@studiocatherine Not in the slightest! Our printers just require a little extra time.
After five years of operating as Finn Creative, Brisbane-based Kevin Finn, has revealed a new studio name – TheSumOf. The new direction represents Finn’s work as a designer, not just as Finn Creative, but the accumulation of his work from the past two decades, and also reflects his initiation of other design projects such as Open Manifesto and DESIGNerd.
We asked Kevin a few questions about the new studio name, future projects and future plans.
Can you tell us what led to the development of TheSumOf?
When I set up my independent practice in 2007 (in remote Kununurra, WA) it was done rather quickly, and I didn’t have much time to consider a studio name. As a result, I followed the traditional route and used my surname with the word ‘creative’, which I thought might cover all my interests including design, writing, publishing and my entrepreneurial interests, etc. However, I have always been uncomfortable with how traditional Finn Creative sounds. But more than that, the recent name change has occurred to align a number of personal and professional philosophies: TheSumOf represents an aggregation of nearly two decades as a professional designer, not just since I set up my independent practice in 2007; it reflects the fact my design work is heavily influenced by Open Manifesto and DESIGNerd – among other things – as well as the many people I’ve worked with over the years, along with my personal and professional experiences; and it reflects the fact I fully acknowledge that good design only happens when one works with the right people – designers, suppliers, clients, everyone. Every project I’ve done has been the sum of many people’s efforts across all aspects of the project. Although this is hardly unique (and can be applied to everyone) it seemed fitting that my studio name reflected this truth in an open and honest manner. My studio is the sum of everything I’ve been involved with up to this point. And each day adds to that aggregation. On a side note, late last year I had a funny (and lovely) conversation with Stefan Sagmeister about my studio name. But it reminded me how uncomfortable I’ve been for a long time with the name Finn Creative and in many ways our conversation prompted me to seriously consider what I would like to call my studio. For many reasons (including those cited above) I feel much more comfortable with TheSumOf.
Who else (besides yourself) is involved in TheSumOf and in what capacity?
KT Doyle, a friend and colleague, works with me two days a week. KT is an artist and designer and she has an incredibly organised mind. We are also very aligned in our approaches and philosophies so it’s a good fit. KT’s role is primarily to look after Open Manifesto and DESIGNerd customer orders, promotion and general requirements, with me taking care of the content and helping with promotion. KT is also involved with future planning of TheSumOf. But TheSumOf also extends to a wider community of collaborators, including partnering with other design studios on particular projects and – most importantly – collaborating with clients; working ‘with’ them, rather than ‘for’ them. TheSumOf is less about the company I run and more about the company I keep – the people across all projects and initiatives. The collaborative philosophy behind TheSumOf also allows us to build a specific team for certain projects if required and when appropriate. Indeed, TheSumOf has an interesting paradox in that it highlights the sum of my specific experience and expertise, while at the same time removing me from centre stage to acknowledge everyone else involved. I like that paradox…
Can you let us in on any future plans for the studio?
I have always been an ideas-driven designer, which is how I approach commissioned work. Of course, this will continue. However, I am increasingly generating business-minded ideas for our own initiatives, and this has already been evident with Open Manifesto and DESIGNerd. The objective is to spend more time developing these interests further, as well as being very selective with the commissioned work we take on. That may sound a little arrogant, but it’s not intended. The important thing is to find the right fit. When collaborating on anything, good relationships are of paramount importance. TheSumOf has also prompted me to consider what the next two decades as a creative might involve, and that is very exciting to think about – one day at a time.