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Introducing Guest Blogger Laura Guido-Clark: Creating Beauty That’s Skin-Deep

If you want to get to know designer Laura Guido-Clark, you might start by tooling around her Web site. Slide your cursor, even to a mundane link–“Contact,” say–and suddenly you’ve drawn a cool and sinuous patterned coral line on a warm gray background. It inspires many reactions: Gee, I like that combination of colors. I should try that coral sweater I bought at Uniqlo with that gray skirt in the back of the closet. Or, Wow! This is fun! Forget working! Let’s just doodle!

If you want to get to know designer Laura Guido-Clark, you might start by tooling around her Web site. Slide your cursor, even to a mundane link–“Contact,” say–and suddenly you’ve drawn a cool and sinuous patterned coral line on a warm gray background. It inspires many reactions: Gee, I like that combination of colors. I should try that coral sweater I bought at Uniqlo with that gray skirt in the back of the closet. Or, Wow! This is fun! Forget working! Let’s just doodle!

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Wait a little longer and it all just….disappears. What’s up with that?

Laura Guido-Clark

The site is very Laura. It’s about surfaces–Guido-Clark’s particular area of expertise. It’s about color, an area in which clients as diverse as Mattel, Sonicare, The Gap, and the mighty Pantone itself have used her services. And it’s about humor, a gift that Laura says inspires her, and one that she has in abundance.

Guido-Clark’s Berkeley, California design studio specializes in the “skins” of consumer products, ranging from textiles to automobiles, electronics, and household appliances. Steelcase, Apple, Toyota, FLOR, Godiva, IDEO, Design Within Reach, and Godiva are among the names on her extensive client list.

To get to the heart of a problem, Guido-Clark employs a process she calls “Climatology.” It’s part crystal ball, part pattern recognition, part psychotherapy, part hard core corporate strategy. It’s goal is to forecast the weather so that clients can respond accordingly.

Last May, Guido-Clark designed the “Imagineered Workspace” for the party celebrating Fast Company‘s Most Creative People. To say this was a challenging job would be like saying the Boston Marathon is a pleasant trot. There were multiple pieces of furniture, from disparate manufacturers to integrate. The job had to be done from 3,000 miles away, without ever seeing the venue. It had to be set up and deconstructed in the space of 24 hours. And it had to look GREAT.

Laura’s installation was both imaginative and functional. You can take a look, right here. Not only did she manage to hit all the goals, but she delivered some astonishing pieces of her own design, particularly a dramatic, wall-size Ethics Compass that every CEO should have hanging on his office wall.

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Check it out in the video below.

Here are some of Guido-Clark Design’s most compelling designs:

LGC Design worked with Kodak’s industrial design team to develop a color language and finishes for many of their digital products, including the new Zi8 pocket camcorder.

Laura Guido-Clark

Working with FLOR since its inception, LGC Design has designed seasonal collections, as well as directing color, materials and patterns for the brand. It’s helped FLOR expand beyond its contract roots to reach a new residential consumer market.

Laura Guido-Clark

“Simply Real” is a series of eco-fabrics that LGC Design did for Pallas Textiles.

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Laura Guido-Clark

LGC Design selected showroom materials and finishes to communicate the essence of Steelcase’s new brand, Coalesse.

Laura Guido-Clark

Read Laura Guido-Clark’s Dreaming in Technicolor blog

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About the author

Linda Tischler writes about the intersection of design and business for Fast Company.

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