Our design team attended the 2022 Design Thinker Conference in Vancouver. This is the first of a multi-part series of recaps to share some inspiration and industry insights.

Design with body, mind and soul

If you are a typophile, you would have LOVED Gemma O’brien’s keynote talk, which was accompanied by a slideshow replete with typographic art. Gemma’s bold works and illustrative lettering have found their way onto murals and gallery walls; published in editorials and commercial projects for global brands; even splashed across giant screens in New York Times Square. 

Follow Gemma on instagram @mrseaves101

Gemma’s keynote presentation was about designing with body, mind, and soul. Her journey began with the first thing she ever drew as a kid – a portrait of her beloved pet chicken. But her creative interests were set aside for a brief stint in law school, that is until Gemma realized she was destined for a path towards graphic design. 

Follow Gemma on instagram @mrseaves101

It was during the early phase of this career pivot that she soon discovered her love for typography, which developed from the physical aspects of old-school typesetting. Once firmly in her career, and spending so much time working in front of the computer screen, she began to re-visit the physical aspect of design with mural projects. This physical side of design became something she could no longer imagine being absent to her career.

Credit: Design Thinkers | rgd.ca

Outside of her commercial commissions, Gemma also balances the life of a gallery artist and explores language, nature, and the human experience through her art practice. Making art about things you love and owning your process does not mean that we have to limit your opportunities within the commercial world.

In essence, to design with body, mind, and soul is a pursuit of balance. Get physical, do what you love, and keep exploring.

Follow Gemma on instagram @mrseaves101