Javier Lopez on visual communication, cultural inspiration and design responsibility.

Javier Lopez is a London based multidisciplinary graphic designer, with a decade's experience working in many different areas of design. Javier doesn't like to stay in one place, you see. Throughout his career he has experimented with many different methods of visual communication. He's a seasoned designer of beautiful posters, he has focused on illustration for years at a time, he has designed for print and for web, and he's currently making gorgeous motion graphics. We were fortunate enough to be able to ask him some questions about his exciting practice.


How did you very first get into graphic design and visual arts?


I've always been interested in visual culture but when I finished college I went to university to study History and quickly realised it wasn't for me so I dropped out and went to study painting and printmaking, very traditional techniques and methods that gave me the fundamentals from there it was a natural progression into computers and graphic design. 


You make stunning kinetic type and image work. How do you draw inspiration for your motion design?


I'm really inspired by other people's work, I'm a culture vulture, always being obsessed with music, art, films and literature. 


What’s inspired you recently?


Can’t Get You Out of My Head, the latest six-part documentary series by Adam Curtis, was an amazing tale of the modern world. Katie Paterson is one of my favourite artists, her project Future Library a 100-year artwork based in Oslo. It's basically a forest that was planted in Norway, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in 2114. Her artworks are so inspiring, always talking about such big and abstract subjects like the universe and the passing of time. In terms of music, I would recommend Colors, a music platform and YouTube channel showcasing new talent from around the world, a great way of discovering new music.


Is your process completely digital or do you ever use traditional making methods as a part of your practice?


Right now my process is 100% digital, I basically sit down in front of the computer and start working but I would love to start mixing media to add another level to my work, I have recently been experimenting with AR which I think is a perfect bridge between offline and online worlds. 


Tell me about the current personal project(s) you’re working on.


I'm currently doing a Master's in Graphic Design and as my master's project, I'm working with Pedro Destefani, a great designer from Brazil. We are exploring how to create a visual system that could help you to identify misinformation on the internet. The project was born when thinking about how we consume information. The statistics are very clear on how younger people never go to traditional media sites and instead get all their news from social media and how misinformation is fundamentally being shared on such platforms.

Currently, all these platforms are trying to find ways of stopping misinformation in different ways but ultimately all the alerts are in written text, so it's easy to misinterpret or even ignore those claims. As designers, we think that by creating a bold visual system we can make that misinformation more obvious. So we are trying to look at all the disinformation techniques, categorising them and adding a visual behaviour that would alert users. Of course, in a very speculative way.

I believe in the responsibility to communicate truths as a graphic designer. We are visual communicators, and we need to understand that graphic designers can be agents of change. We need to be aware that all design is political and design is never neutral. If you are designing for a large corporation you are consciously or unconsciously making choices, and therefore reinforcing the values of those companies and the systems they represent.