Interview with Clare Lynch, Creative Director of Clare Lynch Creative, Ireland

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Clare Lynch

Clare is the founder and creative director of Clare Lynch Creative, where she combines creative flair and expertise with marketing, advertising and branding awareness.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Clare Lynch

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.

Clare Lynch Creative is a Dublin-based Graphic Design practice specialising in the design and development of unique brand identities, packaging design and visual communication.

Clare Lynch Creative will bring a unique point of difference to your brand, combining creative flair and expertise with marketing, advertising and branding awareness. The result is engaging, thought-provoking and effective design with a unique twist, providing an original solution for your brand or product.

2Why did you choose to become a designer?

I love of all forms of art and design and I always have a strong drive to create and make ordinary things beautiful. Through education and experience, this passion is further developed by me using problem solving, research and a creative thought process to help clients to reach their project/brand objectives and goals.

3Tell us more about your company, job profile, and what you do.

I offer graphic design services, specializing in branding and packaging design. I have almost 15 years of experience both here in Ireland, and overseas in Australia and New Zealand. I have worked in a wide range of companies, starting out in the global branding agency The Brand Union, and continuing on to work in various branding, design and advertising agency until I set up Clare Lynch Creative in 2014.

I help companies grow their sales and brand awareness through the bespoken graphic design, enabling them to have impactful on-shelf presence in store and increase their sales.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design and your brand are what people say about you when you’re not in the room, so it’s important this reflects the values and vision that you have for your company. If your brand has little attention given to the design, people will disregard the quality of your company and perceive it as low value. Therefore, it is such a key element to get this right. Design is communicating the message in a beautifully, clear and often simply crafted manner.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I really enjoy working on packaging design, as it’s like an artist’s blank canvas with space to design and communicate your client’s values and message to their target audience. Often the package’s shape can be used to inform the design effectively and make it stand out on shelf, when designed well.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

I think good design is understanding the client’s needs and communicating their brand values clearly and effectively, without unnecessary clutter and careful attention to detail. Bringing humour or unique extra touches can take it to the next level and make it stand out from the crowd.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

My style can vary, as I treat each project individually and create a design solution to answer each client’s individual brief. I bring thought, fresh perspective and unique creative ideas to the work I create, helping clients to achieve their goals.

8Tell us about your design process.

After meeting the client and receiving the brief, I begin making my notes and really try to understand the needs of the client and what they are trying to communicate. I then begin visual mapping and storyboarding, researching benchmarks and competitors – this is all before I begin first few concepts which I will present to the client, after completing the work.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Yes I think it would to some extent, designers are generally influenced by their background and what they have been culturally exposed to. However, I think today with so many online creative sharing platforms and social media, designers now have worldwide influences, both within design and with general news and media.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Thank you! This is a brilliant achievement to see my work be recognised in these prestigious awards and the design industry. I think it is good to acknowledge all the talented winners in their fields and for prospective clients to be see the work and agencies that are rising high in their field.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Flying Squirrel is a range of delicious, plant-based cheese alternatives, new to the market. The brand packaging and identity are fun, happy and vibrant, showcasing a quality, sophisticated product.

It is carefully crafted in a Dublin kitchen with love and passion, using traditional techniques. All Flying Squirrel products are dairy and lactose-free and are suitable for vegans, vegetarians and those making a conscious decision to change their eating habits for health, ethical or environmental reasons. We worked together in the naming process to define the name ‘Flying Squirrel’. It is inspired by the free-spirited energy of animals such as the flying squirrel, left to roam happy and freely in nature. This ‘cheese from trees’ is made mainly from nuts, and as squirrels are known to gather nuts, this is a further connection with the name to the cheese brand.

It was an enjoyable and innovative product to work on, as the client was easy to work with and passionate about his product range – this made for a collaborative and inspiring process from concept to completion in creating this successful packaging brand.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

There were challenges with the client finding the right tubs and containers to work with. He wanted to ensure that he was as environmentally friendly as possible, so he switched mid-project to glass jars, rather than plastic jars to meet this need. We also needed to design tamper-proof seals for the jars, as they didn’t seal automatically as the plastic tubs originally had.

Another concern was that the content needed to go to a considerably small size, so we needed to ensure that everything was still clearly legible and scannable with the finished artwork, and looked consistent across all packs.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

I have received positive feedback and promotion on social media from my peers and I find winning design awards attracts new clients and is a strong indicator to validate your creative skills and level of experience to new clients and within the design industry.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

- Being inspired by amazing, intelligent, humourous and carefully crafted work that I see shared online.

- How everyone supports and encourages each-other and shares tips.

How it’s fun and helps people to be able to communicate messages clearly, easily and with creative flair.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

Ireland has always been known for its creativity, from our famous artists and poets in history down to the old Irish storytellers of past times. We have a unique look and take on design, and often include a witty sense of humour when designing and can take cues from cultural and historical references, displaying them in a modern and fresh style.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

I see design becoming very functional and for purpose, as we are becoming more and more aware of the environment and the effect of waste on Earth. This will be a growing consideration in design, along with a lean towards the traditional, hand-crafted look and feel. I think digital design will continue to grow with less printed publications being designed.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Keep experimenting, playing and trying. You learn through your mistakes. Look at the great designers in history. Be aware of trends but don’t be a slave to them, as the brief comes first so always keep going back to that when trying to reach a creative solution. Get experience with several different types of companies, as you will always continue to learn after university and your first position will be like continuing education. Older designers love the fresh, playful takes that new designers can bring to the table so don’t be afraid to experiment.

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Again, practise makes perfect. Study Paul Rand, Muller Brockmann, the grid system and design principles. Look at the design that you see and analyse why it works or doesn’t work. Do further courses to increase your skills. Get experience and if you’re too long in one position, apply for something new that will challenge you more and re-ignite your creative juices.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I think I’d like to do motivational speaking at some stage, where I can encourage young designers to go for their goals!

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Other successful designers I know or have met, people in my life (I love Jessica Hische, the talented designer and hand-letterer) and people who have stories where they came from nothing but achieved lots.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Keep going. Write your goals and what it will take to get there. Review them every year (or more often). Keep learning. To quote Steve Jobs, ‘Stay Curious’.

Winning Entries

Flying Squirrel Vegan Cheese | 2020


One of the key aims of Flying Squirrel is to provide a solution for consumers looking for a delicious alternative to dairy cheese. For this...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Clare Lynch Creative

Clare Lynch Creative brings a unique point of difference to your brand, combining creative flair and expertise with marketing, advertising and branding awareness