Thursday, 25 November 2010

Design for life: Geek Calendar's Cosima Dinkel

A big part of Geek Calendar's character is its bespoke design, including our lovely logo (now plastered on badges, T-shirts and the like!) and our fantastic infographic cover. All of this is down to our amazing designer, Cosima Dinkel.

An ex-colleague of mine, Cosima's worked for a variety of geeky institutions including the Science Museum and the Wellcome Trust. I was lucky enough to rope her in early on in the project (little did she know what she was letting herself in for....).

Here, Cosima gives a little insight into her inspiration for the Geek Calendar design, and what makes a Graphic Designer tick.

Would you call yourself a geek?
A closet geek. I collect tea stirrers. I think that probably qualifies me.

Actually, I think graphic design is a quite geeky profession. I like the mix of the creative and technology. Having said that I'm not particularly techie like some designers are.

What's the geekiest thing you've ever done?
I once impersonated a typeface at a party. Everyone had to guess which typeface I was pretending to be. Is that geeky? Or just pretentious? It's a fine line ...

How was it designing Geek Calendar?
The pictures are so great, it really didn't need much designing! For the type, I thought it needed a geeky/quirky typeface so I chose a font called Pop designed by Neville Brody, which seemed to fit the bill.

What was your inspiration for the cover?
The idea was to do an infographic depicting the a breakdown of the geek year, based on the participants and all the geek anniversaries we'd collected for each month.

My inspiration was David McCandless's excellent book Information is Beautiful, which is the obvious starting point for infographics. His diagrams are really interesting, depicting data in original and unconventional ways. I wanted to do my own version of one of those. I chose a pie chart as I could just about cope with the maths!

Geek Calendar cover

What was most enjoyable about putting the calendar together?
It was really good fun working on a project with lots of people who were all committed to producing a thing of beauty.

And the most challenging?
The maths for the pie chart! See above.

Do you have a favourite month from the calendar?
I've got to admit I love the Cox/Milinovich because it's quite theatrical. But that might also have something to do with the ginger cat... ;-)

February 2011

How did you get into design?
I've always been into art and design. My grandparents were artists. I did a foundation course and went to art school and then I got an Apple mac...

What's a normal day in the life of a designer?
Lots of cups of tea. A fair amount of procrastination. I have to say the Internet is really really distracting!

What's the best thing about your job?
The cups of tea. Seeing the finished product and sniffing the ink.


Who's your favourite geek?
I'd have to say the photographer Martin Parr because of his geekish obsession with collecting ephemera. I particularly like his collections of crap postcards.

Pontins, Camber Sands
Image: Flickr/Gareth Courage