IT STARTS WITH A PENCIL
As the newest software and latest tools alter the landscape of design at breakneck speed, it can be easy to forget the path that led us here. WNW Member #6786 Elias Freiberger brings this to life in his student thesis film, Design Starts Here. It is his response to the concern that we are increasingly reliant on execution rather than ideas, "An idea, in my opinion, should start in your head and not by pressing buttons. I have discovered that when I come up with ideas away from the computer screen and I sketch them out with pencil and paper, these ideas usually develop into something more unique. It’s about the process and how your imagination is unlimited when you are distant from your production tools."
A Vimeo Staff Pick, Design Starts Here opens with a wooden desk, then a pencil and sharpener, and finally pencil to paper as ideas are formed. What happens next is all the more exciting and refreshing when we see where it comes from. A journey of design's history to its boundless potential, the film is a celebration of the process itself as much as the end product.
Tell us about the process of coming up with this concept
I had the basic idea for the film in mind for quite a while before deciding to make it happen as the graduation piece for my MA. Going back to academia after my first experiences in the motion design industry was an important step for me. It meant that instead of improving my software skills and dealing with clients, I went back to the roots of design and did a lot of research about where design comes from. I tried a lot of old school design techniques and reflected on the design world in a critical way. It seemed like the perfect time to visualize my thoughts in the form of this film combining live action and CGI.
You wrote on your website, “From my research into the motion design and graphic design industries, I have often discovered that many people place too much of an emphasis on software.” Can you expand on this?
I have discovered that a lot of projects, especially in motion design, look very similar. The ideas seem to be dictated by software. I am not trying to say that software skills are not important, quite the opposite in the professional world actually. But an idea, in my opinion, should start in your head and not by pressing buttons. I have discovered that when I come up with ideas away from the computer screen and I sketch them out with pencil and paper, these ideas usually develop into something more unique. It’s about the process and how your imagination is unlimited when you are distant from your production tools.
What was the biggest challenge in making this film?
The biggest challenges were actually in organizing the shoot and keeping an overview of a project from start to finish. There was a lot of experimentation involved and I have also made a lot of mistakes along the way, that helped sharpen my idea.
Anything unexpected happen? Biggest thing you learned?
The most unexpected thing that happened was actually that on the day of the shoot it was cloudy despite a sunny weather forecast. But well, that’s London. The sunlight was quite an essential part for the lighting of the shots but we decided to start shooting anyway. When the sun finally came out, we started all over again. I have learned a lot at every stage of the project. For me, the fact that the film's idea of starting a project with pencil and paper worked out in the case of this particular project was very satisfying.
How did you start your career?
I made the decision to become a graphic designer quite early in my life. I always enjoyed drawing as a child and when I made my first steps in design and filmmaking, I was hooked. I decided to study Information Design back home in Austria at the University of Applied Sciences FH Joanneum. Diving into all kinds of different design disciplines, I felt most at home with motion design. I then spent a semester in the Netherlands to study 3D Computer Animation and Visual Effects at the HKU. After that, I got an internship at the motion design studio Frame in Copenhagen which was an incredibly valuable experience. After travelling the world for a bit I then decided to do an MA in Graphic Moving Image at the London College of Communication. Since my graduation, I’ve worked full time at Mainframe and Future Deluxe in London for the last two years.
What are some of your dream projects?
I want to continue working on projects that combine design and filmmaking. I am actually working on a couple of dream projects at my job at Future Deluxe right now. One big dream is to work on a feature film at some point in my career.
Any other WNW members whose work you admire?
I really love Nejc Polovsak (aka Twisted Poly)'s work. He’s been freelancing for a couple of studios I have worked for and I admire his work and the constantly improving quality of it.