbies you’ve picked up, or intend to?
I’ve started working with some basic AR animation, it’s been great pushing my practice into a real world environment and I’m really excited to see where that might lead. I also run a small collective with some friends called Minute Books where we document events through illustration and produce live media from these outcomes - we’ve got a few projects in mind that we would like to develop.
What’s the first thing you’re looking forward to, once lockdown ends?
I’m really looking forward to being around people again - they are so integral to my practice and life as a whole. I love working with people and believe my most collaborative works is usually my most exciting. I also find most of my inspiration for personal projects from my interactions with people.
Asides from my practice I really can’t wait watch some live football again - I really miss it haha.
In an ideal world, what would the rest of the year look like for you, creatively?
I’ve really enjoyed my year of freelance motion so far. It has been great learning new skills, working with new people and tackling new challenges so frequently. I’d love to be in a position where I can continue to work with a variety of different studios and clients that can expand my practice and help me to explore and learn new skills and mindsets.
Thanks a lot Barney!
You can see more on his website here:
Or follow him on Instagram here:
Words: Joe Cooper