Recently, Fast Company placed Mr. Opara on their January 2014 list, “Most Creative People in Business 1000.”
Fame in the graphic design world, however, typically does not come with the fanfare you would see on the red carpet. If you asked Eddie Opara during one of his university lectures, interviews, or Ted X talks who he is wearing, he may not say Prada. If you asked Prada, however, about the artists that have designed their environmental graphics for their New York Prada Epicenter, then you will definitely hear Mr. Opara’s name. He may not be on Hollywood’s A-List, but he’s on several people’s short-lists of famous designers.
Mr. Opara’s clients have ranged from Prada to Morgan Stanley, from UCLA to Studio Museum in Harlem, and from The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to JWT — the list being almost as eclectic as his artwork.
A Londoner with an MFA from Yale — where he is now a visiting critic — Eddie Opara currently works as a partner at Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy. He is an artist who is constantly searching for the interesting tangent to the normal path to find solutions that excite him and others and broaden his collection of strategy, technology and design work. His collection includes traditional print, infographics, interactive tables, software and multimedia — to name a few.
Below, we explore this transformative artist through five of our favorite works from his multifarious collection:
Color Works | Design Book
Color Works, a book co-written and designed by Eddie Opara, provides designers with everything they need to know about color in relation to design. It provides insights on scientific theories and the cultural significances of color. This collaborative piece helped Eddie analyze his own use of color and demonstrates Opara’s talent to tell a story through visual and graphical representations.
St. Regis Hotel Wine Bar | User Interface
Opara designed the user interface of this interactive installation at the St. Regis Hotel wine bar inside New York City’s Adour restaurant. The technological design helps people learn about wine by simply flipping the virtual petals displayed on the table in front of them. This design reinforces Opara’s belief that people should utilize tools and technology to share knowledge.
Stealth | Poster/Wallcover
Opara’s use of black and white geometric shapes in this Stealth Poster/Wallcovering mimics the form of Stealth Bombers. Inspiration for this work came from the book, “The Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, which explores the struggles of being African American in the early 20th century. Opara’s piece is a physical representation of being literally visible, but figuratively invisible — a subject that really impacted and influenced him in his youth.
Sorg Architects | Identity
Sorg Architects is a female-owned company that, among other services, designs modern architecture in urban settings all over the world. The owners wanted a logo that represented what they believed in rather than their gender or a gender. Opara met the challenge by creating virtual letter blocks that display Sorg’s focus on construction, organization, modularity and transformation — as well as Opara’s playfulness.
Platform | Idenity at MIT Media Lab
Platform is a nonprofit organization aiming to increase the interest and participation of underrepresented groups — particularly African Americans, Latinos and Americans — in technology and entrepreneurship. In pursuit of this mission, Platform aims to provide these groups access to leaders and role models and help them cross currently limiting boundaries. The achievement of this goal is symbolically represented in the directional signage designed by Opara that extends from the wall across the floor to form a distinct boundary that is repeatedly crossed by people within the space. The identity is intended to be adaptable and flexible as Platform grows — much like Mr. Opara’s approach to his artistry.