Hothouse Talks: Sarah Boris


Today in hothouse talks, we had Sarah Boris presenting to us about how she started working in the industry. It is my second talk in attendance and third talk that the CASS is hosting. Sarah Boris is a French graphic designer, art director and artist based in London. She has worked since 2005 for organisations, which include Phaidon Press, The Photographer’s Gallery, ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts), Barbican Centre, Tate, The Architecture Foundation, South London Gallery, Gasworks, Hotshoe International, Max Wigram Gallery, Fedrigoni and the Royal Philharmonic Society amongst other.

This particular presentation is about her career experiences in the industry as a graphic designer. Sarah just took us in a journey into what career life was like when she started and where she is at this point.

After she left University, she began her career working at the Barbican center ten years ago. She saw an internship been advertised by the Barbican, so she applied but wasn’t successful. She applied again at the Barbican center, this time as a junior designer. Thinking she wasn’t going to get the job, she managed to get it. She only worked for the Barbican for two years and once she got the job, she had to reproduce the same style of publication that was made for them by another design company. She left the job after two years because the job became repetitive. image

She then applied and worked for ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) for the next five years. At this job in the first few years, she began producing publication for ICA and the first image is the design of publican she has created. Sarah always knew she wanted to work in publication and she managed to create and produce them.


She created photographs for ICA  to use and she mentioned that she wasn’t a photographer and she isn’t great at the images presented below, it did come at great. The concept behind the images was that the ICA had a movie theater in the building and with the help of two technician (who officially hates her at this point) helped Sarah unscrew two seats and just take them around the area and photograph them.


Few years later, she help collaborate with students with producing a zine. Students were having trouble producing one for the next day that she looked over it and was highly interacted in it which led her to create a project she card a ’24 hour zine’. Once completed and met the deadline, it actually became a hit. As you can see below, this is what the zine, came to look like. It has a very simply cover and she asked students to stay back to he achieve the targets.

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These publication are the inside of the new publication for ICA she created. This project was seen as a rebrand for ICA and she help revamp the company’s publication.


I would think like any designer that she would have a side project that would keep her interested and sane, I do think that they are actually really amazing just to look at.


These are just two examples of posters she created and I really love it, but favourite had to be Heartquake = Earthbreak because of the typography, colours and shapes.


She was approached by a band to create a album cover for the band and the result is pretty. The designed in a geometric style, she fit the name of the band by incorporating it in the design. I don’t remember the name of the band sadly but it did sound cool and Sarah just played off the name by generating ideas by based on what the name would look like if it was a visual object.


Even though its a personal project, she treated it like its a project for a client. I think this was the case because as a designer, creating a product or an end result whether it’s a project for a client or not, treating it this way is, probably helps motivate to achieve a well design outcome.


It seemed like a weird thing to do (which is) but she manage to get a bunch of designers, without meeting, to come together to create a studio and produce work. It is a bizarre thing to do but it did work however Sarah advice us to not do this.


Here in this are the people that decided to come together to work in this crazy project and they worked over nights apart from the much older man seen in this picture because of his age, needed to sleep early.


Although this project isn’t ideal considering how it was set up but the work that was produced was amazing. Just looking at the work, collaboration was put to the test amongst these strangers.


This image you see below has an interesting, not so interesting back story to it how ever you see it. Once at a drunken night, one of Sarah’s designer friends broken his wrist on his right and doesn’t remember how or where he was at the time to break it. He felt the pain but didn’t get it fix after two days. Because he is right handed, he couldn’t work however Sarah made him work using his left hand and below shows how the work turned out.


This image below is an example of one of Sarah’s interest in logo and creating them. She went out in finding logos that have peoples name and creating recreating them.


My overall feedback from the presentation is that it’s true insight of how and what graphic designers get to do in companies and also in freelance jobs. I think this was helpful to see what other designers are up to in the industry right in this moment. What is cool is that she is working at the Cass with the second and third students bin the Press Pass studio. This for me was a positive experience and I do look forward to attend to the next Hothouse talks.


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