DesignThinkers: Harry Pearce

Harry Pearce, partner at Pentagram

Harry Pearce, partner at Pentagram

Harry Pearce opened the conference with a personal story about finding a rock during an undersea snorkle. He loved the look and feel of the object and took it with him. It turned out to be no ordinary rock—its smooth indentation and once-sharp chiselled edge gave some clues... the rock was actually an ancient implement; one that had functional and historical value as well as the emotional value that Harry ascribed to it.

This was an apt metaphor for the rest of his presentation in which Harry, a partner at the esteemed firm Pentagram, presented design that challenged him to work, to investigate, to experience, to feel and to react. For Harry, the tools of work can be beautiful and profound. 


These sample spreads are from a design exercise Harry began—to communicate typographically with very reduced elements—that evolved into a book called Conundrums. On the project, Harry noted, "What you think might be dumb ideas…. [turn into something else]. Ideas are just fantastic and have their own trajectory."

Some one-liner highlights I noted during his presentation:

There's beauty in the mystery.

I just put the logo as big as we f*ing could.

I was just photographing my kind of rubbish—and they thought me quite mad.

Apparent crap can be heavenly source material.

On design: I feel like design is finding me.

It is a real privilege to be in ideas.