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Conversations in Creativity: Kevin Darton

Ahead of our of Design Disrupters screening & Q&A we provide an insight into the design inspirations of panelist, Kevin Darton.

Kevin Darton

Freelance Designer and Art Director based in Manchester 

Kevin is a lecturer in Advertising and Graphic Communication at the University to Central Lancashire and a Uclan graduate in Graphic Design. Prior to this he has spent the past 15 years working in the creative industries as both a Designer and advertising Creative.Over the years he has worked for clients in Arts and Culture, Retail and finance and most things in between.

What was your first memory of creativity?
I always loved to draw from my own imagination as a kid, making things up rather than from observation. But probably my first clear memory of being made aware of design is my mum pointing out to me that the spaceship in the kids’ show Button Moon was a Heinz beans tin, and that you could tell it was Heinz by the colour and the design on the front. Even as a toddler I clearly remember being fascinated by this tiny attention to detail.

What was your creative journey to get to where you are?
I always loved graphic design before I even knew what it was. After completing a design degree at Uclan I worked as a designer for many years before, almost without realizing it, crossing over into advertising and art direction. I’ve since become a freelancer working across both design and advertising and about 18 months ago was approached to join the teaching team in the visual communication department at Uclan.

Does your work/process develop thematically, or is it more distinctive and random?
My work and approach is thoroughly process-driven. Where that process will take you, you’re never quite sure but having a clear brief and a clear process acts as scaffolding for ideas generation. It helps me get off the blank page, ward off creative block and encourages me to find solutions through research.

What or who has been the biggest influence on your work and why?
The first year of the design course at Uclan. It taught me that visual communication is so much more than just making things look good. Its communication. It’s lateral think. It’s problem-solving. It re-wired my brain and taught me to see the world in a different way.

What inspires you or provokes the motivation towards creativity within?
Having a problem to solve. I often struggle to create design work for it’s own sake. But if I can identify a problem where design is part of the solution, or if in undertaking a piece of work it will help me learn or appreciate something in a new way then I have trouble thinking about any thing else except finding a solution.

Which artists/designers do you admire or inspires you the most and why?
I’m from a school of design that values the idea. The work of the 60’s british designers such as Robert Brownjohn and Alan Fletcher, along with advertising creatives like David Abbott and Dave Trott, are a constant source of inspiration. These are thinkers first and foremost, and approached a problem with the intention of finding the best solution, even if that solution lay way outside of their particular area.

What is it you love most about what you do?
Design gives me a platform to explore anything. You never know which social or commercial problem you’re going to be asked to use your skills for next. In communicating someone else’s message for them you learn about them and their business.

Kevin will be taking part in a Conversations in Creativity panel proceeding a special screeing of Design Disrupters as part of UCLan School of Art, Design & Fashion 7th Conference Week - more details below:

Conversations in Creativity: DESIGN DISRUPTORS

A film aboutthe true nature of design and the design-driven business revolutions being shaped around the world through the designers eyes.

Screening followed by industry Q&A 

Dave Kirkwood: Host
Keith Noble:
Kevin Darton: UCLan

Natasha Sandoval: Scandit 

6-9.30pm (Screening: 6.30pm)

Thursday 15 February - The Arts Space - New Continental, Preston


Join us for an exclusive screening of the InVision-produced documentary DESIGN DISRUPTORS, brought to you as part of UCLan School of Art, Design & Fashion 7th Conference Week in association with Creative Lancashire & Forepoint.

DESIGN DISRUPTORS reveals a never-before-seen perspective on the design approaches of 15+ industry-shaking companies, and how they’re using the power of design to disrupt billion dollar industries.

Grab a drink, some movie treats, and be first to see the film. Then take part in the Q&A discussion with our expert panel representing Forepoint, Creative Lancashire and UCLan, plus special guest  Natasha Sandoval, Vice President of Marketing for Scandit, an international technologies company. Read the Forepoint Blog


The DESIGN DISRUPTORS screening and Q&A are FREE to attend but registration is essential via the Eventbrite Page. Seating is limited—reserve your seat today!

The event is supported by UCLAN Innovation Zone.