KTKDesign: Reaching New Heights with Design
Due to fortuitous events I was lucky enough to garner an invite to a very special viewing party. Karl was lucky enough to have the prestige of having his graphic designs featured on the tallest building in the world— The Burj Khalifa, and we were all there to celebrate his impressive contribution. Later that week I had the absolute pleasure of sitting with Karl to hear how he got this honor. The Burj Khalifa Façade Open Call was open to any artist in the world and ten were chosen.
The Pemberley Magazine: Thank you so much for your time, Karl.
Karl Taylor-Knight: Thank you.
TPM: Let’s dive in, shall we? What is your background?
KTK: I was born in South Africa and lived there until the age of 18. Before going to University, I thought taking a “gap year” would be a good idea so I went to the UK. The plan was to stay for a year, but I ended up making a life there. I fell into dentistry, I was a manager of a nightclub at the time, but I started work as a dental manager and from there started work for the largest dental corporate in the world and at one stage was managing eighteen clinics. I then moved into dental consultancy and this is where it sort of shoehorns into design.
TPM: How did you get started in graphic design?
KTK: When I was working for the dental consultancy firm I said I wanted to try my hand at design and follow my passion. My passion has always been anything that is beautiful from architecture to the way a woman’s shoe is shaped. The firm I was working for at the time agreed on making a product I could design, and they would sell it. This product became known as “magic box” which was a first in dentistry and that’s how I started in design. I am completely self-taught and for the first two years I had a rigid regime where I got up at three AM every morning and worked until about nine at night, including weekends. Sometimes I made time for myself.
TPM: Why did you choose to make Dubai your home now?
KTK: Dubai has always been a place I was attracted to. I had a friend living here and I decided to visit her and from then I started coming to Dubai one week a month for the first year and for the second year I did three weeks at a time in Dubai. And the third year I started living here full time. I love Dubai because it has so many opportunities, and yes it can be a tough place but with tenacity and drive you can do anything.
TPM: What programs do you use for your work?
KTK: I use Cinema 4D for my 3D work and Adobe Suite for everything from graphic to motion design.
TPM: Why do your clients chose you?
KTK: I’m the guy they come to either tell a story in a different way or to come up with weird and wacky ideas and I think it is my strength because of my background. I don’t have a background in the Arts, so I follow no rules. It’s raw creativity so the ideas I come up with sometimes are groundbreaking and outside of the box.
TPM: What is your morning routine?
KTK: I am always out of bed between 6 and 7:30 AM for a walk around the block to clear my head, make a coffee, and then quietly start my daily work.
TPM: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
KTK: It’s when you take something from idea/concept to prototype, to seeing it live. Having my design on the Burj Khalifa was one of those surreal moments where for months I’ve been seeing a little Burj Khalifa on my screen and then seeing it massively displayed it was a surreal moment and I feel super blessed.
TPM: What are you plans for the future?
KTK: To continue to service dental clients with amazing marketing and animation and branding but also to move more into visual designs, same as the Burj Khalifa, Large LED displays from nightclubs to events to concerts. These are the things I really want to get into, things that are beautiful and that make people go “WOW”.
TPM: Where do you get your inspiration from?
KTK: Inspiration comes from everywhere even seeing bad design. Driving down a road, taking a walk, looking on the web, scrolling through Instagram. There are so many great artists out there and there are so many ideas that you can take, evolve, and get inspiration from.
You can see Karl’s design on the façade of the Burj Khalifa daily from 7:45 PM, and repeats every hour until the 30th of September.