The Question: What makes a good place?
Like most people designers live some place, work some place and visit a host of other places for the various other needs of their lives. Some designers, architects and interior designers for example, create places for not only themselves but for other people too. In the end though all designers, and most people for that matter, give consideration to, at least, the place where they work and where they live. So, for this issue ‘What makes a Good Place?’ is the question we posed to designers. Another broad question that allows for a range of responses from eight designers including—Camila De Gregorio, Carolyn McFarland, Jeremy How, Jess Leonard, Natasha Ballantyne, Peita Blythe, Simone Speet and Tara Shelton. Interestingly a common theme links them all. What is it? Dive in, and find out. The following are responses from two designers.
Simone Speet | Senior Graphic and user experience designer | linkedin.com/in/simone-speet
I’ve worked in a bunch of different studios over the last decade as a full-timer and a freelancer. The things that make me miserable when that alarm goes off in the mornings are; work that is under-stimulating, consistently unrealistic deadlines, poorly managed studios and narcissistic bosses.
I’ve found the best studios contain: a nurturing and cohesive team that shares knowledge and know-how; transparent and honest leadership that can handle being challenged by their team; feedback and opportunities that instil a feeling of personal and professional development. And, also a bright and plant-filled studio setting doesn’t hurt.
The most important thing?
Work-life balance—a term mention often but seldom enforced. How you find it is personal, for me it’s contracted time-in-lieu for overtime, going for a walk/explore at lunch time, and one night a week with an
on-time finish to attend short courses.
Peita Blythe | Freelance Illustrator, cartographer and graphic designer | peitablythe.com
Answering this question through the lens of my mapping work prompted me to reflect and examine the common link between my favourite map projects. It quickly became apparent that the common link wasn’t the landscape or built environment but was instead my personal connection to each place and the memories that they held.
This is evident with my two favourite map projects: my London map illustration and my hiking map series of the Faroe Islands. These two places and map illustrations could not be more different. London is a bustling and dynamic city while the Faroe Islands are a collection of eighteen remote and rugged islands in the middle of the north Atlantic. What makes these places and the maps special are the memories and stories that they hold.
I did a University exchange to London back in 2015 and recently spent three weeks in the Faroe Islands on a very special father-daughter trip. The process of making maps helps me to slow down and really engage with the place. It drives me to capture the place’s personality, its history, its quirks and its stories. The act of making these maps also allows me to locate, pin down and cement my elusive memories. Ultimately, my work encourages me to have a deeper connection with places and to me that
is what makes a good place.