Seven ages of a creative: Lucienne Roberts

Despite her long-standing relationship with graphic design, Lucienne Roberts has begun questioning its contribution to the world. Here, she examines how the design industry has changed over the decades she has worked in it

For this special project, we talk to 12 creatives and designers aged 19 to 87 about their experiences in the creative industry, their hopes and dreams, the changes they have witnessed during their career so far, and what further developments they hope may come in the future. Here we interview designer Lucienne Roberts, aged 59

After more than 25 years spending almost every day together, Lucienne Roberts is having relationship doubts. Her worries aren’t about a romantic partner, however, but her long-term career as a graphic designer. “I ‘met’ graphic design when I was young,” she tells CR. “It seemed such a utopian occupation – it’s everywhere, for everyone, and connected to everything. That’s what makes it so fantastic, and important. It’s used to inform, to delight, to persuade and, of course, to manipulate. It can be used for good, or not. I feel increasingly troubled by the way it’s used at the moment.”

Roberts is best known as the founder of her eponymous studio, LucienneRoberts+. Founded in 2007, the studio operates in the realm of politics, education and the arts. She is also the co-founder of GraphicDesign&, a publishing and curatorial project run with designer and educator Rebecca Wright, and alongside her studio-based work she regularly writes, lectures and publishes on her subject.

Top: Non-Pavilion, V&A Courtyard, London Design Festival, 2019, by Studio MiCat, There Project, Proud Studio and LucienneRoberts+; Above: Lucienne Roberts

In many ways, it’s not surprising that Roberts is feeling conflicted about her relationship with design, given the amount of change the industry has witnessed over the past two decades.