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The Language of Things

    Creativity Corner Creative Projects

    Five Things

    February 5, 2015

    So, a couple of days ago, while perusing the delectable Zine of Gerard from Walnutgreydesign I discovered this brilliant project called: five things! Upon closer investigation I saw that anyone can get involved. A quick browse through their website, an even quicker submission of my “five things” and low and behold I’m now also part of this great project. Thank you Paul. You can see my entry here!


    five things - Tina Bernstein - colourliving


    As I wanted to know more about the project and its creator, I fired over some questions to Paul McNally, creator of @_fivethings. Blogger at thing. Graphic Designer. Brand Creator. Music Lover. Enjoyer of Nice ‘Things’.

    five things - colourliving
    Image – logo of five things © Paul McNally

    Tell us a little about your birth place and upbringing. I was born in Belfast (Northern Ireland) and have always lived here. At school, art was always the subject I was best at; so it was inevitable I would end up working in the creative industries at some stage. That took a while though; when I left school I embarked on a career as a club DJ (still do this at the weekends!) and it wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s that I began my career as a graphic designer. Your never too old to do anything.

    What made you decide to study Graphic Design. Any creatives in your family? My dad is a great artist, although he doesn’t draw too much anymore and it’s fair to say my ‘creative’ side must come from him.

    Working as a club DJ, and also being a huge music fan, I became a little obsessed with club flyers and album cover design. DJing isn’t a career that lasts forever, so I saw a potential career shift within the same industry; that’s why I decided to study graphic design. I wanted to be the designer of the album cover, rather than the admirer. (And, I needed ‘normal’ working hours to catch up on some sleep!)

    Who or what inspires you? The aesthetics of Modernism would be the main influence on my design work. Clean, minimal, functional and typographically led. Designers such as Peter Saville, Hamish Muir, Tony Brooks (Spin) and Jonathan Barnbrook, are all peers that I admire.

    Music & song lyrics are always a source of inspiration too; especially when creating a new brand or advertising campaign. I also love design blogs; particularly Design Milk and Swiss Miss.

    When did you launch Paul McNally Design studio? Since around 2008 I have been working as a freelance graphic designer, specialising in print design and branding. In 2011 I launched Paul McNally Design as a design studio. Over the last few years we have become increasingly busy and we have created some great work for some great clients (if I may say so myself!)

    What made you enrol in the MFA degree course in Multidisciplinary Design at the University of Ulster, Belfast? Quite simply, to create a new business and build a brand/product range of my own. The MFA (run by Chris Murphy and Debbie Fraser) has been an invaluable experience that has enabled me to experiment and also figure out what I want to do in the future. I’ll always be a graphic designer, but I knew I wanted to use my design skills to create my own brand of ‘things’. That brand ended up as ‘Five Things’.

    What did the experience teach you? Practical skills such as effective use of social media, public speaking, innovative creativity, as well as a solid grounding of intuitive business thinking. It’s a great course.

    Tell us about ‘five things’. Five Things is my final project for my MFA it’s aim is simple – to document the five things people choose as their favourites, and most importantly, why.

    The project is inspired by a brilliant book – The Language Of Things by Deyan Sudjic. The book unravels our desire to own and possess ‘nice things’ and it got me thinking about the things I collect and treasure; as well as wondering what things other people would choose as their favourites. Intrigue (nosiness) got the better of me; so, I created Five Things (no point trying to be too fancy with names I find!). The goal of the Five Things is to grow a global community of individuals encompassing all ages, locations and occupations; discovering, and documenting, the stories behind the things people choose as their five favourites. Hopefully, growing into an archive of interesting stories about humans and the things we love. The project is also really fun to read, we all love to find out interesting secrets about other people.

    Anyone can submit their five, so pop over to five things and submit yours!

    What’s next on your radar?
    Five Things: The Book
    Five Things: The Product Range
    Building the Five Things site
    A holiday!

    Thank you Paul. Fascinating. I wish you all the best of luck with your project and hope that some of my readers will submit their ‘five things’.