To speak to James Goggin of his impressive portfolio of work is to speak of his influences, interests and, most importantly, his perspective on the role of graphic design in society. As a designer and co-owner of Practise, with wife and partner Shan James, he has worked with a number of notable clients including Phaidon, Studio Gang Architects, Tate Modern, Transport for London, University of Chicago, and Victoria & Albert Museum.
His career has taken him from Australia, where he grew up, to London, where he graduated from the Royal College of Art and started his studio in 1999. From London his family moved to Arnhem, the Netherlands, where he continued to work while teaching at the Werkplaats Typografie at the same time as being a visiting lecturer in history and theory at the ECAL (University of Art and Design Lausanne) in Switzerland. In 2010 he moved to Chicago to take on the role of Director of Design, Publishing, and New Media at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). Since 2013 he has returned to running Practise with Shan James, working with clients around the United States and in Europe, combined with teaching at Rhode Island School of Design.
Although his career might seem nomadic in nature, I believe James would argue that each move was very calculated and intentional. He would also be the first to say that his boundaryless career path has had a strong influence on the work he creates. His willingness to travel has made him a keen observer, and equipped him with the ability to be both resident and visitor. This duality comes through in his projects where he tends to both work within the confines of a place’s culture but also add something new to the story.
Interview published in May, 2016.
“Strella, Sing a Singsong to the Moon” by Studio Noir is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike License.