Day 70: Rory Stiff

Today’s creative feminist’s (@rorystiff) ever-growing hunger for design has shon out of him since we were at school together age 16 and it’s been a complete privilege to watch Rory blossom into the dynamic and incredible designer he is today.

1. I’m Rory Stiff (@rorystiff)! I’m a freelance graphic designer based in London. Although I studied in traditional graphic design, I now work on projects ranging from album covers all the way up to large scale projection mappings and everything in-between.

2. I didn’t originally I didn’t come from an arts background. I studied maths physics and computing at A-level and academically this is where I expected to end up. However, I’ve always had an interest in the visual arts and ultimately, I decided that graphic design would be the perfect middle ground. I was very fortunate throughout my degree in that I had a lot of excellent internships that opened up a world of knowledge and opportunities. I have been lucky enough to work in some of the top studios in London and even had the incredible opportunity to work with Vaughan Oliver on a couple of projects for the Pixies. For me, there’s not many things cooler than designing a record sleeve for one of your favourite bands. I’ve also collaborated with many of my friends on projects, which is easily the best part of this practice. We’ve built shows that toured around London in a van, distributed 10,000 copies of our own newspaper to take on the political bias of mainstream media and built a website to help charities across the U.K. remain open during Covid-19. I never expected to end up going freelance straight out of uni, but for me it was definitely the right decision. I’ve been able to meet so many incredible people (and learn from them) as well as work on such a range of projects and I now feel that I know what I want to work on in the future.

3. For me my inspiration comes from everyone else in the industry. There’s such an incredible range of designers that it’s hard not to be inspired when you see the work they produce. Whilst you can spend hours trawling through work online

There’s so many amazing pieces of work that you can only find in publications so I try and collect as many design books as I can to widen my knowledge. I share them on a page that I run @graphic_books although I’ve taken a bit of step back from that recently as I’m focusing on turning it into a much larger project. Whilst this is my job, it doesn’t feel like a job at all, I am incredibly lucky that I am so interested in it that even when I’m not working I’ll be researching, reading and experimenting on other projects. To be able to come up with concepts and solutions to problems and then see them in real life is quite a privilege, and to be able to do that with my friends makes this the perfect job for me.

4. To me being a creative feminist means a lot! Many of my personal projects and interests revolve around social issues, and how we can best use the skills we have to help those that need it. For me, everyone should aspire to be a feminist. How someone can justify that someone doesn’t deserve equal rights because of gender is incomprehensible to me. I’ve already had the opportunity to work with so many incredible people and whilst it’s clear that there’s a long way to go, it feels like the tide is changing.

Design isn’t simply a job for Rory, it’s found in friendships, in books and all around him. A love for design is entangled in the very air this young man breathes and subsequently in the incredible work he imagines and then produces. I love to see how Rory uses this great skill to highlight great contemporary social issues and so I’m thankful to him for the work he creates. Please give Rory a wonderful welcome to our community by following his page @rorystiff and commenting your thoughts below. I can’t wait to see where life takes you next dear Rory.

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