Graphic designer Dennis McInnes wants to make work that is “strong and empowering”

Recently, Dennis worked on the identity for an ICA exhibition, Channel B, by music collective Nine Nights, which is on from now until the end of January in London. “A group of us were brought in to create the logo and typographic language to be displayed on the walls of the ICA,” Dennis explains. “The world Nine Nights created was deeply rooted in a lot of influences from pirate radio, afro-futurism, speculative fiction, experimental sound, and satire to explore contemporary issues such as surveillance and non-human intelligence and the Black experience, with a series of live performances happening periodically during the calendar.” With so much stimulant to dive into, Dennis and the other designers focused on audience perceptions and challenging the status quo of exhibition text. “We were given song lyrics, poems and satirical adverts and had to figure out the system for it, alongside the main logo,” he adds. “The idea was to make the identity feel almost like you were walking into some kind of factory where all this music and information was being processed.”
Adapting his process and output remains a recurring theme for Dennis. He prides himself on abandoning the notion of working with a singular pattern of work. “It exudes this idea of some kind of perfectionism,” he says. “Instead, I think being able to mould and play with different styles and approaches has led me on a very fun journey so far and I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects as a result.” It’s an approach that doesn’t work for every designer, but for Dennis, it has clearly made an impact. Each work in his portfolio feels different from the other, but an unnameable quality still ties them together – thus creating somewhat of a cohesive output. “I’d say the most recurring theme in my work is some sense of simplicity,” Dennis adds. “I try not to overstimulate, and just give whatever the subject is centre stage.”
Looking into his future, Dennis hopes to focus on launching a joint studio venture with fellow graphic designer ​​George Edge. “Titled Cave Studio, we will begin to centralise our practice and develop on the type of work we’ve been doing already, but with the hope of taking on more challenging projects that really push our methods and ways of thinking.” So far, the pair have already worked together on five or six projects, “including the identity for Haroon Mirza’s audio-visual label Outputs.”

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