Clay Lowe

My skill set is as diverse as the projects. I have photographed art, architecture and people used in campaigns, exhibitions and publications. I specialize in identity design, advertising design, product development, creative direction and typography.

What is good design? In my opinion, it’s a moving target. I’ve reflected on my own work, and what I’ve discovered, is what may have been good design for one time and place may not be considered as good for another. Design shifts and changes with considerations for audience and context. It’s never a static process and I think good design is not one thing but an activity that expands to meet needs, challenge notions and change behaviors.

What are some of the trends in design today? There are many aesthetic trends, some more nuanced then others. I’ll identify two important trends: sustainable and user-centered design. The paradox is there’s much work needed to harmonize the two. User-centered design removes the environment from the user and allows for a self-centered experience designed with a goal in mind. Sustainable design attempts to do the opposite. It challenges the isolation of the self and places the individual in the greater context of environment linking the user to holistic goals.

I see an opportunity in this challenge, as it may unite fields in design, architecture, programming and advertising etc. to contribute to a new kind of consumption. One that meets the needs of the consumer while contributing to greater good at a time when we need it.

How/why did you choose Design as a career? That’s a challenging question–It seems that some interests find you. Discussing and practicing art has always been a passion of mine. Critical thinking and reason have always served me well. I see design as blend of the two that satisfy both my aesthetic and practical concerns.

Why did you choose your MacEwan? I came to MacEwan with a background in painting and public art, and a practical need for a creative career. There were many experiences in Design Studies that allowed me to see my talents, world view and career goals in alignment. It was a fulfilling experience.

What are you doing now? I work for the Art Gallery of Alberta as the Graphic Designer of Marketing. As graphic designer of marketing, I am responsible for visually communicating the AGA’s commitment to connect people to the visual arts through our historical and contemporary exhibitions. This involves creative direction and communication design for AGA programs, ad campaigns, exhibition marketing and interpretive events.

Future career plans?I’d like to continue a diverse design practice and contribute more work internationally. I’d also like to spend more time making and exhibiting art.

What designers most inspire you? My inspiration isn’t exclusive to designers, and it’s too difficult to categorize in order of importance. I’m actually often more inspired by compelling content and my imagination of what that may look like.

Advice to a prospective student considering a career in design? Be passionate and reasonable.

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