This past Tuesday, the MFAD Class of 2019 had the pleasure of attending a lecture with Irish designers Conor Clarke and Stephen Kavanagh at the SVA Amphitheater. Their lecture largely pertained to their long relationship, not just in the field of design, but with one another as creative partners.
Both men started their careers in their late teens, and have now been working together for nearly 40 years. Their Dublin-based company, Design Factory, focuses primarily on brand identity systems.
Clarke and Kavanagh’s presentation felt akin to watching the history of Irish design unfold before us. Much of their early work related to Irish institutions – the Modern Art Museum, the postal service, old tobacco brands, et cetera. As time has gone on they’ve rather dramatically transitioned into the digital age. Much of their current work now centers on developing bright, animated content for music festivals and gaming companies.
Being in the field for this length of time, I imagine it is difficult to remain relevant. The founders of Design Factory have managed to avoid this line of dissipation, perhaps because Dublin is increasingly becoming a hub for design and technology. Though I would not personally go so far as to agree that Dublin is the “Silicon Valley” of Europe, as Clarke suggested!